May 12, 2013 |
BEIRUT -- Syria on Sunday rejected Turkish charges that Damascus was behind a pair of devastating car-bomb attacks in the southern Turkish town of Reyhanli that killed 46 people and left scores injured. The strikes have stunned Turkey and exacerbated already-high tensions between the neighboring nations about the civil war raging inside Syria. Turkish officials have publicly linked the bombings to Syria's intelligence service -- a charge denied Sunday by Omran al-Zoubi, the Syrian information minister.
August 29, 2013 |
American journalists of an Anglophilic bent often complain that debates in Britain's House of Commons put those in the U.S. Congress to shame. Actually, the Commons often showcases its own form of superficiality, as in the Kabuki theater of Prime Minister's Question Time. But Thursday's Commons debate over a possible attack on Syria was admirably substantive. Prime Minister David Cameron offered a crisp and nuanced defense of military action, acknowledging that, although there was strong evidence that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons, he couldn't point to a “one smoking piece of intelligence.” Labor Party leader Ed Miliband, who forced Cameron to delay a final vote on military action, was less impressive but drove home the point that a decision should await a report by U.N. weapons inspectors.
August 31, 2013
After the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, many Americans developed an aversion to military conflict known as the Vietnam Syndrome. That apparently was cured after a U.S.-led coalition's decisive victory in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, giving way to several smaller overseas interventions throughout the 1990s. Judging by the roughly 100 letters we received this week on a possible U.S. military strike against Syria, it's fair to say another strain of the Vietnam Syndrome is spreading; perhaps it'd be more accurate to call it the Iraq Syndrome.
August 29, 2013 |
Syrian President Bashar Assad wields command over the world's biggest stockpile of chemical weapons, international security experts say, and he is expected to emerge from any punitive Western airstrikes with his arsenal intact. With an estimated 50 storage sites, many situated in or near urban centers, any attempt to destroy or degrade the Assad government's supply of poison gases and nerve agents would require a massive invasion of ground forces that no nation considered part of the emerging "coalition of the willing" would be likely to support.
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.
January 12, 2014 |
The first war I covered as a foreign correspondent was the civil war in Lebanon. When the conflict began in 1975, it was just a series of skirmishes, a nasty but limited little war for control of a small nation. Then other countries got involved: Syria, Iraq, Libya and Israel. They supplied money and weapons to their favored factions, turning an internal struggle into a longer, more deadly proxy war in which outside powers fought one another through surrogates. Eventually even the United States sent troops, which is why 241 Americans died in a bombing in Beirut in 1983.
April 30, 2013 |
WASHINGTON -- President Obama softened his threat to Syria over its possible use of chemical weapons, telling reporters that if conclusive proof of such activity emerges, he “would rethink a range” of retaliatory options that might not include military action. Obama, who has called Syria's use of chemical weapons in its civil war a “red line,” also made clear at a White House news conference Tuesday that the burden of a response is not the United States' alone, but one that is shared by all nations.
September 21, 2013
Re "Bait-and-switch on Syria," Opinion, Sept. 17 Jonah Goldberg argues that the Obama administration changed its policy goal on Syria from ousting President Bashar Assad to eliminating chemical weapons in the hands of the government. He writes that the former policy goal is "now dead. " This is wrong. Secretary of State John F. Kerry faced these very questions in a joint news conference with U.S. allies in Paris the day before Goldberg's Op-Ed appeared. He pointedly said, "Nothing in what we have done is meant to offer any notion to Assad that there's any legitimacy" to his role as leader.
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.
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.