Category Archives: English

Geneva Talks Format Should be an Inclusive Roundtable

By Ibrahim al-Assil and Antoun Issa. Posted at the Middle East Institute 

That the Syrian opposition took weeks to agree on a representative delegation hits at an essential problem with the Geneva process: its format. The Russian, American and U.N. architects of the process have retained a regime/opposition binary model that is no longer reflective of the multi-player conflict on the ground. Consequently, attempting to squeeze all non-government forces into a single delegation resulted in a bitter dispute that imperiled the talks before they began—as we saw in the lead-up in regards to which faction should or should not be part of the High Negotiations Committee (HNC). It also precluded from the talks important actors in the war that command significant territory and power, and are Continue reading

Xenophobic Speech Against Syrian Refugees!

I really don’t understand those racist statements against the Syrian refugees, especially from the republican candidates. Maybe it’s not a big deal, but I am just trying to see the motive before I archive it with the two hundred zillion things I don’t understand..

– The US has accepted 1,854 Syrian refugees ONLY so far. That’s like what every neighborhood in Lebanon/Jordan/Southern Turkey has received! They were checked by the US for 18-24 months before being admitted (some of them for even a longer period). Who can’t tell if someone is a terrorist after checking them for more than two years!! For example, you might meet someone for the first time tonight, date for six months, move in together for another six months, get married after a year, and decide to have a baby with that person, while the Syrian refugee is still being checked by the US gov (with all its capabilities) to see if he/she is a terrorist or not .

– NONE of Paris attackers was Syrian. Actually none of any terrorist attack in Europe or the US ever was Syrian. And of course even if that happened, you can’t punish a nation because of few criminals!

– The US provides very little benefits for the refugees. The Syrian community in the US is taking the responsibility to take care of its new members. And I am sure those 1,854 costed the US less than launching few Tomahawk cruise missiles (each costs about $1.4 million).

– Anyone who read one article about ISIS knows that ISIS is not a Syrian organization. People came from all around the world and they have been killing Syrians for three years. The Islamic State was established in 2006, long before the Syrian conflict and by non Syrians to counter the US invasion of Iraq.

– Syrians have been asking for help for three years, the UN and everyone else failed them. The weak strategy of the US and Obama’s false red lines contributed directly to the misery of every Syrian’s life. Not to mention the chaos the US made in Iraq which created a vacuum to the first generation of ISIS there.

People don’t dream about becoming “refugees”. They only choose that when they run out of all other possibilities . The number of refugees around the world is an indication of the failure of the whole international system. I hope Syrians won’t be the new victims of this xenophobic speech which targeted number of groups before, starting from Catholics to Hispanics to Jews to Muslims..

Debating Russia’s Aims in Syria

Co-authored with Randa Slim and Wayne White, and published on MEI website, debating Russia’s aims in Syria, reading Putin and the ongoing debate inside the US administration.

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There is a debate within U.S. policy circles about Russian president Vladimir Putin’s strategy in Syria. While all agree that Putin intervened to shore up the faltering regime of Bashar al-Assad, there are at least two interpretations of what Putin’s ultimate objective is.

Secretary of State John Kerry seems to be in the camp that believes the Russian intervention is part of a strategy to strengthen the Syrian state’s hand at the negotiating table. This in turn could provide a pathway for Assad himself to eventually exit Syria as part of a transition that leaves the state intact and the terrorists defeated.

The second camp is skeptical about that reading and believes that the Russian president aims to force a military victory for his ally with only the extent of the victory in doubt, setting the stage for an outcome that will see Assad stay in power for the indefinite future. According to this interpretation, the Russian president is betting that an improved military situation for the regime will (1) ensure that both Assad and the Syrian state endure, (2) that the regime can get Continue reading

ISIS Twitter Guards

This ISIS sympathizer (or member) wrote me on twitter “with god’s will we will blow up your head and your family who didn’t raise you up on Islam” because I was criticizing ISIS horrible videos.

I remember in 2011/2012 Shabiha on twitter used to intimidate everyone tweeting about the uprising. We used to call them “the eggs” because most of them didn’t even have pictures for their twitter accounts and used the default twitter avatar (an egg).

Today, most of Shabiha on twitter disappeared, instead, you find those ISIS sympathizers who act as ISIS guards on social networks. I think most of them are ex-shabiha who grew beards. Apparently, there is a law in social physics “fanatics can be neither created nor be destroyed, but they transform from one form to another!”

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Barrel Bombs: Syria’s Indiscriminate Killers

I participated as a panel speaker at the UN event on Barrel Bombs and their effects on civilians. The event was held on May 14th, 2014  at the UN Headquarters in New York, organized by the Permanent Mission of the Netherlands and co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Portugal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Turkey and the United States. Continue reading

Creative resistance: Syria’s nonviolent struggle persists

My blog piece on the Fellowship of Reconciliation Blog about “Stories of the Revolution” exhibition. The exhibition was co-organised by the Syrian Nonviolence Movement in Aleppo.

Original Link Continue reading

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