Near & Middle East

BEIRUT – The Syrian war has often been cast as a sectarian conflict between a Sunni majority population and a minority Shiite ruling elite. However, sectarianism is only one component of a multi-faceted conflict that is also partially driven by socio-economic grievances, according to Fabrice Balanche, a visiting fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institute. (More…)

ISTANBUL – For two years Alaa* lived in a basement in Istanbul with his mother and sister. As the sole provider for both, Alaa said he had to work as a waiter for 12 hours a day to pay rent and bills. (More…)

BEIRUT – After the United States heavily retaliated against pro-Syrian government forces advancing on an American-controlled base, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis repeated the standard justification for US action in the country: “It was self-defence. Obviously, we are not getting engaged in the Syrian civil war.” (More…)

If Foucault appeared to show enthusiasm for the Iranian passion plays and rituals during the revolution, it is perhaps because in them he saw practices of truth and ethical subjectivation that represented a more radical rejection than the ousting of the Shah; the rejection by a people not only of foreigners but of everything that had constituted, for years, for centuries, its political destiny. (More…)

BEIRUT – Hundreds of civilians have been killed in attacks on so-called de-escalation zones in Syria in January, undermining a Russian-led agreement that world powers have touted as a step toward a comprehensive cease-fire in the country. (More…)

We live at a time of uprisings. Whether it is against autocratic regimes outside of Europe, or against the asset strippers of the IMF and World Bank within it, people around the globe are banding together in a collective drive towards revolt. At the same time, the hopes of millions in the Middle East for an end to tyranny are under threat. (More…)

BEIRUT – Turkey’s latest offensive on a Kurdish enclave in northern Syria has pitted two US allies against each other and raised the risk of a confrontation between Ankara and Washington – a move that “is great for Russia”, Jonas Parello-Plesner, senior policy fellow at the Hudson Institute, told Syria Deeply. (More…)

ANKARA, Turkey – Turkey’s new military operation on a Kurdish enclave in northern Syria aims to carve out a “secure zone” 30km (18.6 miles) deep into Afrin, to secure its southern border from what it claims is a terror threat. (More…)

Dear Ahed,

I write to confess that I love you.  Although you are sitting in Ofer military prison and might not be too happy, I want to persuade you that I am your own true love.  Prison may give you time to think about where your affections can best be directed.  You will come to love me too. (More…)

The popular image of the Iranian Revolution in the United States focuses on stereotypical bearded mullahs, an exotic and backward oriental society, and the seizure of the US embassy by frenzied masses. While it is true that Iran is a theocracy, there is another story, of brave and dedicated revolutionaries who sought the establishment of a socialist state. (More…)

EASTERN GHOUTA/BEIRUT – Abu Kamal’s farm in the Eastern Ghouta suburbs of Damascus used to house rows of tomatoes, potatoes and cucumbers. But now the 50-year-old farmer tends exclusively to rows of sacks, hung from his ceiling, where he grows mushrooms. (More…)

Bassel, a photojournalist from Homs, has documented what he calls the “intentional destruction” of his city, the third largest in Syria, over two years of siege and battles. He says he has noticed a pattern: Certain buildings with no military value have been targeted. (More…)