Christmas, it seems, came early for Western governments looking to strike a blow about Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime. Following reports that former Syrian spokesman Jihad Makdissi had fled to Washington, a well-known activist released private Twitter messages that show Makdissi had been in contact for months with the opposition.
"Do you think that I am blind to the heroic actions of the Syrian people?" Makdissi wrote to Rami Jarrah, an activist who has worked to disseminate Syrian citizen journalism, on July 21. "The main problem that prevents me or I can say most Syrian diplomats from openly joining the movement are the opposition 'representatives'."
Makdissi, a former diplomat at the Syrian embassy in London and a member of the country's Christian minority, had been the face of the Syrian regime to the English-speaking world. In early December, he abruptly disappeared from public view amidst reports that he had defected or, according to the Syrian government's narrative, taken a three-month administrative leave. On Dec. 24, the Guardian's Martin Chulov reported that Makdissi had indeed defected and was in Washington, where he was debriefing U.S. intelligence officials about the As thinking within President Bashar al-Assad's regime as it attempts to crush the 21-month revolt.
The messages released by Jarrah show two conversations: His first conversation with Makdissi on July 7, and then a running dialogue that stretches from July 20 to July 22. Jarrah introduced himself as someone who had been arrested for attending peaceful ...[view whole blog post ]