Almost from the beginning of the US-supported regime-change project in Syria, US policymakers have incorporated several kinds of planning for what is called “transitional justice” into their pursuit of the project. Transitional justice (TJ) is a field that came into great vogue in the mid-1990s, after two key developments in the post-Soviet world: (1) the … Continue reading Syria and “Transitional Justice”
If you rely only on the New York Times to understand events in Syria, you likely have the idea that the peaceable people of the Idlib province in the northwest of the country have for some years now been subjected to gratuitous attacks by the Syrian and Russian air forces that, for some unknown reason, … Continue reading What the New York Times doesn’t want you to know about Idlib
Earlier today, I published a new piece over at Medium, on how both wings of the bellophilic Washington “blob” are still working to punish and isolate the Syrian government, rather than providing real support to the peace/reform negotiations that have been (creakingly) underway in Geneva since October 30. (By “both wings”, I mean leaderships of … Continue reading New piece on Syria & how the Washington ‘Blob’ still works to punish it
Yesterday, Pres. Rejep Tayyip Erdogan was here in DC. His presence and the apparently lengthy meeting he had with Pres. Trump both attracted many criticisms and a non-trivial street protest in the square across from the White House. Yes, there are numerous serious things to criticize Erdogan for, including some of those mentioned in the … Continue reading Some quick thoughts on Turkey
On October 30, representatives of Syria’s government, opposition, and civil society came together in Geneva at the inaugural meeting in Geneva of the Syrian Constitution Committee (SCC), the most promising effort yet to negotiate an end to the country’s hyper-destructive civil war. But just the day before the SCC opened, a court in Germany charged … Continue reading Syria: Peacemaking or prosecutions?
The United Nations’ Special Envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen, recently expressed confidence that the Syrian Constitutional Committee (SCC), a key gathering of representatives of the country’s government, opposition, and civil society, can convene as planned in Geneva, October 30. If this does occur-even with, perhaps a slippage of a few days-it could mark the beginning … Continue reading Can the Turkey-Russia Agreement Help Syrians End Their Civil War?
Washington, DC — It took less than a week after President Trump announced the summary withdrawal of the tripwire U.S. force deployed in northeast Syria alongside the Kurdish-dominated “Syrian Democratic Forces” (SDF), before the SDF concluded a new alliance with the Syrian government. What happened between, of course, was the large-scale incursion of Turkish forces into the … Continue reading U.S. forces (and policy) in Syria head south
This week, Mideast watchers have been breathlessly awaiting the arrival in NATO member Turkey of the first of the two batteries of Russian-made S-400 air defense systems that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan purchased from Russia in December 2017. Officials in the State and Defense Departments have warned that, with Turkey’s receipt of the S-400s, … Continue reading Global Power Shifts Sparked in Syrian Hornets’ Nest
Two detailed accounts have appeared recently of cloak-and-dagger operations undertaken by Western intelligence agencies to effect the defection of high-level officials of governments targeted for regime change. In his new book, Assad or We Burn the Country: How One Family’s Lust for Power Destroyed Syria, journalist Sam Dagher recounts how, in 2012, French agents spirited … Continue reading The Ethics of Regime Change
Last month, a network of UK-based academics challenged allegations-which the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) officially corroborated on March 1-that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against civilians in the outer Damascus suburb of Douma in April 2018. The challenge came in the form of a 15-page assessment, apparently prepared by a … Continue reading Did Assad Really Use Chemical Weapons in Douma?