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By Barak Barfi
When President Richard Nixon visited Syria in 1974, Syrians lined the streets of Damascus to greet him. Not all were delighted by his visit, though. “Isn’t that Nixon the same one you have been telling us for years is an evil man who is completely in the control of the Zionists and our enemies?” an eight-year-old boy asked his father. “How could you welcome him and shake his hand?”
By MANUEL F. ALMARIO
In his speech last Sept. 10, postponing the vote of the US Congress on his plan to strike militarily at Syria, US President Barack Obama raised a row with Russian President Vladimir Putin over American “exceptionalism.”
By Angelina Jolie
, William Hague
Each day, accounts of horrific crimes in Syria reach the outside world. Now the United Nations has confirmed that rape is being used to terrorize and punish women, men and children, during house searches and interrogations, at checkpoints, and in detention centers and prisons across the country.
By Karen Pimentel Simbulan
From Aug. 26 to 31, when images of US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry were being beamed all across the globe, talking about the inconceivable horror of Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons against his own people and priming the public for what seemed to be the inevitability of US military intervention in Syria, I was wandering the Old City of Jerusalem. I was trying to make sense of a longer, albeit similarly intractable conflict—the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Capital: Damascus, Land area: 185,180 sq. km. (includes 1,295 sq. km. of Israeli-occupied Golan Heights territory), Administrative divisions: 14 provinces, Population: 22.5 million (July 2013 est.), Ethnic groups: Arab (90.3 percent), Kurds, Armenians and others (9.7 percent)
By F. J. Lara Jr.
The government’s diplomatic stance on the Syria crisis is emblematic of the safe, passive, and self-interested track it has taken in the previous crisis in the Middle East.
By Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas S. J.
First, what seem to be the facts. The United States and some of its allies seem to be convinced that chemical weapons were used by Syrian armed forces against the Syrian people in residential areas of Damascus. Because of this, under the urging of President Barack Obama, the United Sates Congress is debating whether or not to take military action.
By Randy David
When the world was much less interconnected, it was already difficult to keep the internal conflicts of nations from spilling beyond their borders. It seemed axiomatic even then for protagonists in civil wars to seek outside support. At the same time, external forces tended to see in civil wars opportunities to expand their influence or fortify their control of a region. It was not uncommon to find that foreign powers were sometimes the instigators of these internal wars.
When the UK parliament voted against missile strikes on Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime because of its use of nerve gas against civilians, the prospect of military action temporarily receded. Now that US President Barack Obama has made his position clear in favor of an attack, it again seems all but inevitable. But what kind of action, for what purpose, in the service of what larger strategy? All this remains obscure.
He was about to launch a military strike against Syria. Instead, a startled world saw US President Barack Obama undergo a very public road-to-Damascus moment. He had rediscovered the religion of congressional authorization—and that, without a doubt, is a good thing.
By Walden Bello
In recent days, the Obama administration has moved inexorably toward an attack on Syria, for which it is currently seeking the support of the US Congress.
By Jonathan Whittall
What do the Syrian National Coalition, a foreign jihadi group, a Gulf state, and the Iranian and American governments all have in common? All are providing varying degrees of “humanitarian” aid to the side they support in the Syrian conflict, but none is able to curtail the immense suffering alone, and none is able to ensure that its aid reaches the most vulnerable first. This is not a simple war, and there are no simple aid solutions, but the status quo cannot be an option.