Showing posts for "Syria"
There are over 500,000 Palestinian “refugees” in Syria, as counted by the UN agency handling Palestinian “refugees,” the UN Relief and Works Agency or UNRWA. The quotation marks are especially apt in this case, for the great majority of the “refugees” were born in Syria and have lived there all their lives. Only under UNRWA’s definitions of “refugee” (Palestinians who left what is now Israel in 1948, and all of their descendants until the end of time) would they qualify. Read more »
Senator John McCain spoke about Syria yesterday here at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington. His remarks are the best explanation of the American interests at stake and the best critique of the Obama administration’s handling of this crisis. Cogent, clear, serious, and humane, they deserve careful reading. Here they are: Read more »
The text of the framework agreement between the United States and Russia leaves one with more questions than answers.
Until last week Syria denied having any chemical weapons, so its willingness to account for 100% of them is, to say the least, in doubt. Secretary Kerry himself said, when he first mentioned a possible deal, that it couldn’t work. And our partner in this endeavor, Russia, has itself failed to meet all its obligations with respect to chemical weapons. Worse, it remains the key conventional weapons supplier to Syria. Read more »
The emphasis on the need to stop the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons is understandable. We all want to maintain the international taboo on their use.
But people killed by the Assad regime are no less dead if more traditional means of attack are used. Yesterday, Assad’s forces bombed a field hospital in the province of Aleppo. The vast majority of the 100,000 (or many more) Syrians killed have been killed by bullets and artillery. A “solution” that forces Assad to give up using chemical weapons but does not address the regime’s campaign against civilians–which has also left 2 million Syrians as refugees and millions more as displaced persons–is no solution at all. As Fred Hof (formerly the administration’s chief expert on Syria) wrote today, Read more »
Is there anything the United States can do to slow or stop the recent advances being made by Bashar al-Assad’s forces in Syria, who are getting valuable help from Iranian and Hezbollah troops?
Unfortunately, the message from the Obama administration and from the Pentagon is “no.” From those sources we hear that the only military options are hopelessly expensive and dangerous. CJCS chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey once said 700 sorties would be needed before we even start, to suppress Syrian air defenses, and billions of dollars would be spent. Sen. John McCain has rightly excoriated Gen. Dempsey and the others who are taking this misleading line. Read more »
Yesterday the columnist Jeffrey Goldberg reported that Secretary of State Kerry argued, inside the Obama administration, for air strikes on Syrian regime air bases, especially those from which chemical weapons attacks were launched. Here is Goldberg’s account of a Principals’ Meeting last week, after Kerry made his pitch: Read more »
During Secretary of State Kerry’s visit to Moscow, it seems we have proposed an international conference on Syria as a step toward peace there. Here is the BBC version:
Russia and the US have agreed to work towards convening an international conference to find a political solution to the conflict in Syria. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Secretary of State John Kerry announced it would follow on from an Action Group for Syria meeting in Geneva last June. Mr Kerry said they would try to “bring both sides to the table”. Read more »
Pressure Points tracks developments in the Middle East and democratization and human rights issues globally.