“Kill or be killed.” This is Bashar Assad’s bitter dichotomy. While the Assad regime has lost tens of thousands of soldiers, tens of thousands more have been forced to fight in the army alongside Assad’s foreign fighters and militias. Many others, however, choose to flee.
Author Archive: Hakim Khatib
The Russian government released on Monday a list of 18 countries whose citizens have been granted the right to enter far-east Russia without an official entry visa; this list includes nine Arab countries but not Egypt. The Arab countries granted this visa-free status are Algeria, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Morocco, the UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia, according to a statement released by the Russian government and reports by state-run news outlet Russia Today,
Every Passover, Jews retell the story about the Hebrews’ flight from slavery in Egypt and their miraculous escape across the Red Sea, giving birth to the nation of Israel. The colorful story has also been retold by Hollywood time and again, shaping the modern generation’s understanding of the Israelite bondage in Egypt. But if ancient Egypt had slaves from the region known today as Israel, were they really “Israelites”? There is no direct evidence that people worshipping Yahweh sojourned in ancient Egypt, let alone during the time the Exodus is believed to have happened. There is indirect evidence that at…
British author Robert Fisk has criticized Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s declaration of a state of emergency even without returning to his government, as his predecessors Sadat and Mubarak have done, stressing that this state of emergency will last for at least a year, not three months as Al-Sisi claims. In his article published in the British newspaper The Independent, Fisk saw that the army and police in Egypt failed to keep ISIS organization inside Sinai. The organization is now in Cairo, Alexandria, and perhaps in all poor cities along the Nile Valley. Fisk predicted that we will see more…
Six years into war in Syria have proven again and again that it is the worst man-made catastrophe in modern history. According to UN records, more than 400,000 people have died, more than one million injured, while over 10 million have been displaced, triggering a global refugee crisis in neighbouring countries and overseas.
While victims of chemical weapons in Syria are still suffering to cope with what has happened, the world has moved on to focus on the repercussions of American airstrikes against Syrian Army airbase. A message by Raed Al-Saleh, Head of the Syrian Civil Defence (White Helmets). When the first volunteer team responded to the airstrike in Khan Shaykhun in Syria, they had no idea it was a chemical attack. They were all poisoned. Then the second team arrived, and we started to rescue the wounded and injured. There were so many affected.
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While the danger posed by foreign fighters flooding into Syria has become a central point in world media and research, this focus was more likely to concentrate on Islamically-flavoured extremists and their globally Jihadist ideology. Much less attention was given to those who fight beside Assad regime, who indeed espouse an extremist ideology but with a different flavor. As much as Assad relies on Russian fighters, warplanes and destructive force, he also relies on Iran’s money and Shiite foreign fighters from a variety of countries.
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A link between Bashar Assad regime and the rise of the so-called Islamic State does not come as a surprise to many Syrians. Unlike the image the regime has been trying to sell to world media that Assad is fighting ISIS, there is well-documented evidence of the Assad dictatorship’s contributions to the ISIS tale of terror. Both former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Assad released al-Qaeda-affiliated prisoners in 2011 in their respective countries, which was instrumental to the rise of ISIS. So far, research has shown that releasing Jihadist extremists correlates with the increase of the number of arrests…