It is hard to know what in this piece is designed to drive a wedge in the new Israeli/Syrian dialogue and what spells real trouble in terms of a rapidly deteriorating relationship between the United States and Russia. We may be seeing the undermining of the real possibility of peace between Syria and Israel. There is a march of folly, from Georgia’s move on South Ossetia, to Russia’s naked aggression, to the successful neo-conservative strategy of alienating everyone and anyone for eight years, including Russia (Did Poland really need an ABM defense right now? Is that what is going to make them safer?). It seems that reactionary forces in the United States may get their wish for a world in conflict that will push frightened American voters–and Israeli voters–in their direction once again. It is true that Russia has been headed in an anti-democratic direction for a long time, but …
Read Alex and Qifa’s important analysis of Syria’s next steps, especially if it wants to neutralize its dangerous conflict with Saudi Arabia, and if it wants to continue its positive momentum as a regional player. And note further down Alex’s important responses to Joe M.’s cogent critiques. Alex writes some interesting words of advice:
In politics, the tail may indeed often wag the dog, but grass-roots support never hurt a political cause. Syria’s reputation in journalistic, academic, NGO, policy, and think tank circles is among the worst in the region, this despite the fact that her neighbors are hardly a confederation of Jeffersonian democracies. The extent to which this reputation is justified remains a hot topic, about which people can agree or disagree. However, there is no doubt about the fact that the Syrian government — historically — hasn’t done itself any favors in the publicity department. By accelerating reforms
James Denselow writes of the horrible conditions of refugees inside and outside Iraq, 4 million of them, including minorities inside Iraq with no militia to protect. This includes Palestinians, of course, who, already living in horrifying camps, have been beaten and tortured by Iraqi police.
As the violence against Palestinians in Iraq continues, the number of refugees in al-Waleed camp has increased to more than 1,700 today. They live in conditions totally unsuited to extended human habitation. Hazards include an extremely harsh physical environment, extreme temperatures (+50 C to sub-zero) outbreaks of fire amongst the tents, accidents caused by passing trucks and infestation of snakes and rats. Residents of this camp are assisted by UNHCR’s Iraqi Operation Unit in Amman and aid agencies such as Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP). Unlike the Palestinians in the al-Tanf no-man’s land camp they suffer of a severe lack of protection as they are