||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2011)|
Sami Moubayed speaking at the AUB Damascus Chapter in 2009
|Born||16 July 1978
|Subjects||Syria and the Middle East|
Sami Moubayed (Arabic: سامي مبيض) is a Syrian historian and political analyst. In 2012-2013, he was a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, Lebanon. In 2006-2012 Moubayed served as editor-in-chief of Forward Magazine, Syria's premier English publication, and still serves as Vice-President of Haykal Media, the publisher of Forward. His articles on Middle East affairs have appeared in a variety of newspapers, including al-Ahram Weekly, al-Hayat, Gulf News, The Daily Star, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, and Asia Times. He is a blogger with The Huffington Post and an online panelist with The Washington Post.
Sami Moubayed, a native of Damascus, studied at the Faculty of Political Science at the American University of Beirut (AUB) and obtained his PhD in Middle East Politics from the University of Exeter, specializing in the founding years of the Syrian Republic. His first book, The Politics of Damascus 1920-1946, was published when he was a college student at AUB in 1998. He was mentored by Munir al-Ajlani, a MP and cabinet minister from the National Bloc, a leading anti-French movement of the 1930s. Ajlani, banished by the Baathists in 1963, lived from thereon between Beirut and Riyadh, working with Moubayed in 1996-2001. He has met and interviewed leading Syrian history-makers like the People's Party leader Abd al-Wahhab Hawmad, Prime Minister Maamoun al-Kuzbari, union co-creator Jaddo Izziddine, and Ba'ath Party activist Mansur al-Atrash. In addition to Ajlani, he has been mentored by Abdullah al-Khani, a diplomat and judge at The Hague, who served as bureau chief to Presidents Shukri al-Quwatli and Hashim al-Atassi.
In 2000, Moubayed joined the Arab Political Document Center at AUB, and worked as a journalist with Beirut-based The Daily Star. When Hafez al-Assad died in June 2000, Moubayed wrote an open letter to Syria's new President Bashar al-Assad calling for the democratization of the Syrian state and then end of one-party rule under Baath. He was later appointed as The Daily Star's Damascus correspondent to cover the early months of Assad's tenure and the Damascus Spring that took place in 2000–2001.
Between 2001 and 2004, Moubayed divided his time between Damascus, Beirut, and London, writing extensively on the Palestinian second intifada, and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Despite years of tension and bad blood between Syrian authorities and Yasser Arafat, Moubayed stood up in defense of the Chairman of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) after he was besieged at his Ramallah compound by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in March 2002.
Between 2005 and 2011, Moubayed taught at the Faculty of International Relations at the University of Kalamoon in Deir Atiyya, Syria, while serving on its Board of Trustees.
Over the last 15-years, Moubayed has interviewed leading regional and international figures, like Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, Finnish President Tarja Halonen, Indian President Pratibha Patil, Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal, and Lebanese Presidents Elias Hrawi and Amin Gemayel. In December 2008, he was the first Syrian journalist to interview a US president, being ex-President Jimmy Carter, during the latter's visit to Damascus. The interview was published in Forward Magazine. He also interviewed bestselling Brazilian author Paolo Coelho, and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, for Forward Magazine.
During the Arab Spring, Moubayed spoke in favor of the successive Arab uprisings and celebrated the downfall of Egyptian President Husni Mubarak. He also wrote extensively against Libyan Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi and in support of the rebels.
During the years 2006–2011, Moubayed was labeled 'close' to the Syrian government, namely because of articles in the Western press that supported Assad's positions when it came to Syrian foreign affairs. Moubayed never commented on the accusation. Months after outbreak of the Syrian revolt in March 2011, Moubayed took part in the National Dialogue Conference, chaired by Vice-President Farouk al-Shara, did not implement or push for any of its promised reforms, prompting him to speak at its final session saying: "This is a disgrace. We risked our reputations coming here, because we believed in serious constructive change. You gentlemen, apparently do not." Days later in late July 2011, Moubayed wrote an article condemning the violence, supporting political reforms and openly calling for an end to 48 years of Baath Party rule. Moubayed wrote that, "Baath Party rule, as we have known it for 48 years, is practically over. The party simply cannot survive with the same tools, rhetoric and mechanisms that it has used to rule for nearly five decades." He also argued that a democracy, rather than military rule, is the only way to liberate the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.
His works focus on Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Palestine. In 2004, along with pioneer Syrian web-designer Sahban Abd Rabbo, Moubayed co-founded www.syrianhistory.com, an online museum of Syrian history. It contains over 4,000 photographs, documents, and rare audiovisual material on Syria during the years 1900-2000. The website contains un-published audio clips from historical Syrian figures like president Adib al-Shishakli, Hashim al-Atassi, and Shukri al-Quwatli.
Moubayed has written much about pre-Baath Syria, and is a biographer of former Syrian President Shukri al-Quwatli. In 2007-2009, he worked on the script for a 30-episode TV series about the life of Quwatli, which never saw the light due to disagreement with Quwatli's family.
He is the author of several books on modern Syria, including:
- Damascus Between Democracy and Dictatorship, (Maryland, 2000), the book covers the periods between 1949 and 1957, when ten coups shook Syria. Each attempt to overthrow the government was led by powers sympathetic to either the Soviet Union or the United States. The book claims ultimately that this destroyed Syria's chances for a stable democracy.
- Steel & Silk: Men and Women Who Shaped Syria 1900-2000, (Cune Press, 2006), the book covers the Syrian nationalists who led the independence struggle against the French and the makers & shakers of post-1946 Syria, running up to 2000.
- Syria and the USA: From Wilson to Eisenhower, (IB Tauris, 2012) covering early Syrian-US relations during the years of the Mandate and throughout the FDR, Truman, and Eisenhower Administrations.
- Stephen J. Flanagan; Samuel Brannen (2009). Turkey's evolving dynamics : strategic choices for U.S.-Turkey relations. Washington, DC: Center for Strategic and International Studies. p. 48. ISBN 978-0-89206-576-9. Retrieved 5 February 2011.
- Syria: Back to the Future? :: Middle East Quarterly. Meforum.org (15 August 2000).
- Middle East analysis by Sami Moubayed - Arafat the leader, Arafat the friend. Mideastviews.com.
- Middle East analysis by Sami Moubayed - Prime Minister Erdogan speaks to FW. Mideastviews.com.
- What do Jimmy Wales and Iyad Allawi Have in Common?. The Faster Times (23 November 2009).
- [dead link]
- Carter to Syria's Forward magazine: I'm carrying Assad's good greetings to Obama | News , Middle East. The Daily Star (3 January 2009).
- [dead link]
- [dead link]
- Moubayed, Sami (11 February 2011). "Welcome Back Egypt". Huffington Post.
- SAMI MOUBAYED: THE KING OF KINGS DOESN’T BLINK | Uprooted Palestinian. Uprootedpalestinian.wordpress.com (24 February 2011).
- Moubayed, Sami (23 August 2011). "The Road to Syrian Democracy". Huffington Post.
- Moubayed, Sami (2 September 2011). "When the Baathists Read Their History". Huffington Post.
- Moubayed, Sami (11 September 2011). "Only a Democracy Can Liberate the Golan". Huffington Post.
- مسلسل " شكري القوتلي" الآن على الورق ، و ينتظر الاذن بالتصوير. Syriarose.com (17 September 2008).
- Sami Moubayed Homepage . Retrieved 1 April 2007
- Forward Magazine
- The Washington Post, PostGlobal Panelist. Retrieved 1 April 2007
- Articles from worldpoliticswatch. Retrieved 1 April 2007
- Syria History Museum. Retrieved 1 April 2007