Tag Archives: military
“Hands off Syria-no new wars!” and “Money for jobs and education not for wars and occupation!” were some of the many chants that protesters from all over Chicago cried out on Tuesday July 2, 2013. For the past three Tuesdays, members from the Syrian American Forum, Anti-War Committee, Occupy Chicago, the Anti-War Coalition, and several other activists have joined together at Federal Plaza to raise awareness against the dangers of arming rebels in Syria. Next Tuesday, July 9, there will be another protest for peace as part of a nationally coordinated call to action. With their posters, banners, and official Syrian flags, these activists have made it quite clear: arming rebels in Syria is the contradiction of peace.
It has been over two years since the outbreak of civil war in Syria and there remains no clear end in sight. Rebels, unorganized and without sufficient military support, continue their efforts to depose Bashar al-Assad. At the same time, Iran, Russia, and now Hezbollah have increased their support for the Assad regime. Hezbollah’s involvement has recently been confirmed by Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah.
Meanwhile, verbal attacks against the Assad regime’s violence by the Obama Administration and other US allies have been plentiful but entirely ineffective.
Since January, American news outlets have been flooded with stories about France’s two month campaign to oust a group of Islamic terrorists that had recently gained total control over the northern region of Mali. Reports of ghastly violations of human rights coming from these areas under rebel control, along with France’s claim to be fighting Al-Qaeda-linked extremists, may lead many of us to conclude that this is a rather black and white conflict. But a closer look into the ongoing conflict in Mali reveals a much more complex situation, which muddies the black and white rhetoric.
On Thursday, January 24th Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced that the US military will lift the ban on women serving in combat. Many women’s groups and feminist activists saw this announcement as an unqualified victory. According to Kiki Cardenas writing in the popular blog feministing.com, “People asked me: “Well, do you know what you would be fighting for? Do you believe in the war?” Yes and no. I would have been fighting for women’s equality in the world and here in the U.S. and that was reason enough for me.”
The year is 1984, and James Cameron’s The Terminator is one of the highest grossing box office hits of the year. This film, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator, tells a story of a futuristic mechanized assassin traveling back in time to “terminate” Sarah Connor, the mother of John Connor, the future leader of the resistance against the machines. Throughout the film, the audience watches as the terminator devastates California, killing countless civilians, without ever achieving its mission of eliminating Sarah Connor. Similar themes unraveled in the following Terminator films, with the machine proving time and time again to be extremely efficient at killing everyone that isn’t its target.
In 1984, this film seemed to be purely science fiction. However, in recent decades there has been a boom in weapons development that has made that once distant future seem ever closer.
Recently, I read an article in the New York Times, titled “Syrian Children Offer Glimpse of a Future of Reprisals.” In it, David Kilpatrick wrote of the hundreds of Syrian children in Jordan’s Zataari camp who are forced to spend their days in tents, away from home, without the food, shelter, and education they desperately need. Mr. Kilpatrick’s thesis was that all of the Sunni children he met in this camp were overwhelmed by their hatred of President Bashar Al-Assad, his government, his supporters, and most importantly, the Alawites – members of a Shia sect of Islam which makes up ten per cent of its population.
On March 11, 2012, 17 civilian lives were lost in three homes in three different locations in Panjwai district – the villages of Alkozai and Najeeban and another settlement known locally as “Ibrahim Khan Houses.” When reports first came out that this mass murder was a result of a rogue U.S. soldier, Staff Sergeant Robert Bales- everyone wanted to find out why he had done this. However, due to mass media’s apologetic portrayal of Bales, people began to wonder: what lead him to do this?
By Dima Ansari
Bashar Al-Assad sounds like someone who is running out of excuses. In a December 2011 interview with Barbara Walters, Assad’s calm exterior reflected not his discomfort about the probing questions he was being asked, but that he is a very capable liar—or that he lives in his own fantasy world.
Foreign media outlets are currently barred from entering Syria. However, because Assad did grant an interview with Walters in December, we are able to delve a little deeper into his mind in order to better understand the reasons behind the Syrian government’s continued violence against civilians.