Frederic C. Hof

Nota: Este archivo abarca los artículos publicados por el autor desde el 1 de mayo de 2009. Para fechas anteriores realice una búsqueda entrecomillando su nombre.

Some 70 months ago, unarmed, ordinary Syrians rose peacefully against a regime whose incompetence and corruption they had come grudgingly to accept. It was their rulers’ detention and beating of children that provided the tipping point. The same regime seeks now to capitalize on a bloody victory in Aleppo, where children again have been targeted. But the actual and prospective costs associated with the deliberate slaughter of civilians in Aleppo and elsewhere in Syria are steep, and everyone connected with this abomination will pay, especially those who have stood by and watched.

For Syrians hoping for a future free of the Assad family and entourage, the price of Aleppo is bitter.…  Seguir leyendo »

The view from Russia.

Russia’s military intervention in Syria is largely a war of choice marketed as a necessity to defeat the terror of Islamic State. It brings Russia back from the cold as an indispensable power.

Sending forces into combat allowed Moscow to muscle its way to the centre of global diplomacy on Syria, while turning the conversation away from Ukraine. Displays of new military prowess and power diplomacy have become the primary sources of popular legitimacy for the Russian leaders. Moscow launched airstrikes in Syria on 30 September with only 15% of Russians paying attention but a month of relentless TV coverage has focused people’s minds the way the Kremlin wanted.…  Seguir leyendo »

Syrians fleeing the war walk towards the border gates at the Akcakale border crossing in Sanliurfa province on June 15. (Bulent Kilic/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)

With Iran circling the wagons around an ever-shrinking Syrian statelet nominally headed by Bashar al-Assad, a key question is coming into sharp focus: Who might ultimately replace the ruling clan if Tehran cannot keep its clients afloat? The answer is both complex and hopeful: Self-government at local levels is taking root in Syria and forms the basis for what should come next.

One of the few uplifting experiences to be had in any Syrian context these days is to meet with young Syrian activists, as I recently did in Gaziantep, Turkey. A young lawyer said something striking: “This is not just a revolution against Bashar al-Assad.…  Seguir leyendo »

To most Americans, Syria looks like a mess best left to Syrians and their neighbors to sort out. Yet the conflict that President Bashar al-Assad unleashed against his people threatens to produce a large, ungovernable space, with refugees racing for the borders; terrorists setting up shop; chemical and biological weapons unguarded and available for seizure; and many of Syria’s 22.5 million people targeted for detention, torture, forced displacement and even murder because of sectarian identification. Although there are no simple solutions to this sizable mess, something could be done, soon, to mitigate a bloodbath and perhaps avoid a Somalia-like failed state: The United States and its partners can support the mainstream Syrian opposition in establishing a legitimate, functioning government on liberated Syrian soil.…  Seguir leyendo »