Syria

Syria

By Afro-Middle East Centre Russia’s military involvement in Syria, from the beginning of its aerial bombing on 30 September until the launch of cruise missiles its ships in the Caspian Sea on 7 October, has raised numerous questions about its intentions. Is Russia’s aim in Syria totargetpthe Islamic State group (IS) and pre-emptively eliminate IS Chechen fighters before they return to their homes, as it claims? Or has Russia entered Syria simply toprotect and bolster the Damascus government? And, if Russia continues its military activities in Syria at this level, could its intervention turn into another quagmire like Afghanistan was for the Soviet…
By Na'eem Jeenah Last week, Brics leaders formalised the establishment of the New Development Bank (NDB), which will use its $100 billion (R1.24 trillion) in initial capital to fund infrastructure and sustainable development projects both at home and overseas. The NDB will not only bind these countries together in common purpose but will introduce something not seen since the dawn of contemporary multilateralism: competition to the Western-dominated international financial system. Despite the best intentions of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, the existing international financial institutions have consistently fallen short of their aim to provide development assistance to the…
By Afro-Middle East Centre Following recent rebel advances and regime defeats in Syria, speculation has been rife among commentators and some among the opposition about whether this represents the imminent demise of the Syrian regime. Regime losses since the end of March, including the complete loss of a second major city (Raqqa is already under opposition control), Idlib, along with the ceding of crucial strategic sites such as Jisr al-Shughur in the north, and, in the south, Busra al-Sham and the Nasib border crossing into Jordan. There are multiple intersecting factors that influence this dynamic, and the situation in Syria…
By Afro-Middle East Centre In early April 2015, sudden fighting broke out in the Yarmouk refugee camp between groups affiliated to the Islamic State group (IS) and Aknaf Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM), which is linked to Hamas. The already dire humanitarian situation in the camp has since worsened for about 15 000 Palestinian civilians still besieged there, out of the population of over 150 000 before the Syrian war began. Overall situation in Yarmouk Camp Suqur al-Joulan was forced out by a number of groups, led by ABM, inside the camp. They consisted exclusively of Palestinians, with most being Hamas members. Later, the…
By Afro-Middle East Centre The battle for the Kurdish Syrian town of Kobane, resulting from a siege of the city by the Islamic State group (IS) since 2 July, has become the iconic battle in the USA-led international coalition’s war against IS. Despite IS having fought its way to within a few kilometres of Baghdad, a city of far more strategic importance than Kobane, the latter has become the focus of international media attention. There are various reasons for this. First, the initial inaction and the subsequent hyperaction by the USA have generated much discussion and criticism. Second, the Kurdish…
Afro-Middle East Centre invites you to a symposium with the theme: Unravelling Syria's civil war; exploring future scenarios. Speakers:   Radwan Ziadeh   David Lesch   Ibrahim Mousawi
By Afro-Middle East Centre Syria concluded its first multi-candidate presidential election in about fifty years on 3 June, with its result a foregone conclusion – the incumbent, Bashar al-Assad, secured another seven-year term as president. However, the significance of the election is not in its result, nor in the supposedly democratic era that Assad supporters claim it heralds. The election simply confirms the regime’s confidence in its future and its strategy for confronting insurgency, and reveals the disdain with which the regime views demands for Assad’s departure.
By Afro-Middle East Centre The ongoing Syrian crisis has given rise to many questions about the stability and strength of the current regime. Some had imagined a swift end to the government in the manner of Tunisia’s Ben-Ali administration. However, such analyses have proven to be incorrect. Not only has the regime proven resilient, currently its inner core looks to be at its strongest since the beginning of the uprisings in March 2011. Of course, all is not as the regime would desire, but, given the consuming nature of the civil war and the ferocity of the clashes, it is…
By Afro Middle-East Centre Monday marked the beginning of the second round of the Geneva 2 discussions, sponsored by the USA and Russia and convened under UN auspices, that intends to solve the Syrian crisis. Negotiations are being held between a delegation representing the Syrian regime, and one representing the opposition. An earlier eight-day session in January did not lead to any breakthroughs. The UN and Arab League mediator, Lakhdar Brahimi, described that first round as a success insofar as it was able to get the opponents to sit face-to-face for the first time since the beginning of the crisis…
Director of a Johannesburg-based research institute, The Afro-Middle East centre, Naeem Jeenah says war in Syria is highly unlikely now that Russia has been given the opportunity to mediate. He believes Russia's request to the United States to embrace its plan to put Syria's chemical weapons under international control has dissolved almost all talk of a US military strike on Syria.
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