[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 firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday night of every week.]
Regional and International Perspectives
Syria`s Assad calls Mandela`s life a lesson to tyrants in an ironic statement found on the president’s Facebook page.
Iran Deal May Encourage More Humble Turkish Foreign Policy The nuclear agreement between Iran and P5+1 may be a wake-up call for Turkey, who might reconsider its own foreign policy after its failures in Syria, writes Karabekir Akkoyunlu.
Turkey after the Iran Deal Joost Lagendijk argues the real test for Turkey’s foreign policy will be how it copes with the effects of the Iran deal on Syria.
Rojava (the Place Where the Kurds` Sun Sets) Doğu Ergil comments on the PYD (Democratic Union Party)’s announcement that it will declare autonomous rule in Azaz, Tel Abyad, and Jarabulus in Syria.
Iran’s secret night flights to arm Syria’s Assad revealed Phil Sands writes: “Iran provides military support to President Bashar Al Assad by way of regular clandestine flights between Tehran and Damascus, according to a Syrian official with knowledge of air traffic between the two capitals.”
SNC Spokesman: ‘We Should Focus on the the Bigger Enemy’ An interview with Khaled Saleh, the director of the Syrian National Coalition’s Media office in Istanbul
What Syria’s Government and Opposition Will Bring to Geneva An interview with Nadim Shehadi, associate fellow in the Middle East and North Africa program at Chatham House.
La Russie sur tous les fronts Alexis Varende on the current extent of Russia’s involvement in Syria.
Out of Syria, into a European Maze Jim Yardley provides an extensive report on Syrian refugees trying to reach Europe by boat.
Another Step Towards Kurdish-Turkish Peace Amanda Paul argues that Erdoğan and Barzani are united by their “sour relations with Damascus opposition to Syrian Kurdish autonomy.”
Turkey Backing off Support for Jihadists on Syria Border Amberin Zaman reports that “Turkey’s fading support for the jihadists is palpable along the border.”
GUEST POST: The History of Jihadism in Finland and An Early Assessment of Finnish Foreign Fighters in Syria Juha Saarinen emphasizes the need to study the development of radical Islam in Finland
Geneva II: prospects for a negotiated peace in Syria Richard Reeve writes: ”while the parties and their regional backers remain far apart in their expectations, international judicial mechanisms have potential importance as leverage towards peace, in restraining the behaviour of combatant parties and eventually pursuing post-conflict justice.”
Brokering Geneva II Andrew Bowen says that “the Geneva process represents the best opportunity for both states to strategically re-engage with the civil war in Syria and pursue a political solution.”
Max Blumenthal on Syria and the Peace Movement Max Blumenthal speaks with Danny Postel, Associate Director of the University of Denver`s Center for Middle East Studies & co-editor of "The Syria Dilemma." They discussed Blumenthal’s reporting from “Syrian refugee camps, his resignation from the newspaper Al Akhbar over its Syria coverage, and the US peace movement`s response to the Syrian conflict.”
Questions surround the fate of missing Syrian nuns Michael Weiss reports, based on an Al Jazeera “video yesterday showing a dozen Greek Orthodox Syrian and Lebanese nuns thought to have been kidnapped by Islamist rebels, including the al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, on Monday from the Mar Taqla convent in the ancient Christian town of Maalula. “
Why Aren’t You the Minister of Interior? An Interview With Ammar al-Qurabi by Aron Lund
Israel and the Syrian War: An Interview With Eyal Zisser by Aron Lund
What About the Druze? Aron Lund says “most Druze appear to fear the opposition more than they do the regime. The threat of sectarian clashes with Sunni rebels in Deraa looms large, and there have been instances of attacks and kidnappings between the communities.”
Raja al-Nasser Arrested Aron Lund writes: “The arrest of Nasser provides a helpful reminder of the fundamentally intolerant and authoritarian nature of the Assad regime. But it is even more interesting that the government would seek to prevent a conversation between the National Coordination Body and its own ally, the Russian government.”
