Tag Archives: Syria

An Endgame in Syria?

Around the world and in Syria itself, there is an idea which is gaining traction.

This idea holds, in effect, that the war is coming to an end. Its proponents suggest that things are beginning to fall into place; that the situation is beginning to become conclusive; and that, very soon, the country will reach something like stasis, or even a final state. Continue reading

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How to End Syria’s Sieges

Heart-rending images come out of the Syrian war with such regularity that one would almost be forgiven for becoming inured to their horror. This is how global callousness sets in, and there are reasons for it.

But a series of photographs which were propagated last month challenged this collective emotional hardness. They documented the young life of Sahar Dofdaa, a terribly emaciated infant born in East Ghouta, which has been under siege by forces loyal to the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since 2012. Continue reading

Defeating Daesh?

Despite the rhetoric, the campaign against the Islamic State group (IS) is not over. The international coalition is sounding almost triumphalist, giving developments a sunny gloss and frequently repeating claim that it is ‘defeating Daesh’.

This is true in a way, and success in one aspect – the protracted war which has pushed IS out of many cities and towns in Syria and Iraq – cannot be denied. Continue reading

Lifting the Assad Regime’s Sieges Requires More Than Just Words

Syria’s war has been brutal even by the normal standards of a civil conflict.

Half a million are thought to have died, while many thousands have ‘disappeared’ into prisons which are known to be sites of mass murder; millions have fled Syria, and millions more have been internally displaced within the country. 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

Iraqi Kurds See Fortunes Reversed after Referendum

In less than a month the for­tunes of Iraqi Kurdistan, its leaders and inhabitants have reversed.

Iraqi Kurds voted over­whelmingly in favour of independence and optimism appeared to reign. The referendum, however, brought complications and immediate repercussions and illuminated systemic problems within the Kurdistan Regional Gov­ernment (KRG), including political and economic dysfunction and general social malaise. Continue reading

Without Isil to Unify against, There Is Little to Hold Iraq and Syria’s Factions Together

The battle for Raqqa has been declared won. The eastern Syrian city, once de facto capital of Isil’s self-proclaimed caliphate, has been captured by the primarily Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Continue reading