Conflicto armado

Libyan Army soldiers wear masks to protect themselves from the coronavirus during a military operation in Tripoli, on March 25. Credit Amru Salahuddien/Anadolu Agency, via Getty Images

On a recent visit to Libya, I met a family living in an improvised shelter in a displaced persons camp east of Tripoli. One of the tens of thousands Libyan families uprooted by war, the family of seven was living in a room barely 20 paces long and half as wide. A clothesline, a pile of mattresses, a hot plate and the stench of body odor filled the room. Outside, they faced a shortage of potable water and abusive taunts from locals.

The spread of the novel coronavirus will have a devastating effect on the Middle East’s communities of refugees and migrants.…  Seguir leyendo »

Rally in support of keeping Crimea as part of Ukraine. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

Russia’s ongoing occupation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula and support of separatist hostilities in the eastern provinces of Donbas have resulted in 1.5 million internally displaced persons, 3,000 civilians killed, and a growing list of alleged violations of international law and socio-economic hardship.

But Ukraine is struggling in its efforts to hold Russia accountable – either as a state or through individual criminal responsibility – as it cannot unilaterally ask any international court to give an overall judgment on the conflict.

So it focuses on narrower issues, referring them to authorised adjudication and arbitration platforms such as the International Court of Justice (ICJ), European Court of Human Rights, UNCLOS arbitration, and the International Criminal Court (ICC).…  Seguir leyendo »

Syria reported its first covid-19 cases a week ago — and has now reported its first coronavirus deaths. But many analysts say the total of cases is much higher, noting independent reports of coronavirus-like cases in Damascus, Tartus, Latakia, Homs and Deir-Ezzor.

How does a country engaged in civil war for the past decade face the coronavirus challenge? The United Nations special envoy called for an immediate cease-fire to prevent an outbreak of the virus in the conflict-ridden country — but no single authority can implement a cease-fire. And Syria’s fragmented and limited health services may leave many regions with little or no outside assistance to fight covid-19 outbreaks.…  Seguir leyendo »

Si, comme le dit l’adage, la vérité est la première victime de la guerre, la seconde pourrait bien être une chose à laquelle le monde entier accorde une grande importance par les temps qui courent: les soins de santé. Les familles qui fuient la guerre ou se retrouvent prises dans ses griffes savent que l’assistance médicale est un bien précieux et rare dans une zone de conflit. Au beau milieu des bombes qui tombent et des balles qui fusent, une structure de santé opérationnelle est un havre de survie; mais dans ces situations, le personnel médical est presque toujours débordé et les stocks de médicaments proches de l’épuisement.…  Seguir leyendo »

Syria’s foreign minister, Walid al-Moallem, meets Libya’s eastern government deputy prime minister, Abdul Rahman al-Ahiresh.

The most recent ally of Khalifa Haftar, the general who has been attacking the Libyan capital Tripoli since April last year, is Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

This union was formalised last week with the opening of a “Libyan embassy” in Damascus. The alarming partnership has been forged almost completely without comment. What happens with Libya no longer seems to concern anyone. It’s as though the whole conflict has ceased to exist.

Libya is not the Middle East’s forgotten war, it is the ignored war. Having burned for almost five years now, the country has almost entirely collapsed, a situation which minimal political will could have prevented.…  Seguir leyendo »

While Washington’s focus is on coronavirus and the race for the White House, a devastating humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding in Syria’s last rebel-held region. It’s time for the US political establishment to do something about it.

On March 15, the Syrian civil war will enter its 10th year. In the days ahead of this sad anniversary, the US announced Tuesday an additional $108 million aid package to provide essentials like food, medical care and safe drinking water to the estimated 3 million people trapped in the province.

However, not only is the $108 million too little to make a major difference, but President Donald Trump’s administration has not put forward a plan that will enable effective delivery of this aid, given Russia and China’s December veto of a UN Security Council plan on cross-border aid to Syria.…  Seguir leyendo »

While Russia appears to have prevailed in its latest showdown with Turkey in Syria—helping Damascus to blunt Turkey’s operations around Idlib and securing an advantageous cease-fire afterward—Moscow’s longer-term strategy for Syria has become murkier after the crisis. This uncertainty is primarily due to Russia’s new oil price war with Saudi Arabia, which seems to strike at one of the pillars of Moscow’s approach by undermining the prospects for Saudi financial support for Syrian reconstruction and raises new questions about the Kremlin’s motives and objectives.

