Blog archive: Syria

  • 8th September 2013
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    It now appears that a final vote on American airstrikes in Syria will not take place in Congress until after the UN weapons inspectors have issued their report. Although the US Senate is still expected to vote this week, a vote in the House of Representatives will come later, according to...
  • 7th September 2013
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Returning from the G20 in St Petersburg, President Obama – in  the words of the Associated Press – faces a "frenetic, high-stakes week" selling his plan for airstrikes in Syria to a sceptical Congress. Obama and his aides will engage in "a flurry of speeches, phone calls, briefings and...
  • 6th September 2013
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    France will not decide on action against Syria until the findings of UN weapons inspectors are known, President Hollande told a news conference today.  Hollande seems to be backtracking on his earlier support for US military action and his statement has far-reaching implications...
  • 5th September 2013
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    In an interview on Tuesday night, President Putin said he did not rule out supporting a UN Security Council resolution backing military action in Syria it it were proved that the Assad regime had used chemical weapons. This has led to speculation about a softening of Russia's position. Putin was...
  • 4th September 2013
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    One consequence of President Obama's decision to refer the Syrian chemical weapons issue to Congress is that any action the US eventually decides upon risks being shaped more by the need for congressional votes than an objective assessment of what would be most effective. As Wells Bennett points...
  • 2nd September 2013
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The International Crisis Group is a widely respected thinktank based in Brussels. Yesterday it posted a statement about Syria on its website and various people started tweeting in its praise. The comments sounded like those "reviews" you find on theatre billboards or on the back cover of...
  • 1st September 2013
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Immediately after the chemical attacks near Damascus on August 21, the first reaction of many people – apart from horror at the mass slaughter – was to ask what the Assad regime could have hoped to gain from it.  Some asked the question out of sheer puzzlement, others because they doubted...
  • 1st September 2013
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    President Obama's decision to seek approval from Congress for airstrikes in Syria looks like a smart move, at least in terms of American politics. Following the parliamentary vote in Britain last week which left him without a key ally, and in the face of a discordant clamour from...
  • 31st August 2013
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The United States has now published has now published a declassified summary of its intelligence assessment relating to the use of chemical weapons in Syria on August 21. Like the British intelligence report issued a day earlier, it firmly dismisses the idea that rebels could...
  • 31st August 2013
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    There's still a lot of confusion among commentators over the purpose of any US-led military action in Syria. Some see the chemical weapons attacks as a backdoor way to reshape Syria's internal conflict. Others argue that if it isn't a backdoor way to do that, it ought to be. Those in the latter...
  • 30th August 2013
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Following last week's meeting of the UN Security Council which in effect gave a green light for chemical attacks in Syria, the Assad regime now has a second green light – this time from Britain. Yesterday's parliamentary debate ended in a dramatic defeat for the government which means...
  • 29th August 2013
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Bashar al-Assad can relax now, at least for a while. What should have been a clear international response to one of the most dreadful crimes imaginable – the mass slaughter of civilians with poison gas – has descended into confusion and even farce. The British parliament meets today – urgently...

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