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Analysis and Comment (10)

An Australian Super Hornet refuels from a KC30 tanker while flying over Iraq. An Australian Super Hornet refuels from a KC30 tanker while flying over Iraq. @VCDF_Australia/Twitter

Why Western boots should stay out of Iraq and Syria

There are two reasons why we should ignore the growing calls in the United States, Canada and Australia for Western “boots on ground” – meaning ground troops – to fight and destroy the Islamic State (IS…
The emerging divisions between the various Syrian rebel groups is threatening to give the government forces the upper hand in the ongoing conflict. The emerging divisions between the various Syrian rebel groups is threatening to give the government forces the upper hand in the ongoing conflict. EPA/STR

Syrian opposition: a crumbling house of cards?

For Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, the recent murder of Free Syrian Army (FSA) commander Abu Basir by Islamist State of Iraq (ISI) militants must have felt like his birthday had come early. The assassination…
The Free Syrian Army may claim democratic ideals, but it is almost exclusively a Sunni Muslim grouping fighting the Shia and Alawite forces of the dictator Bashar Al-Assad. The Free Syrian Army may claim democratic ideals, but it is almost exclusively a Sunni Muslim grouping fighting the Shia and Alawite forces of the dictator Bashar Al-Assad. EPA/Maysun

Syria: from fight for justice to sectarian stalemate

The horror of the Syrian conflict appears to know no bounds. Every day brings news of a new atrocity and it is clear that both the rebels and the Assad government are guilty of human rights abuses on an…
Australian Syrians protest in Hyde Park, Sydney, in February calling for the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to step down immediately. Australian Syrians protest in Hyde Park, Sydney, in February calling for the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to step down immediately. AAP Image/Lauren Farrow

The conflict at home and abroad: Australian involvement in Syria

In Syria, the optimism which accompanied the Arab Spring uprising has faded into the reality of a bloody sectarian civil war. Recent media reports have highlighted the involvement of foreign fighters in…
Syrian rebels are using violence, but it may not be in their best interest. Syrian rebels are using violence, but it may not be in their best interest. EPA/Cem Ozdel

What hope is there for violent resistance in Syria?

What should we hope for when we look at the ongoing crisis in Syria? I don’t really know anymore. The most interesting book that I have read this year is Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic…
A building Aleppo attacked by Free Syrian Army fighters. A building Aleppo attacked by Free Syrian Army fighters. EPA/Sana

The malignant consensus on Syria

It is a paradox of our digital age that, despite an enormous supply of information, a powerful yet misleading consensus can still shape the course of international relations. Such was the case with the…
Foreign Minister Bob Carr expelled two Syrian diplomats on 29 May, 2012. Foreign Minister Bob Carr expelled two Syrian diplomats on 29 May, 2012. AAP/Lukas Coch

The West must quit the theatrics and tell the truth on Syria

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr announced that Australia will lead the way in expelling Syrian diplomats in response to the Al Houla massacre. These theatrics are just another act in the shadow play…
Syrians want democracy, but not at gunpoint. Syrians want democracy, but not at gunpoint. EPA

Syrians ask: why not give democracy a chance?

Last Monday, Syria’s Interior Ministry announced the results of a referendum on a new constitution. Of the 57.4% of eligible voters who went to the polls on 26 February 2012, 89.4% agreed to pass the new…
Many Syrians prefer the stability of the Assad regime to the chaos they saw after dictators were deposed in Libya and Iraq. Many Syrians prefer the stability of the Assad regime to the chaos they saw after dictators were deposed in Libya and Iraq. EPA/Youssef Badawi

The Syria roulette wheel – where nobody wins

The stench of hypocrisy is a hard one to wash out for the West in the Middle East. We shook Gadaffi’s hand and pretended we liked his outfits when he coughed up for Lockerbie and we snuggled with Mubarak…