To many observers of Syrian affairs, especially in the aftermath of the vaguely-worded report by Brammertz and in view of the growing alliance with Iran, the Assads regime must seem more secure than it has been in many months now, international criticism of its policies notwithstanding. Whether it is the Assads strategy that is working here or whether it is their luck that is holding, it doesn't really matter, the end result is the same, the Assads seem practically untouchable.
Or are they?
A briefing on Tony Badran's The Syria Monitor  about the latest wave of intimidation and trials against Syrian dissedents… 
Detained writer Ali Abdallah and his son Muhammad were referred to a military court on Tuesday where they face charges of slandering officials of the state. (UPI, 6/20/06)
The free opinion and expression are essential and effectual prerequisites for change in the Middle East as antidotes to the authoritarianism. The more the freedom of expression exists, the less the political system is authoritarian and vice versa. The freedom of conscience and expression is a real and indispensable foundation of the political reform and progress in the Middle East.
Corruption in Syrian society is alarmingly widespread and has been for a long time. The government's anti-corruption campaigns are legendary in their ineffectiveness at controlling the problem. You have to wonder if Syrians are genetically corrupt, if their self worth is determined by how big a bribe they are offered, and if there is anything that can be done to teach Syrians how to be honest.
Romans, Arabs, Byzantines, Fatimids, Crusaders, Ottomans and the French played yoyo with Tartous over the course of centuries and it passed from one hand to the next, witnessing and absorbing the different cultures, true to its heritage as a city by the sea.
The term Arab, in Biblical times, referred to tribal people of the Syrian and Arabian Desert. At that time, Today’s so called “Arab World”, was inhabited by the following people…
Sheikh Yabraq has become my Ouagadougou. Sheikh Yabraq is the pseudonym of Hussein ibn Hamdan al-Khuseibi, one of the chief architects of the secretive and mystical Alawite religion, a theological renegade I admire a great deal. His pseudonym is interesting; it suggests something like, “He who illuminates.” It is said his shrine is located somewhere in Aleppo, the site of the former Hamdanid Dynasty whose patronage Khuseibi enjoyed.