[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
L`Occident reviendra inévitablement au bercail syrien / TENDANCES DE L’ORIENT Ghaleb Kandil, on the measures taken by European governments to track down the foreign fighters coming back to their countries after fighting in Syria.
What Do You Miss Most? Syrian Refugees Respond “In the course of interviews this summer with those displaced by violence and war, we asked people from Syria who had fled into Jordan and Lebanon, “What do you miss most?” Below are some of their responses.” A piece by Rochelle Davis and Abbie Taylor
EX-CIA DIRECTOR: Bashar Assad Win May Be Syria`s `Best Option` Michael Hayden says it is the best of “three very very ugly possible outcomes.”
Showdown at Bab al-Hawa Arond Lund, on the various narratives that emerged after Bab al-Hawa was taken over by the Islamic Front, an incident that seems to suggest the increasing rift between this group and the Supreme Military Council.
Syrian Refugees Agonize Under the Snow and SANA Publishes Photos of Plying Kids The situation is especially bad in northern Lebanon, where refugees live in tents and rarely have access to proper heating.
9 more Syrian children die from cold
“Al-Qaeda’s Governance Strategy in Raqqa,” by Chris Looney, who argues that “since its takeover of Raqqa in May, ISIS has employed a governance strategy that has focused on solidifying its rule through intimidation, creating an economy of dependence, and seeking to integrate eastern Syria with its strongholds in Iraq.”
In Syria, no war is righteous and no weapon is honourable Mohammed Habash writes “I am not trying to present another lamentation over the hardships of Syrians. As a former member of the parliament, I am addressing my friends with whom I worked towards building a secure and stable country. I urge them to come clean with themselves and do what it takes to avoid further killings. It is by now clear that the bloodiest war machine can’t muffle a nation’ cry for freedom and that violence only begets violence.”
Whose sarin? Seymour Hersh argues that the US government closed its eyes on precious evidence suggesting that the attack on Eastern Ghouta last August might have been perpetrated by Al-Qaeda-related groups, not the Syrian regime.
Sy Hersh`s Chemical Misfire Eliott Higgins, also known as Brown Moses, responds to Hersh saying “Hersh is apparently unaware that there`s a growing body of evidence that answers these questions. Much of that evidence comes from the Syrian military itself -- and it very strongly suggests that it was Assad`s cronies, not the rebels, who carried out the Aug. 21 attack.”
Retour sur une expérience historique : la crise syrienne en perspective A crucial read by Isabelle Longuenesse and Cyril Roussel that revisits the factors leading to the uprising and that offers avenues for thinking about the country`s reconstruction.
Dynamics and Prospects for the Syrian revolutionary process Joseph Daher argues that “this Geneva II conference has the same objective than the previous one and of other so called “peace” conferences or solutions for Syria: reach an agreement between the Assad regime and a section of the opportunist and bourgeois opposition linked to the West and the Gulf monarchies.”
How do Kurds join Al Nusrah in Syria – and who are they? Momen Zellmi and Harem Karem write that “a number of Kurds from KR have travelled to Syria for jihad with Al Nusrah. This report sheds light on how it all started, the jihad recruitment process and route taken, and it includes profiles of some of those who have recently died fighting alongside Al Nusrah.”
Out and Down in Syria`s Civil War Haley Bobseine on the fate of the gay community in Syria.
Internal splintering of Syrian rebel groups leads U.S., U.K. to suspend aid A conversation with Joshua Landis and Murhaf Jouejati
From Ceasefire to Stability - by Jeff Krentel and William B. Taylor They contend that “there are several drivers of insecurity in Syria that must be addressed, if peace is to be achieved”, including sectarian polarization, regionalization and border security, and civilian security and the rule of law.
Damascus Declaration Presents Roadmap for Peaceful Solution “The Damascus Declaration has proposed a roadmap for an integrated political solution in Syria to move to a civilian, democratic and pluralistic system”, which can be read in English on the Syrian Observer website.
The Syria Revolutionaries’ Front Aron Lund provides detailes on the creation of a new military alliance on December 9, “the Syria Revolutionaries’ Front (SRF, not to be confused with an unrelated, defunct alliance of the exact same name). According to the SRF’s first statement, it includes fourteen different factions”
Aga Khan urges Syrians to seek peace through dialogue
Uncertain Future for the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood’s Political Party Yezid Sayigh and Raphael Lefevre on the formation of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood`s political party “the National Party for Justice and the Constitution. Known by its acronym, Waad—“promise” in Arabic—the party is meant to represent the Brotherhood, currently in exile, in an eventual democratic transition.”
Where Will All the Jihadis Go? Qifa Nabki suggests that the Geneva talks might hardly change the trajectory of the Syrian war considering the increased presence of extremist fighters.
Deïr ez-Zor, à l’est de la Syrie. Des islamistes, des tribus et du pétrole… Frantz Glasman offers a detailed account of developments in Deir Ezzor, a city in the eastern part of the country whose media coverage has remained largely neglected.
The Kurdish PUK’s Syria Policy Wladimir Van Wilgenburg takes a closer look at “Syria policies of the PUK, which is led by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and based in the northeastern Iraqi Kurdish town of Sulaymaniyah. Its favored party in Syria is the Kurdish Democratic Progressive Party in Syria, led by Hamid Darwish.”
Stop the War conference: a one-eyed version of events in Syria Amr Salahi says “all in all, this conference was a sad statement of what the Stop the War Coalition has become. In order to fit events into its supposedly ‘anti-imperialist’ worldview in which no one claiming to be opposed to the United States can do any wrong, StWC is willing to twist facts beyond recognition, and indulge fantastical conspiracy theories.”
