Tag Archives: Syrian Revolution

Jihad at a Crossroad: Jabhat al Nusra’s Identity Crisis

Commentary by Wajdi Mallat – 5 August 2014

Source: globalpost.com

Source: globalpost.com

When the Islamic State blitzed through Iraq and took Mosul and much of western Iraq, it brought global attention to the schism that jihad has undergone over the past year: Al Qaeda was longer at the forefront of extremist Sunni groups. As global media frantically pushed the narrative that ISIS (or ISIL or IS now) was an offshoot of Al Qaeda that was deemed too extremist for Bin Laden’s successor al-Zawahiri, it cited the differing strategy that the Islamic State and Jabhat al Nusra – the al Qaeda group in Syria – would utilize.  Continue reading


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ISIL’s Iraq Blitzkrieg: A Window of Opportunity to Act in Syria?

Commentary by Tamer Mallat– 14 June 2014

The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant’s (ISIL, Da’esh in Arabic) lightning invasion of Iraq is a serious cause for alarm. The speed by which it has taken over major Iraqi cities is revealing of the extent of the training its members have received, the numbers it commands and the resources at its disposal. The blitz also demonstrates just how powerful ISIL really is, and how it has asserted itself as a kingmaker in the Syrian civil war. Facing little or no resistance, the success of its operation appears imminent. And yet, this precipitated invasion may offer the first glimmer of hope for the Syrian conflict – the first of its kind in years since the revolution was hijacked by radicals. Continue reading

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Filed under Arab Spring, Foreign Policy & IR, Français, Iraq, Lebanon & Syria

Killing Mr. Lebanon II: Wissam al-Hassan

Commentary by Tamer Mallat – 21 October 2012

Ashraf Rifi and Wissam al-Hassan

Brigadier General Wissam al-Hassan, former Intelligence Chief of the Internal Security Forces (ISF), was one of those rare Lebanese civil servants who did his job, and this ultimately cost him his life. The greatest way to recognize his work and sacrifice lies in the acceptance of this reality. Unfortunately, analyses and reactions alike have so far undermined and overshadowed the accomplishments of General al-Hassan and ISF endeavors over the years, and do little to honor the battles that he has fought to defend Lebanon’s sovereignty. Continue reading


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Human Rights and Syria: An Original Position for the Gulf?

Commentary by Riccardo Dugulin – 26 March 2012

Source: informeuropa.it

On February 29, the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) adopted by an overwhelming majority a resolution condemning the flagrant violations of human rights in Syria. Regardless of the fact that the HRC cannot generate legally binding resolutions, the move of the council must be read as a major step forward in the international push to limit Bashar al-Assad’s ability to further wage war on his own population. Kuwait, Qatar, Turkey and Saudi Arabia have been instrumental in drafting and garnering support for the resolution. The Syrian crisis represents the first event in Middle Eastern recent history in which local Arab powers, along with Turkey, openly take a position and lead the way in denouncing crimes committed by an Arab government against its own population through a UN resolution. Continue reading

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Tangible Support for the Syrian Opposition: An Alternative to a Risky Intervention in Syria

By Riccardo Dugulin – 11 February 2012

Source: (Sezayi Erken/AFP/Getty Images)

The specter of a civil war is looming over the Syria as the rift between the government, along with its supporters, and the anti-Assad demonstrators is beyond repair. The death toll of the regime’s ruthless crackdown on the uprising is enormous, with conservative figures placing the number of deaths at 6500. Continue reading

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Politics and the Opposition: The Debate that is Failing the Syrian Revolution

Commentary by Tamer Mallat – 10 January 2012

Arab League Foreign Ministers meeting on Syria. Source: bbc.co.uk/

The ten month long Syrian Revolution has entered a dangerous phase. Close to three months will have passed since the Syrian National Council was formed, and the streets of Syria are no less bloody than they were before the opposition organized into an effective body in October. The legitimate and anti-Assad SNC umbrella is hardly to blame for the worsening condition of a cancerous regime pushing its “treatment” program into overdrive. If anything, the maturing course of the council has rendered Bashar al-Assad’s political credibility close to null. While his speeches were hardly ever impressive, the disowned Syrian leader’s infamous Barbara Walter’s interview revealed just how little anyone still took the President’s words seriously. Dubbed delusional, Assad joined the ranks of discredited Middle Eastern leaders no longer in control of the monopoly of the Arab political space they once owned. The consequences of such an evolution, while seemingly positive, have also produced paradoxical side effects. Continue reading

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Qatar’s Trailblazing Diplomacy

Commentary by Bart Hesseling – 21 November 2011

Sheikh Hamad, right, and Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani at the Arab League summit, Damascus, March 2008 (© Hussein Malla/AP Images)

The incredible diplomatic activity of the tiny peninsula nation of Qatar heralds a major shift of power, as the old power brokers in the Middle East are either embroiled in revolutionary fervour or too nervous about upsetting the regional system, fragile as it is. Qatar has no such qualms and has thrown its full weight behind the forces of change. On the diplomatic front, after having pushed the Arab states into an unprecedented UN-backed coalition with NATO that proved crucial in ousting Qaddafi, Qatar is now spearheading the Arab League’s moves to put maximum pressure on the regime in Syria. Continue reading

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