Author Archives: James Snell

What Turkey’s ‘Operation Peace Spring’ Means for Syria – and the US

On Sunday, the White House announced that ‘Turkey will soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into northern Syria’ and that American forces, though they would not support this advance, would move out of the way to allow it to take place. Continue reading

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The al-Hol Refugee Camp and Grave Humanitarian Challenges

At the end of September, in the section of the al-Hol refugee camp in north-eastern Syria that houses foreigners, Russian women – supporters of the Islamic State – severely beat two Turkistani women, apparently because their victims refused sharia indoctrination. Continue reading

The Radicalisation of Remain

Three years on from the Brexit referendum, there’s little sign of the passions stirred up by a fiery campaign being put to rest. Many participants in the Brexit debate have found their politics more entrenched and more extreme, and their private and public thoughts more prone to conspiracy theory and bile. Continue reading

Syria’s Propaganda Tours

Countries in war can make surprising tourist destinations. This is one objective of the Syrian government. It wants to forge an incongruous association with the leisure of travel. Its borders admit carefully chosen foreigners in the pursuit of that aim. Continue reading

Syrians Face Deportation to a Homeland Still Very Much at War

Syria’s war has not concluded but for many it is convenient to pretend that it has. To those in the regime of Bashar al-Assad, it is necessary to present the government’s campaign of pacification as having produced peace. For foreign countries that wish to cease their programmes assisting the Syrian people, any opportunity to have their wish fulfilled is seized. Continue reading

Radicalisation and Self-Education

In Sebastian Faulks’ novel Engleby, a significant scene occurs early on, during a university interview. Faulks’ protagonist, the titular character, is the interview candidate. Engleby is a prospective student of literature; a discerning one, to his own mind. And in the course of things, he is asked to make a comparison between the writing of T. S. Eliot and D. H. Lawrence. Engleby, an abrasive, arrogant young man, does not believe there is much to compare. Continue reading

A Note on ‘Syria’s Nuremberg’

The war crimes of Syria’s conflict have been obfuscated and lied about on a vast scale and with great success, but they have never been effectively hidden.

Not hidden from those whose spells in regime prisons included torture and the possibility of execution, not hidden from those whose experience of regime bombardment was a little more than theoretical. Continue reading