The Revolution on a Laptop: YouTube Journeys through the Arab Spring

April 12, 2012 by

I chose to be here and now I want to leave. But I’m actually already at home, sitting in my living room. Yet what I saw was real. I just saw a Syrian protester moments after he’d been shot in the neck. I’d heard the shots that might be delivering the same fate to others. I’d felt the adrenaline of the survivors running over to do what they could for a boy whose blood trailed thirty feet into a ditch.

The Foreign Policy President?

April 3, 2012 by

Elections are decided by economics. Voters respond to pocketbook issues and are swayed by the huge sums that candidates lavish on advertising. Foreign policy issues, by contrast, are what the British call “noises off,” those sounds from off-stage that you hear occasionally to punctuate the main actions, sounds like exploding bombs and the distant cries of suffering people. According to recent polling, global issues barely register at all with Americans right now.

Annan’s Plan for Syria has Limited Horizons for a Country Snared in Distrust

April 1, 2012 by

The conflict in Syria has often assumed the ominous characteristic of being insoluble or endless. The government and its various opponents have shown little interest in compromise. The Assad regime’s increasingly ferocious efforts have so far failed to suppress the activities of the resistance movements, who, in turn, have been unable to strike a serious blow against the regime. As soon as one part of the country has been subdued by ruthless force, protests have broken out in another.

The Syrian Crisis Needs a Political Solution

March 31, 2012 by

More than a year after the onset of anti-regime protests, the Syrian uprising increasingly resembles a bloody marathon with no finish line on the horizon. With more than 7,000 people killed and ongoing deadly clashes between security forces and the armed opposition, the international community —splintered along geo-strategic lines — is still struggling to craft and establish a clear “road map” for Syria.

International Criminal Court: Successes and Failures of the Past and Goals for the Future

March 23, 2012 by

In 1998, a groundbreaking idea turned into reality, and 50 years of debate ended as the first International Criminal Court (ICC) was established as a result of the Rome Statute. This judicial body took shape and created the foundation of a permanent court to prosecute persons that committed war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

Polling Shows Little Support for Syrian Intervention

March 20, 2012 by

Despite strenuous efforts by prominent neo-conservatives and other hawks, a war-weary U.S. public is clearly very leery of any armed intervention in what many experts believe is rapidly becoming a civil war in Syria, according to recent polls. In a survey released last week, the Pew Research Center found that only 25 percent of respondents said they believed the U.S. has a “responsibility to do something” about the year-old violence in Syria.

Syria’s Escalating Humanitarian Crisis

March 13, 2012 by

The conflict in Syria is escalating daily, with increasing numbers of men, women and children killed, detained, injured or tortured. The United Nations estimates the death toll at more than 7,500 with civilian deaths growing at 100 per day. Between 100,000 and 200,000 other Syrians have been internally displaced. The Jordanian government estimates another 80,000 refugees have crossed the border into Jordan.

Grasping the Syrian Quagmire

March 7, 2012 by

One of the most significant and enduring consequences of the Arab Spring has been the bloody uprising in Syria. For almost a year cities across the Levant have been defying the iron grip of the Assad regime and challenging the police state of the Ba’ath party. Of all the countries engulfed by the revolutionary fever encompassing the Arab World, Syria, a country of 23 million, epitomizes the toughest case.

Syria: A Way Out

March 3, 2012 by

There are two tales about the crisis in Syria. In one, the vast majority of Syrians have risen up against the brutality of a criminal dictatorship. The government of Bashar al Assad is on the ropes, isolated regionally and internationally, and only holding on because Russia and China vetoed United Nations intervention. U.S. Secretary to State Hillary Clinton describes Assad as “a war criminal,” and President Barak Obama called him a “dead man walking.”

Saudi Arabia and Qatar Ratchet Up Pressure on Assad

March 3, 2012 by

Running counter to the wishes of the United States and other western nations, Saudi Arabia and Qatar recently announced that they are taking steps to arm the Free Syria Army (FSA). Despite the significance of this step, it is unlikely to shift the civil war in favor of the rebels. The FSA, armed with light weapons, suffered a number of strategic setbacks. Their tactical retreat from the Baba Amr neighborhood in Homs paints a picture of a rebel group that lacks the operational capacity to challenge the Assad regime directly.

The Syrian Crisis: A View from Damascus

February 23, 2012 by

It would be no exaggeration to say that the Syrian crisis has become the most important international issue of the day. Dramatic changes are sweeping a huge region where the interests of many countries, including Russia, the United States, China and EU nations intersect. Temperatures are rising in the Middle East, and may soon reach the boiling point. It was interesting, therefore, amid the blizzard of global media reporting based sometimes on less than direct sourcing, to hear about events in Syria directly from officials in Damascus with whom the author of this article recently met.

Now Is Not the Time for Intervention In Syria

February 20, 2012 by

As pressure mounts on foreign powers to consider intervening militarily in Syria, analogies are being drawn between what NATO accomplished in Libya and whether something comparable may be possible in Syria. Military intervention would perhaps make the West feel better — knowing that it attempted to do something concrete to end the bloodshed — but it is unlikely to be successful for several reasons.

Revealing the Obvious

February 12, 2012 by

The conflict in Syria continues to take lives on both sides in what increasingly looks like a civil war. The bloodshed in Homs has captured most attention in recent days, but we should not forget violence in the capital Damascus and other Syrian towns, under government control, where lives have been lost and a climate of fear prevails. Twenty-four hour news coverage means unlimited hunger for detail, factual, exaggerated or invented.

Is Russia’s game in Syria worth playing?

February 9, 2012 by

On February 7, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Foreign Intelligence Service Director Mikhail Fradkov traveled to Damascus to help stabilize the situation in Syria by encouraging democratic reforms. The substance of President Dmitry Medvedev’s letter, which they delivered to Bashar al-Assad, was not disclosed, but experts point to the highly delicate nature of the Russian officials’ mission.

Arab League mission to Syria was an exercise in duplicity

January 29, 2012 by

This weekend, Syria witnessed some of its bloodiest days since political agitation began last year. Dozens were killed after the government launched a new military offensive against rebel group the Free Syrian Army. The intensified violence came as the much-criticised Arab League observer mission suspended its operations in Syria, its tentative plan for peace having been rejected by President Bashar-al Assad.

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