[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Syria and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Syria Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week`s roundup to email@example.com by Monday night of every week.]
Regional and International Perspectives
Unifying Syria’s Rebels: Saudi Arabia Joins The Fray Yezid Sayigh argues that “the recent announcements reflect realignment rather than unification, and they reveal a competitive logic driven by the expectation of external funding that presages greater political polarization and deepening division.”
As Syria disintegrates, so too does Iraq Patrick Cockburn claims that “the civil war in Syria is reigniting the sectarian civil war in Iraq.”
Lebanon: Jumblatt Shifts Syria Line Firas Choufi argues that “the war in Syria intensified, Jumblatt went too far in his propaganda against the Syrian regime. He tried hard to instigate the Druze of Syria against Assad and to persuade soldiers to defect from the Syrian army and join the armed opposition. He provided shelter to several Syrian dissidents and deserting army officers in Chouf and Aley.”
The selfish heartless argument for keeping Syrians in Egypt Mahmoud Salem asks: “so why are we opposed to naturalizing the Syrian refugees again? The truth is because we like to always shoot ourselves in the foot. Immigration once made this country great, and it has made the US the country that it is, and we refuse to allow it, even when it directly benefits us.”
Five Reasons US Should Change Policies Toward Syria’s Kurds by Amberin Zaman
Syria: “A Missile from the Sea” Strikes Near Latakia
Syria: Who Will Deter Israel? Following the alleged Israeli attack, Ibrahim al-Amine says “The key question is: What is the role of the Resistance axis – which includes Hezbollah and Iran alongside Syria – in deterring further Israeli attacks against one of its key components?”
Region Slowly Turns to Diplomacy in Syria Crisis Ibrahim al-Amin claims that “undoubtedly, the overall environment in the region – with the exception of Saudi Arabia – has begun to change, particularly given the recent opening of diplomatic channels between Iran and the United States. But it will take time for the rosy scenarios that some are drawing to become reality.”
In Syrian civil war, emergence of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria boosts rival Jabhat al-Nusra Loveday Morris on the tension between Nusra and ISIS
A Wedding Dress in Zaa’tari Rania Abouzeid reports on a wedding in Zaa’tari refugee camp.
Zaatari refugee camp: Rebuilding lives in the desert A BBC piece offering a visual to better understand the extent of the refugee situation in Jordan.
Iraqi Shiites Join Syria War Omar al-Jaffal claims that “the source transports fighters to Iran, where they receive weapons training in Iranian training centers. The fighters are then transported to Lebanon and on to Syria with Hezbollah’s help.”
Syria Fires Official Who Tried to Broker Peace Anne Barnard on Syria dismissing its deputy prime minister Qadri Jamil.
Assad can`t leave without guarantees - Medvedev
Who`s Out to Get Turkey`s Spymaster? Semih İdiz argues that the international pressure on Turkish Intelligence head Hakan Fidan may be a sign of concern over a shift in Erdoğan’s policies toward Syria and Iran.
Arab Streets not Turkish Playground Commenting on the release of two Turkish pilots after seventy-one days of being held hostage in Lebanon, Murat Yetkin argues that Syria is no longer a playground for Turkish diplomacy.
Is Turkish Foreign Policy Successful? Evaluating the details of the release of the Turkish pilots, Yusuf Kanlı argues there ought to be nothing to celebrate about the capability of Turkish foreign policy.
Turkey Fires at Al-Qaeda in Syria Nihat Ali Özcan unpacks the symbolic meaning of Turkey’s first direct and targeted fire on the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).
Turkey Readjusts North Syria Strategy Sami Kohen argues that the firing of artillery rounds by the Turkish army at the ISIS was a consequence of international accusations.
Fears of Fraying US-Turkey Ties An interview with Steven Cook about the future of Turkey’s relations and potential alignment with the US in the wake of the US’s refusal of military intervention in Syria.
Beyond civil resistance: the case of Syria Maged Mandour argues that “civil resistance is not sufficient to bring down a ruthless regime, as one can see in Bahrain or in Yemen. But dismantling the ideological base of the regime is an essential first step before commencing with an outright attack on the state, whether violent or non-violent.”
Ruthless regimes not impervious to civil resistance: A reply to Maged Mandour
Stephen Zunes and Jack Duvall respond saying “Maged Mandour’s article on openDemocracy, “Beyond Civil Resistance: The Case of Syria”, argues that civil resistance has been marginalized in the Syrian insurrection because it doesn’t work against “ruthless” regimes. But history doesn’t support that conclusion.”
Militias for the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood? Raphael Lefevre and Ali El Yassir explore “the extent to which Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood has gone to rebuild its military influence—and the serious challenges this step might hold for the group in terms of its image and own unity.”
L’insurrection syrienne et la guerre des cartes Fabrice Balanche on how maps are being used to push forward different agenda and fuel the war of information on Syria
Who are the rebels in Syria? A translated article from Italian journalist Francesca Borri
Assassination Attempt Against Ali Haidar The Syrian Observer translates this update from Baladna, a private pro-government newspaper that reported the assassination attempt of the Minister of National Reconciliation.
