Conflicto armado

An Israeli soldier stands on Mount Bental in the Golan Heights near the Syrian border. Photo: Getty Images.

Israel’s retaliatory attack on Iranian military targets inside Syria represents the biggest direct confrontation between the two countries in their history. It came after rockets were launched from Iranian bases in Syria towards the Golan Heights. This escalation has caused widespread concern that war might be imminent between Israel and Iran.

But neither wishes to engage in all-out war with the other. Iran’s Golan Heights rocket launch was the product of the growing pressure it faces in the Syrian conflict. Unless the United States steps in with a plan for Syria, Israel and Iran will continue to clash there.

Iran regards its presence in Syria as crucial for its influence in the Levant.…  Seguir leyendo »

A U.S. soldier capturing North Korean prisoners of war in 1953.CreditUniversal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images

No, the Korean War still is not over. While an armistice in 1953 ended active fighting, it was never followed by a peace treaty. This is why during their recent meeting, Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, and President Moon Jae-in of South Korea, in addition to jointly calling for the “complete denuclearization” of the Korean Peninsula, also pledged to formally conclude the war.

Much ambiguity remains about what exactly it would take to accomplish what Mr. Kim and Mr. Moon vowed to do, and many analysts have expressed skepticism about this diplomatic overture, pointing to a number of other supposed breakthroughs in the past that petered out.…  Seguir leyendo »

Rusia, Irán y Turquía conforman una inesperada, compleja y frágil alianza en Siria. Sus posiciones en asuntos clave como la continuidad de Bashar al-Asad, la integridad territorial del país, el papel de otros actores locales y regionales o el reparto de contratos de reconstrucción, o bien difieren o bien son ambiguos en su coincidencia. Pero las opciones de resolución de la guerra en su fase actual descansan en buena medida en la agenda e interacción de Moscú, Ankara y Teherán. Las tres capitales han impulsado el llamado proceso de Astaná, foro paralelo que difumina, cuando no anula, el diálogo en Ginebra auspiciado por Naciones Unidas.…  Seguir leyendo »

Remnants of an unidentified rocket that fell in Hasbaya, Lebanon, near the Israeli and Syrian borders, in February. Israel has responded to Iranian drone attacks in the border areas.CreditZyad Shoufi/European Pressphoto Agency

The government of President Bashar al-Assad is resurgent in Syria, steadily retaking terrain lost to the rebels. This may bring to an end one set of conflicts, but it could spark newer, potentially more dangerous confrontations.

The key to preventing the Syrian civil war from splintering into an even more chaotic and deadly phase will be Russia, whose September 2015 military intervention gave it control of Syrian airspace and placed it politically in the driver’s seat. But the United States, too, could still play an important role in preventing matters from getting worse.

To understand how perilous the situation in Syria is, look at the map: In the northwest, in Idlib Province, a “de-escalation zone” that is monitored by the Turkish Army remains tenuous.…  Seguir leyendo »

Un soldat syrien filme les dégâts provoqués dans un centre de recherche scientifique ayant été la cible des tirs de missiles des Etats-Unis, de la France et du Royaume-Uni en représailles à une attaque chimique attribuée à l’armée syrienne. Damas,… © Hassan Ammar

Certains se sont prononcés en faveur des récentes frappes aériennes contre des sites présumés de production et de stockage d’armes chimiques en Syrie. Ceci sans s’appesantir sur les aspects juridiques. Quel que soit l’avis que l’on se fasse de leur utilité immédiate et de leur légitimité politique ou morale, on ne saurait ignorer que ces attaques constituent une violation manifeste de l’interdiction de la menace et de l’usage de la force, ancrée à l’article 2 de la Charte des Nations unies. Elles ne pourraient se justifier qu’en cas de légitime défense ou d’autorisation par le Conseil de sécurité – ce qui n’est ici pas le cas.…  Seguir leyendo »

a Syrian man rests in the northwestern Syrian city of Afrin on March 31, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Nazeer al-Khatib (Photo credit should read NAZEER AL-KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)

When Raqqa fell in 2017, after a long siege by the US-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), it was generally thought that ISIS was defeated, save for some mopping up. But in January of this year, Turkey invaded Afrin—one of three cantons in Rojava, also called the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria. This meant that scores of SDF fighters had to leave the battle against ISIS in order to defend their homes, families, and neighbors in Afrin. After extensive air strikes, the city of Afrin fell on March 18—confronting the already troubled region with yet another humanitarian crisis, as thousands fled to escape the Turkish army and its Syrian National Army allies (which include jihadist rebel groups and some fighters who are either openly aligned with al-Qaeda or even recent members of ISIS).…  Seguir leyendo »

Estados Unidos necesita una estrategia para Siria

El presidente norteamericano, Donald Trump, elogió los ataques con misiles de Estados Unidos, Francia y el Reino Unido contra instalaciones militares sirias -perpetrados en represalia por un ataque con armas químicas supuestamente ejecutado por el régimen de Bashar al-Assad- y los calificó de gran éxito. Pero ninguna dosis de retórica triunfante puede oscurecer la traición al pueblo sirio por parte de Occidente, ni disimular su falta de una estrategia real para resolver el conflicto sirio.

