September 19, 2012
cjchivers:

Local Arms Production in Syria’s Aleppo Governorate.
On the NYT’s At War blog, a report and analysis on improvised arms in one corner of the Syrian war. The first part is live. A second installment will publish soon.
One set of guiding thoughts, lest you read the post as a buff: 
The outlook and merits of the Syria’s flourishing craft in improvised weapons can be assessed very differently depending on the time scale. In the short- and medium-term, many of those who support the uprising might be buoyed by the energy and adaptiveness behind the arms production, and welcome its products for their utility in the war and as indications of popular support for the Free Syrian Army. 
But wars go through phases. And over the longer term, this type of production can work much like the widespread distribution of modern military arms in a civilian population. It can raise risks that the enduring weapons will become as a source of local insecurity and persistent danger, even in the event that the Syrian government abruptly falls and the Free Syrian Army or it supporters provide a coherent and functioning government in the vacuum. 
It can be almost axiomatic: As hard as it can be for a society to arm itself for war, and as urgently as an uprising’s supporters invariably seek more weapons, it can be even harder, later, to disarm. Absent strong leadership that also happens to be smart and committed to public safety, the lingering effects of the Syria’s burgeoning arms business could pose perils that Syrians of all persuasions may worry about or suffer from for years. 
The At War posts focus on the ongoing processes involved in arming. And many supporters of the FSA will welcome these processes. But again, this is a phase. We expect to be writing about the difficulties in disarmament in Syria for years. And that’s if Syria gets lucky. In some places that have been rearranged by violence, people have not set aside their stores of infantry arms or idled their weapons-making skills in a generation, or more. And more people become victims long after the first fight is done.

cjchivers:

Local Arms Production in Syria’s Aleppo Governorate.

On the NYT’s At War blog, a report and analysis on improvised arms in one corner of the Syrian war. The first part is live. A second installment will publish soon.

One set of guiding thoughts, lest you read the post as a buff:

The outlook and merits of the Syria’s flourishing craft in improvised weapons can be assessed very differently depending on the time scale. In the short- and medium-term, many of those who support the uprising might be buoyed by the energy and adaptiveness behind the arms production, and welcome its products for their utility in the war and as indications of popular support for the Free Syrian Army.

But wars go through phases. And over the longer term, this type of production can work much like the widespread distribution of modern military arms in a civilian population. It can raise risks that the enduring weapons will become as a source of local insecurity and persistent danger, even in the event that the Syrian government abruptly falls and the Free Syrian Army or it supporters provide a coherent and functioning government in the vacuum.

It can be almost axiomatic: As hard as it can be for a society to arm itself for war, and as urgently as an uprising’s supporters invariably seek more weapons, it can be even harder, later, to disarm. Absent strong leadership that also happens to be smart and committed to public safety, the lingering effects of the Syria’s burgeoning arms business could pose perils that Syrians of all persuasions may worry about or suffer from for years.

The At War posts focus on the ongoing processes involved in arming. And many supporters of the FSA will welcome these processes. But again, this is a phase. We expect to be writing about the difficulties in disarmament in Syria for years. And that’s if Syria gets lucky. In some places that have been rearranged by violence, people have not set aside their stores of infantry arms or idled their weapons-making skills in a generation, or more. And more people become victims long after the first fight is done.


August 15, 2012
azipaybarah:

That’s Republican state senator David Storobin of Brooklyn, with the gun, at the Israeli-Syrian border.

azipaybarah:

That’s Republican state senator David Storobin of Brooklyn, with the gun, at the Israeli-Syrian border.

August 1, 2012
Reuters reports that President Obama has signed a secret order allowing the U.S. to provide support to Syrian opposition forces in their fight agains Bashar al-Assad's government. More:

shortformblog:

Obama’s order, approved earlier this year and known as an intelligence “finding,” broadly permits the CIA and other U.S. agencies to provide support that could help the rebels oust Assad.

This and other developments signal a shift toward growing, albeit still circumscribed, support for Assad’s armed opponents - a shift that intensified following last month’s failure of the U.N. Security Council to agree on tougher sanctions against the Damascus government.

The order stops just short of having the U.S. give rebels weapons.

Al Monitor had this a week ago.

(via inothernews)

July 6, 2012
vanityfair:

The Passport to Prove It | A Stamped History of Marie Colvin’s Career
From the Colvin Family.

Shorter slideshow: Badass woman is badass. Click through for this one, for sure.

vanityfair:

The Passport to Prove It | A Stamped History of Marie Colvin’s Career

From the Colvin Family.

Shorter slideshow: Badass woman is badass. Click through for this one, for sure.

June 7, 2012
reuters:

Six hours after tanks and militiamen pulled out of Mazraat al-Qubeir, a Syrian farmer said he returned to find only charred bodies among the shouldering homes of his once-tranquil hamlet.
“There was smoke rising from the buildings and a horrible smell of human flesh burning,” said a man who told how he had watched Syrian troops and “shabbiha” gunmen attack his village as he hid in his family olive grove.
“It was like a ghost town,” he told Reuters by telephone, asking not to be named because he feared for his safety.
READ MORE: Survivor tells of horror in Syrian village

reuters:

Six hours after tanks and militiamen pulled out of Mazraat al-Qubeir, a Syrian farmer said he returned to find only charred bodies among the shouldering homes of his once-tranquil hamlet.

“There was smoke rising from the buildings and a horrible smell of human flesh burning,” said a man who told how he had watched Syrian troops and “shabbiha” gunmen attack his village as he hid in his family olive grove.

“It was like a ghost town,” he told Reuters by telephone, asking not to be named because he feared for his safety.

READ MORE: Survivor tells of horror in Syrian village

March 14, 2012
Bashar al-Assad’s iTunes Playlist

cheatsheet:

Hackers got a hold of about 3,000 emails from account shared between Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad and his wife. One conversation chronicles the ruthless leader’s iTunes purchases, and let’s just say it’s an interesting mix. Without further ado, here’s a selection of songs purchased be the al-Assads. (Spotify playlist!) [h/t The Atlantic]

Blake Shelton - “God Gave Me You”

Right Said Fred - “Don’t Talk Just Kiss”

New Order - “Bizarre Love Triangle” 

The Cover Girls - “We Can’t Go Wrong” 

Leona Lewis - “Hurt”

Chris Brown - “Look at Me Now ft. Lil Wayne, Busta Rhymes”

LMFAO - “Sexy and I Know It” 

September 29, 2011
shortformblog:

U.S. ambassador to Syria pelted with tomatoes, stones in protest: You might remember the assault against U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford, who’s been critical of Assad’s regime, from about a month ago. That one didn’t involve stones and tomatoes. This one did. source

shortformblog:

U.S. ambassador to Syria pelted with tomatoes, stones in protest: You might remember the assault against U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford, who’s been critical of Assad’s regime, from about a month ago. That one didn’t involve stones and tomatoes. This one did. source

(Source: shortformblog)