Partitioning Syria Gary C. Gambill explores the question of partition.
Syria`s multipolar war Charles Lister and Phillip Smyth write: “as such, ideologically and practically speaking, the Syrian conflict has come to represent one involving (1) elements within the Syrian government; (2) Lebanese Hezbollah units and foreign fighter-dominated Shiite militias; (3) small remnants of genuinely nationalist and sometimes secular opposition rebel units; (4) Muslim Brotherhood-type rebel groups; (5) Salafist groups; and (6) al-Qaeda affiliates and similarly aligned units.”
Syria: women, peacework, and the lesson from Bosnia Madeleine Reiss suggests that “the something missing is the voices of those who have the greatest stake in preserving peace in their countries, who benefit not at all by the use of violence: its women, not exclusively and not all women but there is a gender dimension to conflict which has been given rhetorical recognition by the Security Council in its numerous resolutions on Women Peace and Security, but which has never found expression in either conflict prevention nor negotiation to end them.”
Robert Fisk`s Comedy of Errors Brian Whitaker examines one of Fisk’s latest articles.
Give Syria Peace, Not a Process Rime Allaf writes : “real friends of Syria would break Assad`s siege, neutralise his air power, and convince Syrian people and revolutionaries alike that there is hope in Geneva, that a transition is imminent, that the nightmare is ending. Anything less than that merely pushes Syrians into further despair, and the region into even greater instability.”
Muhammad Idrees Ahmad: On Monsterphilia and Assad “It is no accident that Syrians have received such little sympathy. Western citizens usually sympathize with perfect victims; moral ambiguity dissuades many. Such ambiguities have been reinforced by the regime’s sophisticated PR campaign and the dog whistles of friendly ideologues. Together they have heaped insult upon injury and drained the reservoirs of potential sympathy.”
Are Amphetamines Funding The War? Aryn Baker suggests that “as the war drags on, it is all the more likely that Captagon will take on a significant role funding warring parties in the conflict.”
Captagon pills seized at Beirut airport, Syrian arrested The Daily Star reports
Syria, an Open Organ Supermarket The Syrian Observer reports on the phenomena, which is not new but seems to have worsened in recent months.
Proliferation of Weapons in Qamishli Leads to Accidental Killings Vyan Mohammad on accidental killings as a result of the increased circulation of handguns
Assad Army Agrees on a Truce in Waer, Homs The Syrian Observer translates this update from Zaman al-Wasl.
The Free Syrian Army and Armed Kurdish Parties: Perpetual Conflict or Episodic Tension? Raed Khalil reports from Syria’s Tal Abyad.
Meet the Kurdish Female Freedom Fighters of Syria Glen Johnson meets with female fighters from the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Ras al-Ayn.
Hunger Consumes Life in Suburbs of Damascus, Syria Raja Abdulrahim reports on the humanitarian crisis in Muadhamiya.
“Terrorist Groups Are Displacing Kurdish People” Karlos Zurutuza spoke with “Redur Khalil at YPG headquarters in Qamishli in northeast Syria. A former Kurdistan Workers’ Party(PKK) fighter with ten years of experience, Khalil – considered the public face of Kurdish resistance in Syria – has been a senior officer in the YPG since the start of the Syrian war.”
Opposition Activists in Damascus Give Views on Peaceful Solution “Damascus Bureau surveyed the opinions of political activists and members of opposition parties in Damascus on their views on a political solution in Syria.”
Kfar Nubl’s Schools Re-Open Despite Shelling Abdallah Kleido reports on the state of education in Kafranbel.
Syria: War in Qalamoun Didn’t Begin Because It Never Stopped Firas Choufi and Marah Mashi claim that “the much-hyped “Great Battle of Qalamoun” will only take place in the media. While the Syrian army does not deny that it has been mobilizing troops in the vicinity of the Qalamoun district, a Qusayr-like battle is not inevitable. Instead, gradual advances are taking place to spare Qalamoun large-scale devastation.”
Arts and Social Media
ISIS kidnapped Ziad Al-Homsi, Syrian activist and photographer, while he was re-entering Syria from Turkey. According to reports circulating on social media
ISIS "daash" violations in Syria A newly created Facebook page held by some activists and documenting the human rights violations committed by ISIS in Syria.
Sources Reject Media Reports on Defection of Damascus Mufti There are many rumors circulating around social media wanting that the Damascus Mufti defected.
Swede behind Syria arms smuggling Radio Sweden reports on the arms smuggling operations of a former Imam at a prominent mosque in Sweden.
Ammar Abd Rabbo, photoreporter : "la Syrie, une guerre médiatique" On the work and impressions of French-Syrian photoreporter Ammar Abd Rabbo
Syrian Media Activist Assasinated Mohammad Said was a journalist working for Orient News and Al Arabiyya, who, according to Rehab News (translated by the Syrian Observer), was one of the first contributors to cover the events in Aleppo and its countryside.
Syrians download new app that sends them a text… when they are about to be hit by a missile The website was created by a Syrian software engineer and it is called “Aymta” (when).
