The “big five” – i.e., the most military powerful states on earth (US, UK, France, Russia and China) have just agreed that it would be about time to end the Syrian five-year long human tragedy.
The military conflicts and political instability driving hundreds of thousands of refugees into Europe were triggered largely by U.S. and Western military interventions for regime change – specifically in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria (a regime change in-the-making).
In a conflict that has claimed over 220,000 lives and injured a further 840,000 people as of January 2015, it is sometimes hard to see beyond the death toll.
The ‘West’ is a concept that flourished during the Cold War. Then it was West against East in the form of the Soviet empire. The East was evil against which all democratic countries – read West – were called on to fight.
The results of a survey
of what 3,500 young people between the ages of 18 and 24 – in all Arab countries except Syria – feel about the current situation in the Middle East and North Africa have just been released.
The United Kingdom has been accused
of “sleepwalking” into the Ukraine crisis – and the accusation comes from no less than the House of Lords, not usually considered a place of critical analysis.
“People get used to war. During the last battle, children were still coming to play. Can you imagine, a seven-year-old boy running through the bullets just to play video games,” says Mohammad Darwish, a calm man with a curled beard framing his face.
“We ran as if we were ants fleeing out of the nest. I moved to three different cities in Syria to try to be away from the conflict, but there was no safe place left in my country so we decided to move out.”
When Ibrahim al-Badri al-Samarrai adopted the name of Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi al-Husseini al-Quraishi and revealed himself to the world as the Amir al-Mu’minin (the Commander of the Faithful) Caliph Ibrahim of the self-proclaimed Islamic State, the whole world had to sit up and take notice of him.
The woman who walked into the Islamic Front (IF) media office near the Turkish border was on the verge of fainting under the hot Syrian sun, but all she cared about was her infant son.
This week’s video-taped beheading of a U.S. journalist by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has spurred renewed calls for President Barack Obama to broaden Washington’s military efforts to strike the terrorist group, including in Syria.
In contrast to some of their leaders, people across the Arab world prefer President Barack Obama’s efforts to reduce Washington’s military footprint in the Middle East to the approach favoured by neo-conservatives and other U.S. hawks, according to the latest in a series of surveys of Arab public opinion released here Tuesday.
On a weekday afternoon, the Old City of Damascus heaves with people, cars, motorcycles, bikes. Markets are crowded with locals bartering with merchants for the heaps of spices, flowery perfumes, clothing, and most things one needs, abundant in the Hamidiyah market.
Despite an atmosphere of deep mutual distrust, two major rival Syrian Kurdish bodies have agreed to attend an expected international conference on the fate of Syria, known as Geneva II, on the side of the Syrian opposition forces, Syrian Kurdish sources told IPS.
Three months after averting a military strike against Syria with a last-minute deal to deprive it of its chemical weapons arsenal, U.S. policy toward the world's most violent conflict appears increasingly at sea.