Syria

War on ISIS backfires

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The Coalition campaign to destroy the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has failed to dent the Islamist movement.

Despite thousands of bombing missions by Western warplanes, the Iraqi army and its Syrian counterpart continue to retreat in the face of a few hundred determined fighters.

The Coalition and its allies promised earlier this year that they were about to retake Mosul, Iraq’s second city that fell to ISIS during its lightning offensive last summer. Instead it is the newly rearmed Iraqi army that is once again in retreat.

Iraq and Syria: A war without end

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The Western coalition attacks on Iraq and Syria will only build support for the Islamic State, argues Simon Assaf, as the movement has grown out of the persecution of Sunni Muslims in both countries.

The Coalition-led bombing campaign on Iraq and Syria is being sold as a desperate intervention to push back the Islamic State (IS also known as ISIS and ISIL. In Arabic it is known by its acronym Daesh). The battle for control over the Kurdish-majority Syrian city of Kobane (Ayn al-Arab) is portrayed as a possible turning point in this war.

West charges into Iraqi quagmire

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Syria in rubble

The new rush to war in Iraq and Syria by the West is a dangerous foray back into the quagmire created by its 2003 invasion of Iraq.

US President Barack Obama announced that he has assembled a 50-country coalition to destroy the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and in Syria — IS is also known as Isis and Isil.

This new “coalition of the willing” includes Western allies in the Arab world — Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Bahrain and the UAE — as well as France, which refused to join in the 2003 invasion. Britain is also on board.

Syria: a revolt from below

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Ghayath Naisse argues that the local committees, councils and Free Syrian Army brigades that emerged out of the revolt are a testament to the popular nature of the revolution.

The Co-ordinating Committees (tansiqiyat) are an organisational form for directing the daily struggle of the masses. They are active across Syria, even in areas still controlled by the regime. In every neighbourhood, or every workplace, or small towns and villages, there are a network of committees. These committees work together, and when they cooperate at a neighbourhood, or village level, then they are called a Local Committee. When a number of committees work together, or form a network together, they are called Co-ordinating Committees.

Syria's revolution behind the lines

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Manbij is a poor and rural town of some 200,000 people in north eastern Syria. The city is half an hour's drive from the border with Turkey and the vital Tishrin Dam. It sits in the agricultural hinterland of Aleppo with one of the largest mills in the region, grinding some 500 tonnes of flour a day. Control over Manbij is a strategic prize for the Syrian revolution.

Cameron's Syria debacle

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The US attack on Syria is haunted by the ghost of Iraq.

"It's a bit like being present after a massive explosion. There is broken glass and dust is wafting around everywhere. It will take time for the dust to settle". This is how a senior Tory MP described the mood in the party in the wake of the defeat of the government's motion paving the way for military action on Syria.

Syria: the vultures circle

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There is growing alarm in Israel, the West and its Arab allies at the turn of events in Syria. Barack Obama's administration is divided between those who urgently want to create a Syrian proxy by arming the official Free Syrian Army (FSA), those who advocate direct military intervention, and a growing number who consider Syrian dictator Bashar Assad "the lesser evil".

There is growing alarm in Israel, the West and its Arab allies at the turn of events in Syria, exasperated by a paralysis on how to approach the revolution. Barack Obama's administration is divided between those who urgently want to create a Syrian proxy by arming the official Free Syrian Army (FSA), those who advocate direct military intervention, and a growing number who consider Syrian dictator Bashar Assad "the lesser evil". The recent attempt by Britain and France to lift the embargo in order to arm "friendly forces" was sharply slapped down by its European partners.

Syria's Revolution: bloodied but unbowed

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With the regime of Bashar Assad desperately trying to cling to power, the death toll has risen to 30,000 fighters since Syria's revolution began. Simon Assaf argues that the revolution remains popular, non-sectarian and led by Syrians themselves, despite the claims of some commentators

It is a bitter war that has engulfed Syria - one that has transformed the Arab world's most popular revolution into a struggle that can only end in the defeat of Bashar Assad's regime, or the death of the revolution, and with it any hope of change. At the heart of this revolution is the demand for an end to one-party rule, arbitrary detentions, repression, corruption and poverty. The revolution was born in the poor villages and spread to the vast working class areas of all the major cities.

Friend of the Palestinians?

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Miriyam Aouragh dismisses the claim that a revolution in Syria would be a disaster for the Palestinians

Syria lies at a very sensitive nexus in the Middle East. It borders Israel, a state that poses a very real threat to it. The country lacks it own natural resources, and is dependent on other states economically. US president George Bush described Syria as a "state sponsor of terrorism", and the regime sees itself as standing alone. So it looks to ally with other anti-US and anti-Israel movements, such as Palestinian Hamas and Hezbollah in Lebanon, in order to strengthen its position.

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