Lucius Fox

Chief Executive Officer of Wayne Enterprises

theatlantic:

In Focus: Syria’s Long, Destructive Civil War

Twenty-one months after the conflict in Syria began as a popular uprising, rebel forces are making gains, tactics are changing, and the threat of chemical warfare has made an appearance. Syrian rebels reached a level of cooperation, forming a single entity — the Syrian National Coalition. The alliance has received recognition from Arab states and support from NATO members in its goal of unseating Syria’s President, Bashar al-Assad, and replacing his government. But U.S. intelligence reports have noted activity within Syrian government-controlled chemical weapons facilities, and President Barack Obama has warned that the use of such weapons against rebels would cross a “red line.” There are signs that al-Assad’s hold on power is slipping as rebels gain ground and support, and even Russia, a longtime ally, has reportedly sent ships to the Syrian coast for a possible evacuation of Russian citizens. Collected here are images of this bloody conflict from just the past few weeks.

See more. [Images: AP, Reuters, Getty]

Would the Syrian rebels have proven a better choice for Time’s ‘Person of the Year’? 

Posted at 1:01pm and tagged with: Syria, Syrian Arab Republic, الجمهورية العربية السورية‎, al- Jumhūriyyah al-'Arabīyah as-Sūriyyah,.

crisisgroup:

Bombs rock Syria military command centre | Financial Times

By Michael Peel, Abigail Fielding-Smith, and Najmeh Bozorgmehr

“The official media continues to refer to the ‘remnants’ of ‘terrorists’, but here we see the opposition striking again in the centre of Damascus,” said Peter Harling, Syria analyst for the International Crisis Group think-tank. “It reinforces this notion that the regime is making no progress and offering no way forward.”

FULL ARTICLE (Financial Times) (paywall)

Photo: DoumaRevolution/Flickr

Posted at 6:01pm and tagged with: Syria, Syrian Arab Republic, الجمهورية العربية السورية, Al-Jumhūriyyah Al-‘Arabīyah As-Sūriyyah,.

crisisgroup:

Bombs rock Syria military command centre | Financial Times
By Michael Peel, Abigail Fielding-Smith, and Najmeh Bozorgmehr
“The official media continues to refer to the ‘remnants’ of ‘terrorists’, but here we see the opposition striking again in the centre of Damascus,” said Peter Harling, Syria analyst for the International Crisis Group think-tank. “It reinforces this notion that the regime is making no progress and offering no way forward.”
FULL ARTICLE (Financial Times) (paywall)
Photo: DoumaRevolution/Flickr

doctorswithoutborders:

Photo: MSF staff examine a patient at the surgical trauma hospital. Syria 2012 © MSF

Syria: ‘We Just Kept Working, Day and Night’

“One young man accounted for nine out of the first 29 operations we did. His injury resulted in a hindquarter amputation [an operation in which the entire leg and part or all of the pelvis are removed]. He came back regularly for surgery and we were eventually able to close the wound and he was discharged. After that, he would come back on crutches, with his brother, both with huge smiles on their faces, happy to see all of us who had been involved in his care. It was so good to see his recovery and that he was doing well. Quite a few weeks later we received the sad news that this young man had been killed in a bomb blast in Aleppo. It was devastating for all of us.”

-Interview with Ruth Priestley, an Australian operating theater nurse who recently spent nine weeks working in Syria.

MSF established its surgical trauma hospital in Syria in mid-June in collaboration with the Union of Syrian Medical Relief Organizations. By the end of September, more than 1,100 patients had been treated, and more than 260 surgical interventions had been conducted.

Posted at 12:37pm and tagged with: Doctors Without Borders, MSF, Médecins Sans Frontières, Syria, Syrian Arab Republic, الجمهورية العربية السورية, Al-Jumhūriyyah Al-‘Arabīyah As-Sūriyyah,.

doctorswithoutborders:

Photo: MSF staff examine a patient at the surgical trauma hospital. Syria 2012 © MSF
Syria: ‘We Just Kept Working, Day and Night’
“One young man accounted for nine out of the first 29 operations we did. His injury resulted in a hindquarter amputation [an operation in which the entire leg and part or all of the pelvis are removed]. He came back regularly for surgery and we were eventually able to close the wound and he was discharged. After that, he would come back on crutches, with his brother, both with huge smiles on their faces, happy to see all of us who had been involved in his care. It was so good to see his recovery and that he was doing well. Quite a few weeks later we received the sad news that this young man had been killed in a bomb blast in Aleppo. It was devastating for all of us.”
-Interview with Ruth Priestley, an Australian operating theater nurse who recently spent nine weeks working in Syria.
MSF established its surgical trauma hospital in Syria in mid-June in collaboration with the Union of Syrian Medical Relief Organizations. By the end of September, more than 1,100 patients had been treated, and more than 260 surgical interventions had been conducted.

