Bashar Al Assad
Aerial bombing has forced hundred of thousands of refugees out of Aleppo in recent weeks. The razing of the city is brutal, but it might be part of a larger, even more sinister scheme.
How the president made such a mess in Syria.
A few lucky breaks led to a different speech than we expected
Barack Obama’s speech on Syria had a peculiar structure. The first part of it was devoted to justifying why the president had decided to “respond to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons through a targeted military strike.” Your average listener might have thought that Obama would say next that missiles aimed at Damascus were leaving their silos. The threat of violence loomed over the first half of the speech.
In the late 1980s Patrick Seale wrote an excellent account of the al-Assad family—well before it was clear that Bashar, its bookish, quiet, second-oldest son, would one day lead the Syrian government in massacring its own people. At the time, his older brother Bassel was the heir apparent to their father Hafez, while Bashar was just a lowly future ophthalmologist. But Bassel died in a 1994 car crash, and, in 2000, Bashar took the country’s helm.
Why does he only seem to care about the country's Christians?
"I have nothing good to say about Assad," Kentucky Senator Rand Paul made sure to stipulate on a hurried conference call after the marathon Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing on Syria yesterday. A reporter from a radio station back in Paul's hometown of Bowling Green, Kentucky had said that he had spoken to a Syrian woman, a Christian, living in the area who was afraid of what would happen to Christians in her home country if Assad fell.
Today, President Obama finally addressed the main question that has gripped this town on Syria: will he or won't he?He will, as we knew he would. But now he has added for himself another hurdle on the road to Damascus: Congress.Citing "some people's" reluctance to repeat the example of David Cameron losing control over his party in Parliament, Obama said, no, he was going to take this thing to Congress because we are a Constitutional democracy.
An attack would be illegal and ineffective. It wouldn't satisfy hawkish critics, either.
The only real choice is between pushing for regime change and not getting involved. He should choose the second one
Six key questions before an intervention
The Obama administration now wants Congress to approve a military strike against Syria in retaliation for its use of chemical weapons. Why is the administration so bent on intervention? Isn’t it violating international law? What will be the likely impact of an attack? Will it plunge the United States into another war in the Middle East? Or will it have no effect whatsoever on the carnage? Should the U.S. go further and ensure a rebel victory by crippling Bashar al Assad’s regime?
Barack Obama's choice on Syria will define his presidency
The Syria choice will decide the tug-of-war between idealism and restraint in the Obama administration—and in the president's self-definition.
If Bashar al Assad’s use of chemical weapons in a rebel-controlled suburb of Damascus is “undeniable,” as Secretary of State John Kerry declared today, the United States should retaliate forcefully. It should recruit whatever allies it can—France and Great Britain have already volunteered—but it would be nice to have a nation or two that wasn’t once an imperial power in the Middle East.