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Robin Yassin-Kassab

Archive for February 2016

Peace or Pacification

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aleppoThis was published at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

As I write, state representatives are attending the theatre in Geneva. (The talks were stopped on February 3rd). In Syria, meanwhile, reality prevails: in one day a tented camp of the displaced in the Lattakia hills is bombed, barrel bombs rain on the south and the Damascus suburbs, Russia’s cluster bombs crumple over the north, and up to a hundred people are asphyxiated by chlorine gas in Moadamiyah. Let’s hope the seats in the theatre are nice and comfy.

Russia, the prime mover of the process, is inviting its own ‘opposition’ delegates. It complains (with Assad and Iran) that the actual opposition delegation contains ‘terrorists’. The thousands of Iranian-backed transnational Shia jihadists in Syria are not considered terrorists and should not be discussed at this stage.

The United States accepts these terms, and instead of the ‘transitional government’ agreed upon as the ultimate goal in previous Geneva talks, it speaks now of a ‘national government’. In other words Assad – responsible for the overwhelming number of civilian casualities and displacements – can stay, so that all may confront the ‘greater evil’ of jihadism.

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Written by Robin Yassin-Kassab

February 7, 2016 at 11:51 am

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Speaking at Chatham House

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Here I am on stage at Chatham House last week with the journalist Mina al-Oraibi. Mina was a lot more optimistic about Russia’s ‘peace process’ than I was. Am I allowed to point out without seeming rude that the process has already dramatically collapsed?

Written by Robin Yassin-Kassab

February 6, 2016 at 9:54 pm

Posted in Syria

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On the Media, Diplomacy and Pacification

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Thanks to the people at Chatham House who interviewed me and then made this short film.

Written by Robin Yassin-Kassab

February 5, 2016 at 10:22 pm

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At Amnesty

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Our book Burning Country was launched on January 20th at Amnesty International in London. I was in conversation with the lovely Kristyan Benedict. Here’s the video, and here’s Amnesty’s article on the event.

Written by Robin Yassin-Kassab

February 2, 2016 at 12:11 pm