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NEWS
September 1, 2013
SOMETIME TODAY the U.N. inspectors are expected to return from Syria, then report on what they found, whether or not gas was used on civilians. It was. They will not say who used it, but the Administration has made noise all week that it was Syrian President Assad. That means he has crossed a "red line" drawn by President Obama. The irony: In 2008, Barack Obama brutally criticized President Bush's "war of choice" in Iraq and now naively has brought the U.S. to the doorstep of his own "war of choice" in Syria.
NEWS
May 10, 2013 | By Bassem Mroue, Associated Press
BEIRUT - Syria will supply "game-changing" weapons to Hezbollah, the chief of the Lebanese militant group said Thursday, less than a week after Israeli air strikes on Damascus targeted alleged shipments of advanced Iranian missiles bound for Hezbollah. Israel has signaled it will respond with air strikes to any weapons shipments, meaning it could quickly get drawn into Syria's civil war if the Hezbollah chief's declaration is more than an empty threat. Tension has been rising in the region since Israel struck targets inside Syria on Friday and Sunday.
NEWS
December 30, 2011 | ASSOCIATED PRESS
HOMS, Syria - The presence of Arab League monitors in Syria has re-energized the anti-government protest movement, with tens of thousands turning out over the past three days in cities and neighborhoods where the observers are expected to visit. The huge rallies have been met by lethal gunfire from security forces apparently worried about multiple mass sit-ins modeled after Cairo's Tahrir Square. Yesterday, security forces opened fire on tens of thousands protesting outside a mosque in a Damascus suburb and killed at least four.
NEWS
April 28, 2013 | By Julie Pace and Donna Cassata, Associated Press
WASHINGTON - Proceeding cautiously, President Obama insisted Friday that any use of chemical weapons by Syria would change his "calculus" about U.S. military involvement in the two-year-old civil war - but said too little was known about a pair of likely sarin attacks to order aggressive action now. The president's public response to the latest intelligence reflected the lack of agreement in Washington over whether to use America's military to intervene...
NEWS
January 25, 2016 | DEUTSCHE PRESSE-AGENTUR
BEIRUT - At least 29 civilians were killed Saturday in airstrikes targeting areas under the control of Islamic State in eastern Syria, a monitoring group said. Jets believed to be Russian struck Khsham are on the eastern outskirts of Deir al-Zour province, said the head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdel- Rahman. Those deaths bring to at least 73 the number of civilians killed since Friday in airstrikes in the province, according to the Britain-based observatory.
NEWS
May 13, 2013 | By Suzan Fraser, Associated Press
ANKARA, Turkey - Turkey's prime minister vowed Sunday that his country wouldn't be drawn into Syria's civil war, despite twin car bombings the government believed were carried out by a group of Turks with close ties to pro-government groups in Syria. The bombings left 46 people dead and marked the biggest incident of violence across the border since the start of Syria's bloody civil war, raising fears of Turkey's being pulled deeper into a conflict that threatens to destabilize the region.
NEWS
June 15, 2013 | By Zeina Karam and Sarah El Deeb, Associated Press
BEIRUT - Hezbollah's leader vowed Friday that his militants would keep fighting in Syria "wherever needed" after the United States agreed to arm the rebels in the civil war, setting up a proxy fight between Iran and the West that threatens to engulf more of the Middle East. President Obama has deepened U.S. involvement in the conflict, authorizing lethal aid to the rebels for the first time after Washington said it had conclusive evidence the Syrian regime had used chemical weapons. Syria accused Obama of lying about the evidence, saying he was resorting to fabrications to justify his decision to arm the rebels.
NEWS
May 10, 2013 | By Bradley Klapper, Associated Press
ROME - Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday that the transfer of advanced missile defense systems from Russia to Syria would be a "destabilizing" factor for Israel's security. Kerry said the United States has expressed concerns about what such defensive systems in Syria would mean for Israel's security. He wouldn't address what the missiles might mean for Syria's civil war. He spoke to reporters in Rome after the Wall Street Journal reported that Russia was preparing to sell the weapons to President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
NEWS
January 28, 2015 | BY DOYLE McMANUS
  IN 2011, the U.S. ambassador to Syria, a mild-mannered diplomat named Robert Ford, became the face of American support for the Arab Spring when he boldly visited opponents to the brutal regime of Bashar Assad in the northern city of Hama. In 2014, Ford quit, saying that he could not defend the Obama administration's inconstant support for Syrian rebels. "More hesitation . . . [will] simply hasten the day when American forces have to intervene against al Qaeda in Syria," he warned.
NEWS
June 1, 2013 | By Zeina Karam and Bassem Mroue, Associated Press
BEIRUT - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview broadcast Thursday that he is "confident in victory" in his country's civil war, and he warned that Damascus would retaliate for any future Israeli air strike on his territory. Assad also told the Lebanese TV station Al-Manar that Russia has fulfilled some of its weapons contracts recently, but he was vague on whether this included advanced S-300 air-defense systems. The comments were in line with a forceful and confident message the regime has been sending in recent days, even as the international community attempts to launch a peace conference in Geneva, possibly next month.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
September 10, 2016 | By Philip Bump, WASHINGTON POST
It would be easy to describe Gary Johnson's appearance on MSNBC's Morning Joe on Thursday as having doomed his third-party candidacy for president were it not for the fact that his candidacy was already doomed. The English language lacks a good way to describe something that was already in very bad shape and then, somehow, becomes far worse rather dramatically. Like if the Titanic had begun sinking but then blew up. Johnson was talking politics with the Morning Joe crew when regular guest Mike Barnicle shifted gears.
