Foreign Policy Blogs

Uprising Fish Wrap

Another pivotal round of Friday protests are about to take place in Syria, and everyone is waiting to see exactly what will happen. No, seriously, everybody.

Today’s post from FPA Syria will be looking at some of the serious coverage of ongoing Syrian unrest, as well as pointing out all the silly, silly things that people have chosen to say, despite their better judgement.

Before I get to the links I want to point out a few general points. Much of the Syria coverage has become fairly one sided. For a number of reasons it is becoming increasingly difficult to find rational, unbiased opinion on what’s actually happening. I suppose this shouldn’t surprise, as there are so many competing agendas out there.

Two main narratives have emerged; that of the Syrian government–foreign terrorist elements, etc–and that of the opposition–youtube videos galore. The problem is that both sides are equally guilty of distorting matters beyond any kind of reasonable limits. Reports on Syrian state television of spontaneous marches thanking god for rain, or SANA reporting that terrorists were using snowballs as weapons do not come close to passing the sniff test.

However, there has been some pretty silly conjecture coming out of people in support of the opposition. The junior senator from Florida, Marco Rubio’s editorial on the need to recall the US ambassador to Syria comes to mind. And while he makes several important side arguments in the piece, and is usually an authority on Syria, Marc Lynch’s main point in this article verges on the ridiculous; stating that the US should attempt to broker a transition from power for Bashar Al Assad based on the recently brokered deal in Yemen. Even here at FPA one of my fellow writers criticizes Obama for not calling on Assad to step down, and implies that Libya style intervention would be in order.

This humble blogger suggests everyone simmer down a bit. Yes, the violence used by the Syrian government against its own citizens is deplorable. That violence could, of course, get worse. But let us try to keep some perspective on this.

Time for the Links.

Qifa Nabki put up a great post regarding the “sectarianism” question in Syria.

Josh Landis is gonna explode from the number of interviews he’s giving. Check him out at NPR here and here, and his bloggingheads interview with a pretty prominent opposition activist here. The nice thing about this uprising is that it finally has Landis talking and blogging about real issues confronting Syria, and Syrians. If I had to read another Golan Heights breakdown on Syria Comment I was gonna shoot myself.

There are reports of refusals to carry out orders by some units within the Syrian Army, and some are suggesting that two different units have taken up arms against one another. WOAH!

Apparently even Ba’athists are upset about the regime’s use of violence.

And Robert Fisk has been heard from.

I guess FPA Syria has to join in on the Royal Wedding kerfuffle. I think this is the Royal equivalent  of unfriending someone on Facebook. The Brits are also REALLY EMBARRASSED about a British university taking funds from the Assad regime.

More to come as Fridays are usually pretty eventful nowadays.

Until then;

Uprising Fish Wrap

My Favorite Political Cartoon in Some Time



Walter Raubeson

Walter spent the last two years living and working in Damascus, reporting on the Syrian social, political, and cultural scene. Recently returned to the US, Walter continues to monitor Middle Eastern events with verve, and also gusto.

Having graduated from New York University's Masters Program in Political Science- International Relations-in September 2008, Walter's MA thesis analyzed the Lebanese political system; focusing on the impact of foreign intervention within Lebanon, particularly the roles of Iran, Israel, Syria, and the US.