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  • President Bashar al-Assad

    Assad’s War on Terrorism Is a Misnomer

    The Syrian peace talks are cautiously proceeding despite Iran being invited and then disinvited from the talks, divisions within the Syrian government delegation, and utter disagreement over the possibility of a transitional government. Expectations for any type of political settlement to the war remain very low. Unsurprisingly, President Bashar al-Assad … More

    Assad Has Friends Closer Than You Think

    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has anti-American friends in the Western Hemisphere. In a move to exert his somewhat newly minted leadership status, Nicolas Maduro, the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez’s handpicked successor, sent a very colorful letter to President Obama pleading with him not to intervene in Syria. Laced with … More

    Despite “Pivot” to Asia, Kerry Forced to Return to Middle East

    Although the Obama Administration has proclaimed its intention to “pivot” toward Asia, Secretary of State John Kerry has been forced to pivot back to the Middle East in advance of his forthcoming trip to Asia. Kerry was originally slated to travel to South Korea, Japan, and China following the April … More

    U.S. Aid to Syrian Rebels Takes Congress by Surprise

    On Thursday, at the Friends of Syria Conference in Rome, Secretary of State John Kerry abruptly reversed U.S. policy on Syria. Much to the surprise of Members of the U.S. Congress—and possibly of the members of the Syrian opposition as well—Kerry announced that the U.S. will be supplying $60 million … More

    Syria’s (Literal) Information Warfare

    To hide its myriad of other crimes, the Syrian government is determined to prevent news of its atrocities against its own citizens from getting out. Journalists claim that this week they were deliberately targeted by troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and they have released videos pleading for help. … More

    Russia Backs Assad to the Bitter End

    In a rare admission of reality, a senior Russia Middle East hand, Duma Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Mikhail Margelov, acknowledged that Russia has “exhausted its arsenal” of support available to the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. Yet, despite Western diplomatic efforts, Russia continues to support Assad’s brutal regime. Peaceful protests against … More

    Syria’s Media Crackdown: No End in Sight

    Syria remains a holdout in the Middle East against the forces of popular discontent. The regime of Bashar al-Assad has so far stayed in power throughout the Arab uprisings where the autocrats of Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya have failed. Other regimes have been forced to make political changes. If you … More

    The Administration’s Mixed Messages to Syria

    U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford is home following an informal and indefinite recall. The Obama Administration cited concern for Ford’s personal safety as the basis for this decision. A more likely explanation, however, is the failure of the Administration’s policy of “engagement” with Bashar al-Assad’s repressive autocratic regime. Assad’s … More

    Arab Autumn: Elections, Crackdowns, and Sectarian Tensions Part III

    Bahrain and Syria are countries ruled by sectarian minorities. Bahrain’s Sunni royal family rules over a Shia majority whereas the Assad regime, which rules over a Sunni majority, belongs to the tiny Alawite sect. While this division has exacerbated both of the uprisings, the similarities end here. Bahrain’s royal family … More

    Iraq: Iran Crosses Boundaries as American Troops Pull Out

    As the Obama Administration conducts its military withdrawal from Iraq, Iran has upped its involvement in the region, emphasizing how vulnerable American troops are now that forces are diminishing. News broke this week that Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces carried out cross-border military operations in Iraq against guerrillas of the Party … More