Selling lies and delusions | Middle East Monitor

Many argue that the Islamic State (IS) wouldn’t have taken northeast Syria as a safe haven if Washington had taken action to resolve the situation militarily with the Syrian regime in the early days of the Syrian crisis, before the threat of IS and Al-Nusra Front and the militant factions that adopted their school of thought spread; is this an accurate assumption? More importantly, is the door still open for an American “military resolution” that eliminates IS and overthrows the “tyrant”, as claimed by some who have outdone themselves in promoting delusions and believing the lies they told themselves?

We have two “fresh” examples of American military intervention in the Arab region, the first in Iraq and the second in Libya. What were the results of American military intervention and why do some assume that Syria would face a different fate if the military intervention is repeated for the third time in 10 years? [Read more]

Yemen’s Arab winter | Middle East Eye

Three and half years since popular uprisings swept the Middle East, bringing hundreds of thousands to the streets in protest, nearly as many again have now perished in civil war and sectarian strife, and millions of Arabs are on the move. From Tripoli to Cairo, governments are in crisis. Lacking popular support, they are unable to manage the corrupt and divided states they inherited. Coups are commonplace. Countries are being dismembered. As borders disappear, all pre-existing politics slide into irrelevancy.

Yemen, the poorest and youngest Arab Spring nation, appears to have fared better than some of its neighbours. In 2012, after mass protests and with the country nearing civil war, Ali Abdullah Saleh, who had ruled Yemen for 33 years, agreed to stand down, handing power to his deputy, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, in exchange for immunity. Hadi, along with Saleh’s ruling party and a coalition of Islamists, set about “resolving the revolution through politics.” A national dialogue conference was held and a new constitution paved the way for elections and federalism. In the west, Yemen was chalked up as a success story. A “triumph of diplomacy,” it had escaped Syria’s awful fate. But in recent weeks cracks have appeared in the façade, revealing a nation divided. All the timetables, revised budgets and talk of progress in Sana’a mask a troublesome reality: the uprising has done grievous damage to the country’s already fragile social fabric. Today, rather than walking the path to democracy, Yemen looks like a country on the verge of collapse. [Read more]

Syrians build health care network in Turkey | Al Jazeera

On a dusty, shadeless hilltop in the Turkish border town of Kilis, Syrian mothers, toddlers, and elderly cram into a makeshift medical centre housed in an abandoned bakery. Some 500 patients will seek treatment here today, though officially the centre does not exist.

Known as Syria Polyclinic 1, the facility is part of an informal network of medical centres that have cropped up in Kilis to treat the nearly 80,000 Syrian refugees that now reside in and around the town.

“Over the last two years, [the number of Syrian refugees] has [reached] nearly the same as the number of Turks here in Kilis,” Dr Mohammed Assaf, general director at Syria Polyclinic 1, told Al Jazeera. “The [Turkish] state hospital and clinics cannot cope.” [Read more]

Punish Saudis who misbehave abroad | Al Arabiya

Two Kuwaiti lawmakers have called for revoking the passports of any Kuwaiti who harms the country’s reputation abroad amid embarrassing reports about Kuwaiti travelers making a nuisance and a spectacle of themselves in public.

In a news item appearing in a Gulf paper, Nabeel al-Fadl was quoted as saying that the interior minister should look seriously at those Kuwaitis tarnishing the country’s image abroad. Another member of parliament, Abdul Hamid Dashti, also called for a debate on this subject. [Read more]

Abbott on Iraq: ‘Doing nothing means leaving millions exposed to death’ | The Guardian

Tony Abbott has laid out the case for Australian military involvement in Iraq, telling parliament that a failure to act “means leaving millions of people exposed to death, forced conversion and ethnic cleansing”.

The prime minister said Australia had no intention to commit combat troops on the ground but was “not inclined to stand by in the face of preventable genocide either”.

Underlining the risks posed to Iraqis by the militant group known as Islamic State (Isis), Abbott said it was right for Australia to do what it prudently and proportionately could to “alleviate this suffering, to prevent its spread and to deal with its perpetrators”. [Read more]

To Beat ISIS, Focus on Syria | New York Times

The battlefield successes of ISIS in Iraq, and renewed American military action there, have turned attention back to Syria. It was there that ISIS originally ramped up its appeal while fighting against the Syrian government. Today, ISIS is headquartered in Syria and uses Syrian territory to regroup and resupply.

In Western capitals there is now a renewed debate about how to deal with Syria’s brutal ruler, Bashar al-Assad. The policy options being discussed have largely been boiled down to a binary choice: jump into bed with Mr. Assad to defeat ISIS, or double down on the halfhearted existing policy of building a strong Sunni opposition. [Read more]

The Syria canard: There is nothing to be done | Washington Post

The same voices who refused to recognize the growing threat of ISIS before it took root in Syria and Iraq now claim we have no viable options for confronting a fundamental threat to the United States and its allies. I suppose we could commit civilizational suicide and simply give up defending ourselves and our allies. There are, thankfully, a range of actions we can take.

We begin by recognizing the nature of the threat and the impossibility of “containing” the Islamic State, which the president seems to be talking about when he promises to “roll back,” but not destroy it. [Read more]


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