PITAPOLICY Attends @FollowDD – “Dictators & Dissidents” #FDDWF2012

Greetings Pita-consumers:

Washington, DC – PITAPOLICY is glad to attend the Foundation for Defending Democracy (FDD) at the Newseum Building.  The theme was “Dictators & Dissidents”: Should the “West” Choose Sides?  (PITAPOLICY is still perplexed by the term ‘West’ and further perplexed by premises behind the question, by the way.)  Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, former US Permanent Representative to the United Nations did not deliver his address “Lessons from the Front Lines”.  Instead we heard remarks by US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford, who discussed the US support for the Free Syria Army.  The upside: PITAPOLICY received a response back from the State Department regarding holding Assad regime accountable for human rights abuses via Twitter: StatePRM 2:38pm via Web

.@pitapolicy @hahussain Those responsible for violations will be identified #Syrian Justice #Accountability Center go.usa.gov/g529

We hope that Department of State will make good on this promise…

We are happy to provide further comments and analysis via PITAPOLICY Consulting, LLC.  Please send requests to qayyum@pitapolicyconsulting.com.    In the meantime, here was the agenda.  Selected tweets that highlight the panels follow. 


  • Opening Remarks by James Woolsey, Chairman of FDD & Former Director of Central Intelligence Agency
  • Islamists & Elections: Where do They Lead? – Reuel Marc Gerecht, FDD; Brian Katulis, Center for American Progress; Rob Satloff, Washington Institute for Near East Policy; Bret Stephens, The Wall Street Journal)
  • Iran’s Human Rights Record
  • Keynote Remarks by Ambassador Robert Ford, U.S. Ambassador to Syria
  • What’s Next for Syria?
  • Congressional Remarks by Senator Bob Casey (Democrat, Pennsylvania) & Representative Ed Roce (Republican, California)
  • The Arab Spring: Nonproliferation Risks & Opportunities
  • Conversation between FDD President Clifford May & Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Award recipients [Senator Jon Kyl (Republican, Arizona) & Senator Joseph Liberman (Independent, Connecticut)]
  • Keynote Address by David Cohen, US Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial INtelligence

Tweets That Repeat & Compete…

Evan Helmuth@abuliberali

@RafifJ “A lack of support for the opposition indicates continued legitimacy of Assad and facilitates rise of Islamists.” #Syria #FDDWF2012

Jouejati fielding inevitable “why should we Americans care” question with great poise. #FDDWF2012

Sounds like the US had 60 days to get a carrier group off the Syrian coast. #FDDWF2012

And he’d be right RT @followFDD: @acrossthebay says:Chemical weapons are Assad’s last form of leverage;he won’t give it up easily #FDDWF2012

Hannah: Assad has been stupid, so he might use chem stupidly – take Obama seriously but US must be careful in public statements #FDDWF2012

Badran: chem weapons not easy to use, but chem allows him to grab attention, bargaining chip – US response hasn’t been effective #FDDWF2012

Jouejati and Abdulhamid get round of applause for complaining that US hasn’t bombed #Syria yet. #FDDWF2012

Badran: Assad will be very careful in using chem, his last asset, there are contingency plans for NATO special forces #FDDWF2012

@acrossthebay says: Chemical weapons are Assad’s last form of leverage; he won’t give it up easily #FDDWF2012

Jouejati: no one more worried about chem than the Syrian people, the likely victim – he’s already killed 50K – he’d kill more #FDDWF2012

Jouejati: no one takes chemical weapons more seriously than its prospective Syrian victims. They’re sitting ducks. #FDDWF2012

Abdulhamid: I don’t understand US policy any more. It’s not coherent, lacks vision. #FDDWF2012 #SyriaPanel

Do it! “@PhillipSmyth: Also follow @awmannes on #Fddwf2012 he’s also having signal problems but hast hit my level of frustration.”

@Tharwacolamus: there is a lack of vision on the part of the #Obama administration as to how to deal with the #Syria crisis #FDDWF2012

Abdulhamid: US threats against using Chemical weapons ring hollow. Has the US made any preparations to inflict consequences? No. #FDDWF2012

Abdulhamid: what will we really do about chemical weapons – no clear statements (is there a back channel we don’t know about?) #FDDWF2012

Hannah: ‘absolute knack of vision’ by Obama admin on #Syria. #Fddwf2012

Badran: US focus on Nusrah Front premature, we need to keep focused on breaking Iranian axis. #FDDWF2012 #SyriaPanel

@acrossthebay– 3 objectives of US in Syria: Break Iranian alliance, prevent Syria from being a pawn, contain spillover #FDDWF2012

Badran @AcrossTheBay: why #US shd care #Syria: break #Iran influence, prevent radical groups & contain spillover to other allies #FDDWF2012

On point! @RafifJ: Not happy w/term “rebels” b/c they have signed a “Code of Conduct”, e.g. men & #women who’ve defected #FDDWF2012

Badran: what is strategic vision on Syria? Break Iranian alliance, prevent influence of other adversaries, contain fallout #FDDWF2012

@Doranimated you just got a mention here at #Fddwf2012 making with sectarianism in future #Syria.

“Women r entirely under represented…in #Syrian opposition”. #Fddwf2012

Abdulhamid: about half of NC in Doha Islamist or close to MB. But we can’t just keep trashing and coming up with new councils. #FDDWF2012

The Israel Project@israelproject

.@SenBobCasey at #FDDWF2012: With #Assad, there is no possibility for a democratic society in #Syria. pic.twitter.com/3kfg7VB2

All kinds of claims about Iranian intentions with nukes being tossed around without explanation or challenge #FDDWF2012

“Sum of All Fears” review @followFDD: if chem weapons used by Saddam & Gaddafi during “stable times” what during #Arab Awakening? #FDDWF2012

At #FDDWF2012, @dubo1968 reminds crowd that next year marks 50th anniversary of first WMD use in Middle East: chem weapons in Yemen civl war

About to watch @dubo1968 moderate the #FDDWF2012 panel on how the Arab Spring affects WMD non-proliferation

Sen. Casey talking about serious stuff but he may as well be reading an instruction manual. #FDDWF2012 #terriblespeakers

The US can and should take more concrete steps to support Syrian opp without military action- @bob_casey #FDDWF2012

Sen. Casey speaks @followFDD: “I believe that a political transition for the #Syria n ppl is also at the core of #USinterests#FDDWF2012

Interesting #FDDWF2012 panel on Iran. One upshot for the West: spend less time talking about nukes, more talking about Iranian human rights

We’re here @followFDD Washington forum & livetweeting afternoon sessions. @RepEdRoyce speaking about #Iran. #FDDWF2012 pic.twitter.com/LF9lTtuT

Iran uses Syria as a conduit for supporting Hezbollah and helping it to rebuild its weapons stockpile after 06 war- @bob_casey #FDDWF2012

@bob_casey: nowhere in the region is the struggle for freedom as vital or acute as in Syria #FDDWF2012

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