Wound A small film by Bidayyat’s Wael Kaldo, who says “in this film, I tried to portray the situation and feelings my friend experienced during her work as a nurse in the makeshift hospitals of Syria and the danger that accompanied her in every moment.”
Self-Portrait A short film by Orwa Costa, produced by Bidayyat.
Policy and Reports
UN report on the Destruction of the Chemical Weapons in Syria presented by Ban-Ki Moon on October 28, 2013.
Syria’s CW declaration: One third larger than assumed JP Zanders comments on the report.
Syria`s chemical weapons production facilities destroyed Reuters is reporting that the facilities have been destroyed.
Exclusive: Syria Pushes To Keep Its Chemical Weapons Factories “Syria`s Foreign Minister Walid Muallem has asked international inspectors to spare a dozen of its chemical weapons factories from the wrecking ball, The Cable has learned.”
Syrie. Les silences et les choix du rapport d’HRW sur la « libération de la côte », sources de malaise et d’interrogation Ignace Leverrier responds to the Human Rights Watch report entitled “You Can Still See Their Blood,” which he suggests has omitted crucial details while it overly emphasized others.
Syrie: Un médecin français de MSF témoigne Romain Gitenet, who came back from a two-month mission in Syria, testifies about the worsening humanitarian crisis.
Syrian Coalition: Syrians Say No to Geneva 2 “Louay Safi, official spokesman for the Syrian Coalition ruled out sitting down with Iran at the negotiating table in Geneva 2, citing the ‘non-existence in Geneva 1 and that Iran is part of the problem rather than the solution.’“
Assad`s War of Starvation A statement by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry
Syrian Refugees Now Equal One-Third Of Lebanon’s Population
Ambassador Fred Hof`s Testimony on Syria before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on October 31, 2013
Economy and Agriculture
UPDATE 1-Syria hunts again for rice and sugar in govt tenders “The General Foreign Trade Organisation (GFTO) said it was seeking to buy 276,000 tonnes of white sugar and 135,000 tonnes of white short grain rice in two separate tenders citing extreme urgency.”
Water-for-Electricity Swap Deal Between Army, Rebels The Syrian Observer translates the update posted by Zaman al-Wasl: “The Aleppo Shariah Authority threatened has threatened those living in government-held areas to live without water if the electricity outage continues in rebel-held areas.”
Polio outbreak confirmed in war-torn Syria as vaccination rate falls
The Swedish Institute Study Scholarships (Syria) The Swedish Institute is offering 15 scholarships for Syrians wishing to apply for an MA in Sweden.
A Syrian Wedding (Kindle Single) [Kindle Edition] A book by Nicholas Seeley
حديث في الحوار الوطني
Talal al-Imam on the need for national dialogue in Syria.
ما الخيار الآخر إن رفضنا جنيف - ٢
Wael Assawwah on the alternative if the supreme military command for the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian National Council refuse Geneva 2.
النزعة الشعبوية في المعارضة السورية
Mohammad Sayyed Rasas on the historical opposition to the Syrian regime.
«الكرد في سوريا واستحقاق «جنيف 2
Sherazad Adel al-Yazidi on the decision of the Kurdish National Council to join the Syrian National Coalition, and the political future of the Kurds in Syria.
نظام اللجوء في بلغاريا يصيب السوريين بالاكتئاب
Judy Hilton about the situation of Syrian asylum seekers in Bulgaria.
!الإبراهيمي إذ يبحث عن «معارضة مقنعة»؟
Arib Arrintawi on the search for a “reliable” opposition in Syria and their representatives in Geneva 2.
ايام الائتلاف السوري باتت معدودة وليس ايام الاسد ونظامه
Abdel Bari Atwan writes about the losing hand of the Syrian National Coalition.
معارضة موحّدة في سوريا: كيف؟ ولماذا؟
Rajaa Annasser on the (dis)unity of the Syrian opposition.
معارض سوري: يمكن للمعارضة تقويض النظام في جنيف2 وليس إسقاطه
Louay Hassan of the Currant for the Reconstruction of the Country says that the opposition might be able to limit the oppression of the regime during Geneva 2 but not overthrow it.
النفط السوري المسروق .. موتٌ مقبلٌ من الشرق
Alaa Halabi on the emergence of petrol dealers in Syria and the corruption of the industry in light of the current situation in the country.
لاءات الجربا الثلاث
Areeb Arrintawi criticizes the leader of the Syrian National Coalition, Ahmad al-Jarba, and hist stance on Geneva 2.
تقدم كردي في الجزيرة
Tarek al-Abed on the Kurdish advancement in the East of Syria.
!تركيا تطرد الاستخبارات السعودية
Al-Akhbar reports that Turkey is expelling Saudi intelligence from the country.
قراءة في ألغام مصطلحات «جنيف» وآلياته
Wasim Ibrahim analyzes Geneva 1.
الواقعية السياسية تنتصر أخيراً
Monther Khaddam on the success of the political realities.
واشنطن تستعجل «جنيف 2» .. للحد من الخسائر
Mohammad Al-Balloot writes “Washington rushes “Geneva 2” in order to minimize losses”
أطوار ثقافة خائبة
Najib Nusseir on the stages that Arab culture went through.