The road from Iraq to Damascus: Iraqis fight to the death to defend Shia shrines - they show less zeal for Assad`s regime Patrick Cockburn reports.
Senior Member of the SMC Defects to ISIS and Details Foreign Involvement in the Oppostion Brown Moses on “Saddam al-Jamal, the former leader of the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army`s Eastern Front, who recently joined the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham.”:
Syrie. Que nous dit la composition du gouvernement provisoire d’Ahmed Tomeh ? (1/2) Ignace Leverrier profiles Ahmed Tomeh.
A blend of laws keep the lid on crime in Syria’s Deraa province Phil Sands and Suha Maayeh write: “Among civilians, the courts appear to have won a certain amount of respect for their use of a mixture of Islamic, civil and tribal law to administer justice, and for helping prevent rebel-held areas from sliding into a lawless chaos.”
The Work of Fabrice Balanche on Alawites and Syrian Communitarianism reviewed by Nikolaos van Dam
Protesting an Assad apologist Many activists, scholars and writers are opposed to providing Mother Superior Agnès Mariam de la Croix with a platform for her ideas. Many consider her to be an “Assad apologist,” especially after who denied the chemical weapons attack on Ghouta last August.
A Brotherhood Vision for Syria Tam Hussein speaks with former Syrian Muslim Brotherhood leader Ali Sadreddine Al-Bayanouni “about the Syrian crisis, the role Islamist groups are playing on the ground, and his hopes for his country after the revolution.”
Four Civil Wars, Unjust Regime, and Regional Powers Sending their Fighters Badirkhan Ali writes: “ if we were to un-link the "bad" meaning from the term "civil war"; if we were to completely erase it from the Arabic language and from the Syrian`s minds, especially from the minds of those who refuse the term "civil war" (taking to a consideration that it is more comfortably said in other foreign languages), we could then call what is going on in Syria a ‘civil war’.”
The War Against Children Janine Di Giovanni on the trauma experienced by children throughout the war.
Syria, “Revolution,” and the Left Daniel Luban writes: “opposing outside military intervention does not require us to adopt the attitude that there are no moral stakes to the war, or that the sides are equally culpable. The readiness with which many leftists have moved to the latter positions has been dismaying.”
Syria’s Most Powerful Opposition Groups Unite Nicholas A. Heras discusses “the formation of al-Jabhat al-Islamiya (Islamic Front) on November 22 with the stated purpose of uniting their disparate fighting groups into one coalition.”
Rebels Consolidating Strength in Syria: The Islamic Front An analysis by Aron Y. Zelin says this new alliance “affirms the troubles Washington will have setting policy in Syria going forward.”
Why Syria’s Islamic Front is bad news for radical groups Hassan Hassan suggests that “the Islamic Front and like-minded Salafi groups should be seen as an opportunity to counter Al Qaeda rather than a threat to Syria’s future. Additionally, it is worth mentioning that rank-and-file fighters are not completely in sync with their leaders in terms of ideology, including members of Jabhat Al Nusra.”
Full English Text of the Islamic Front’s Founding Declaration
Disillusionment Grows Among Syrian Opposition as Fighting Drags On Anne Barnard reports from Damascus, and says that “people have turned their backs on the opposition for many different reasons after two and a half years of fighting, some disillusioned with the growing power of Islamists among rebels, some complaining of corruption, others just exhausted with a conflict that shows no signs of abating.”
Kurds of Damascus: Trapped Between Secession and Integration Ahmad Hassan reports from Damascus
A Shabiha Visits with His Mother Akil Hussein reports from Aleppo.
Reporting Syria: An Interview With Rania Abouzeid “In this first installment of "Media on the Margins," Malihe Razazan speaks with award winning journalist Rania Abouzeid. Since 2011, Rania has been reporting on the Syrian uprising and the subsequent civil war.”
