Critics question Catholic nun’s ‘alternative story’ on Syria civil war | World news | theguardian.com.
I am quoted in this article about the visit of Assad propagandist and genocide denier, Mother Agnes:
…. But her supposed anti-Assad stance has been called into question. “The regime maintains tight controls over all religious institutions in the country: Islamic, Christian, Druze etc,” said Ammar Abdulhamid, a Syrian dissident and democracy activist living in exile in Washington. “Not a single appointment happens without its approval, even in-church appointments … Considering Mother Agnes’ position, she must have had regular contacts with ranking security officers.”
Through inaction and contradictory policy statements, the Obama Administration has plunged the U.S. into the very sectarian quagmire in the Middle East officials were hoping to avoid.
If major segments of the Sunni communities in the Middle East have come to develop unfavorable views of American policies, especially those of the Obama Administration, the perceptions of Shia communities (and by extension Alawite communities as well) of Obama’s policies are not that favorable either. Indeed, despite the gains that Iran and Shiite communities across the region have made over the last few years as a result of American policies in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere, and despite the recent “breakthrough” with Iran, anti-Americanism remains rampant in Shia circles, and stoking its fires will continue to a favorite pastime for political and religious leaders of Shia background for years, if not decades to come. Obama’s policies are alienating old friends and allies, but they are not making new ones.
Continue reading “Into the Quagmire!”
Rebels retake Christian town of Maaloula | News , Middle East | THE DAILY STAR.
The battle of Qalamoun is heating up with the Christian towns of Deir Attiyeh and Maaloula coming under regime shelling. Rebels sought refuge there thinking the regime will not pursue them. They were wrong, as wrong as those who believe that the regime will protect confessional minorities: Christian, Druze or Alawites. The regime divides all so it can conquer all. Those who rely on it to be their protector are actually protecting it. Meanwhile, pro-regime media outlets will spin this as an attack by rebels on the towns, while pro-rebel sources will claim they are there to protect the inhabitants. We can only hope that the nuns of Mar Thecla, Mother Pelagia and all, are safe and sound.
NOW Lebanon | A longer version is available here.
Many people in Syria and across the world continue to wonder why the Syrian uprising took such a violent turn, despite the bravery and selflessness of so many of the early protest leaders. Indeed, the development seems to have come as a result of a sophisticated strategy implemented by the Assad regime from the outset. Understanding this strategy, rather than lamenting the situation, as so many nonviolence advocates and theoreticians continue to do, might help prevent its replication elsewhere. Continue reading “Why nonviolence failed in Syria”