After the fall of the autocratic regimes that protected religious minorities, Christian communities in the Middle East — the world’s oldest — have been devastated by mob violence and official indifference and hostility. Why doesn’t anyone seem to care?
Echoing prior reporting, Jonathan Landay profiles the deep — or “fanatical” — support for the Assad regime among the Alawite populations of Syria’s western coastal strip. In addition to Alawites, many other religious minorities and even some Sunnis support the regime, which they see as the only thing between them and a harsh Islamist government or bloody reprisals by hardline rebels. In particular, Landay quotes locals who identify last summer’s controversial video of symbolic cannibalism by a rebel fighter as mobilizing support for Assad.
For his part Assad vowed this week that he will not relinquish power, contributing to the continuation of a war whose deaths the UN says it can no longer tally.
Paul R. Pillar examines the role of civil-military relations in the contrasting post-revolution politics of Egypt and Tunisia.
Emad Shahin, a political scientist at the American University in Cairo, was charged with espionage along with Muslim Brotherhood leaders but managed to fleet the country before being detained. “I would sooner believe that Vice President Biden is a member of the Symbionese Liberation Army than I would give credence to the charges against Emad,” comments GWU professor Nathan J. Brown.
This week saw unprecedented violence in Ukraine’s ongoing mass protests, with multiple demonstrators dying of gunshot wounds. Supporters of President Yanukovych’s government accuse the demonstrators of attempting to carry out a coup, the Atlantic collects photos of the nightmarish street battles in Kiev, and Samantha Power commented on Twitter that Yanukovych must “actually address the protestors legitimate concerns. Compromise is the only solution.”
Late Thursday news broke of a ceasefire agreement signed in Addis Ababa by the South Sudanese government and rebels.
Is the United Nations any better at preventing mass atrocities today than during the genocide in Rwanda, and has it managed to apply these lessons to the current crisis in South Sudan? Via Daniel Solomon, who notes that “comparative examples say the UN’s peacebuilding works best where its footprint is heaviest, contra South Sudan.”
e-International Relations has an interesting collection of short essays on Syria, R2P, and global humanitarianism.