Syria’s Delicate Transition: An Interview with Ammar Abdulhamid

On November 19, 2012, Sharnoff’s Global Views interviewed Ammar Abdulhamid. Ammar is a Syrian dissident and founder of the Tharwa Foundation. He is currently a fellow at Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

SGV: On your Website, the Syrian Revolutionary Digest, you are described as “a liberal Syrian pro-democracy activist.” How do you define liberal with respect to freedom, democracy, human rights, minority rights and women’s rights?

AA: I believe in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and other international conventions on human rights, such as the Convention Eliminating All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

Inspired by my liberal values I started my “career” as an activist by launching the Tharwa Project in Syria as an initiative meant to facilitate the processes of democratization in the country and the wider region by addressing the issue of minority rights and improving inter-communal relations in the country.

My liberalism also includes a belief in the free market system, albeit my faith is balanced by an equal commitment to union rights and universal healthcare among other checks on the system.  Continue reading “Syria’s Delicate Transition: An Interview with Ammar Abdulhamid”

Foreign Truck Bombers in Syria Highlight Risk of New al-Qaeda

Quote in Businessweek:

Foreign fighters began trickling into Syria a few months after the uprising against Assad began in March 2011, according to Ammar Abdulhamid, a Syrian dissident who is a fellow at the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Most of the opposition is made up of Sunni Muslims while Assad belongs to the minority Alawite sect, an off-shoot of Shiite Islam. Not all the foreign fighters are extremist or al-Qaeda affiliates. Some are moderate Muslims or liberals, driven by romantic notions and a sense of Arab solidarity, Abdulhamid said. …

The overwhelming majority are considered “dead weight,” said Abdulhamid. Tensions between rebels and foreign fighters mean that “oftentimes, foreign fighters stay in separate camps with a few like-minded Syrian recruits who help them secure their basic needs from nearby villages.”

Syria’s opposition: Higher hopes

Quote in The Economist:

But the new body’s impact on the war in Syria is less certain. “Its influence on the situation inside the country depends in great part on its ability to get supplies to the rebels and rebel communities,” says Ammar Abdulhamid, a dissident based in Washington, DC. “If it fails in this, it loses everything.” Mr Khatib has called for more than humanitarian aid to help cement his coalition’s authority, but officials from warier countries, including Britain and the United States, say recognition will come only if the new lot sets up effective technical committees, proves its popularity with Syrians on the ground, and brings most of the rebel groups under its umbrella.


Obama still wary about arming Syria rebels

Quoted in AFP: (Spanish Version)

On Wednesday, Obama gave no sign though that despite his re-election there would be any major shift yet in his Syria policy.

“The US has been virtually missing in action on Syria so far, but their recent moves, including the push for the formation of the coalition, indicates that they might be ready to adopt a more proactive attitude,” said pro-democracy Syrian activist, Ammar Abdulhamid, a fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. Continue reading “Obama still wary about arming Syria rebels”