Syrian army troops inside the Kweiras air base, east of Aleppo, Syria, Nov. 11, 2015 (SANA photo via AP).
Thanks in large part to Russia’s intervention, the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad has registered a series of important victories against its armed opposition and now seems to be encircling Aleppo, once Syria’s largest city. While the civil war is far from over, the conflict’s current trajectory suggests a regime military victory in the western half of the country. But the United States and other so-called Friends of Syria would do well to consider the implications of what it means to watch from the sidelines while the Russian air force obliterates the Syrian rebels. Set aside the moral stain of [...]
An Indonesian woman with a poster outside a Starbucks cafe attacked by Islamic State militants, Jakarta, Indonesia, Jan. 17, 2016 (AP photo by Achmad Ibrahim).
Attacks earlier this month in Jakarta by Indonesia’s Islamic State affiliate and a claim of allegiance to the jihadi group from a militant collective in the Philippines seem to show the Islamic State’s ascendency in yet another region outside its core operating base in Syria and Iraq. Confounding efforts to contain its global expansion, the Islamic State appears to have an increasing number of territories, or wilayat, and organizations nominally under its authority, amid an uptick in attacks against Western interests carried out at its behest. On this basis, it’s tempting to conclude that the Islamic State’s reach and successful [...]
Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at the Kremlin, Moscow, Russia, Dec. 15, 2015 (AP photo by Sergei Karpukhin).
“You’ve got to fake it till you make it!” Long the refrain of aspiring actors and entrepreneurs who have to pretend to be famous or rich well before they are either, this might also be a good motto for international peacemakers grappling with the Syrian war. This week, diplomats and United Nations officials are supposed to gather in Geneva for talks between the Syrian government and a cluster of opposition groups. It is still not absolutely clear when the conclave will begin. It was meant to start today. Now it looks like it might be Wednesday or later. The meeting [...]
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