First Person

Ten Years a Prisoner in Bahrain

Ten Years a Prisoner in Bahrain

In these past 10 years, the Bahraini regime has come up with new ways to torment my father. Prisoners have nothing, so the prison administration grants them certain requests only to then take them away. The regime wants prisoners to suffer beyond the prison term and the torture.

Assad: The Shebaa Farms Are Syrian, Whatever Hezbollah Claims

Assad: The Shebaa Farms Are Syrian, Whatever Hezbollah Claims

What shocked me as I listened to al-Assad was his lack of hesitation in telling an American diplomat point-blank that the Shebaa Farms — the entire basis for Hezbollah’s claimed status as the “Lebanese Resistance” — was not Lebanese; it was Syrian.

‘Shut Up and Play Your Guitar’

‘Shut Up and Play Your Guitar’

Alex Skolnick is a virtuoso musician best known as the lead guitarist for thrash legends Testament and his own jazz trio. When he started weighing in on politics, he was told to “shut up and play your guitar.” In an essay for Newlines, he writes about the responsibility of artists in a time of political turmoil.

Alex Skolnick
How Israel Weighed Its Syria Policy, Before and After the Uprising

How Israel Weighed Its Syria Policy, Before and After the Uprising

The outbreak of the Syrian uprising caught Israel by surprise. Here a former negotiator considers how close Syria and Israel got to a peace deal before the revolution – and how, as the civil war unfolded, Israel’s thinking evolved on how to respond to the war next door.

Itamar Rabinovich
Seven Minutes that Can Save a Syrian School from a Bomb

Seven Minutes that Can Save a Syrian School from a Bomb

The regime’s barbarity was known to us, but it had now crossed President Barack Obama’s red line and U.S. retaliation seemed imminent following the chemical attacks of 2013. What followed, however, was silence and inaction. And the consequences were catastrophic. I know because I was there to witness it.

Rola Hallam
When Assad’s End Comes

When Assad’s End Comes

For fifty years, just one family has ruled Syria. But even that rule, long and brutal though it is, will have an end, and a new Syrian story can begin.

Lina Sergie Attar
After 13 Years in Syrian Prisons, I Knew Assad Would Win

After 13 Years in Syrian Prisons, I Knew Assad Would Win

I defied the regime of Hafez al-Assad in Syria since its very inception, and I spent 13 years in prison because of it. I saw how he rebuilt his reign of terror from the bones of his people after he defeated the insurgents in the 1980s. His son will accept no less.

Mustafa Khalifa