Blog archive: Syria

  • 5th September 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A public relations firm which became notorious for assisting dodgy regimes – including several in the Middle East – has finally got its comeuppance. London-based Bell Pottinger has been expelled from the PRCA (the trade body for "respectable" PR firms) for bringing the industry into...
  • 31st August 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Writing about conflicts in the Middle East for the New York Times yesterday, columnist Thomas Friedman talked of "the power that is lost to a society like Syria or Iraq that needs an iron fist to make its many into one, and when that fist is removed, how the society fractures into small shards"....
  • 28th August 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Russia has "just finished dismantling Syria's chemical arsenal" according to a headline on the "alternative" website Voltaire Network. The story says Russian forces have destroyed two chemical weapons sites belonging to the Syrian army which "had been occupied by jihadists".  A...
  • 17th August 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    At a news conference in Damascus yesterday, Syria's deputy foreign minister accused the US and Britain of supplying rebel fighters with chemical weapons. The claim has excited Russian media – especially Sputnik News which has published multiple stories on the topic. Sputnik wonders if...
  • 17th July 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The banned nerve agent sarin has been used repeatedly in the Syrian conflict, as laboratory tests have confirmed. There are disputes, though, about who has been using it. Syrian rebels, along with western governments, blame the Assad regime while the regime, supported by Russia and Iran, blames the...
  • 7th July 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    It is now beyond dispute that banned chemicals have been used in the Syrian conflict. Aside from a few conspiracy theorists, all sides – including the Russian and Syrian governments – accept this as fact, though they disagree about who is responsible. We have reached this point because of...
  • 5th July 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Surprising as it might seem, both the Syrian government and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) agree that people were exposed to Sarin in Khan Sheikhoun last April. This should now become the starting point for any rational discussion of what happened there....
  • 4th July 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    On 4 April, Syrian government forces carried out an airstrike on Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province which, according to reports at the time, killed at least 74 people and injured hundreds more. Scientific tests by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons – an inter-governmental...
  • 1st July 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Do news organisations have a duty to publish stories from anonymous sources when there is reason to believe they are untrue? Apparently some people think so. Yesterday, following scientific tests, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons confirmed that inhabitants of...
  • 27th April 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    It is now abundantly clear that the Syrian regime was responsible for the Sarin attack that killed dozens of people in Khan Sheikhoun earlier this month.  A declassified intelligence assessment released by the French government yesterday establishes beyond any reasonable doubt that the...
  • 23rd April 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Since leaving the diplomatic service Peter Ford, a former British ambassador in Damascus, has become an outspoken critic of western policies towards Syria and has described calls for President Assad to step down as "child-like". During the conflict Ford has also repeatedly disputed...
  • 7th April 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    One of the more effective examples of international cooperation has been the outlawing of chemical weapons. With just a few exceptions, the world has been remarkably successful in moving towards the completely eliminating them.  To date, only three countries – Egypt, North Korea and...

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