As Regime Teeters, Jews Mull Outreach to Rebel Fighters

“There are many in the opposition who believe that Israeli concerns over change in Syria are, in part at least, behind the lack of a more proactive response by the international community to the situation in Syria,” said Ammar Abdulhamid, a Syrian pro-democracy activist. Abdulhamid is a fellow at Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a non-partisan Washington think tank that serves as an academic home for many neo-conservative thinkers. The group has emerged as one of the key players in forging ties with the budding Syrian opposition and urging a more active U.S. role in bringing about the demise of the Assad regime… “The agreed line by the opposition is that the status quo in the Golan Heights will be maintained until conditions permit for organizing peace talks,” said Abdulhamid, referring to Israel’s occupation of that area since the 1967 Six Day War. This approach could satisfy Jewish and pro-Israel groups whose focus on Syria’s future government in any event prioritizes other concerns.

Arab Liberals: the last hope for reform

Special to The Daily Star

An interesting phenomenon has been taking place of late: coverage in the international media of the activities of Arab and Muslim terrorists has given way, for a short while at least, to a consideration of Arab liberal intellectuals and activists and their potential role in the longed-for reform process in the Arab world.  Continue reading “Arab Liberals: the last hope for reform”

For a more rational approach to peace and normalisation

As a 35-year-old Arab, I have learned not to put too much faith in my leaders’ ability to rise to my expectations, no matter how reasonable and modest they happen to be. I have also learned that any regional leader, Arab or Israeli, who thinks that a solution to the conflict can be accomplished by military means is an idiot, albeit a dangerous one.

Aside from anything that happens at the Beirut summit, there are many Arabs, of all classes and backgrounds, who sincerely want a more rational and compassionate approach to peace and normalisation. Continue reading “For a more rational approach to peace and normalisation”

A Dialogue on the Middle East and Other Subjects

Anthropoetics 7, no. 2 (Fall 2001 / Winter 2002)

Ammar Abdulhamid (Author & Pro-Democracy Activist, Damascus, Syria) & Eric Gans (French & Francophone Studies UCLA, Los Angeles CA)

Editorial Note: This text was composed in September-October 2001 as an interview intended for publication in the Arabic-language webzine Maaber ( In part because it clarifies my position on matters that have preoccupied us since September 11, I requested Mr. Abdulhamid’s permission to publish it in Anthropoetics. Taking advantage of what the French call l’esprit de l’escalier, I have appended some additional material in [brackets]. – EG (bio)

Maaber’s editorial team (here and here) have also taken advantage of the same esprit de l’escalier and have appended some commentaries in red. – Dimitri A. Continue reading “A Dialogue on the Middle East and Other Subjects”