Dante’s Vita Nova
October 05, 2012
What happens when you try to translate Dante's poetry into "contemporary American English"
How Sectarianism Blinds the Shia to the Horrors of Syria
October 05, 2012
The Syrian rebellion is exposing a dangerous contradiction in the Shia of the Middle East. Why are the victims supporting the victimizers?
How the Arab Spring Killed Hezbollah
September 20, 2012
Hezbollah's journey from militant resistance movement to flailing establishment power center.
Russia Tries to Kill U.S. Democracy Promotion Once and For All
September 18, 2012
MOSCOW—When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived for the APEC summit in Vladivostok on September 8, there was one item on the agenda she was not expecting. Sitting down with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, the two discussed missile defense and Syria, talked about Iran’s quest to get a nuclear weapon. And then Lavrov dropped the bomb: USAID was to cease all operations inside the Russian Federation starting October 1. Four days later, the Russian Foreign Ministry delivered the news in writing. USAID, the government development agency started by John F.
Baathism: An Obituary
September 14, 2012
When Bashar Al Assad's government finally collapses in Syria, it will mean the end of a totalitarian ideology that thrived—and killed—for 70 years.
Inside Syria’s Fracturing Rebellion
August 30, 2012
JEBEL ZAWIYA, SYRIA—The unglamorous municipal building, on which black daubs evince graffiti wars between the regime (“Bashar Assad or the country burns!”) and the opposition (“Leave, oh Bashar!”) did not look fit for a king. But it was immediately obvious when the man in the pressed green khakis strode in that we were in the presence of a leader. Men who had been sitting around in the room chatting fell silent. The leather chair behind the desk was seamlessly vacated.
The Meager and Gruesome Options For Syria’s War Wounded
August 20, 2012
REYHNALI, Turkey—“We had 600 wounded men in Homs, and no doctors,” says Ahmet, a young Free Syrian Army fighter, his speech slightly muddled, the legacy of a bullet that had grazed his neck and shattered his chin. “Sometimes, because we didn’t know any other way to treat our men, we had to amputate arms and legs ourselves. Sometimes we asked a carpenter or a butcher to do so.” We are standing outside a hospital in Reyhanli, Turkey, less than four miles from the Syrian border. Ahmet arrived here two weeks ago, he says, but insists he will return.
AMMAN—Syria's former Prime Minister Riyad Hijab, who announced his defection from the Assad government Monday, is one of several high-ranking Syrian government officials to defect in recent months. But if it's increasingly clear that Assad officials are eager to separate themselves from the regime, it's not yet clear what role they will be able to play in the Syrian opposition. For regime defectors, joining the FSA at all is an involved process.
The latest Newsweek features an insider-y read by Joan Juliet Buck, the magazine writer who wrote the infamous 2011 Vogue puff piece on Asma al-Assad, wife of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. I’m tempted to call it a cautionary tale for journalists—and that’s clearly how it is presented, with the headline “Mrs. Assad Duped Me.” But to read Buck’s account that way, to assume that anyone could have found themselves in her shoes, would be an insult to most journalists. Unless Buck omitted a boatload of admirable details about Mrs.
The Fate of Syria is in the Hands of … Palestinians?
July 29, 2012
For decades, the Assad regime in Syria was the most ardent regional champion of the Palestinian cause. When the country went to war with Israel in 1948, 1967, and 1973, it claimed to do so on behalf of Palestine. Hafez al-Assad stood steadfastly against the Oslo Accords, refusing to support the compromise that the Palestinians were themselves prepared to make. And since coming to power in 2000, Bashar al-Assad has been a crucial patron of numerous Palestinian terrorist groups, just like his father before him.