Posts Tagged: Syria

The Moonlanding

“I’ll be the first Palestinian woman to land on the moon,” she states with a wry smile. The world – and space – lies at her feet, as in theory it does for children all over the world. But these particular legs are standing on shaky ground. Her legs are in Lebanon, more specifically, they’re… Read more »

White Helmets in the Dark Night

In the long dark night that is the Syrian nightmare, the White Helmets have become the only ray of light. “In an earlier PRIO blog post, Erica Chenoweth observed that “there are really two types of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates – elites (or elite-led institutions) and ordinary people.” This year, for example, the Colombian nominees… Read more »

An Alarm from Aleppo

At dawn on 23 September, Syrian and Russian fighter jets roared over eastern Aleppo, bringing new death and destruction to the city’s besieged inhabitants. The attacks followed several days of relative quiet, but the ensuing days and nights were worse than ever. The chaos makes it difficult to determine exactly how many were killed, but… Read more »

Syria Travellers and Security Threats

Photo credit: Jayel Aheram

Foreign fighters returning from Syria have emerged as a looming security threat in many European countries, so also in Norway. As well as preventive measures against radicalization and mobilization by the Islamic State, there have been calls for the withdrawal of citizenship and deportation of returned foreign fighters. This raises a number of questions. Are Norwegians more secure if we send potential terrorists… Read more »

Ceasefire as a Fig Leaf for Carnage and Confusion

Just a couple of weeks ago, Aleppo was seen as a crucial battlefield in the Syrian civil war and was compared with Sarajevo as a tragedy of intolerable proportions not only by hard-hitting journalists but also by such responsible politicians as Michael Fallon, UK Defence Secretary. Yet presently, this devastated city is portrayed as the… Read more »

Governments Don’t Outsource Atrocities to Militias. Here’s What Really Happens

Refugees are fleeing Syria in such astonishing numbers because armed groups continue to target civilians with violence. That’s what we heard in September when the U.N. Human Rights Council discussed the most recent report of the Commission of Inquiry on Syria. The commission’s chair, Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, made a plea for international action to end… Read more »

What is the Russian Military good for?

The Russian military intervention in Syria—launched in a great rush just over a month ago — came as a surprise; perhaps not as shocking as the swift occupation and annexation of Crimea, but a surprise nevertheless. But does Russia’s ability to surprise and to project force in Syria prove, as Garret Campbell claims, that Western… Read more »

When Internet Access Becomes a Weapon

Social Media has rightly been celebrated as an empowering tool for ordinary citizens to mobilize against repressive rulers, and make marginalized voices heard. But a crucial question remains unanswered: why should power-hungry states, with de facto control over access to the Internet, impassively concede to defeat?   The simple answer is: they do not. Behind the… Read more »

Russia’s Syrian Entanglement: Can the West Sit Back and Watch?

For observers who are confined by the boundaries of conventional strategic sense, every day of Russia’s military intervention in Syria brings fresh surprises. Indiscriminate strikes against Turkey-backed and CIA-trained opposition groups (which could not possibly be mistaken for ISIS) were followed by deliberate violations of Turkey’s airspace, and then by the spectacular cruise missile salvo… Read more »