Mr. Barabandi is Director of External Relations and Co-Founder of People Demand Change. Born in Damascus City with familial ties to Deir Azzour Province, Syria, Bassam Barabandi worked in the diplomatic civil service of the Syrian Government for 14 years before leaving the Syrian Embassy in Washington DC in the summer of 2013 and co-founding People Demand Change Inc. Previously as a diplomat, Mr. Barabandi had numerous postings, including being the first secretary at the Embassy of Syria in Washington DC, the head of political affairs at the Syrian Embassy in Beijing, China, and a post at the Syrian Government’s UN mission in New York City. Through his time as a diplomat, Mr. Barabandi also worked with the World Bank, the US Treasury Department and as a liaison to the US Congress. Mr. Barabandi has a BA in political science and public administration from the American University of Beirut and speaks fluent Arabic and English. Since co-founding PDC, Mr. Barabandi has written extensively on the Syrian conflict and has been published in Foreign affairs, Foreign policy, MEI, The Atlantic Council, The Atlantic, and has conducted guest interviews to provide his analysis for BBC, Al-Jazeera, Al-Arabiya, Sky News, France24 and other media outlets.
The current Islamic State (IS) strategy in Syria is based on two connected pillars—centralization, and networks of locals and middlemen. It is clear from the IS publication, “Rome” or “Rumiyah,”