Category Archives: Syria

A divorce years in the making: Al Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS)

The tendency in international affairs after a dramatic event is to hastily address the question of “what does it mean?”—as if the event represents a pivotal turning point that bends an otherwise steady trend line. Such is the case after … Continue reading

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Book review: “Restless Valley: Revolution, Murder, and Intrigue in the Heart of Central Asia” by Philip Shishkin (2013)

Mao Zedong, the notorious and brutal father of China’s Communist Party, once wrote: “A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery; it cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentle, … Continue reading

Posted in Book reviews, Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Middle East and North Africa, Syria, Uzbekistan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Defining “success” in proxy arming: the Afghanistan case

As expected, my recent post on arming Syria’s rebels (see here) generated a bit of debate among Notes on the Periphery readers. Danny, among others, made an important conceptual point: in assessing the “success” of four past cases of proxy … Continue reading

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Arming Syria’s rebels: Will it work?

After two years of cautious restraint, the Obama administration has reportedly directed the Central Intelligence Agency to begin supplying and distributing small arms and ammunition to elements of the Syrian opposition. What pushed President Obama over the edge? The answers … Continue reading

Posted in Afghanistan, Angola, Central Africa, Central Asia, Chad, Latin America, Middle East and North Africa, Nicaragua, Syria, US policy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Syria and Bosnia: A Series (Intro)

INTRODUCTION Some experts are just now starting to compare the magnitude of bloodshed in Syria for a little over two years now with that of Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1992-1995. But the comparison is almost always surface-level, mostly confined to commenting on the … Continue reading

Posted in Balkans, Europe, Middle East and North Africa, Syria | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment