Tag Archives: Islamic State

Is Evacuating Syria’s White Helmets Little More Than a Token Gesture?

Every so often governments undertake acts of unarguable good. These moments are rare, and they are frequently small, justifiable less in terms of their large-scale consequences than their own morality or merit. But governments must still be induced to act in this way. And good ought to be recognised when it is done. Continue reading

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Daraa Could Mark the End of the Assad Regime’s Ability to Act With Impunity

What is happening to Syria gives little reason for optimism. What positivity there is must be extracted from adverse events – and present events are adverse. Continue reading

In the Face of Western Discomfort, Syrian Democratic Forces Trade ISIS Prisoners

The Islamic State (ISIS) is not defeated but it is diminished. The fates of those who fought and are fighting for ISIS similarly exist in two states. Continue reading

Raqqa’s Rapid Liberation Was Flawed from the Outset

The liberation of Raqqa by the fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), backed by the military power of the Global Coalition confronting the Islamic State group (IS), was never going to be easy. Continue reading

Iraq’s Elections Showcase the Wonder of Democracy

Elections are wonderful things. Despite the calculated duplicity which campaigning for the vote requires, and despite their association with politicians, elections remind voters – and observers around the world – that ordinary people, individually and together, can affect the futures of the societies in which they live. 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