Western analysts have long generally believed that Russia’s goal in Syria has been to force a political settlement to the fighting that would guarantee President Bashar al-Assad’s continued rule, at least for the time being.…  Seguir leyendo »

Rebel fighters walk amid rubble in the village of Nayrab, southeast of the city of Idlib in northwestern Syria, on March 7. (Omar Haj Kadour/AFP via Getty Images)

I am a Syrian American, and I have an urgent message. You do not have the full story on Syria. The truth will shake you to the bone.

The president of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, is committing genocide.

Assad has deliberately erased at least 200,000 Syrian civilians from existence. Most of them died for the “crime” of sharing the same ethnicity, religion and neighborhood as pro-democracy protesters. It is true that the overwhelming majority of these victims come from a single ethno-religious group (Sunni Arabs), but this is not about religion. This is about a dictator who is willing to gas children to stay in power.…  Seguir leyendo »

Migrants and refugees walk near the border with Greece in Edirne, Turkey, on Monday. (Tolga Bozoglu/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

In recent months, the Syrian government has stepped up its assault on Idlib province, the last rebel-held area in the country. Turkey and Russia have implemented a fragile cease-fire, but the onslaught has already displaced nearly 1 million Syrians toward the Turkish border. As many as 3 million people are at risk of further displacement should the violence resume. While the latest battle makes it clear that the war is far from over, the Syrian government’s gains raise a pressing question: What is next for the 5.6 million Syrian refugees already in neighboring countries?

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has periodically issued plans for “durable solutions” to the Syrian refugee crisis since at least 2017.…  Seguir leyendo »

The situation in Syria is catastrophic. The Assad regime and its Russian and Iranian allies are bombarding the rebel-held enclave of Idlib, continuing their wholesale slaughter of civilians. Turkey, drawn into the conflict by the chaos along its border, is essentially at war with Damascus and, by extension, Moscow. Thousands of Syrian refugees are once again heading toward Europe, potentially destabilizing the situation there.

And yet, after nine years of war, the United States appears determined to continue ignoring what’s happening in Syria — even though there are strong incentives, both moral and strategic, to act.

As our NATO ally Turkey and Russia edge closer to a violent confrontation in northwestern Syria, the situation on the ground is getting grotesquely worse.…  Seguir leyendo »

Zalmay Khalilzad, left, an American negotiator, with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, deputy leader of the Taliban, during the signing ceremony of the U.S.-Taliban peace agreement on Saturday.Credit...EPA, via Shutterstock

Sometimes, foreign policy consists of trying to make lemonade out of lemons.

In the case of the recently signed U.S.-Taliban agreement on Afghanistan, President Trump provided the lemons, and the lead U.S. negotiator, Zalmay Khalilzad, and his team did the squeezing. Mr. Trump made clear that he intended to withdraw American forces from Afghanistan — with or without a “deal.” Then NATO partners pressured the United States not to reward the Taliban by conceding their long-held objective of forcing an American withdrawal for free. So, the president reportedly gave his negotiators a finite window to explore whether some deal was achievable.…  Seguir leyendo »

Si l’instabilité climatique représente l’une des menaces les plus importantes pour l’avenir de notre humanité, cette considération est principalement basée sur le fait que nous vivons sur une terre dont les éléments de survie (climat, ressources naturelles, etc.) sont interconnectés et leurs souffrances sont «transmissibles» à travers les continents, peu importent les distances. En tant que médecin, il m’est difficile de ne pas faire valoir la notion de la souffrance comme «un signal d’alarme» qui doit être pris au sérieux pour sauver l’ensemble du corps. Une évidence de la responsabilité partagée et indivisible qui fait des accords de Kyoto un espoir pour les générations à venir.…  Seguir leyendo »

A Turkish army convoy drives through the Syrian village of Ram Hamdan, north of the city of Idlib, on 25 February, 2020. Ahmad Al-Atrash/AFP

What happened?

An airstrike killed at least 33 Turkish soldiers in Idlib, in the north west of Syria, on 27 February, according to Turkish state media. The strike exacted the highest death toll upon the Turkish military in any single day’s action for more than two decades. Ankara mainly blamed the Syrian regime for the attack on what it called a two-story command headquarters, but hinted as well at Russian responsibility. Russia disclaimed direct involvement but appeared to excuse the attack, saying the Turkish soldiers were in the company of “terrorists”, implying that they were with Syrian rebels.

Whether the strike was deliberate or inadvertent, it is part of a series of increasingly bloody clashes among Turkey, the Syrian regime and Russia over Idlib.…  Seguir leyendo »

This week is a test for peace in Afghanistan. The Taliban have an historic opportunity to show that they have the will and the ability to reduce violence. This would pave the way for negotiations among Afghans for a comprehensive peace agreement.

NATO fully supports the efforts of the United States to find a peaceful solution. These efforts have brought us closer than ever before to an end to decades of conflict in Afghanistan.

