As I wrote in this blog earlier today, the ambassador– or “Permanent Representative,” to use the correct UN language–of Syria was recently elected to a position in the UN Special Committee on Decolonization. Read more »
Showing posts for "Syria"
Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, spoke about Syria on Tuesday, and it is fair to say that he is not intimidated by American policy. The Nasrallah speech is a reminder that use of chemical weapons is not the only issue we face in Syria; the intervention of Iranian IRGC and Hezbollah troops is another. Read more »
The probable chemical weapons use by the Assad regime in Syria and the Obama administration’s handling of this matter have many negative repercussions.
It is certainly wise to look closely at the evidence, for intelligence can be and often has proved to be wrong. But the refusal of the intelligence community (IC) to state a conclusion with absolute certainty cannot always be the best guide to action–or inaction. In the case of the Syrian nuclear reactor discovered by Israel in 2007, the IC told the president that it had “low confidence” that reactor was part of a nuclear weapons program. Why? The reactor was not connected to Syria’s electric grid, so it was obviously not meant to produce electricity. What else could it be? The IC said they could not find, yet anyway, the rest of the program: efforts to build a warhead, for example. Thus the “low confidence” judgment. When asked what they thought the reactor was, they would say “part of a nuclear weapons program.” That was the only logical conclusion. But they could not say it as an official assessment. Once burnt in Iraq, twice shy. That was one reason President Bush did not act against that reactor, leaving any action to the Israelis–who fortunately destroyed it. Read more »
The continuing, and worsening, crisis in Syria leaves some analysts confused and their writing not very useful. The best guide to what is happening, and what the United States should do, is the writing of Fred Hof of the Atlantic Council. Hof was until last year a key figure in the making of American policy toward Syria, though we can see from his analyses that all too often his excellent advice was rejected by the Obama Administration. Read more »
Today’s Washington Post reports that
The Obama administration is moving toward a major policy shift on Syria that could provide rebels there with equipment such as body armor and armored vehicles, and possibly military training, and could send humanitarian assistance directly to Syria’s opposition political coalition. Read more »
Israel’s air strike on a Syrian weapons convoy is not the first such successful attack they have done. In September 2007, Israel attacked the nuclear reactor Syria was building (with North Korean help) and eliminated it. In both these cases, Syria’s air defenses proved worthless and Israel lost no planes. Read more »
As the year ends, the news from Syria becomes worse and worse.
Today’s Washington Post reports that 400 people were killed in one single day on Saturday, December 29, and “About half of them were civilians slain in an alleged mass killing carried out by government troops at a petrochemical university in central Syria, opposition groups reported.” Read more »
With 45,000 or more Syrians dead at the hands of Bashar al Assad and his “security forces,” it should be obvious that any conclusion to the current civil war must include his departure from power as soon as possible.
But it isn’t obvious. Unsurprisingly Russia is trying to save him, and is pushing a “peace plan” that leaves him in place. As the Washington Post reported today, Russia is still promoting a plan, agreed in Geneva when Kofi Annan was the UN envoy, that might save Assad: Read more »
Pressure Points tracks developments in the Middle East and democratization and human rights issues globally.