Blog archive: Syria

  • 31st January 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    When Donald Trump issued his now-notorious travel ban on Friday it was couched mainly in terms of protecting the US from terrorism. Framing it in this way gave its racist undertones an aura of respectability, though thankfully there were millions of people who refused to be fooled. Many opponents...
  • 29th January 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Donald Trump ended his first week as president by signing an executive order that means citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen will not be allowed to enter the United States. Although the travel ban is one of a series of measures aimed – according to Trump – at "...
  • 27th January 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    In an apparent policy shift, Britain's foreign secretary has suggested that Bashar al-Assad could be allowed to contest a future presidential election in Syria. Since the start of the conflict in 2011, Britain has insisted that there can be no sustainable peace while Assad remains in power,...
  • 13th January 2017
    By
    Mustafa Habib
    The border between Iraq and Syria is 600 km long – and porous. As ISIS is gradually driven back in Iraq, this raises the question of how to prevent militants from returning via Syria. Securing the border is no simple matter and, as Mustafa Habib explains in the article below, it's an area where...
  • 21st November 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Visiting Syria in 2004, Brad Hoff, an ex-Marine from Texas, went looking for cheap beer and chanced upon a bar where – to his surprise – most of the customers were gay. The existence of such a bar in Damascus, Hoff writes after visiting it again recently, is "symbolic of the nuance and...
  • 10th October 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The bombing has been "barbaric" and war crimes have "unquestionably" been committed. One especially repugnant kind of bombing is known, euphemistically, as the double tap: "They drop one bomb and then they wait for the aid workers to come out, civilian people pulling the injured from the...
  • 13th July 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A visit to Syria last weekend by three members of the European Parliament has given the Assad regime a useful propaganda boost. Ahead of the visit the Syrian government news agency, Sana, reported: "A delegation from the European Parliament headed by Vice-President for the...
  • 28th December 2015
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Documents reportedly captured from the Islamic State and circulated by the US government include what appears to be an official fatwa authorising the killing of "apostates" for food or organ transplants. According to a US government translation, IS's Research and Fatwa Committee was asked to...
  • 27th November 2015
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    1. Because everyone else seems to be doing it 2. Because we are already bombing in Iraq 3. Because it looks bad if the French are doing it and we aren't 4. Because the Russians are doing it and we don't like that 5. Because we want to stop ISIS doing horrible...
  • 23rd November 2015
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Later this week prime minister David Cameron will set out a new British strategy for Syria which is expected to include airstrikes on Syrian territory. Although Britain, as a member of the anti-ISIS coalition, is currently bombing in Iraq it is prevented from bombing in Syria because of a...
  • 10th August 2015
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    There are few things more likely to infuriate Arab citizens than blatant abuse of privilege – when those with powerful connections behave as if the law does not apply to them. This is what led to a rare public outburst at the weekend in the Syrian city of Latakia in the Assad regime's heartland...
  • 8th August 2015
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Rather belatedly, the United Nations has taken its first concrete step towards ending impunity for chemical attacks in Syria. Although any criminal charges are still a distant prospect, the move may be aimed more immediately at halting the use of chlorine as a weapon.  On Friday the...

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