SyriaSource

  • Russia’s Opening Salvo in Syria

    The Russian military carried out its first reported air strikes in Syria on September 30, targeting the northern suburbs of the strategically important city of Homs and the village of Lataminah further north. Russia insists that its mission in Syria is fighting the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL), which the Russian Defense Ministry claimed was the target of the strikes.
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  • Syria: Moscow Strikes, Washington Watches

    Four years of failed US policy toward Syria have produced alarming results that transcend the Levant. Having carefully gauged the gap between Obama administration rhetoric and action, Russian President Vladimir Putin has elected to intervene militarily to help the Assad regime defeat its non-Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) enemies.
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  • Assessing Putin’s “Fight Them There Not Here” Strategy in Syria

    The recent increase in Russian military involvement in Syria is widely seen as an expansion of Moscow’s influence in the Middle East. While offensive ambitions may well be present, defensive motives also appear to have played a role in Putin’s decision-making.
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  • Syria: The Assad Conundrum

    Distinguished intellectual and former Obama administration official Philip Gordon has called for a fundamental Syria policy recalculation centering on the status of Bashar al-Assad. Gordon's basic thesis is that if Washington and its partners drop their demand for preemptive victory—Bashar's immediate departure—Iran and Russia may see their way clear to shuffling their noisome client off stage within a period of time broadly acceptable to all concerned. In truth, this approach has always been on the table. It is fully operative now. Neither the regime, nor Tehran, nor Moscow have demonstrated any interest in it.
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  • Slaughter In Syria: Mass Homicide And Echoes Of Bosnia

    Critics of presidential passivity really want hundreds of thousands of uniformed Americans thrust into a foreign war. The killings are horrific, but reflect age-old hatreds and grudges. The opposition is hapless, and it too does bad things: there are “no good guys” and the conflict itself defines complexity.
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  • Syria: The Sole Portal for Progress

    Obama administration commentary on developments in Syria plumbed new, uncharted depths on September 17, when White House spokesman Josh Earnest laid blame for the failed “train-and-equip” program on “critics” of the administration who had allegedly touted the endeavor and forced it upon the president as “the recipe for success in Syria.”
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  • Syria: What to do About the Russian Challenge

    Russia’s military buildup on a Syrian airbase south of Latakia combined with the escalating hemorrhage of Syrian humanity confronts President Barack Obama’s administration with facts it has tried mightily to avoid for years: the Syrian crisis is not containable; it cannot be held at arm’s length; and it cannot be treated with mantra-like incantations about people losing legitimacy, the crying need for a diplomatic settlement, and the amount of money being spent to help refugees.
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  • Syria: Moscow Makes a Move

    Although the precise nature of Russia's recent upgrading of its military presence in Syria remains largely opaque to Western eyes, one thing seems clear: Moscow has doubled-down in its support of Bashar al-Assad and the family-based Assad regime.
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  • Syria: The Right Salafis Can Make All the Difference

    Salafi groups in Western media have triggered a debate over the jihadists’ role in the Syria war. The proliferation of terrorist groups like the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) has left the West wary of the Salafis, a narrative used by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to promote himself as a counterweight to the spread of extremism—an expansive label lumping together secular rebels and Salafi factions.
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  • Obama’s Failure to Stop Assad Contributes to Refugee Crisis

    The following is an excerpt from an article by Frederic Hof, Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, originally published by Foreign Policy on September 9, 2015.
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