New Era for Syria Comment – Ehsani and Camille Otrakji take the Helm

A New Era for Syria Comment – Ehsani and Alex take the helm

I must relinquish day to day oversight of Syria Comment to finish a book. Fortunately, both Ehsani and Camille Otrakji have promised to take the lead in keeping Syria Comment relevant, interesting and important. I have posted almost everyday since April 2004. I will continue to contribute but less frequently. I will find it very difficult to step back from Syria Comment, which has been such a big part of my daily routine for almost a decade. I will miss the constant community and smart commentators of SC.

Ehsani, a Syrian-American banker, has been writing economic analysis for Syria Comment since 2006. He will compile the “News Roundups”. He can be reached at

Ehsani writes:

“When two people always agree, one is redundant.” Syria Comment’s strength will be judged by its ability to bring together the many different points of view that Syrians have about their future.

Camille Otrakji, a Syrian-Canadian analyst, has been writing for Syria Comment as Alex since 2005. He has also assisted me with most technical challenges of blogging, designing, and maintaining the site. He also maintains “Creative Syria“, Syrian Thinktank, and can be reached at:

Camille writes:

No other blog covering Syria comes close to Syria Comment in its sincerity in welcoming different viewpoints and opinions.  Since it first began in 2004, Syria Comment has brought together regular commentators from America, Israel, Lebanon, Europe, Turkey, Iran, Palestine and, of course, Syria. Our challenge is to promote the opinions and analysis of Syria Comment’s community of participants.

Moderation: Both Ehsani and Camille will moderate the comments on their own posts. Both insist that they will use the lightest possible moderation protocol.

Comments (66)

Pages: « 1 [2] Show All

51. Alex said:

Alright, since you want a direct answer, can you define “a connection”?

Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

September 21st, 2011, 8:30 pm


52. Tara said:

I would define it as “a material or a psychological connection where the safety of mamnhebaks get jeopardized.”. This is not about having a relative or a friend in the regime. Lots of us are connected to the regime one way or the other and that does not require a disclosure.

Thumb up 5 Thumb down 5

September 21st, 2011, 8:42 pm


53. Alex said:

Then the answer is a clear no.

Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

September 21st, 2011, 8:46 pm


54. Akbar Palace said:


Since we’re on a roll, here’s another Yes or No question:

Should Bashar Assad step down?

Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

September 21st, 2011, 9:19 pm


55. Alex said:

Akbar, he should promise genuinely free Presidential elections in 2014.

Dinner time for me : )

Tara … I have been helping moderate Syria Comment since 2005 … I don’t think anyone felt threatened.

Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

September 21st, 2011, 9:30 pm


56. Tara said:

Camille Alex

I believe you…Enjoy your dinner.

Besho will be gone before 2014.. I hope.

Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

September 21st, 2011, 9:47 pm


57. Akbar Palace said:

A Sense of Non-Urgency NewZ

Akbar, he should promise genuinely free Presidential elections in 2014.


Thanks for the answer. But I, of course, have to disagree. Considering the severity of the crisis in Syria, I think Bashar Assad should wait at least until his kids finish college. There’s really too much on his plate right now. I’m thinking 2020. Sort of symbolic.

Sarcasm aside, and considering this lack of interest Athad has in the deaths, demonstrations, and yearnings from the Syrian population, it seems to me the Turks and the West have basically told Athad that he’s not going to be attacked. Unfortunately, another imploding terror-supporting Arab country seems to be in the best interest of most nations. Better they kill each other and not us. This is just the reality of it all.

Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

September 21st, 2011, 10:07 pm


58. Darryl said:

Tara, Here is a further thing that you should admire from that great Nobel peace winner and his hard working ambassador. I think this photo captures the great shame that you Muslims in the so called Arabic world need to face.

Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

September 21st, 2011, 10:58 pm


59. Yossi said:

Thank you Dr. Josh for heading this important site for so long.

Ehasani and Alex, good luck with your new responsibilities (watch out not to burn out — oouch).

Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

September 21st, 2011, 11:01 pm


60. Alex said:

Thank you Yossi, good to see you here!

Ehsani will be mostly fine, …I will be constantly attacked by everyone : )

Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

September 22nd, 2011, 3:34 am


61. Avi Salam said:

This is the first time I come back to Syria-Comment (SC) since the start of the so-called Arab Spring. Although I am not pro nor against Assad, I had decided to boycott SC as it became a dumpster for the sentimentally bigoted haters of Assad, and the mouths of the Islamists in sheep skin (you know who you are), instead of being a site for the cool-minded and rational intellectuals.

But today, I am back to say I am saddened for the loss of the professional scholar Dr. Landis. Dr. Landis you most definitely shall be missed, and our only compensation is in your choice of Alex and Ehsani to carry on (despite Ehsani being a General in the Syrian Military Intelligence Branch, and Alex being Assad’s cousin 😉 ).

I am still hopeful that Assad will broker a deal with Israel and entrench secularism and democracy in Syria by 2014. Friendly relations between Israel and Syria is the best guarantor of secularism in Syria, and secularism in Syria is the ultimate guarantor of peace for Israel. I have all the reasons to believe that Assad is very smart, and can replace Turkey with Israel in his regional political calculus. It is not impossible, but it will never by easy.

Khabibti Tayoura (TARA), come 2014, Assad IS going to be there, don’t eat your heart out, though.

Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

September 22nd, 2011, 3:37 am


62. Tara said:


Let us first establish the ground rules. I am not your khabibtak and do not use a Nick name for me. Second, it is Habibti with H, not with Kh as you may want to learn something by coming to SC. Third, Assad will not last until 2014. I wanted to find him a chic apartment in Tahran initially but now after killing 2700 including 100 children, I will be visiting him at the Hauge, bringing him rotten Halawa(not khalawa) or preferably in Tadmur prison. Finally, you may want to go and get enlightened before making your grand come back at SC. A lasting just peace is made by democratically elected government that reflects people’s sentiment not by a serial killer-dictator who may forge a pseudo-peace that means nothing.

Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

September 22nd, 2011, 7:21 am


63. Tara said:

Camille @59

Your presence is welcomed. You are not going to be attacked on SC, your support of the thug in chief will be attacked. That is all.

Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

September 22nd, 2011, 7:24 am




TARA @ 61 & 62


You pick from the list

Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

September 22nd, 2011, 7:58 am


65. Akbar Palace said:

Although I am not pro nor against Assad


Why would you be against Assad? He’s such a great leader:

– Still arming Hezbollah to the gills because he’s too afraid to fight Israel himself and he would rather put Lebanon in peril instead of his own country.

– Still treating his people as slaves, dirt and now cannon fodder because they won’t bow down to his image.

– Syrians still w/o basic human rights like freedom of speech and the ability to vote for their leaders.

– Isolated himself with the rest of the world (sans Iran)

– Has put his economy in the trashbin where the per capita GDP is about $3500.

You should live under his rule.

Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

September 22nd, 2011, 8:07 am


66. Akbar Palace said:

I am still hopeful that Assad will broker a deal with Israel and entrench secularism and democracy in Syria by 2014.

Avi Salam,

What is so special about 2014?

Syrians have been suffering with the Assad for the past 40+ years, so what makes you think 2014 is going to save them? They needed freedom decades ago. And basic human rights has no deadline. Every human being deserves basic human rights for every day of their life.

Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

September 22nd, 2011, 8:14 am


Pages: « 1 [2] Show All

Post a comment