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The Syrian Factor: The Middle East With and Without the Assad Dynasty


Ammar Abdulhamid is a leading Syrian human rights and pro-democracy activist and author. A Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a member of FDD’s Syria Working Group, Mr. Abdulhamid is also the Founder and Director of the Tharwa Foundation, a grassroots organization that works to break the Assad government’s information blockade by enlisting a cadre of local activists and citizen journalists to report on sociopolitical issues in Syria. His full bio is available here.

Tony Badran is a Research Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. His research focuses on Lebanon, Syria and Hezbollah, their regional and international relations, and Islamist groups in the Levant. Mr. Badran is author of the blog Across the Bay. His writings have appeared in a number of notable publications, including The Los Angeles Times,, National Review Online, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The Jerusalem Post, The Daily Star, and other academic and policy journals. Mr. Badran has held regular briefings with both U.S. and E.U. government officials. His full bio is available here.

Brian Katulis is a Senior Fellow at Center for American Progress, where his work focuses on U.S. national security policy in the Middle East and South Asia. Mr. Katulis has served as a consultant to numerous U.S. government agencies, private corporations, and nongovernmental organizations on projects in more than two dozen countries, including Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Egypt, and Colombia. He is co-author of The Prosperity Agenda, a book on U.S. national security.

Andrew Tabler is a Next Generation fellow in the Program on Arab Politics at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, where he focuses on how the United States can engage with Syria in a way that best advances U.S. interests. The co-founder and former editor-in-chief of Syria Today, Syria's first private-sector English-language magazine, Mr. Tabler achieved unparalleled access to Bashar al-Asad's Syria. Over 14 years of living in the Middle East, Mr. Tabler accrued valuable experience in the region. Mr. Tabler has published widely, including in The New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, the International Herald Tribune, Newsweek, and Foreign Policy. He is the author of In the Lion's Den: An Eyewitness Account of Washington's Battle with Syria.


Josh Rogin is a staff writer for Foreign Policy Magazine, covering national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. Previously, Mr. Rogin covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, Mr. Rogin covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution. Mr. Rogin’s reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-SPAN, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets.