For decades, the West has pioneered “stabilocracy” in the Balkans, a pernicious brand of diplomacy that prefers agreement to reform. That diplomacy was exported to their relations with Kremlin — with the extreme, bloody conclusion being the war in Ukraine.
Award-winning journalist Anand Gopal joins New Lines’ Faisal Al Yafai to talk about how the invasion of Ukraine compares with Vladimir Putin’s war in Syria and ask why Syrians never received the same support in the face of Russian atrocities.
For the world, Raed was one of Syria’s most prominent activists, known for eye-catching protest banners and influential “Radio Fresh” broadcasts. For me, he was the last connection to the pioneering uprising, and since his death, I stopped attending any events on its anniversary.
A weekly review of news, essays, podcast and more from New Lines. The week of Monday Mar. 5 - Friday Mar. 11, 2022.
Moscow-based Rami Shaer writes for the ultranationalist Russian broadsheet Zavtra. From there his articles are translated into Arabic and posted on RT, giving them the appearance of an official imprimatur. Strengthening this impression, the author’s criticisms of Damascus match those raised by Russian diplomats and media reports, and dovetail with key features of Russia’s Syria strategy. Shaer’s principal target is Assad’s maximalism.
The officer explained that he advocated against granting me a visa because of my political past, a punitive measure intended to vindictively instill in us the notion that escape is impossible. Not only had we failed to prevent Hafez al-Assad’s ascension to power, we now had to live with the consequences.
The real issue here is not so much the denial of chemical attacks as the way it serves as a vehicle for normalizing conspiracy theories under the guise of critical thinking. Admirable though it is to view news reports and government statements with caution and scrutinize the evidence, the denial campaign was something else, encouraging people to reject information at will simply because it didn't fit their view of how the world works.