Analysis News

Syria

  • The dark heart of Israel's regional military policy

    When you believe your enemies hate you more than they love their children, as Golda Meir put it, there's no real deterrence against them; you have to keep bombing. Most people in the West, I’d say, think that if Israel gives up the occupation, it will be healed. It will no longer be a danger to others and itself. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, and additional proof of this came Monday night when Israeli jet bombers again struck Hezbollah in Lebanon. The attack was another reminder that even if Israel were to get out of the West Bank and adopt…

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  • PHOTOS: Devastation in Damascus Palestinian refugee camp

    After months under siege, humanitarian aid finally reached the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in war-torn Damascus this week. UNRWA on Wednesday released photos of the camp, showing the devastation and desperation that has taken hold there after years of civil war and months under siege. "It is impossible not to be touched by the apocalyptic scenes emerging from the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk in Damascus, besieged and cut off for months," said UNRWA Spokesman Chris Gunness. Late last year, +972 reported on the siege and starvation in and around Yarmouk. Read more here.   Related: After chemical attack, Damascus…

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  • Israel, the Jews and Syria: A moral imperative

    The Jewish state has always relied on its 'schnorr' abilities in order to raise funds from Jewish communities throughout the world. Israel should now use these abilities in order to establish an international Jewish appeal for Syrian refugees. By Ilan Manor Conventional Israeli wisdom has it that the world has lost interest in Syria and its ongoing civil war. This belief was best exemplified last week by Israel's Channel 10 whose news department aired a newscast dealing with the chaos in Syria. The news segment, prepared by Arab affairs correspondent Zvi Yehezkeli, delivered a simple message - the world has…

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  • After chemical attack, Damascus suburbs face starvation

    Since the beginning of 2013, Assad's forces have laid siege on the suburbs of the capital known as Ghouta, which was the target of a chemical weapons attack earlier this summer. Regime forces are stopping food and other goods from coming in and as winter approaches, activists are warning that the situation is about to get even worse. By Elizabeth Tsurkov The chemical weapons attack on the eastern and southern outskirts of Damascus (collectively known as Ghouta) have garnered a great deal of international attention over the past month. While pundits and experts discussed the imminent American-led strike on regime…

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  • Syria: The moral imperative to act

    Some left-wing writers and spokespeople look to Syria and see Vietnam. They are terribly wrong. The moral and historic duty of any progressive person is to stand by the Syrian people's struggle for freedom and help them topple the genocidal Assad regime. By Assaf Adiv (translated from Hebrew by Ann Lavi) The U.S.-Russian Geneva agreement on disarming Syria of chemical weapons, signed in mid-September, has postponed the showdown with the Assad regime. As the world watches how this new collaboration between Putin and Obama works out, the real question for the Syrian people remains as before: how to end the killing.…

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  • Obama puts U.S. on collision course with Russia

    The Syria crisis doesn’t look like it’s going away. It looks like it’s escalating.   What if Russia doesn’t get Assad to hand over his entire chemical weapons arsenal, as Obama – backed loudly, of course, by Netanyahu – is demanding? Is Obama going to bomb Syria like he’s been threatening? At this point, with Putin so deeply involved in trying to prevent an American attack, and with Washington and Moscow now walking hand-in-hand at the front of this crisis, a US strike on Syria would risk a US war with Russia. Yet does anyone believe Assad is going to…

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  • U.S. Jewish groups use Holocaust guilt to push for Syria strike

    A policy decision on American military action in Syria cannot be justified by an analogy between Syrian suffering under Assad and Jewish suffering during the Holocaust.  Two weeks after a chemical attack in Syria killed at least 1,400, including 400 children, and one week after U.S. President Obama announced he favors a limited military strike on Syria, mainstream American Jewish groups broke their silence Tuesday and expressed what they conveyed as unequivocal support for a strike. As reported in Politico, AIPAC - the powerful Israel lobby known for being forthright on all issues related to American policy in the Middle East…

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  • PHOTOS: Gas mask panic in Israel ahead of potential Syria attack

    Thousands of Israelis waited in line for hours in gas mask distribution centers following the news of a likely American attack on Syria. The army has informed the government that there are only enough gas masks for 60 percent of Israel's citizens, and none for refugees, asylum seekers and other non-citizens. This is what the Tel Aviv distribution center looked like today (Thursday). Related: As Syria strike looms, Israeli embassy plays up 'threats facing Israel' Tel Aviv to Lake Wobegon: My heart is in the East Why Obama should stay out of Syria  

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  • At summer camp, Syrian child refugees recall a lost homeland

    SYRIA-TURKEY BORDER - Last week, my colleagues and I started a summer camp for hundreds of Syrian child refugees on the Syrian-Turkish border. While pundits and self-proclaimed "experts" are debating what to do in Syria, or whether the US should strike or not, we decided to act rather than talk. After all, over a 100,000 people have been killed and millions have been left displaced. Whether the US bombs Assad or not is not in my control, but being active to help those in need is. For the past few weeks we started fundraising for educational camps for Syrian children,…

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  • As Syria strike looms, Israeli embassy plays up 'threats facing Israel'

    New and old media has gone abuzz with news that a U.S. strike on Syria could come as early as Thursday. And just as Israel's cabinet ordered a "limited" call up of reservist soldiers, a map outlining all the threats Israel faces suddenly popped up in my social media feed, courtesy of the Israeli embassy in the U.S., and published on BuzzFeed. The timing of this alarmist map couldn't be more strategic. As the U.S. mulls some kind of strike in Syria (with absolutely no convincing arguments about how it will improve the situation for Syrian civilians) Israel is playing up the…

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  • Tel Aviv to Lake Wobegon: My heart is in the East

    Today is one of those days where I remember a poem by the famous Jewish poet of medieval Spain, Rabbi Yehuda Halevi. The first line of Libi Ba’Mizrach, probably his most famous work of art, is: “My heart is in the East, and I am in the uttermost West.” Rabbi Halevi, of course, was speaking then of his yearning for the Holy Land. I, on the other hand, yearn for my family in Bat Yam. As I was driving alongside the never ending fields of corn in southwest Minnesota this morning, all I could think of were two things: in…

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  • Why Obama should stay out of Syria

    It's a mission impossible. Because of the severe (and understandable) limitations it’s placing on a possible military intervention in Syria, the Obama administration would do better to pass on the idea. The U.S. shouldn’t try to play the humanitarian in a civil war like that one under such self-imposed restrictions; it’s much more likely to end up doing harm than good. Since last Wednesday’s chemical weapons attack that killed at least many hundreds of Syrian civilians, and which the U.S., Britain, France, Israel and others are convinced was carried out by Assad’s forces, Obama has been gearing up for some…

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  • Turkey alliances over Syria conflict strained by Egypt coup

    Ankara's strong stance on the Syria conflict helped bolster its status as a rising leader in the region. But its approach to the coup in Egypt could undo that. By Ilhan Tanir In early 2012, I visited Damascus and its suburbs and stayed there for two weeks. I met with Syrians of diverse professions, from shoe repairmen and teachers, to college students. I interviewed half a dozen commanders of the then-nascent Free Syrian Army local battalions, who sometimes hosted me at their family homes. Neither civilians nor FSA members had any difficulty explaining why they rose up against the Assad…

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