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?
In the northwest Syrian province of Idlib, three million civilians find themselves at the vortex of large-scale battles as the Syrian government and its allies seek to retake the area from the rebel forces that have controlled the region for nearly eight years. Idlib is now the beleaguered last redoubt within Syria of the armed … Continue reading The Real Plight of Idlib’s Civilians
Washington DC, March 26 — On March 25, President Donald J. Trump signed an order proclaiming U.S. support for Israel’s annexation of the Golan. This act ended Washington’s opposition to any acquisition of territory by force- a principle that has been a key pillar of the global order since the United Nations was founded in 1945. It … Continue reading Trump’s support of Israel’s annexation of the Golan