Whether one engages with the goal of regime change for reasons of civilian protection or anti-authoritarianism, or a goal of maintaining the state in the name of respect for sovereignty and anti-terrorism, or some other form of rationalization, the effect is the same. The regime in Syria is despicable; ISIS is despicable–but there is a difference between removing the state and conceding ground to nihilist insurgents. The choice is not between friends and enemies, but the choice to de-escalate violence and shift opposition to a political (rather than military) plane, or to increase violence. And whatever the goal, it is important to ask at what point does continuing to feed the dynamic of violence become the worst option?Continue Reading →
Up to 40,000 members of Iraqi minority groups are at severe risk from the advancing forces of the Islamic State (IS or ISIS/ISIL). The most urgent crisis, according to accounts from eyewitnesses, news and humanitarian organizations, is the plight of the Yazidis—a small group that follows an ancient monotheistic religion that includes elements of [...]Continue Reading →
The news this week is particularly bad and worth highlighting not only for what it says about threats to civilians today, but how it might imply different strategies for civilian protection. Taken together, these stories suggest that there is an enormous protection gap where hubris once offered military intervention and promises of state-building as fail-proof [...]Continue Reading →
I HAVE a visceral memory of the cell-phone photo of a man with his eye-lids pulled off by the Syrian secret police.
This photo was shown to me in the Za’atari refugee camp by a coffee shop owner from Dara, who had fled to the [...]Continue Reading →
The World Peace Foundation is honored to be a part of The Fletcher School, an intellectual community that is deeply engaged in world events. As the crisis in Syria has gained new urgency in light of the use of chemical weapons against civilians and subsequent U.S. proposal to bomb the Syrian regime, our [...]Continue Reading →
The United States is once again in a precarious international legal position in considering retaliatory military action against Assad’s use of chemical weapons against his people. The precedents of the Iraq invasion of 2003, the Kosovo bombing, and the unauthorized expansion of the UN Security Council support for action in Libya increase caution against attacking [...]Continue Reading →
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