When Syria and Russia intensified their Idlib offensive in May, there was condemnation from United Nations officials and other countries, as well as renewed media scrutiny. Cluster and barrel bombs targeted hospitals and residential areas, killing 300 civilians and displacing 300,000 in just five weeks.
Attacks on civilians are not unique to Syria — consider, for instance, the actions of the Israeli, Ukrainian and Saudi Arabian governments. Policymakers and scholars tend to agree that targeting civilians backfires, because those who survive often start cooperating with insurgents, buttressing the rebellion. Here’s the puzzle: Why do governments launch counterproductive indiscriminate attacks?
Most explanations imply incompetence — such as a lack of intelligence or internal discipline.… Seguir leyendo »