Our engagement in Afghanistan is the direct consequence of 9/11, when we triggered our collective defense clause, Article 5, for the first time in history — in support of the United States.…  Seguir leyendo »

L’inaction aussi a son prix et il est plus que temps d’en sortir car… Rappelons l’enchaînement qui a conduit au chaos qui s’installe aux frontières de l’Europe. En Syrie, malgré la France, Barack Obama n’avait pas voulu faire respecter les lignes rouges qu’il avait lui-même tracées à Bachar Al-Assad. Son successeur s’est ensuite largement retiré du Proche-Orient pendant que l’Europe décidait de ne pas agir seule. La Russie s’est engouffrée dans ce vide pour reprendre pied dans la région aux côtés des régimes de Damas et de Téhéran.

La Russie est redevenue acteur mondial pendant que les démocraties occidentales se repliaient et Vladimir Poutine a alors décidé d’en finir avec le conflit syrien.…  Seguir leyendo »

Displaced Syrian children wait in line to receive humanitarian aid supplied by Humanitarian Relief Foundation's on Feb. 20 in Idlib, Syria. (Burak Kara/AFP/Getty Images)

You may not realize it from the news coverage, but we are witnessing one of the worst humanitarian crises in modern history. Resurgent fighting and violence around Idlib, Syria, have produced the largest wave of human displacement in Syria’s nine-year civil war. But with the rapidly emerging global crisis related to the uncontrolled spread of the lethal new coronavirus, as well as the 2020 presidential election, these refugees and displaced civilians are simply not getting the attention this humanitarian catastrophe deserves.

All of this means more misery and danger for children who have been living under chronic instability and persistent disruption for close to a decade.…  Seguir leyendo »

A bomb explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Wednesday wounded nine people, despite a truce in place.Credit...Rahmat Gul/Associated Press

Momentum is building toward peace in Afghanistan.

On Saturday, the United States and the Taliban will sign an agreement that will pave the way for talks between the Taliban and a team of negotiators led by the Afghan government in March. There is hope, at last, of respite from the long war.

The Afghan government deserves credit for planting the seeds of peace two years ago by offering unconditional talks to the Taliban and announcing a unilateral cease-fire that blossomed into a three-day pause in hostilities in June 2018.

Kabul continued to reach out to the Taliban and sent some officials in July to an informal peace dialogue in Doha that brought together the warring sides for the first time.…  Seguir leyendo »

It’s midnight in Kabul as I write this. Afghans have gone to sleep, many of them in the hopes that a partial truce negotiated between the United States and Taliban will yield a reduction in violence. We — along with the rest of the world — learned of this development when US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted about it on Friday evening.

But for millions of Afghans like me, a reduction in violence is not enough. According to President Ashraf Ghani, 20 terror groups are currently active in Afghanistan. If the Taliban come to control our country once more, it seems little will prevent any one of these groups from gaining strength and acting on their most evil impulses.…  Seguir leyendo »

En Idlib se está desarrollando un nuevo desastre humanitario, uno de los peores de la crisis siria que, en casi una década, ha causado demasiados desastres para llevar la cuenta. El régimen sirio continúa su estrategia de reconquistar militarmente el país a cualquier precio, sin consideración hacia las consecuencias para los civiles sirios. Desde diciembre, sus operaciones en la zona noroeste han aumentado de intensidad, contando con el respaldo de la aviación rusa. Los incesantes ataques aéreos y el bombardeo con bombas de barril han obligado a casi un millón de sirios a huir en apenas unas semanas. Las infraestructuras de asistencia están saturadas.…  Seguir leyendo »

Qué está en juego en Libia

La actual guerra en Libia es un microcosmos de la tragedia que ha atrapado a muchos países del Medio Oriente. De no resolverse pronto, la lucha en Libia podría sembrar inestabilidad entre los países vecinos, como Túnez y Egipto, y disparar la huida de más oleadas de refugiados hacia Europa.

La crisis libia tiene sus orígenes en una guerra civil entre varios grupos divididos por lealtades tribales y regionales, así como sus creencias ideológicas. Todos se disputan el control de los ingresos que genera el petróleo para el país. Sin embargo, al momento son básicamente dos los frentes del conflicto: el Gobierno de Acuerdo Nacional (Government of National Accord, GNA), reconocido internacionalmente y dominado por islamistas, que aún controla la capital, Trípoli; y la Cámara de Representantes (con sede en Tobruk) junto con el Ejército Nacional Libio (Libyan National Army, LNA), bajo el mando del mariscal de campo Jalifa Hafter.…  Seguir leyendo »