January 29, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - Syria has delivered less than 5% of its deadliest chemical weapons agents to international authorities a week before a deadline to surrender the entire cache, officials said Wednesday. The government of President Bashar Assad, which is fighting a bitter civil war against insurgent militias, has transferred about 32 tons of the so-called Category 1 chemical agents to the Syrian port of Latakia, where it has been loaded onto ships for destruction at sea. But about 670 tons remain in collection points, and officials say it is unlikely that Syria will meet the Feb. 5 deadline.
January 24, 2014 |
We don't know their names but we know their numbers, and we can see the evidence of their torture, thanks to a former crime-scene photographer who says he became a reluctant documenter of murder "on an industrial scale" committed by Bashar Assad's regime in Syria. The photographer, code-named Caesar to protect his identity after his defection from Syria, says he worked in the military police for 13 years documenting crime scenes and accidents. But after the civil war began, Caesar says, Assad's government put his skill-set to a different use: photographing the bodies of detainees who had been killed by the regime.
January 5, 2014 |
AMMAN, Jordan - Infighting among Islamist antigovernment groups in northern Syria continued for a third day Sunday, as more moderate rebel factions engaged in a large-scale rout of an extremist group affiliated with Al Qaeda. The Mujahedin Army, a new coalition of ostensibly moderate Islamist groups, as well as factions affiliated with the Western-backed Free Syrian Army and the Islamic Front, consolidated their gains against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, in what activists hailed as a "second revolution.
December 26, 2013 |
One of the saddest unintended consequences of the U.S. invasion of Iraq has been the progressive de-Christianization of the country, home to churches that trace their lineage to the earliest days of the religion. In reporting on Christmas Day bombings in Christian areas of Baghdad, the New York Times noted that there were 1.5 million Christians in Iraq before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 but that the number is now half that. The attrition of the Christian population may not have been foreseen by President George W. Bush (who, ironically, was suspected by some Muslims of plotting a literal "crusade" in the region)
December 15, 2013 |
Here's how feeble U.S. influence on the outcome of Syria's dreadful civil war has become: For the Obama administration's diplomacy to succeed, it now needs help from an armed group with the unpromising name of the Islamic Front. That wasn't where the administration hoped to be. When President Obama first got interested in Syria back in 2011, his hope was that a popular uprising just needed a little moral support from the outside world to topple the brutal regime of Bashar Assad. When that didn't work, Obama offered modest, mostly non-military aid to moderate groups in the Syrian opposition, enough to raise their hopes but not enough to ensure success on the battlefield.
December 4, 2013 |
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - A senior Hezbollah commander was gunned down in Beirut early Wednesday in what could be a sign of further sectarian escalation and spillover from the Syrian conflict into Lebanon. Hassan Holo Laqqis, 53, a founding member of Hezbollah, was shot and killed outside his home in a Shiite Muslim neighborhood of the Lebanese capital, according to Al Manar, the official media arm of the Shiite militant group. Hezbollah blamed longtime enemy Israel for the killing, but Israeli officials denied responsibility.