En los últimos siete años, casi medio millón de ciudadanos sirios han sido asesinados y siete millones hoy son refugiados. Mientras tanto, se ha formado una alianza nefasta entre fanáticos chiitas, representados por Irán y Hezbollah, y un gobierno ruso decidido a deshacer el orden de pos-Guerra Fría y cambiar radicalmente el juego estratégico en Oriente Medio.…  Seguir leyendo »

Chemical weapons are a symptom of the real problem, which is the Assad regime in power, writes Lina Khatib. Photo: Getty Images.

It was on Wednesday 11 April that Donald Trump sent that fateful tweet about a looming attack on Syria as punishment for the latest use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime. My judgment, before then, was that Western military action was not, necessarily, part of the answer to the conflict. Needed, instead, was political will on the part of the US in particular – as the only superpower able to exert serious pressure on the main broker in Syria, Russia – to bring the warring sides to the negotiating table.

But once Trump had declared that he would punish Bashar al-Assad militarily, he had to follow through – not doing so would have destroyed US credibility.…  Seguir leyendo »

A photo released by the Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets shows smoke rising after Syrian government airstrikes in the town of Douma, Syria, east of Damascus, on April 7. (Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets/AP)

The recent displacement of civilians and rebel fighters from the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta signals an important victory for the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In the face of these successes, it is worth remembering that the imminent downfall of Assad’s regime was proclaimed several times since the onset of violence in Syria in late 2011. Each time, Assad defied such predictions. How has his government, which several times looked so close to being toppled, weakened its rivals and ensured its continuity?

In a new article, we argue that a crucial component of the Assad regime’s wartime success has been its strategic use of aerial bombardment.…  Seguir leyendo »

La guerra de Siria, con sus 500.000 muertos y sus 12 millones de refugiados sobre una población de 22 millones, es representativa de los conflictos sin fin del siglo XXI. La derrota militar del Estado islámico en Oriente Próximo, que certifica el final del proyecto de califato, no ha puesto fin a la mundialización de la yihad ni a las operaciones militares. Al contrario, se acompaña de una ascensión a los extremos de la violencia acompañada de un cambio de la naturaleza y las dimensiones de la crisis: la guerra civil se clarifica con la partición de Siria en tres zonas; pero el conflicto se internacionaliza, al estar la guerra de religión cada vez más dominada por el enfrentamiento de las potencias regionales y mundiales.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Trump administration is declaring victory after striking three Syrian government chemical weapons sites. But the White House hasn’t learned the lessons of last year’s “pinprick” strikes on the Assad regime. Unless some sort of accountability is imposed on the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad’s slaughter of his own people in the cruelest and most illegal of ways is sure to continue apace.

“Mission Accomplished!” Trump tweeted this morning, praising what he called a “perfectly executed strike” on the Assad regime conducted jointly with the French and British militaries. Tactically, it did seem successful enough. Syria’s oft-exaggerated air defense capabilities turned out to be impotent.…  Seguir leyendo »

A Syrian soldier films the damage to the scientific studies and research center after the attack near Damascus. (Hassan Ammar)

Following his April 11 tweet that missiles “will be coming” in Syria, President Trump on Friday night announced U.S. airstrikes in multiple sites, including Damascus. The targeted sites were ones believed to be capable of storing chemical weapons and/or chemical precursors. The attacks were carried out in retaliation for last week’s alleged chemical weapons attack by President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

This is not the first time President Trump has ordered airstrikes in Syria, of course. Last April, Trump used airstrikes against Shayrat Airbase in the aftermath of another chemical attack by the Assad regime. Even though the strike appears to have been much larger than last year’s, this remained an airstrike-only operation.…  Seguir leyendo »

Les bombardements occidentaux sur la Syrie, après les attaques au gaz du régime de Bachar Al-Assad contre sa population, ne constituent en aucun cas une réponse suffisante ou proportionnée à ce crime, mais ils sont légitimes et doivent ouvrir le débat sur la protection à plus long terme des Syriens.

