Blog archive: Syria

  • 9th March 2013
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Let's suppose, just for the sake of argument, that the Americans had not invaded Iraq in 2003 and that Saddam Hussein were still in power there now. How would he view the conflict in neighbouring Syria? Would he be supporting the Assad regime, or not? I began wondering about this a few days ago...
  • 1st March 2013
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Sharmine Narwani, an Assad apologist who can be found on Twitter denouncing British universities and the western mainstream media, managed to cast off enough of her principles last month to write an article for the mainstream media while citing Oxford University in her author's credentials....
  • 26th February 2013
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    There has been a flurry of articles over the last few days about new weaponry reaching anti-Assad fighters in Syria. This is a very significant development, for two reasons. First, it reflects a shift in attitudes among some western and Arab governments as far as arming the rebels is concerned....
  • 25th February 2013
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A tweet circulated today by numerous Twitter users casts a particularly nasty slur on Olivier Voisin, the French photographer who was fatally injured in Syria last week. It says: "Dead French Photographer was State Department-Funded – Embedded in Syria With Al Qaeda"...
  • 22nd February 2013
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    When Moaz al-Khatib, leader of the Syrian National Coalition, offered talks with representatives of the Assad regime his move  infuriated many in the opposition. But it also put Assad on the spot and the Syrian president is now facing diplomatic pressure to respond. "There has been a...
  • 7th February 2013
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    There are many unknowns in the Syrian conflict but perhaps the most important of all is a lack of knowledge about the thoughts and intentions of Bashar al-Assad. Outside Syria, few are better-placed to cast some light on that than Professor David Lesch, who gave a fascinating psychological profile...
  • 7th January 2013
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Barring full-scale foreign intervention, a negotiated settlement in Syria is "becoming inevitable", Patrick Cockburn wrote in  an article for the Independent last week. As the dreadful carnage continues, shifting the battleground from Syria's streets to the conference table might seem...
  • 24th December 2012
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Lakhdar Brahimi, the international envoy on Syria, is in Damascus today for what appears to be a hurriedly-arranged meeting with President Assad. Those taken by surprise included the Syrian information minister, Omran al-Zohbi: Brahimi was already on his way as Zohbi told reporters he was...
  • 23rd December 2012
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    There are growing signs that Russia, the US and a number of other countries are now working behind the scenes to bring the Syrian conflict to a negotiated end.  The latest indication that something is afoot came on Saturday when a source at the Arab League said international envoy Lakhdar...
  • 7th December 2012
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The last few days have brought a sudden revival of diplomatic activity over Syria.  On Monday, Russian president Vladimir Putin met the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in Istanbul. Yesterday, US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and...
  • 6th December 2012
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Fears about Syria's chemical weapons continue to grow – at least in some sections of the media and on Twitter. "Syrian forces have mixed chemical weapons and loaded them into bombs in preparation for possible use on President Bashar Assad's own people," Fox News reports: "A senior [...
  • 5th December 2012
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The Syrian deputy foreign minister, Faisal al-Miqdad, has visited Cuba, Venezuela and Ecuador during the past week, delivering "classified personal letters" from President Assad to local leaders, Haaretz reports. The Israeli newspaper says Assad is exploring the possibility of asylum in...

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