Tag Archives: Lebanon

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

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Good Neighbours? Israel in Syria

When reports of airstrikes against the regime of Bashar al-Assad began to appear last night, exactly who was striking what was initially in question.

Evidence was pieced together fast. Observers rapidly determined that the target of the aerial attack was a regime emplacement, Tiyas airbase (also called T4), which lies in Homs governate. Continue reading

Damascus Eyes ‘Victory’ Amid Uncertain Future

In its eighth year, the Syrian conflict appears to be entering a new stage.

Foreign support for the regime of Bashar Assad, provided by Iran and its proxies and Russia, appears to have saved it from collapse. Its survival, in the immediate term, is no longer under threat. Continue reading

Covering the Ground

Review – Days of the Fall: A Reporter’s Journey in the Syria and Iraq Wars by Jonathan Spyer

As the violence of the Syrian civil war increased, and as the Islamic State group (IS) crossed the Iraqi border, it was clear that the wars in these two countries would become the essential conflict of our times. Continue reading

Lebanon’s New Regime of Censorship

An internationally minded romantic can always find good things to say about Lebanon. Travelling types praise its vibrant feel, its rich history and, perhaps most of all, its cosmopolitan sophistication. In parts of Europe, one still hears Beirut referred to as the ‘Paris of the East’. Continue reading

The Burning Ambition of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince

The kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s conservatism is well-known. It is religious, social, and political. Saudi Arabia is a monarchy whose legitimacy is supported by clerical authority. Many outsiders, particularly Westerners, assume from this that the country is entirely retrograde, that reform of its institutions, laws and society may never come. Continue reading

Saudi Arabia’s King-In-Waiting Flexes His Muscles

Last Saturday, three events in Saudi Arabia caught the attention of the world.

The first was the remarkable news that the kingdom had intercepted and neutralised a missile over Riyadh. This was quickly determined to have been launched from Yemen, which was swiftly blockaded, with its sea, land and air ports abruptly closed. Continue reading