QATAR. Young Arabs are to give their verdict on Syria’s president Bashar Al Assad in a public debate and vote on whether he should stay in office or resign.
The latest session of The Doha Debates coincides with mounting international pressure on the Syrian leader and unceasing violence in several parts of the country.
Debates’ chairman Tim Sebastian said there seemed little support left for Assad in Arab capitals.
"He has survived huge pressure both inside and outside Syria – I hope our debate will show how he's done it and look at whether his departure would be beneficial to the Arab world, or simply create more violence and chaos.
Another question: can he ever again be accepted by the international community, after the death of so many of his people?"
The debate will be held at Qatar Foundation Headquarters at 7.30 pm this Sunday.
Speaking for the motion is Obeida Nahas, a Syrian politician and journalist who was recently appointed spokesman for the Coalition of Free Syria Revolution Youth. He will be joined by Emile Hokayem, Senior Fellow for Regional Security at the Bahrain-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.
Opposing them are Ammar Waqqaf, management consultant and member of the British Syrian Society, a social club promoting peaceful reform and Kamel Wazne, political analyst and founder of the Beirut-based Centre of American Strategic Studies, a regional think-tank.
The Doha Debates, now in their eighth year, are a free-speech forum dedicated to offering young Arabs the opportunity to discuss controversial issues. The series has been broadcast on BBC World News since January 2005, reaching nearly 300 million people in more than 200 countries.
The debates are hosted and financed by the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development.
For more information please visit: www.thedohadebates.com