Bread and Tea Campaign to Relieve Hassakeh “The campaign was named `Bread and Tea`because they are the only two materials which the residents of Hassakeh still have. Bread is now hand-made and bakeries do not cover a quarter of the city. Tea, meanwhile, has become very expensive, at around 1,500 Syrian Pounds per kilogram ($11).”
Non-stop Gains by the FSA in Eastern and Western Ghouta (George) “Sabra calls on the political blocs ‘to focus on the material and tangible gains and military operations to ensure tightening the noose on the regime`s forces’”
Alep, la guerre de trop pour la plus vieille ville au monde A program with Jean-Pierre Filiu as well as a humanitarian worker who came back from a four-month assignment with Doctors Without Borders.
Arts and Social Media
Protest in Yarmouk Footage of recent peaceful protests in Damascus’ Yarmouk camp.
Photoblog: Qamishli, the City of Black Gold Looking for Fuel A photo gallery by Damascus Bureau correspondent Bakhtiar Hassan.
Demanding an End to the Crimes and Abuses towards Journalists and Media Workers in Syria “The following, is a statement jointly signed by Syrian media, Syrian NGOs, leading international NGOs and high profile personalities.”
Policy and Reports
Syrian Kurds celebrate war-torn country`s first civil marriage
Christians Under Pressure in QamishliliCarl Drott says “many of Qamishli’s Christians no longer see a future in the country, torn apart by war, religious strife, and economic collapse. Those who can will sell their homes to pay the $1,000 fee for a smuggler to take them to Europe; others go to Turkey or Lebanon.”
Dix médecins et infirmiers assassinés par le Hezbollah dans le Qalamoun, selon un militant syrien Ten doctors and nurses were allegedly killed by Hezbollah in Qalamoun.
Playing with Fire: Why Private Gulf Financing for Syria’s Extremist Rebels Risks Igniting Sectarian Conflict at Home An extensive report by Elizabeth Dickinson
Economy and Agriculture
Scarcity and Bribery Raise the Price of Gas: Hama’s “Regime” Gas Becomes “Free” in Kfar Nabel
Finance Minister Announces 15-20% Spending Cuts
الكارثة السورية بالأرقام والجداول
Nebras Dalloul about a report that has been produced by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, which tries to present the losses of the Syrian people “throughout over thirty-seven months of armed conflict”.
خدم النظام الموضوعيين
Munther Khaddam writes a response to an article published on Orient Net by Humam al-Bunni, in which the latter equates the Syrian National Coordination Body with the regime and ISIS because, as al-Bunni claims, the SNCB has allegedly decided to boycott the channel.
خيمة جنيف تعمق تشرذم المعارضة السوري
Haytham Mannaa on RT discusses Geneva 2.
جلسة حوارية بمشاركة هيئة التنسيق الوطنية- مكتب القاهرة
The Syrian National Coordination Body in Cairo joins in a dialogue session with other members of the opposition, intellectuals and journalists.
مؤتمر «جنيف 2» وآراء الناس
Munther Khaddam on public opinion about Geneva 2 and how the chance of a political solution, as the author claims, has changed the deep polarization in the opinions of the people in Syria.
الأمم المتحدة: مؤتمر "جنيف 2" سيعقد في 22 يناير
The UN announces the date of “Geneva 2” on the 22nd of January.
بتاريخ 11/11/2013 CNBC لقاء مع الأستاذ عارف دليلة في برنامج الليلة اليوم على قناة
A transcription of an interview with Aref Dalileh on CNBC.
الأزمة السورية: فقر أكثر... ثراء أكثر
Ziad Ghusn on the political economy of al-Baath that created a situation of corruption, and the history that is repeating itself today.
المعارضة السورية: من الذرائعية الخيالية إلى جحيم الثورة
Salam Abboud criticizes factions of the “opposition” and the intervention of outside players such as Qatar in turning the “revolution of freedom” into a “hell of revolutions."
الكاريزما والكفاءة والكرامة
Haytham Mannaa on the ins and outs of Geneva 2.