On August 1, Martin Indyk testified at a U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations hearing on next steps in Syria. During his testimony, Martin Indyk spoke on the humanitarian crisis in Syria, as hundreds of thousands flee fighting in the country’s main cities of Damascus and Aleppo and cross Syria’s borders into Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon.

Posted at 10:11am and tagged with: Syria, الجمهورية العربية السورية, Al-Jumhūriyyah Al-‘Arabīyah As-Sūriyyah, Syrian Arab Republic, Humanitarian Crisises, Policy, Diplomacy,.

Abu Moayed, a commander in an armed Syrian opposition brigade, stood and waved his arms emphatically at the fellow rebel commanders who filled the sweltering room.

His fighters, he said, needed money and weapons. But they were not getting the support promised from the donors and opposition leaders outside Syria.

“We are borrowing money to feed our wounded!” Mr. Moayed shouted. “There is no distribution of the weapons,” he added. “All of our weapons, we are paying for them ourselves.”

Posted at 6:31pm and tagged with: Syria, Syrian Arab Republic, الجمهورية العربية السورية‎, Al-Jumhūriyyah Al-‘Arabīyah As-Sūriyyah,.

The White House said Monday the U.S. would impose sanctions on companies, agencies and individuals inside Syria and Iran that use digital technology to help the two nations’ governments crush dissent.

President Barack Obama made the announcement at the United States Memorial Holocaust Museum, saying the move was part of his effort to make good on the world vow to “never again” allow a massacre to unfold before its eyes.

Posted at 9:07am and tagged with: Technology, Policy, Iran, Islamic Republic of Iran, جمهوری اسلامی ایران, Jomhuri-ye Eslāmi-ye Irān, Syria, Syrian Arab Republic, الجمهورية العربية السورية, al- Jumhūriyyah al-'Arabīyah as-Sūriyyah,.

crisisgroup:

The Washington Post: U.N. monitors begin work in Syria 

A team of six U.N. observers set up headquarters in Damascus on Monday and began reaching out to the Syrian government and its opponents, in hopes they could start healing the country’s violent divides.

The team is led by a Moroccan colonel named Ahmed Himmiche, and another 25 members are expected to arrive in the next few days, said a spokesman for U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan.

The team is set to monitor the implementation of a six-point peace plan proposed by Annan, accepted by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and backed by Syria’s allies Russia and China as well as Western governments who have called for Assad to step down. The Syrian foreign minister was due to arrive in China on Monday for meetings, according to Chinese news agencies.

According to a U.N. Security Council resolution passed Saturday, the monitors’ work is dependent on the maintenance of a cease-fire that went into effect April 12. Despite numerous reported violations of the terms of the agreement by both security forces and armed opponents of Assad, the daily death toll remains dramatically lower than it has been in recent months, when dozens of civilians, soldiers and rebels were killed almost daily.

FULL ARTICLE (The Washington Post)

Posted at 9:42am and tagged with: Arab League, Syria, Kofi Annan, Syrian Arab Republic, الجمهورية العربية السورية‎, al- Jumhūriyyah al-'Arabīyah as-Sūriyyah, United Nations, UN, UN Peacekeepers,.

crisisgroup:

The Washington Post: U.N. monitors begin work in Syria 
A team of six U.N. observers set up headquarters in Damascus on Monday and began reaching out to the Syrian government and its opponents, in hopes they could start healing the country’s violent divides.
The team is led by a Moroccan colonel named Ahmed Himmiche, and another 25 members are expected to arrive in the next few days, said a spokesman for U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan.
The team is set to monitor the implementation of a six-point peace plan proposed by Annan, accepted by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and backed by Syria’s allies Russia and China as well as Western governments who have called for Assad to step down. The Syrian foreign minister was due to arrive in China on Monday for meetings, according to Chinese news agencies.
According to a U.N. Security Council resolution passed Saturday, the monitors’ work is dependent on the maintenance of a cease-fire that went into effect April 12. Despite numerous reported violations of the terms of the agreement by both security forces and armed opponents of Assad, the daily death toll remains dramatically lower than it has been in recent months, when dozens of civilians, soldiers and rebels were killed almost daily.
FULL ARTICLE (The Washington Post)

crisisgroup:

Kofi Annan, the former U.N. secretary-general once known as a diplomatic rockstar, is trying to start meaningful talks to end the brutality in Syria that has claimed at least 8,000 lives over the past year.

