Even in wartime, bureaucracies continue to produce weights of paper. Baathist bureaucracies are no exception. Throughout Syria’s war, the extent to which the regime of Bashar al-Assad’s worst excesses have found their way onto official paper has surprised onlookers. Couched among the death certificates issued by state-run prisons lies the documentation, officially signed, legally witnessed, describing a campaign of mass murder. It is punctilious, and in plain sight. Continue reading →
Permanence has its attractions. It seems stable and without threat. Things we elect to do indefinitely are likely to be activities we enjoy, or can endure. We hope conditions that do not change might make us safe.
This reasoning is naïve, of course. And we know it, or come to learn it through experience. True permanence is as impossible as perfection, each equally out of reach. Continue reading →
The conflict between the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and its enemies has slowed in Idlib, halted by a precarious ceasefire. But fighting between groups in the province is subject to no such regulation. Rebel factions and jihadists continue to tussle for control of the province. Continue reading →
After legal and political drama seemingly spanning years, a final move has been made in Hungry, as the Central European University (CEU) prepares to leave the country.
The university has been under threat for a while, actively targeted by the government of Viktor Orban, including the recent passage of a law designed to make the operation of foreign-run universities a more bureaucratically challenging enterprise. Continue reading →
Donald Trump’s America may be run erratically, but the United States’ chief executive is still a businessman. He knows, or thinks he knows, the bottom line. Credit and capital are instruments often reached for and keenly used. Continue reading →
As the Syrian war reaches its terminal stages, open conflict has given way to a PR war.
The regime of Bashar al-Assad, backed by its Russian and Iranian allies, desires legitimacy and recognition. Assad is unlikely to receive it. His enemies wish to make it clear that, though the regime looks unlikely to fall, its essential character and its crimes exclude it from the community of nations. Continue reading →