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.
September 8, 2013
Re "No credibility, no trust," and "Credibility shouldn't be a factor," Opinion, Sept. 5 Benny Morris misconstrues President Obama's deliberative approach in seeking the appropriate response to Syria's alleged use of chemical weapons as a sign of indecision and political weakness. He attempts to extend this mistaken conclusion regarding the president's cautious approach to the Iranian nuclear problem. Morris' flawed argument serves as a classic illustration of what Rajan Menon, in his opposing Op-Ed article, calls the "credibility gambit.
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.
August 28, 2013 |
President Obama appears increasingly ready to launch a military strike in response to Syrian President Bashar Assad's apparent use of chemical weapons against civilians. But the goal won't be to topple the Assad government, even though Obama has wanted that outcome for more than two years. Instead, White House officials say, the goal will be more limited: deterrence. The strikes will be aimed primarily at deterring Assad from using chemical weapons again. But there are other kinds of deterrence Obama is hoping for too. PHOTOS: Portraits of Syrian rebels He hopes to deter other adversaries, especially Iran, from concluding that he doesn't mean it when he proclaims a "red line," as he did on chemical weapons in Syria last year.
February 19, 2013 |
MOSCOW -- Russian warships are returning to the waters near Syria in a new demonstration of the Kremlin's interest in the outcome of the crisis there. The Russian Defense Ministry told the RIA-Novosti news agency on Tuesday that four large landing vessels were on their way to the Mediterranean near Syria, three weeks after the Russian navy conducted its biggest maneuvers in the region since the breakup of the Soviet Union. "Based on the results of the Navy exercises in the Black and Mediterranean seas from Jan. 19 through Jan. 29 ... the Ministry leadership has taken a decision to continue combat duty by Russian warships in the Mediterranean," the ministry said in its statement.
September 4, 2013 |
Books can start wars, or shape how they are fought. Abraham Lincoln famously told Harriet Beecher Stowe that her book, “Uncle Tom's Cabin,” started the Civil War. In the 1990s, two books helped inform the policies of President Clinton in the Balkans. Robert D. Kaplan's "Balkan Ghosts: A Journey Through History" portrayed many centuries of irreconcilable ethnic enmity and gave the impression of a morass that would swallow up any country that intervened there; David Remnick of the New Yorker called it a “marvelous alibi for inaction.” But later Clinton read Noel Malcolm's "Bosnia: A Short History," which portrayed the conflict in that country as the product of the Machiavellian political calculations of Slobodan Milosevic.
September 23, 2013 |
A mathematical solution in Syria? That's not as crazy as it sounds. In fact, the working compromise is a classic case of the power of game theory, a branch of mathematics that analyzes the best possible outcomes in conflicts where neither side knows what the other will do. It's not about winning as much as it is finding the least worst option, which is precisely what Presidents Obama, Vladimir Putin, Bashar Assad and company have done. No one gets exactly what he wants. But no one loses everything either.
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.
August 31, 2013
Re "A moral and legal test for Obama," Aug. 28 U.S. officials are claiming they have irrefutable evidence of a poison gas attack against civilians in Syria. Trade those words for something like "convinced that there are weapons of mass destruction. " Ring any bells? Kim Righetti Upland ALSO: Mailbag: Syria -- to strike or not to strike Letters: Egypt's choices and U.S. options Letters: iPads won't cure what ails LAUSD
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 31, 2013 |
It's hard to know whether Sarah Palin would be so quick to condemn a Republican president for venturing the idea that the U.S. should take military action against Syria in response to what the White House said is a documented chemical weapon attack by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on his own people. But in a Facebook post called “Let Allah Sort it Out,” the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee-turned-Fox News personality let President Obama have it. It was Obama, she said, who painted himself into a corner a year ago when he said that chemical weapons represented a “red line” that Syria's president should not cross.