Blog archive: Syria

  • 28th June 2010
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The long-running drought in eastern Syrian – and the upheaval it is causing – has so far received scant attention. The UN's World Food Programme says it has received less than half the $22m needed to support 300,000 vulnerable people this year. Consequently, 110,000 will not be given help...
  • 24th June 2010
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The Gay Middle East website (GME) has published a reportsummarising the situation for gay people in Syria –a country which is rarely discussed in this connection. Although "carnal relations against the order of nature" are still punishable by up to three years in jail, GME detects some...
  • 26th April 2010
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Writing on the Syria Comment blog, Joshua Landis asks: "Why are US analysts surprised that Syria arms Hizbullah?" It's a good question, reflecting a lack of balance in US policy when it comes to Syria and Israel. Referring to current debate about sending a US ambassador to Syria, Landis...
  • 19th February 2010
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    As the US prepares to send an ambassador to Syria for the first time in five years, elements on the American right are fighting a limp rearguard action against engagement with the Damascus regime. Syria expert Joshua Landis discusses this on his blog and argues that sanctions have...
  • 27th January 2010
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Syria has launched a new initiative to "create more space for civil society to work", according to Rami Khouri in the Lebanese Daily Star. He discusses a conference in Damascus last weekend on “the emerging role of civil society in development”, which was addressed by First Lady Asma...
  • 9th December 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Following the unlamented closure of the government-run Syria Times last year, a new English-language daily is being launched in Damascus today. It's called Baladna English and it's produced by the United Group, already publishes the Arabic-language Baladna. So far, there's nothing...
  • 4th December 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The explosion in Damascus yesterday that wrecked the back and side of an Iranian bus, killed at least three people, started a fire and smashed windows in a building nearby was caused by the bursting of an over-inflated tyre – at least, according to the Syrian interior minister who...
  • 12th October 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    After years of delay, the text of the EU’s association agreementwith Syria has been finalised and will be signed on October 26. The move is seen partly as a reward to the Damascus regime for progress so far and also as a way of encouraging further changes in its behaviour. The...
  • 22nd August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Endemic corruption is a problem that Arabs grumble about endlessly, though it rarely gets analysed in much detail. All credit, then, to the Syria Comment blog for tackling this touchy subjecthead-on. "Though Syria is no exception," it says, "one cannot but be struck by how...
  • 24th July 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Moqtada al-Sadr, the rabble-rousing Iraqi cleric, visited President Assad in Damascus earlier this week to discuss “brotherly and friendly relations and mutual interests”. The Syrian president underlined “the importance of strengthening national unity among the Iraqi people, and Syria's care...
  • 17th July 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The Obama administration seems to be dusting off old Clinton-era plans for peace between Israel and Syria, looking at the stumbling blocks last time around and checking for new ways to overcome them. Fred Hoff, an adviser to George Mitchell’s Middle East team, has been in Israel this week ...
  • 10th July 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    No idea why I like this picture, but I do. Definitely, I do. Posted by Brian Whitaker, 10 July 2009

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