Middle East Institute hosts “Syria – A Fire Within”

The Middle East Institute hosted on November 12, 2014, a screening of the documentary “Syria – A Fire Within.” The event was well-attended and featured a discussion with me afterwards. The podcast can be founded here.

The story of an old joke – a clarification

General John Allen, Special Presidential Envoy for the Coalition to Counter ISIL
General John Allen, Special Presidential Envoy for the Coalition to Counter ISIL

When I referred in my post yesterday to Hady Al-Bahra’s appearance on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart,  I was not suggesting that he was wrong in doing so, I was merely explaining that, because it happened now and not two years ago, the impact of such an appearance will be minimal, and that we should not raise our hopes too much. After all, American officials are talking about a multi-year plan, even in connection with the upcoming training of the FSA.

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Collateral Damage

It pays to do this little comparison to see why the rebels are so focused on Assad, despite the world's obsession with ISIS.
It pays to do this little comparison to see why the rebels are so focused on Assad, despite the world’s obsession with ISIS.

The Syrians, yes, even those who are now in danger of being harmed as a result of U.S. strikes, would have been much more forgiving, had the strikes come earlier and had Assad being in the visor as well, and not only ISIS and Al-Nusra. But seeing that the strikes came so late in the game and only in response to a potential threat to U.S. security, and that there do not seem to be any plans for targeting Assad and his loyalist militias as well, Syrians in target regions have little reason to be sympathetic to America’s plans. Even the Kurds, and after their initial euphoria, seem skeptical now, because ISIS’ positions around Kobani remain untouched, and its assault on the Kurdish town is still unfolding.

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Obama has ignored Syria for too long: it’s the rise of Isis, stupid – now help

Blanket, cold-hearted realism doesn’t work when networked, cold-hearted terrorism does. Photo ilustration: DonkeyHotey / Flickr via Creative Commons
Blanket, cold-hearted realism doesn’t work when networked, cold-hearted terrorism does. Photo ilustration: DonkeyHotey / Flickr via Creative Commons

Comment is free | theguardian.com.

This column was ranked one of the five best columns for Monday August 25 by thewire.com. 

It’s time for him to do the right thing by arming moderate rebels, imposing a no-fly zone and expanding military action beyond Iraq

Barack Obama is embarking on a global course correction, if not an outright reversal: the policy of “don’t do stupid stuff” – the non-interventionism so praised by the Farid Zakarias and Tom Friedmans of the world – is getting forced out, albeit in the typical Obama fashion of admitting nothing and never going fast or far enough.

Continue reading “Obama has ignored Syria for too long: it’s the rise of Isis, stupid – now help”