Chosen as an envoy by the United Nations and the Arab League, Annan may offer the last chance to rescue negotiations, which might entail Syrian President Bashar al-Assad excluded from the process so the many Syrian opposition groups could work out a deal.

Annan told the divided U.N. Security Council on Friday by video-conference from Geneva he wanted them to speak with one voice. In a follow-up news conference, he also warned that any major escalation of the crisis “will have an impact in the region which will be extremely difficult to manage” much more so than in Libya.

At minimum, Annan is telling Assad he can’t stop change with guns. “I have urged the president to heed the old African proverb: ‘You cannot turn the wind, so turn the sail,’” Annan, a native of Ghana, said. “The realistic response is to embrace change and reform.”

He will be sending in a technical team this weekend to look at monitoring mechanisms and then decide when to go in again. So far the Assad government has insisted “armed groups” declare a cease-fire, neighboring countries pledge to stop arming them and all nations pledge not to finance protestors, according to the Lebanese newspaper An-Nahar, confirmed by diplomats.

Still no Council resolution
Two previous resolutions were vetoed by Russia and China, in part because of an Arab League plan for Assad to delegate power during negotiations. The new resolution, diplomats said, might paper over this disagreement but U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said she still “counted eight sticking points.”

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé made clear on Monday, at a Security Council meeting called by British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, that a “red-line” would be Moscow’s insistence on equivalence — that the Syrian government and the rebels were equally responsible for the destruction and the rebels had to disarm first.

At the same meeting, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described the crisis in Syria as a revolt against a dictatorial regime. “We reject any equivalence between premeditated murders by a government military machine and the activities of civilians under siege driven to self-defense.”

Respecting Syria’s sovereignty, she said, did not mean “this Council should stand silent when governments massacre their own people.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov conceded that Syrian authorities bore a “huge share of responsibility for the current situation” but said they were fighting combat units that included Al Qaeda.

He rejected the Arab League’s call for Assad to delegate power, saying regime change or sanctions imposed by many countries were “risky recipes of geopolitical engineering.”

Syria is backed by Iran. Tehran’s opponents, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, have been accused of arming rebels. Both deny it.

If diplomacy fails, then what? 
Turkey, housing thousands of fleeing Syrians, wants a humanitarian zone in Syria to protect endangered civilians. But who would send a security force to protect them?

The United States is in no mood to launch any kind of invasion, despite claims to the contrary by Syrian apologists that NATO is eager to duplicate the Libyan intervention. Wars have unintended consequences, especially in an election year.

So experts repeatedly turn to Russia, which supplies Damascus with weapons, as the only nation that could pressure the government. If Annan, aided by Russia, does not make any progress “only an intensifying military one will remain, with dire consequences for all,” said the International Crisis Group.

FULL ARTICLE (The Huffington Post)

Photo: Martin H/Wikimedia Commons

Posted at 2:36pm and tagged with: News, Politics, Syria, Syrian Conflict, Peace and Security, UN Security Council, Syrian Arab Republic, al- Jumhūriyyah al-'Arabīyah as-Sūriyyah, الجمهورية العربية السورية,.

crisisgroup:

