Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is feeling strengthened as international pressure on his regime appears to ease amid growing Western fears of an Islamist takeover and unwavering Russian support, analysts say.
This is alarming as there’s no end in sight in the Syrian conflict. The President won’t step down and it looks like he will run in the next Presidential elections. Rebel gains are at a whim and Qaeda backed groups such as al-Nursa and ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) are gaining power. And hundreds are dying each day, many fleeing to add to a growing number of refugees.
11:30 // 10 months ago
Syria has begun sending details of its chemical weapons as part of a US-Russia brokered deal to make them safe, the chemical arms watchdog has said.
The Hague-based OPCW added that it expected more details from Syria in the coming days and had postponed a meeting planned for Sunday.
Syria was given a Saturday deadline to give a full list of its chemical arms.
The OPCW, by the way, stands for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
15:51 // 11 months ago
“The initial message about the Syrian issue was that we always wanted [President] Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran,” he said.
This was the case, he said, even if the other “bad guys” were affiliated to al-Qaida.
“We understand that they are pretty bad guys,” he said, adding that this designation did not apply to everyone in the Syrian opposition. “Still, the greatest danger to Israel is by the strategic arc that extends from Tehran, to Damascus to Beirut. And we saw the Assad regime as the keystone in that arc. That is a position we had well before the outbreak of hostilities in Syria. With the outbreak of hostilities we continued to want Assad to go.”
The Toronto Globe and Mail notes that this is a public shift for the Israeli government, which had previously stopped short of publicly urging Assad’s downfall, especially in comments made by Benjamin Netanyahu.
9:07 // 11 months ago
The president suggested that he even sees a potential role for Iran in helping to stabilize Syria, despite reports that Iranian fighters have been streaming into the country to support the Assad regime.
Obama confirmed publicly for the first time on “This Week” that he has exchanged letters with new Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, who has vowed to act forcefully to prevent any Western military intervention in Syria, using “all efforts to prevent it.” […]
“I think this new president is not going to suddenly make it easy,” he added. “But you know, my view is that if you have both a credible threat of force, combined with a rigorous diplomatic effort, that, in fact … you can strike a deal.”
Interesting and pretty bold move, striking up a conversation with the new Iranian president Rouhani. But what we don’t know is if it’ll amount to anything.
9:38 // 11 months ago
sturtlovinggood says: Syria?
» SFB says: Of mixed mind on the issue other than to say, it sucks for everyone—particularly the people currently suffering and in fear within the country, who get lost in the mix whenever we hear about the drama between Russia and the U.S. I think the Obama administration, if they’re gonna make an issue of it, needs to look beyond chemical weapons and at the numerous violent incidents that have taken place over the past few years. I don’t like war, but Syria isn’t getting any better and the international community has to figure out some way to ease this situation without washing their hands of it. Last point: I think that Obama was right to ask for a vote in Congress. I hope he follows whatever guidance Capitol Hill has to offer. — Ernie @ SFB
22:58 // 11 months ago