February 26, 2013

Was Syria Really All That Secular?

Richard Spencer, Daily Telegraph

AP Photo

Throughout the conflict, I've read journalists and experts write about the Syria of "before" as a "secular" state, where people weren't particularly religious, where women wandered the streets at night alone, and hipsters drank in western bars and nightclubs. All sects and ethnicities mixed happily. There's a kernel of truth there but it's misleading, and it's aggravated by the fact that the worst offenders, whether pro- or anti-regime, or somewhere in the middle, are often those foreigners who know the country best: after all, they lived and worked, studied Arabic and socialised, largely in smart areas of Aleppo and Damascus where those statements are more likely to be true.

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February 22, 2013
Free Syrian Army vs. Hezbollah in Lebanon
Michael Totten, Dispatches
Syrian rebels are (again) threatening to attack Hezbollah targets in Lebanon to retaliate for Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria’s civil war. They’ve said this before and it was just talk. I assume it’s still only talk. I... more ››
February 23, 2013
Only Arming Moderates Can Save Syria
The National
There is an adage that might have been written just to describe the Russian government's view on the continuing destruction of Syria: "There are none so blind as those who will not see." Abundant evidence, in the form of mass... more ››
February 23, 2013
A Syrian Crackup Looks More Likely
Rami Khouri, The Daily Star
More and more analysts expect chaos, violence, sectarian revenge killings and deep fragmentation to occur, and these become more likely with every passing month of fighting. Some analysts expect a post-Assad Syria to be dominated... more ››
February 22, 2013
What's Obama's Plan B for Syria?
Vance Serchuk, Washington Post
John Kerry will depart shortly on his first overseas trip as secretary of state, a major focus of which, he has said, will be the conflict in Syria. There is no crisis more deserving of the attention of America’s top... more ››