Breaking the Stalemate!

First posted on my short-lived blog Tharwalizations.

The various “color” and “flower” revolutions that have been taken place around the globe recently, in places like Georgia, the Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan, seems to be intricately connected to the workings of various American international NGOs. Moreover, the activities of these NGOs seem to reflect in many ways certain shifts in the US foreign policy and interests, and, in turn, the success or failure of the various revolutions seems to reflect these shifts as well. This is why the political convulsions of Uzbekistan (May 2005) and Azerbaijan (November 2005), for instance, did not result in such revolutions. Continue reading “Breaking the Stalemate!”

The Enigma of Damascus

By JAMES BENNET – New York Times

Ammar Abdulhamid, 39,  runs the Tharwa Project, which tracks treatment of minorities in the region. He  had a fellowship at the Brookings Institution in Washington last fall, and he  has decorated his Damascus office with photographs from his walk to work along  Connecticut Avenue. One shows the American flag through the bare limbs of trees.  When I stopped by, he called the regime ”defunct” and the Baathists ”idiots”  and ”morons” while we were still settling into our seats. He saw no  alternative in civil society either. ”They all want a leader or a messiah,” he  said. He did not advocate ”bloody revolution,” he said. But he also said that  the civil strife accompanying regime change in Iraq might be the only way  forward in the region. ”Stagnation is killing our souls and our minds,” he  said. ”Hopefully, this baptism by blood and mayhem will teach us to cherish the  liberties.”


Brother/Sister, Where Art Thou?

This is the study that I have prepared during my first stint as a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution (July-December 2004). Though completed, the study was never published by Brookings, it was simply too whimsical to pass as a policy paper, and although I had permission to publish it elsewhere while acknowledging that it was prepared at Brookings, I got too caught up with the activities of the Tharwa Project and my the interrogations I faced upon my return to Syrian to follow up on this.  Continue reading “Brother/Sister, Where Art Thou?”

For Syrian optimists, now is the time to reconsider

Special to The Daily Star

If the last five years in Syria have shown anything, it is that the country’s Baath regime cannot accommodate serious reforms – economic, political or structural. As such, the lackluster nature of the recent Baath congress and its recommendations were not surprising. If anything, the Baath simply lived up to its, by now, well-established reputation as the party of missed opportunities and disappointments.  Continue reading “For Syrian optimists, now is the time to reconsider”