Tag Archives: Tamer Mallat

Lebanon’s Shameful Silence on the Syrian Revolution

Commentary by Tamer Mallat – June 13 2011

Copyright Margaux Bergey

On June 15, 2011, Syrian revolutionaries will enter their third month of protest. Thirteen Fridays have already past, over 1,300 Syrians have lost their lives – excluding those listed as missing -, and over 12,000 remain incarcerated in a prison system where torture, humiliation, intimidation, rape and extra-judicial execution constitute the modus operandi of regime violence. In face of looming defeat, Bashar al-Assad appears to have waged an open war against the people of his own country. The army is being deployed everywhere, helicopters are gunning down peaceful protestors; for the regime, the “enemy” appears to be no other than the entire population of Syria. And yet, the Syrians have not succumbed to Bashar’s murderous folly. Friday June 10, hundreds of thousands of protestors braved the plethora of bullets being fired at them to continue to voice their demands: the Syrian regime must go. However, in neighboring Lebanon, the scene is very much different. For a country that has suffered from the Assad dynasty’s tyranny for almost three decades, the Lebanese have been awfully quite. Worse even, the majority of Lebanese can be best described as being completely apathetic, to be as diplomatic as the limits allow. Continue reading

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Filed under Arab Spring, English, Lebanon & Syria

Obama’s Speech: What Was Unsaid

Commentary by Tamer Mallat and Mélissa Rahmouni21 May 2011

Obama’s long overdue speech on the Arab Spring has provoked a series of mixed and muted reactions across the Arab world. For many, his outspoken remarks claiming that any Palestinian state must be created on the basis of the pre-1967 borders, were received as an encouraging sign that the US is upping the ante on Israel. President Obama’s clear embrace of non-violent and pro-democracy protests in addition to his condemnation of the brutal crackdowns in Bahrain, Syria, and Yemen, aimed to highlight America’s firm position that favors democratic reform. However, Obama continues to stop short of calling for regime change. By encouraging autocrats from Bahrain to Syria to undergo sincere reforms, Obama’s policy remains focused on ‘behavioral change’ over ‘regime change’. Obama’s silence on a number of issues betrays a possibly more sordid foreign policy shift. Not one word was directed at the developing state of affairs in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Algeria and Morocco. Continue reading

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Filed under Algeria, Arab Spring, Bahrain, English, Foreign Policy & IR, Gulf states, Lebanon & Syria, Morocco

From Hama to Deraa: How a Barbaric Episode in History Repeats Itself

Commentary by Tamer Mallat & Antoine Alhéritière – 9 May 2011

This week, reports portraying the consequences of Bashar al-Assad’s crackdown on the March 15 movement have begun to reveal the extent of the bloodbath being produced in Syria. The iconic border-town of Deraa, which has become the symbol of Syria’s fledgling opposition movement, has been under siege by the Syrian army for more than ten days now. The death count for the past few days, just released by The Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies (DCHRS), numbers in the hundreds. From children to army officers and conscripts shot in the back – most likely because they refused to fire on unarmed protestors – no segment of the Syrian population appears to be spared from the sordid picture that is being drawn. Dubbed a “massacre”, the repression in Deraa evokes memories of an all-too similar event that occurred in 1982 when Hama suffered one of the most brutal crackdowns in Arab history, with the number of deaths estimated at being well over 20,000. Continue reading

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Suckered into Authoritarian Tactics: How Obama and Sarkozy Got Syria Wrong

Commentary by Tamer Mallat – 8 May, 2011

The year 2008 marked a shift in US and French foreign policy strategies with Syria. From a policy of complete isolation, to cautious inclusion, the US and France hoped to lure the Syrian regime out of the Iranian sphere of influence in the region. They believed that unlike his father, the Western educated Bashar al-Assad had the potential to become a credible and reliable partner in the Middle East. When the Arab uprisings first began to spread from country to country, Bashar, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, boasted that Syria would not house the scene of a revolution. On March 15, protests began in the southern border-town of Deraa spreading soon after from city to city. The repressive machine was unleashed, but despite massive killings and arrests, the French and American governments remain attached to ‘behavioral change’ over ‘regime change.’ Continue reading

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Filed under Arab Spring, English, Foreign Policy & IR, Lebanon & Syria