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Bashar al-Assad

Assad Tests the Patience of Its Ally Russia

Assad Tests Russia's Patience

Moscow-based Rami Shaer writes for the ultranationalist Russian broadsheet Zavtra. From there his articles are translated into Arabic and posted on RT, giving them the appearance of an official imprimatur. Strengthening this impression, the author’s criticisms of Damascus match those raised by Russian diplomats and media reports, and dovetail with key features of Russia’s Syria strategy. Shaer’s principal target is Assad’s maximalism.

For Syria’s Alawites, the Dissenters and the Regime Are Never Remote

Two Degrees of Separation for Alawites

The officer explained that he advocated against granting me a visa because of my political past, a punitive measure intended to vindictively instill in us the notion that escape is impossible. Not only had we failed to prevent Hafez al-Assad’s ascension to power, we now had to live with the consequences.

The ‘Echo Chamber’ of Syrian Chemical Weapons Conspiracy Theorists

The ‘Echo Chamber’ of Syrian Chemical Weapons Conspiracy Theorists

The real issue here is not so much the denial of chemical attacks as the way it serves as a vehicle for normalizing conspiracy theories under the guise of critical thinking. Admirable though it is to view news reports and government statements with caution and scrutinize the evidence, the denial campaign was something else, encouraging people to reject information at will simply because it didn't fit their view of how the world works.

Brian Whitaker
A Once Powerful Patriarch Returns to an Unrecognizable Syria

A Once Powerful Patriarch Returns to an Unrecognizable Syria

For decades, whenever Rifaat came back to Damascus, there was something that he wanted. But by the time he returned to Damascus weeks ago, Syria had moved far beyond all of his former positions and wishes.

Ibrahim Hamidi
What They Don’t Teach You In Medical School

What They Don’t Teach You In Medical School

Syrians are caught between the overt violence of barrel bombs and covert killing through hunger and enforced privation. Syria has exposed the fragility of international norms. Words have not alleviated its people’s suffering. Only action can give meaning to the words.

Dr. Mohammed Zaher Sahloul
The Wandering Alawite

The Wandering Alawite

Syria's Alawite minority have always been painfully aware of the fragility of sectarian coexistence. Many of us preferred one dictator, Bashar al-Assad, to a Syria broken into multiple sectarian dictatorships. So, despite reservations, despite its repression, we still stuck by the regime.

Adnan Younes
“Lebanon Will Be Last”

“Lebanon Will Be Last”

The obstacles are daunting, but no law of nature dictates that Lebanon must remain last in line to make an honorable and complete peace with its neighbor to the south, one that secures the interests of the “Precarious Republic” and its citizens.

Frederic C. Hof