Initiative to End the Civil War in Syria


This 9-points plan (click here for Arabic version) represents my own little contribution, offered through the auspices of the Tharwa Foundation, to ongoing efforts aimed at resolving the conflict in y home-country: Syria. As a peace plan, it may not represent the early expectations of the revolutionaries, not to mention my own, or any one side of this conflict for that matter. But parties to the Syrian conflict have to prepare themselves for settling for much less than they initially wanted and sought. The struggle for democracy is a complicated long-term process that requires continuous readjustments. It might begin with a protest movement or a popular revolution, but it does not end with it. Politics, no matter how derided and cynical it seems sometimes, remains a necessity.

The complicated issues related to the shape of future Syria and the nature and scope of the transitional justice process are differed to a later stage, due to the intricate calculations involved on all sides. The current plan merely aims to enable parties to the conflict, domestic, regional and international, to agree on a longer-term truce (perhaps as long as 5 years), while they negotiate a final settlement that might involve talks and compromises regarding developments in other countries and even other regions of the world, not only Syria. In other words, the idea is to exchange a violent long-term conflict for a long-term political process, no matter how complicated it is bound to be, in order to ease the suffering of the Syrian people.

Continue reading “Initiative to End the Civil War in Syria”

The Kurds of Iran

Mahabad is a town with a population of 280,000 people, majority of them of Kurdish background (Al-Jazeera)
Mahabad is a town with a population of 280,000 people, majority of them of Kurdish background (Al-Jazeera)

Angry over the death of a chambermaid threatened with rape, ethnic Kurds in Mahabad burned the hotel where she had worked, witnesses and reports said.

Source: Riot Erupts in Iran’s Kurdish Capital Over Woman’s Death –

It’s not unusual for the Kurds living under Iranian rule to riot in protest of one abuse or another. They are indeed living under a de facto occupation. This is the only reasonable impression that one gets when considering how Kurdish-majority provinces are administered. Whether the current riots in Mahabad will mushroom into a larger movement remains as an open question for now.


The Secret History of Hezbollah

The Secret History of Hezbollah | The Weekly Standard.

Indeed, Tony Badran. Iran’s policies and strategies have little to do with Israel and America and more to do with the usual competition/struggle involving Arabs, Persians and Kurds, or Sunnis and Shia, and the usual power politics inside each country and region. In other words, it’s an extension of our indigenous historical processes that have been going for centuries, if not millennia. Israel’s presence and US policies (not mention Europe’s, Russia’s and China’s, etc.) in the region are complicating factors at best, but the dynamics themselves are fueled by internal needs and interests. It’s about time we reexamined the modern history of our region from this perspective, and countered the ideological interpretations prevalent all around us, because they distort facts and detract our attention from focusing on the real nature of our problems, and suggesting more practical policies for handling them.

Why nonviolence failed in Syria

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”