La responsabilité du régime syrien est-elle en doute ? Non, il n’y a aucune raison de penser que le coupable est à chercher ailleurs qu’à Damas ; la seule question ouverte est le niveau de complicité des Iraniens et des Russes, ces derniers ayant par ailleurs commis des crimes de guerre dans leurs opérations de bombardements contre des civils.…  Seguir leyendo »

Plus grande catastrophe humanitaire du XXIe siècle, la guerre en Syrie est un échec collectif de notre « responsabilité de protéger » (R2P). Apparue en 2001, unanimement adoptée par l’Assemblée générale des nations unies en 2005, la R2P est une doctrine par laquelle les Etats s’engagent à protéger les populations des atrocités de masse (génocide, crimes contre l’humanité, nettoyage ethnique, crimes de guerre). Elle s’organise autour d’une double norme : la responsabilité principale des Etats de protéger leurs populations, qui est une obligation juridique, et la responsabilité subsidiaire de la communauté internationale de le faire en cas de défaillance, qui est un appel moral et politique.…  Seguir leyendo »

L’intervention militaire est bien dans l’ADN des vieilles puissances, héritage direct ou indirect du « concert européen » du XIXe siècle, complété par la traditionnelle politique américaine du « gros bâton ». La reconstitution d’un triangle Washington-Londres-Paris simplifie l’héritage, laissant significativement de côté une Allemagne dont on ne prend pas assez en compte le suggestif aggiornamento diplomatique. Pour le reste, les ingrédients restent les mêmes : un discours qui oscille entre la rhétorique messianique et celle du justicier, une pratique qui préfère l’affichage de puissance à l’efficacité de ses effets, un rapport au droit où l’inversion de la règle et le recours impudique au principe de sélectivité démontrent que l’esprit de punition l’emporte sur la sanction.…  Seguir leyendo »

Smoke rises after the Assad regime carried out an airstrike at Douma town of Eastern Ghouta in Damascus, Syria, on 7 April 2018. Anadolu Agency/Mouneb Tai

What do we know about the 7 April chemical weapons attack?

On the evening of 7 April 2018, the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Douma was subjected to an apparent chemical weapons attack. According to local first responders, the attack killed more than 42 residents sheltering in their homes and affected more than 500. The attack came as Syrian government forces subjected the city to a surge in conventional bombing after negotiations stalled over the city’s surrender.

So far, no international party has said definitively or presented conclusive evidence that the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons use.…  Seguir leyendo »

Civil defence members remove the remnants of a rocket on the outskirts of Douma in February. Photo: Getty Images

Only days after a supposed ceasefire was declared in eastern Ghouta, at least 100 people were reportedly killed, and many more injured, by what appears to be a chemical attack in Douma city.

Local medical sources reported more than 500 cases with symptoms indicative of poisoning by a chemical agent. The symptoms are consistent with an organophosphorous compound, which is the basis of sarin and other nerve agents. Some reports also suggest that the weapon may have contained chlorine.

The already shattered health system in Douma city struggled to manage this mass causality incident: it was difficult to identify the exact chemical used and the sparse medical supplies there were insufficient to treat injuries and reverse neurological symptoms.…  Seguir leyendo »

Israeli soldiers at a state ceremony on Holocaust Remembrance Day, on Wednesday at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, in Jerusalem.CreditGali Tibbon/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

On Wednesday, Israel observed Yom Hashoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day. It is one of the most important days on the country’s calendar, observed with innumerable ceremonies and gatherings. At many of these, a motto will be recited: “To remember, not to forget.”

Of course, in Israel no one forgets. One reason is that in this country, the Holocaust is not merely a matter of historical remembrance. It is part of our present. Many of Israel’s founders believed the Jewish state was necessary because the Jewish people would always be under the threat of destruction, others could not be relied upon to protect the Jews, and the preservation of the Jewish people required a country of their own.…  Seguir leyendo »

Trump, Siria y la amenaza de una guerra regional

Al parecer, la suerte está echada para un final acelerado de la misión de Estados Unidos en Siria -y, con él, las posibilidades de una resolución pacífica y sostenible de la brutal guerra civil de siete años de ese país-. El ataque químico supuestamente perpetrado la semana pasada por las fuerzas del presidente Bashar al-Assad en Douma, la última ciudad en manos de los rebeldes en la región de Ghouta oriental, demuestra lo peligrosa que es esa perspectiva para Siria y para el mundo.

La bravuconería del presidente estadounidense, Donald Trump, tras el ataque químico expone la incoherencia y las contradicciones de su enfoque, así como la falta de una estrategia real en Siria.…  Seguir leyendo »

El mes pasado, en conmemoración del 15.º aniversario de la Guerra de Irak, el New York Times publicó una conmovedora columna de Sinan Antoon, un novelista iraquí que vive en Estados Unidos, titulada “Hace quince años, Estados Unidos destruyó mi país”. Antoon se opuso tanto a la brutal dictadura de Saddam Hussein cuanto a la invasión liderada por Estados Unidos en 2003, que hundió el país en el caos, avivó las tensiones étnicas y provocó la muerte de cientos de miles de civiles. Al desestabilizar la región, la guerra hizo posible el ascenso de Estado Islámico, que en su momento cumbre llegó a ocupar una porción considerable del territorio iraquí, que usó como base para decapitar adversarios, intentar un genocidio contra la minoría yazidí y difundir el terrorismo en todo el mundo.…  Seguir leyendo »