Rana Sweis

Mideast Blog

In Assad’s Syria, There is No Imagination

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The House of Assad evokes an imperial sense of power, or at least its trappings, with iconography that one scholar described as infused with laudatory slogans and sempiternal images.
But my first impression of Rami Makhlouf, President Bashar al-Assads cousin and one-time confidante, was of his unassuming quality. Here was a tycoon, a figure as rich as he was loathed, who eschewed formalities and ceremony. I had seen it before, in men like Saad Hariri, a former prime minister in Lebanon, lavished with so much privilege and so much wealth that pretensions become unnecessary... Read More

Rana Sweis Articles

Mideast Blog

Reporting From Syria in Secret

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As The Lede has reminded readers for months, because of restrictions imposed by the Syrian government on independent reporting, much of the information about the uprising there, including video of the security crackdown on protesters this week, reaches the Web only after it has been smuggled out of the country by a network of activists.Some foreign reporters, including Anthony Shadid of The New York Times, have managed to make the opposite journey, sneaking into Syria to cover the uprising in person.This weeks episode of the PBS series Frontline featured a video report produced by another journalist who managed to work secretly inside Syria, Ramita Navai... Read More

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