Blog archive: Syria

  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...

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