NEWS
March 24, 2016 | By Trudy Rubin
MOLENBEEK, Belgium - Four days before Tuesday's grisly bomb attacks in Brussels, the police raided a shabby three-story brick row house in this heavily Moroccan working-class district of Brussels. There they captured Salah Abdeslam, the last surviving member of the terror group that killed 130 people in Paris in November.Abdeslam had eluded police for four months and no one in Moleenbeek betrayed him. Nor did anyone warn police about Tuesday's plans to bomb Brussels' airport and metro.
NEWS
March 19, 2016 | By Trudy Rubin, Columnist
SULAYMANIYAH, Iraq - The Kurds of Syria announced on Thursday that they are setting up a federal region - a move that could help defeat ISIS in the heart of its caliphate in the Syrian city of Raqqa. Of course, the Assad regime denounced the move. But so did the U.S.-backed Syrian opposition, while a State Department spokesman also expressed disapproval. Having just visited the Syrian Kurdish region (known as Rojava) - and just interviewed one of Rojava's top leaders, Salih Muslim - I think the naysayers are mistaken.
NEWS
March 7, 2016 | By Trudy Rubin, Columnist
Suddenly the Kurds are at the center of the universe. Well, not exactly. But the Kurds are now at the center of the struggle against ISIS. This is why I am heading to Erbil, the capital of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region, to look at how and whether ISIS can be rolled back. The Kurds are a Mesopotamian people, now numbering 25 million to 35 million, whose mountainous lands cover parts of four Middle Eastern countries - Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran. The Kurds were denied their own homeland after the breakup of the Ottoman Empire, and their struggles for autonomy or statehood reflect the splintering of many states in the region.
NEWS
March 5, 2016 | By Trudy Rubin, Columnist
As the 2016 campaign grows ever more grotesque, consider this: The next U.S. president will still be confronting an ISIS caliphate in Syria and Iraq when he or she takes office. Hint: "Bomb the s- out of them" (the mantra for you-know-who, as well as his Texas opponent) won't suffice to destroy the jihadis. Even if a serious candidate wins, the new president will still face an unholy ISIS mess. Here are three key things about the struggle for Syria that any presidential wanna-be should keep in mind: One. Contrary to popular wisdom, the future of Syria and the fractured Mideast will be shaped on the battlefield, not at the negotiating table.
NEWS
February 29, 2016 | By Trudy Rubin, Columnist
We've entered an era in which strongmen are in vogue and democracy is taking a hit worldwide. So it's really depressing in this dismal election season to watch how oblivious the leading GOP candidate is to the threats posed by authoritarian rulers. It's equally depressing to watch the GOP - in the battle over replacing Justice Antonin Scalia - undermine the institutional protections that shield us from this global trend. In the last, most raucous Republican debate, Donald Trump said the Middle East would be better off "if we had Saddam Hussein and we had [Moammar]
NEWS
February 12, 2016 | By Trudy Rubin, Columnist
Vladimir Putin seems to be the only leader who knows what he's doing in Syria. While the Obama team was desperately pursuing a diplomatic solution to the conflict, Putin was busy with more practical matters: cementing his proxy Bashar al-Assad in power by military force. Backed by indiscriminate Russian airpower, Syrian troops and foreign fighters trained by Iran have nearly encircled Syria's second-largest city, Aleppo, a key rebel base. At Thursday's talks in Munich, the United States, Russia and other powers agreed on a vague "cessation of hostilities" - not a formal ceasefire - that supposedly will take place in a week.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 6, 2016 | By Peter Dobrin, CLASSICAL MUSIC CRITIC
It is becoming accepted wisdom that art must be about more than just art. We now expect art to relate to realms outside itself - as a social truth-teller, lens to social injustice, or tool for "activating" civic spaces. I'm not sure where this leaves art for art's sake, since art can settle scores on behalf of humanity only sometimes. And who could have looked into the hearts of anyone in the room Tuesday night, when clarinetist Kinan Azmeh and visual artist Kevork Mourad teamed up for Home Within ?
NEWS
January 28, 2016
By David Inserra The Justice Department recently announced that two individuals in separate cases in Texas and California are being charged with supporting terrorism. Both came to the United States through the refugee system (from Iraq and Syria), but it's important to note their differences: One suspect seems to have been radicalized here in the United States, while the other was already radicalized when he was admitted. Both of these cases are troubling, but for two different reasons.
NEWS
January 25, 2016 | DEUTSCHE PRESSE-AGENTUR
BEIRUT - At least 29 civilians were killed Saturday in airstrikes targeting areas under the control of Islamic State in eastern Syria, a monitoring group said. Jets believed to be Russian struck Khsham are on the eastern outskirts of Deir al-Zour province, said the head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdel- Rahman. Those deaths bring to at least 73 the number of civilians killed since Friday in airstrikes in the province, according to the Britain-based observatory.
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