September 8, 2013 |
The Obama administration - with the backing of key Republicans in Congress - is poised to embark on a strategy that entails punitive airstrikes on Syrian government positions and stepped-up lethal aid to moderate elements of the Syrian opposition. So far, however, the Syrian opposition has been unable to win significant support from the country's ethnic and religious minorities. Without such support, the opposition is unlikely to prevail even with stepped-up U.S. assistance. Moreover, the inability of the Syrian rebels, who are almost all Sunni Muslim Arabs, to win over the country's Kurds, Alawites and Christians raises the question of whether their victory is even desirable.
August 23, 2013 |
BEIRUT -- The toll from a pair of explosions outside two mosques in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli on Friday has risen to at least 29 with hundreds wounded, authorities said. The explosions appeared to be the latest in a series of attacks that have stunned Lebanon and stoked sectarian strife in the small but strategically situated Middle East nation, which endured a ruinous 15-year civil war that ended in 1990. Tripoli has seen numerous outbreaks of violence since civil war ignited in neighboring Syria two years ago. Gun battles between supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad in the coastal city have cost dozens of lives.
August 23, 2013 |
BEIRUT -- A pair of apparent car bombs exploded outside two mosques in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli on Friday, killing at least a dozen people and injuring scores, authorities said. Local news accounts said the death toll was at least 27, with more than 300 wounded, and blamed the attacks on car bombs detonated on a day when worshipers gathered at the mosques for Friday prayers. Video from the scenes showed cars ablaze and people running through the streets in panic.
July 25, 2013 |
Some 6,000 refugees pour out of Syria every day, straining humanitarian aid resources and destabilizing the country's neighbors. Cumulatively, they already make up 10% of the population of Jordan. And there is no end in sight. Antonio Guterres, the U.N. high commissioner for refugees, says the displacement of people has not risen "at such a frightening rate" since the Rwandan genocide of 1994. The absolute size of the humanitarian catastrophe may not yet match the largest of recent times, such as the 2010 floods in Pakistan, but Syria is working hard to catch up. Moreover, its political effects are potentially far greater than those of any tsunami or earthquake.
June 24, 2013 |
CAIRO -- The bloodied bodies of four men were dragged over a village road in what one witness described as a public lynching. The victims - Shiite Muslims - were attacked and killed Sunday in a rampage reportedly led by radical Sunni Muslim preachers. Shiites comprise a fraction of Egypt's predominately Sunni population, but the clerics had stoked sectarian mistrust in the poor village of Zawyat Abu Musalam. "For three weeks the Salafist sheikhs in the village have been attacking the Shiites and accusing them of being infidels and spreading debauchery," Hazem Barakat, a witness who videotaped the incident, told the Egyptian media.
June 12, 2013 |
BEIRUT -- Syrian rebels burned homes and killed civilians in a sectarian rampage targeting Shiite Muslims in a village in eastern Syria, activists and officials said Wednesday. The rebel attack on Hatla, in eastern Deir Elzur province, resulted in the deaths of unspecified numbers of civilians and combatants, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The British-based monitoring group says it documents abuses by all sides in the Syrian civil war. The official Syrian government press office said “terrorists” attacked Hatla and killed 30 people, including women and children.