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Empower Syrians Not Warlords: Against the Rebranding of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham

A slate of recent papers and policy briefings have advised Western governments to reverse their designation of the Syrian group Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) as a terrorist organization. Such questionable policy recommendations are usually justified by arguing that HTS, under the leadership of Abu Muhammad al-Jolani, is a viable negotiating partner that is willing and able to rein in more dangerous global jihadist groups in Syria.

As Syrian researchers, we write this piece in response to analyses that seem driven by either a humanitarian idealism or sheer geostrategic realism. Both standpoints appear to betray the hope of building sustainable peace in a unified Syrian state. Current discussions about HTS and al-Jolani seem to suffer from a kind of cognitive convulsion that sometimes appears when evaluating the label “terrorist” in relation to Western security needs. Surely, the experiences of local victims in Syria should be of some account in the definition of political terror.

Read more at The Atlantic Council

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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