Patrick Cockburn on the war in Syria and the threat to the Middle East | London Review of Books

| June 04, 2013


With respect to Syria, only a few writers have succeed in conveying the nuances needed to make sense of the calamitous nature of the civil-war. Patrick Cockburn is a must read if you’re looking for a sophisticated understanding of the crisis.


 

“The Syrian civil war is spreading. This, not well-publicised advances or withdrawals on the battlefield, is the most important new development. Political leaders in the region see the dangers more intensely than the rest of the world. … The feeling that the future of whole states is in doubt is growing across the Middle East – for the first time since Britain and France carved up the remains of the Ottoman Empire after the First World War … [W]hile there is an appetite for diplomacy, nobody knows what a solution would look like. It’s hard to imagine a real agreement being reached when there are so many players with conflicting interests. Five distinct conflicts have become tangled together in Syria: a popular uprising against a dictatorship which is also a sectarian battle between Sunnis and the Alawite sect; a regional struggle between Shia and Sunni which is also a decades-old conflict between an Iranian-led grouping and Iran’s traditional enemies, notably the US and Saudi Arabia. Finally, at another level, there is a reborn Cold War confrontation: Russia and China v. the West.”

 

Full article here.

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