Kofi Annan, the former U.N. secretary-general once known as a diplomatic rockstar, is trying to start meaningful talks to end the brutality in Syria that has claimed at least 8,000 lives over the past year.
Chosen as an envoy by the United Nations and the Arab League, Annan may offer the last chance to rescue negotiations, which might entail Syrian President Bashar al-Assad excluded from the process so the many Syrian opposition groups could work out a deal.
…
Annan told the divided U.N. Security Council on Friday by video-conference from Geneva he wanted them to speak with one voice. In a follow-up news conference, he also warned that any major escalation of the crisis “will have an impact in the region which will be extremely difficult to manage” much more so than in Libya.
At minimum, Annan is telling Assad he can’t stop change with guns. “I have urged the president to heed the old African proverb: ‘You cannot turn the wind, so turn the sail,’” Annan, a native of Ghana, said. “The realistic response is to embrace change and reform.”
He will be sending in a technical team this weekend to look at monitoring mechanisms and then decide when to go in again. So far the Assad government has insisted “armed groups” declare a cease-fire, neighboring countries pledge to stop arming them and all nations pledge not to finance protestors, according to the Lebanese newspaper An-Nahar, confirmed by diplomats.
Still no Council resolutionTwo previous resolutions were vetoed by Russia and China, in part because of an Arab League plan for Assad to delegate power during negotiations. The new resolution, diplomats said, might paper over this disagreement but U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said she still “counted eight sticking points.”
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé made clear on Monday, at a Security Council meeting called by British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, that a “red-line” would be Moscow’s insistence on equivalence — that the Syrian government and the rebels were equally responsible for the destruction and the rebels had to disarm first.
At the same meeting, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described the crisis in Syria as a revolt against a dictatorial regime. “We reject any equivalence between premeditated murders by a government military machine and the activities of civilians under siege driven to self-defense.”
Respecting Syria’s sovereignty, she said, did not mean “this Council should stand silent when governments massacre their own people.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov conceded that Syrian authorities bore a “huge share of responsibility for the current situation” but said they were fighting combat units that included Al Qaeda.
He rejected the Arab League’s call for Assad to delegate power, saying regime change or sanctions imposed by many countries were “risky recipes of geopolitical engineering.”
Syria is backed by Iran. Tehran’s opponents, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, have been accused of arming rebels. Both deny it.
If diplomacy fails, then what? Turkey, housing thousands of fleeing Syrians, wants a humanitarian zone in Syria to protect endangered civilians. But who would send a security force to protect them?
The United States is in no mood to launch any kind of invasion, despite claims to the contrary by Syrian apologists that NATO is eager to duplicate the Libyan intervention. Wars have unintended consequences, especially in an election year.
So experts repeatedly turn to Russia, which supplies Damascus with weapons, as the only nation that could pressure the government. If Annan, aided by Russia, does not make any progress “only an intensifying military one will remain, with dire consequences for all,” said the International Crisis Group.
FULL ARTICLE (The Huffington Post)
Photo: Martin H/Wikimedia Commons

Such is the level of disillusion in Damascus about the likelihood of an end to Syria’s crisis any time soon that few took much notice of the visit to Syria last week of Kofi Annan, the newly-appointed Arab League and UN envoy. On the capital’s bustling streets people talked of the latest assaults by government forces. Few considered the diplomatic efforts, which also included a visit by the UN’s humanitarian chief Valerie Amos last week, worthy of discussion.

After two days of talks with Bashar Assad, Syria’s president, Mr Annan’s message on Sunday was mixed. No deal had been reached to end the killing but he said that he remained optimistic because every Syrian he had met “wants peace” (some may be doubtful that includes Mr Assad). He had outlined to the Syrian leader a series of proposals to start a political transition but the chances of success are slim. More likely the regime’s violence and the opposition’s militarisation will continue.

Posted at 2:36pm and tagged with: Syria, Syrian Arab Republic, al-Jumhūriyyah al-‘Arabīyah as-Sūriyyah, الجمهورية العربية السورية, President Bashar Assad, Kofi Annan, Valerie Amos, UN, United Nations,.

Last February, a group of young people were arrested for spray-painting graffiti on the walls of their school in the southern Syrian city of Daraa. They were beaten and interrogated. A year ago this Sunday, people went out to protest those arrests. And so began the Syrian uprising — an uprising that in some parts of Syria has turned into an armed insurgency and seen government troops respond with untold brutality. In all, thousands of people have died, with no clear end in sight.

In some ways, it doesn’t even matter if the story is true. It’s the story that many Syrians believe, and it’s the story that started the revolution. We’ll tell you what we know: It was February of last year. Two Arab dictators had already stepped down; other Arab countries were erupting in protest.

Posted at 3:24pm and tagged with: Syria, Syrian Arab Republic, al- Jumhūriyyah al-'Arabīyah as-Sūriyyah, الجمهورية العربية السورية‎,.