Why Syria’s Islamic Front is bad news for radical groups Hassan Hassan argues 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.”
Unforgiving siege and bombardment: if children do not die, they suffer Soad Khibya on the daily lives of children in Eastern Ghouta, a Damascus suburb under siege since October 2012
The testimony of activist Razan Zaitouneh who has remained in Syria and has just been kidnapped by armed masked men in Douma last week.
Film taking aim at Saudi monarchy opens in Syria Bassem Aji and Bassem Mroue report on this “English-language movie that depicts the founder of the monarchy as a bloodthirsty womanizer.”
“Terrorist Groups Are Displacing Kurdish People” Reporting from Qamishli, Karlos Zurutuza speaks with Redur Khalil, “ 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.”
SYRIA: Who are Assad’s fascist supporters? Leila Shrooms says “Some of these groups have a history of support for the Assad regime but recently the support has been more visible. Fascist groups from Europe have traveled to Syria in solidarity with Syria’s tyrant and to carry out what they call `fact-finding missions`.”
Four civil rights activists kidnapped in Douma “A group of armed masked men raided the Violations Documentation Center in Syria (VDC) in the city of Douma in Rif Dimashq, yesterday night. The militants kidnapped the members of the center who have been identified as Razan Zaitouneh, Wael Hamada, Nazem Al-Hamadi and Samira Al-Khalil in addition to vandalizing the center`s contents.”
Arts and Social Media
Jihad Selfies: These British Extremists in Syria Love Social Media A piece on the lavish lifestyles of extremists fighting in Syria, and who now occupy houses of the citizens who have fled.
Statement of the Revolutionary Left Current regarding the arrest of activists of the Violations Documentation Center in Syria
Statement of the LCC regarding the arrest of activists of the Violations Documentation Center in Syria, including Razan zaitouna “We the Local Coordination Committees (LCC) Condemns this act and its perpetrators and hold them direct responsibility for any harm may affect them and remember that today is the International Day of Human Rights, which has consistently our activists to work on it throughout the years of the Revolution and demand that the perpetrators of this act to disclose their fate and return them to their place of work immediately and unconditionally.”
A statement by the Violation Documentation Center (VDC) and the Local Development and Small Projects Support Office (LDSPS) regarding the kidnapping of activists Razan Zeitouneh, Samira Khalil, Wael Hamada and Nazim Hamadi
Syria`s Rebel Press Is Fighting Back Against Jihadists On the fate of ANA news agency following the kidnapping of one of their journalists and the raiding of their offices in Raqqa.
Syria`s Rebel Press Is Fighting Back Against Jihadists
ISIS Video Series One of the many propagandist videos produced by ISIS
Policy and Reports
Syria Regional Refugee Response A data sheet prepared by the UNHCR
Fortress Europe: Syrian refugee shame exposed An Amnesty International report on various countries` treatment of Syrian refugees trying to reach Europe.
Economy and Agriculture
Syrian conflict opens new trade routes Tania Kramer writes: “The conflict in Syria led Israel to open its roads to the trucks. Their official destination is Jordan, but everyone here knows that the goods will be taken on to Arab countries that have no diplomatic relations with Israel.”
Reconstruction of Syria: A War in Waiting Adnan Abdulrazek says “Those who claim to help the Syrian people find stability and replace their war-damaged homes with new and modern housing, may appear innocent. But the Syrian person can easily look deeper to reveal they in fact contribute to the destruction, through loaning, bribing or arming the regime, in a bid to enter the reconstruction market.”
In Ghouta, Beans More Expensive Than Meat
Finance Minister Announces 15-20% Spending Cuts
Syrian Industry Shot by Both Sides Suffers $2.4 Billion Hit
Tales of Hope From Syria - A Fundraiser Dinner
الطريق إلى «جنيف 2»: هل تحترق «الطبخة»؟
Sohaib Anjarini is not optimistic about Geneva 2.
ديموقراطية سوريا... في حمل النير وطقّ الحنك
Abdel Mouine Zreq dismantles the arguments of those who claim that Syria lived a democracy in the 40s and 50s.
أضحوكة الحل السياسي
Samir al-Hassan criticizes the political solution in Syria.
!كل شيء ممكن في التسويات الكبرى للرهانات الصعـبة
Ghassan Melhem on the changing geopolitical structure and the future of the region.
أحلام الإمبراطورية السعودية على أنقاض دمشق
Issam Zayyat on Saudi’s role in the Syrian situation.
«قضايا المشرق | سوريا والعراق: مدخل إلى «اقتصاد اليوم التالي
Alber Dager on neoliberalism after a situation of struggle and the economic program of “the economy of the Day After”.
A skit about the situation in Yarmouk and in memory of the martyr Ahmad Koussa.
«تقرير لسيمور هيرش بعنوان «السارين لمن؟
On Seymour Hersh’s report entitled “The Sarine is for who?”
من وراء صفقات تعليق المساعدات: الدكتور هيثم مناع
Interview with Haytham Manna on the decision by the US and UK to suspend non-lethal aid to Syria
الملف الكردي في كواليس جنيف
On the Kurdish case in Geneva 2.
كلمة الناشطة الحقوقية رزان زيتونة بمناسبة اليوم العالمي لحقوق الانسان 10 12 2013
Razan Zeitouna’s speech during the internation day for human rights.
مقابلة خاصة: ياسين الحاج صالح
Special interview with Yassin al-Hajj Saleh.