Category Archives:
Syria

Interrogating the Qatar rift

Richard Falk on

The abrupt announcement that Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, UAE, Yemen, the Maldive Islands, and the eastern government in divided Libya have broken all economic and political ties with Qatar has given rise to a tsunami of conjecture, wild speculation, and most of all, to wishful thinking and doomsday worries. Richard Falk untangles the threads of the story so far what it could mean for U.S. foreign policy in the region.

Trump dines, Arabs die

Allison Deger on

President Donald Trump’s admission on Fox that he ordered the launch of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles on Syria between bites of “the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake” makes it the second time he has launched a military attack during a meal.

Almost 1 million Syrian children can’t go to school

Nisrine Makkouk and Leila Rafei on

In Lebanon, one of the countries that has been most burdened by the Syrian refugee crisis, public schools are strained to the limits. Schooldays operate on a two-shift schedule—the first half of the day is for Lebanese children (and some Syrians if space permits), and the second half is for Syrian children. Still, half of all Syrian refugee children in Lebanon don’t go to school at all.

Aleppo chef recreates his restaurant in Gaza after fleeing Syria

Ahmad Kabariti on

“If death is my fate, I will die even in Copenhagen. Gaza is relatively safe and a more simple place to live,” says Aleppo chef Anas Qatarji, who fled war-torn Syria for the besieged Gaza Strip and moved his destroyed restaurant with him.

What if the Syria no-fly zone won’t fly?

(((James North))) on

The foreign policy elite in Washington seems to be united on imposing a no-fly zone over Syria. But two veterans with hundreds of combat missions between them contend that Assad’s anti-aircraft capabilities are far too robust to permit such an intervention without significant losses and billions in expenditures.

Marc Lynch warns against the U.S. escalation in Syria

(((James North))) on

Advocates for U.S. escalation in Syria will make a bad situation worse, warns George Washington University Professor Marc Lynch; and President Obama’s resistance to increased intervention may be reversed by his successor.

Meet the Palestinian volunteers on the frontline of Europe’s refugee crisis

Michaela Whitton on

Millions of refugees are fleeing war and risking their lives on unequipped boats to reach European shores. In response, volunteers from all of the world are offering their aid and support to the biggest global displacement crisis since the Second World War, and Palestinians are no exception. Michaela Whitton talks with members of Humanity Crew, a Palestinian-led humanitarian organization at the forefront of the crisis.

‘Either Assad or we’ll burn the country’ – An excerpt from ‘Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War’ (Update)

Robin Yassin-Kassab and Leila Al-Shami on

Read an an excerpt from the new book ‘Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War’ by Robin Yassin-Kassab and Leila Al-Shami. The book tells the story of how Syrians took to the streets in 2011 to demand the overthrow of Bashar al-Assad’s regime, and the political and humanitarian nightmare still unfolding today. This excerpt explores how the regime responded with overwhelming violence to the initial non-violent protests, and the choices facing grassroots activists as the revolution militarized.

‘Say Hello to Zenobia’: A report from Palmyra rising from the ashes

Jeff Klein on

Jeff Klein reports on the horrific devastation left in the wake of the ISIS occupation of the world-famous ancient city of Palmyra and the neighboring Syrian town of Tadmor. He traveled there with a delegation that was the very first group of international civilians to view the site in the aftermath of the battle that took place there.

Goldberg on Obama’s Syria credibility ‘crisis’

Annie Robbins on

Jeffrey Goldberg drives the neoconservative story, in an interview with President Obama in which he repeatedly suggests that the president lost his foreign policy credibility when he failed to attack Syria in 2013.

British Parliamentarians pay homage to Dick Cheney during debate over ISIS

Nu'man Abd al-Wahid on

On December 3rd 2015 a statue was unveiled in honor of Richard “Dick” Cheney at the United States Capitol. Coincidentally, the previous day witnessed the British parliament, specifically the House of Commons, inadvertently honor Cheney in the debate on whether to extend the military intervention aimed at ISIS in Iraq into ISIS’s supposed heartland in Syria.

The Obama administration needs to own up to the quagmire in Syria

Annie Robbins on

The crisis in Syria is still in full throttle. President Obama pretends to be a powerless bystander in Syria when in fact US policy has played an important role in creating the quagmire now playing out. For example, the events of this past weekend present a microcosm of how US policy has failed and it’s time […]

Could Syria’s revolution have been different?

Charles Glass on

Read an excerpt from Charles Glass’s new book Syria Burning from Or Books. In it, Glass puts the failure of the Syria revolution into a broader historical context where the United States, with its European and Arab allies, have manipulated and subverted movements for change in the Middle East for decades.

A guide to the worst refugee crisis since WWII

Ben Norton on

The world is witnessing the largest refugee crisis since the horrors of World War II. There are close to 60 million war refugees, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, an all-time high, as people from Syria, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and Yemen are fleeing violence in their countries. Human rights organizations warn the Gulf states, Israel, Iran, and Russia—all of whom have taken zero refugees—along with the US, Canada, and Europe—which have taken few—are not doing enough. Ben Norton presents a guide to the refugee crisis and how every country you need to know about is responding.

One month under ISIS: Starvation, typhoid and the burning of musical instruments in Yarmouk

Jafra Foundation for Youth Development and Relief on

After two years of siege and nearly one-year of rampant starvation, fighters from the Islamic State (ISIS) and an al-Qaeda affiliate, al-Nusra Front, overran Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria on April 1st, 2015. The militants launched a surprise midnight attack and beheaded three Palestinians during their first raid. Today they control an estimated 80% of the camp. In this area arrests, killings, and even the burning of musical instruments—which are considered sinful under the austere salafi group’s interpretation of Islam—are common.

Future of Yarmouk unclear as PLO abandons aid convoy to besieged refugee camp

Allison Deger on

This week a horrific scene unfolded in Syria as a besieged Palestinian refugee camp fell under attack by ISIS and al-Nusra Front, another extremist Salafi group. When the fighters gained control of Yarmouk in Damascus, harrowing reports circulated of ISIS’s iconic beheadings and executions. This time it was Palestinian refugees who were victim and amid the chaos 18,000 Palestinians and Syrians were stranded and starving behind ISIS sharpshooters. In response, Palestinian leaders in the West Bank announced they were planning to coordinate a major convoy that would truck humanitarian aid inside of Yarmouk. Then yesterday, the Palestinian officials reversed their decision.

Yarmouk-based NGO chronicles week of ISIS attacks on the Palestinian refugee camp in Syria

Jafra Foundation for Youth Development and Relief on

On April 1, 2015 armed groups belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) launched an attack on Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus, , which is the largest Palestinian refugee community in Syria. The Jafra Foundation for Youth Development and Relief which operates on the ground in Yarmouk compiled this timeline of the attack from people who witnessed the unfolding events first hand.