Tag Archives: Syria

World Cups and World Approval

As England’s football team prepare to face Iran in the first match of their World Cup campaign, the backdrop is already miserable. Football’s most prestigious tournament is taking place in the wrong season in a deplorable state where workers have died in the construction of stadiums. To make matters worse, the Three Lions’ first opponents are in the midst of a brutal crackdown back home on those who have dared speak out in opposition. Hundreds have died; thousands more have been locked up.  

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Assad and Putin Reach a New Low in Syria

Focus on Syria has dwindled since the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But over a decade after the country’s bloody civil war first started, the conflict rumbles on. Armed groups continue to jockey for position. The death toll, caused by Russia’s air force, Iran’s militias, and Bashar al-Assad’s forces, continues to rise.  

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The HTS March on Afrin

When the forces of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), an armed Islamist group which is a successor to the al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra, rolled into Afrin in northern Syria earlier this month, the primary reaction was one of confusion. 

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The Attempted Rehabilitation of Bashar al-Assad

It’s the season for diplomacy in the Middle East, even for the most distasteful of leaders. Joe Biden paid a visit to Saudi Arabia in July, against his own inclinations, because of the need to lower oil prices. American and European diplomats still scramble hopelessly to reach a new nuclear deal with Iran. 

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Russia’s Imperial Periphery

Wars are breaking out across the imperial periphery as Russia is defeated in Ukraine. 

This week, Azerbaijan attacked Armenia, striking its sovereign territory—a clear repudiation of the “peacekeeping” efforts masterminded by Russia in the aftermath of the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War. As it is attacked, Armenia has plaintively appealed for Russian aid—aid which is not forthcoming. 

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Where Will the War Go Next?

Almost every night in Russia, it seems, a government building bursts into an unexplained fire. Fuel depots, office buildings, infrastructure hubs — and once a bridge. No doubt people have their theories. Insinuation abounds. ‘Karma is a cruel thing,’ one Ukrainian official has said on Telegram. But in the main, both the Russian government and Ukraine maintain an eloquent silence.

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How Syria Became a Narco-State

There is a drug war brewing in the Middle East, and Syria is at its centre. The country has been destroyed by its eleven-year civil war, and in the ruins of what was once a prosperous country, an entirely different economy now takes shape. It’s an economy of poverty and privation, where food and energy prices are perpetually high, and supplies of basic commodities are uncertain.

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