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This week’s front page editor


Francesc Badia i Dalmases is Editor and Director of democraciaAbierta.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Opposition to intervention in Syria utilitarian, not ideological

Whether or not a movement is primarily violent or nonviolent, what is important is whether it employs strategies and tactics that can maximize its chances of success. A reply to Nader Hashemi.

Syria, savagery, and self-determination: what those against military intervention are missing

Military intervention, as regrettable and complicated as it may be, is the only way to stop Assad’s killing machine. This is what most Syrians are demanding from the international community. If we truly believe in the right to self-determination, then we are morally obligated to listen to them.

Democracy, Syria and the western way of war

The manner in which the Syrian crisis has been addressed by western polities signals a shift, at least for now, in how acts of war are deliberated by those governments considering military intervention. But how significant is this? There is both some good and bad news in this regard.

Syria isn’t Kosovo and this isn’t 1999. Not even close

Grasping at vague notions of Kosovo as a ‘good war’ may be expedient - any precedent will do in a pinch. But this comparison is inaccurate and dangerously misleading.

What to do in Syria?

The war in Syria is illegal. If a criminal had poisoned someone, our concern would be how to protect the public from future poisonings and how to arrest the criminal and bring him (or her) before a court of law. And civil society needs to be directly involved in the talks.

Syria, the path to new war

The United States's military preparations, and Israel's growing involvement, reveal the momentum to a dangerous escalation in the middle east.  

Raising our sights in Syria

Neither ending the bloodshed nor preventing the further use of weapons of mass destruction in Syria is served by military intervention.  Amidst speculation over the US-UK special relationship, the Iranian reaction points a way forward.

Welcoming the vote of the British Parliament while supporting the Syrian uprising

The best way to “punish” the Syrian regime is to enable the popular uprising to break it, not to bomb the country.

Syria after Ghouta: the urge to act, and the need to act wisely

Regardless of how ‘surgical’ strikes are claimed to be, military action is a blunt instrument that, in this case, is on the table merely because of a poverty of alternatives.

Questions raised and risks posed by Syrian intervention

Part One of a two-part analysis of the geopolitical sectarian dynamics and possible fall-out of military intervention in Syria. Read Part Two here.

Syria: do something

Western readers need to understand why some Syrians support, while others oppose, a military intervention in their country.

Syria and Egypt: genocidal violence, western response

Genocide is both taking on new forms in the era of democratic revolution and exposing the defective reactions of western states, says Martin Shaw.

Negotiating limits of war in Syria through global media

War rhetoric in the media this week seemed to imply the impending end of Syria’s Assad regime and the spread of Syria’s civil war into a larger regional conflict, while key players carefully chose their words to emphasise the limits of conflict, and responses to any breach.

Syria, a fatal choice

The momentum in the United States is shifting towards a larger-scale attack on the Assad regime. But even a limited one will transform the nature of the war, with region-wide consequences.

Syria: the pace quickens — but towards what?

Soon, military action against the Assad regime by western powers may be all but inevitable. But what kind of action, for what purpose, in the service of what larger strategy?

Mass slaughter of civilian Kurds in Syria ignites heavy clashes and mass exodus

The al-Qaeda linked “Jabhat al-Nusra” (al-Nusra Front) in Syria, stands accused of instigating a sectarian racist war against civilian Kurds in Syria’s northern Kurdish region, one that is escalating rapidly.

Syria: days of decision

The probability that the United States will make a single military reponse to the chemical-weapons assault near Damascus is very high.

Aid local councils, not the Syrian National Coalition

Countries wanting to aid the Syrian revolution must focus on local councils like that of Manjib, not the Syrian National Coalition, and act together.

Syria: no military victory, no political solution?

Video: The Friends of Syria have played what may be their 'last card' - what difference will it make on the ground? Yezid Sayigh talks to Jo Tyabji about spinning out military escalation, and the slim chance of creating commitments for de-escalation. 

Syria, spiral of war

The provision of more sophisticated arms to Syria's rebels, in which Saudi Arabia is now deeply involved, will produce a more violent stalemate. 

Questioning the intelligence: Obama's decision to supply arms to Syria

The red line threshold has finally been crossed – but on unverified intelligence, encouraged by appetites for military intervention. It is Iraq all over again.

Syria: the imperative of de-escalation

In this excerpt from the latest ECFR policy briefing on Syria, the authors argue that a rare moment of opportunity has emerged following the US-Russian agreement to launch peace initiative, Geneva II. Europe and the west should prioritise ratcheting down violence and the threat of regional spill over. 

Where there is no will there is no way: will Syria be the next Halabja?

The final balance of the war has not yet tipped against the regime and, if and when it does, no ‘red-line’ will stop Assad from using chemical weapons on a scale that would make Halabja look like a small incident. Will Obama prevent another tragedy? 

Bordering on a new World War 1

What is missing is any serious discussion about the plight of the Syrian people. If it turns out that a red line has been crossed, then any intervention will be a geo-political intervention against the Assad regime. The likely response is to arm the rebels rather than to intervene to protect ordinary people.

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