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What if al-Assad prevails?

What if al-Assad prevails?

Let’s imagine a world in which Bashar al-Assad wins a military victory, remains in power, and defies the world to deal with him. Because, unfortunately, it appears to be an all too plausible scenario. An  influx of Hezbollah fighters  from Lebanon, and support from Iran’s...

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The empire of Hezbollah

The empire of Hezbollah

Wednesday, 29 May 2013 Octavia Nasr When Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982, I was a teenager, growing up in a peaceful household that was neither political nor sectarian. Although Hezbollah  was born then as a resistance movement to Israel’s presence in Lebanon,...

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Maliki wastes Iraq’s money in Syria and Iran

Maliki wastes Iraq’s money in Syria and Iran

When I stated a few months ago that the Iraqi government’s involvement in Syria was serving the Iranian regime, I did not have enough evidence. I made these comments based on Iraqi-Iranian stories and happenings in Egypt, Lebanon, Gaza and Syria. Today the picture is much clearer and there is...

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Analysis: The road to Syria peace talks

Analysis: The road to Syria peace talks

A proposed conference in Geneva is gaining traction with the US and Russia throwing diplomatic muscle behind the plan. United Nations    New chances that international peace talks will take place in Geneva in the next month hang in the balance of ongoing diplomatic...

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A Syria Strategy for Obama

A Syria Strategy for Obama

This piece is part of " Obama and the Middle East: Act Two ," a series of policy proposals for the president's second term by Washington Institute fellows. The Assad regime's brutal suppression of the Syrian uprising has spurred a humanitarian disaster, with the United Nations now...

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Hezbollah in Syria: Brace for a Long Conflict

Hezbollah in Syria: Brace for a Long Conflict

While Hezbollah’s intervention in Syria is helping Assad regain military foothold in key areas of the country, it promises a more vicious and prolonged sectarian conflict in the longer run. The involvement strongly backed by Iran, could open the door for the West to arm the opposition in...

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With Assad, or without him?

With Assad, or without him?

Russia and Iran will be keen to see Bashar al-Assad step down as soon as his seven-year term is up in 2014,  according  to  Professor Fawaz Gerges , the director of the Middle East centre at the London School of Economics. He said that the way Russia and the United States...

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Syria contagion strikes deep into Lebanon

Syria contagion strikes deep into Lebanon

  Two rockets fired at Hezbollah-controlled southern Beirut bring  Syria 's escalating civil war deeper into the heart of Lebanon and closer to unrestrained regional conflict. The two-year-old conflict in  Syria  has already tumbled into Lebanon's Bekaa Valley,...

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Iraqi Shia fighters warm up to fight in Syria

Iraqi Shia fighters warm up to fight in Syria

A video emerged on Youtube showing a crowd of Iraqi Shia beating their chests and chanting. The video was posted on May 1, another video was posted on the same day .   Some have suggested the video is old and the names of Syrian cities, Deraa and Harasta,...

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Sectarian cleansing in Syria's coastal region?

Sectarian cleansing in Syria's coastal region?

My column* this week in The National discusses the carnage in the Syrian coastal area of Banias over the weekend committed by pro-regime militias, probably led by a Turkish man called Mihraç Ural. Ural is known for activists in the area. He leads a militia, called the Syrian...

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Jihadists warn: Syria-Iraq Al Qaeda unification reflects badly on us

Jihadists warn: Syria-Iraq Al Qaeda unification reflects badly on us

Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, the leader of Al Qaeda franchise in Iraq, dropped a bombshell Monday by announcing that Syria’s Jabhat al-Nusrah and the Islamic State of Iraq were to be united under a new name “Islamic State in Iraq and Sham [Levant] (ISIS)” – which can also be called Al...

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Hizbollah's Ill-Advised Foray Into Syria

Hizbollah's Ill-Advised Foray Into Syria

    Last week, Moaz Al-Khatib recorded a video in which he addressed Hizbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah in relation to the party’s involvement in Syria. Al-Khatib's speech was moving and powerful. But Al-Khatib seemed convinced that Nasrallah was a virtuous person who could...

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What were Al Bouti last words?

What were Al Bouti last words?

In this video, Syria’s Sunni cleric Sheikh Saeed Ramadan Al Bouti gives his last religious seminar in a mosque in Damascus. At 20:10 , a bomb goes off .  In the beginning of his lecture, he says this lesson marks the 200 th lesson in a series about...

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Saudi Arabia takes over from Qatar to solve Syria's crisis

Saudi Arabia takes over from Qatar to solve Syria's crisis

 There seem to be some important developments with regard to the Syrian opposition and regional patronage over the past few days. Saudi Arabia appears to have taken over from Qatar in dealing with the Syrian opposition, as great powers begin to agree on general principles for a...

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Details on Syrian opposition's talks in Turkey

Details on Syrian opposition's talks in Turkey

  The Syrian opposition is holding talks in Turkey to restructure and expand the National Coalition (NC). As I reported earlier this month, the talks follow a visit by   12  members of the NC to Riyadh this month. It’s important to remember here that the Muslim...

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Can Russia and the West End Syria's Chaos

Can Russia and the West End Syria's Chaos

For analysts familiar with the politics of Syria, the country’s descent into chaos amounts to an all-too-predictable pattern. It also parallels what  Rami Makhlouf , a major regime figure and first cousin of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, bluntly announced in an interview with...

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Endgame for the Syrian National Coalition

Endgame for the Syrian National Coalition

Endgame for the Syrian National Coalition   The international conference called for by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to end the conflict in Syria may not actually take place. And if it does, it is unlikely to succeed. At...

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Syrian Opposition Says Khatib Wants to Keep Assad

Syrian Opposition Says Khatib Wants to Keep Assad

 Moaz Al-Khatib, who recently resigned as the leader of Syria’s National Coalition, responded this morning to ‘leaked’ news in Zaman Al Wasl newspaper that alleges he is working on keeping President Bashar Al Assad in power. Background below his statement.  This is...

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