Blog archive: Syria

  • 28th August 2013
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    In separate statements on Monday and Tuesday, secretary of state John Kerry and White House spokesman Jay Carney explained why the US believes the Assad regime was responsible for the chemical attacks on the outskirts of Damascus last week. Kerry said the reported number of victims and...
  • 27th August 2013
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    George Bush and the neocons have a lot to answer for. Their scheming over Iraq a decade ago has cost us dear and its long shadow still looms over foreign policy decisions – nowhere more so than on Syria where the Great Deception of 2002-2003 is making rational debate increasingly difficult....
  • 26th August 2013
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    There's now little doubt that the US is planning air strikes in Syria in response to last week's chemical attacks near Damascus – and that the strikes will go ahead with or without approval from the UN Security Council. The US will be supported in this politically, if not militarily, by a number of...
  • 25th August 2013
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    In a rare moment of international consensus over Syria, everyone now seems to accept that chemical weapons were used near Damascus last Wednesday. The continuing dispute is about who used them, with Russia, Iran and the Syrian regime claiming that rebel fighters were responsible. Regardless...
  • 22nd August 2013
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    At an emergency meeting last night the UN Security Council in effect gave the Syrian regime a green light for chemical attacks on its citizens. The council issued a feeble call for “clarity” in response to the deaths of hundreds of people near Damascus yesterday – deaths that appear to have been...
  • 21st August 2013
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The obvious question raised by today's claims of chemical weapons attacks near Damascus is what the Assad regime could expect to gain, if indeed it was responsible for them. Many are asking this question out of scepticism about the reports. Why do it when UN weapons inspectors are sitting in...
  • 9th July 2013
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Syrians from more than 40 different organisations met in Beirut last month to consider what role civil society might play in resolving the country's crisis. With no sign of a swift end to the armed conflict, and with many governments uncertain how to respond to it, the conference also...
  • 7th June 2013
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The British government's policy on Syria stems from wishful thinking, Rosemary Hollis, professor of Middle East Policy Studies at City University London, told BBC Radio 4 listeners this morning. The question of selectively arming some of the rebels (i.e. those deemed worthy of British support)...
  • 30th May 2013
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Hizbullah's public confirmation of its military intervention in Syria continues to make waves. Here are some of the latest developments: The United States yesterday described the intervention as "an unacceptable and extremely dangerous escalation" and called on Hizbullah to withdraw...
  • 27th May 2013
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    For months, the bodies of Hizbullah fighters killed in Syria have been returning to Lebanon for burial. At first the Lebanese Shia movement drew a veil over the circumstances – and country – of their deaths. Then, as the casualties became more difficult to conceal it changed tack and the men were...
  • 30th March 2013
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    In an article for Syria Comment, Matthew Barber discusses a rare moment of realism this week in the Syrian parliament. During a televised session, MP Walid al-Zou'bi spoke about rebel gains in the province of Dera'a, next to the Jordanian border. Zou'bi told the parliament that he had...
  • 23rd March 2013
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    To anyone who has followed events in Syria over the last 12 months it ought to be obvious that there's a popular struggle under way for liberation from a brutal and oppressive regime. The regime, meanwhile, is battling to hold on to power and the privileges of the clique around it. Lacking...

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