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Entries Tagged as 'Politics'

Beating the drums of war

January 2nd, 2012 · 2 Comments · Politics

When Christopher Hitchens died, there was renewed debate about the power his pen wielded. When he wrote in defence of Bush’s invasion and occupation of Iraq, he crossed the line. He crossed over from the bubble that observers and commentators inhabit into the political arena. He had become a player. Now, one of his friends, Nick […]

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On bloggers and the opposition

December 28th, 2011 · 3 Comments · Politics

Two pieces of interesting reading today. The first from the unmissable Qifa Nabki, who notes that the blogosphere’s support for Bashar has made a remarkable u-turn. From this: For the first decade of Assad’s presidency, most Syrian blogs I read were fairly supportive of the regime To this: Several bloggers have defected from the regime’s […]

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Syria’s electronic war

December 21st, 2011 · No Comments · Politics

The Syrian uprising, more than any of this year’s Arab revolutions, is being fought online as well as on the ground. Supporters of both the revolution and the regime are using increasingly vicious methods to embarrass and threaten their opponents online. By me, for the Near East Quarterly. Read the full piece here.

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Bashar Al-Assad interview with US TV

December 8th, 2011 · 2 Comments · Politics

In his first English-language TV interview since the uprising began, Bashar Al-Assad has been speaking to ABC’s Barbara Walters. A lot of headline writers have focussed on his statement that he doesn’t ‘own the country,’ and that he wasn’t in command of the army. This is taken out of context – watch the video, he […]

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Free Razan Ghazzawi

December 5th, 2011 · 8 Comments · Politics

She was sitting in her favourite spot in Damascus, a table under the tree in the cafe in the grounds of the National Museum of Damascus. That was the first time I met Razan. It was 12 October 2007, although we’d been emailing and commenting on each other’s blogs for a few months before that. […]

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Burhan Ghalioun “addresses the Syrian nation”

November 6th, 2011 · 5 Comments · Politics

In a pseudo-presidential speech, the leader of the Syrian National Council, Burhan Ghalioun, has made an Eid speech. Translation below. Speech of Burhan Ghalioun, President of the Syrian National Council – 5 November 2011 The Address of SNC Presidnet; Dr. Burhan Ghalioun to The Syrian Nation Saturday, 5 November 2011 The great people of Syria, I […]

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Civil war talk in Syria

October 3rd, 2011 · 3 Comments · Politics

There is a real danger that the more you talk these things up, the greater the likelihood of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Today, three stories with near-identical headlines. And that’s in addition to the NYT’s article on Saturday. BBC: Is the Syria uprising heading towards civil war? When some of their wives tried to cross the […]

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Don’t mention the S-word

October 3rd, 2011 · No Comments · Politics

Sectarianism has become something of an elephant in the room. Anyone who mentions it is battered down. Syria is the exception. Syria is different, we are told. No it’s not. The hatred was there long before this war started, and it’ll be there long after it’s finished. Ignoring a problem is never a good way […]

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The first high-profile defection

September 1st, 2011 · 2 Comments · Politics

Remember his name: Adnan Mohammed Al-Bakkour. He was Hama’s attorney-general, until he apparently resigned on Monday. A video, in which a man claiming to be Bakkour appears, has been released. In it, the man says he “resigned from [his] position within Al-Assad regime and his gangs”. He listed five reasons that led to his decision: – […]

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The end game

August 21st, 2011 · 2 Comments · Politics

FW: Magazine, which has good contacts in the Syrian government, claims that Bashar Al-Assad is planning to call “free and fair” presidential elections in 2014. If true, this would be a massive shift in the dynamic of the uprising. When Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia, and when Hosni Mubarak of Egypt made similar announcements, […]

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