Libya’s civil war is defined by foreign intervention. The Libyan National Army, commanded by Khalifa Haftar, representing the Tobruk-based House of Representatives, is supported by Russian and Sudanese mercenaries, French weapons and the goodwill of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. Continue reading
Tag Archives: Ghouta
Syria’s Chemical Tactics Could Have Dreadful Consequences for Future Conflicts
Chemical warfare has dominated the global perception of the Syrian civil war. The use of chemical weapons, banned internationally, attracts its own condemnation but the way the Syrian war is captured and communicated to the world increased the horror and disgust its crimes can inspire. Continue reading
In Sight of Sochi
After weeks of threat and portent, the people of Idlib have been granted a stay of execution. The regime of Bashar al-Assad and its Russian backers will not, for now, rampage through the northern province and bomb it to rubble. Their incipient offensive has been delayed, though it has not been cancelled. Continue reading
The United States Wants Russia to Evict Iran from Syria. It Won’t Work
US President Donald Trump will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 16, in a summit that has been likely since Trump entered office last year.
They will discuss Syria. Russia and the United States have interacted inconsistently there. Where once it was thought that Trump would follow the Russian line on Syria’s civil conflict, events have proven more complex. Continue reading
His Country: A Syria Blighted and Wronged by Assad
Review – My Country: A Syrian Memoir by Kassem Eid
Kassem Eid’s memoir opens with a mournful preface. The author, a Syrian who has faced the full force of his country’s recent history, accepts he cannot escape its suffering. Eid says he has fled across continents, travelling as far as he can. He has lived as hard as he can, yet he cannot forget. He cannot suppress the bitter memories of which he is the custodian. Continue reading
In Syria, the Victors Are Moulding Populations to Their Own Designs
The regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria has made dispossession and depopulation potent weapons. The regime’s war effort is a series of encirclements, sieges and surrenders.
As loyalist forces overcome enclaves of opposition, non-combatants are encouraged or induced to flee. Those who remain after defenders capitulated face movement of another kind: They are bussed cross-country to areas outside the regime’s control. Continue reading
The Chlorine and the Bombs
Before the chlorine came the bombs. And before the bombs came the siege. Douma, the largest settlement in in eastern Ghouta, part of the surrounds of the Syrian capital, Damascus, had suffered greatly in the country’s civil war, which is in its eighth year.
Along with the rest of eastern Ghouta, Douma had been under siege for more than five years, its population cut off, unable to access medical supplies and food, unable to leave the area. For years, an outpost of opposition had remained a few miles from the seat of authority in Damascus, a reminder of the limits of the power of the regime of Bashar al-Assad, the hereditary president. Continue reading
Where Next for the West in Syria?
The United States and its allies, Britain and France, launched over 100 missiles at the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad in the early hours of 14 April. This was retaliation for the regime’s use of poison gas in the town of Douma, east of the capital, Damascus, exactly a week earlier, which massacred at least 43 people and wounded 500 more.
The military strikes were an important signal and will likely be some deterrent against the future use of chemical weapons, but ultimately this was another missed opportunity by the West to meaningfully affect the course of the war. Continue reading
Trump’s ‘Arab Force’ More Closely Resembles a Farce
On Syria, the confused state of American policy persists.
This month, the president, Donald Trump, authorised strikes, in tandem with Britain and France, to punish the regime of Bashar al-Assad for its use of chemical weapons in Douma, eastern Ghouta. That might be taken to suggest that the United States and allies were prepared to act – to restrain brutality, to support stability, and to prevent the eruption of general chaos. Continue reading
‘Business as Usual’ Brutality
When something happens which is deeply necessary and long-awaited, it is all too easy, even briefly, to give in to relief.
So it was when, last Friday, Britain, France and the United States joined together to strike the regime of Bashar al-Assad in response to the regime’s probable use of chemical weapons on the besieged city of Douma, in Eastern Ghouta. Continue reading