Syria

West should be telling Assad to go

By Emanuele Ottolenghi, May 5, 2011

When US President Barack Obama offered his rationale for supporting the UN imposed no-fly zone over Libyan skies, he said that "We knew that if we waited one more day, Benghazi - a city nearly the size of Charlotte - could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world."

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Certainty goes up in flames as Syria riots

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 28, 2011

Despite promising political reform and a repeal of the country's emergency laws last week, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has ordered his army to quell the pro-democracy protests in a number of cities.

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Never say never: Brit ex-spy defends Assad

By Robin Shepherd, April 14, 2011

Hundreds gunned down in the streets. Jails packed to overflowing. A ruthless dictatorship brutalising its own people in order to cling on to power. As a description of recent events in Bashar Assad's Syria, you'd be hard pushed to paint a clearer picture.

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They say it is impossible, but Syrians may yet uproot Assad

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 24, 2011

Only a week ago, no-one was willing to put good money on the chances of Syria being the next Arab state to be engulfed by pro-democracy demonstrations.

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Syrian ship with arms for Gaza captured by Israel

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 17, 2011

The capture of an arms shipment from Syria, bound for Gaza, revealed attempts by Hamas to obtain advanced capabilities with which to threaten Israeli shipping and natural gas installations in the Mediterranean.

The German-owned Victoria, a container-ship on a routine voyage through ports in the eastern Mediterranean, took on a shipment in the Syrian port of Latakia on Monday.

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On this day: The United Arab Republic

By Jennifer Lipman, February 22, 2011

The pan-Arab dream, which saw old rivals Egypt and Syria join forces, only lasted three years. It collapsed in 1961 when Syria abandoned it, although Egypt retained the title for another decade.

The United Arab Republic (UAR) partnership came about for many reasons, not least to limit the influence of communist-leaning politicians in Syria.

With support from North Yemen and elsewhere, for a time it appeared the union could be the start of a new Middle East.

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Lieberman: Iran warships Suez route is provocation

By Jennifer Lipman, February 16, 2011

Israel’s Foreign Minister has called the Iranian plan to send two warships to Syria through the Suez Canal tonight a “provocation”.

Avigdor Lieberman suggested that Israel would not tolerate the action by Tehran, which would see warships deployed at several areas near Israel.

He demanded that Iran called off the move and appealed to the rest of the world "to show readiness to deal with the recurring Iranian provocations”.

Mr Lieberman said: “The international community must understand that Israel cannot forever ignore these provocations."

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Hague urges Syrian support for Middle East deal

By Jennifer Lipman, January 28, 2011

William Hague has called on Syria to “support efforts towards a comprehensive peace with Israel”.

Mr Hague, who is in Syria for his first official visit as Foreign Secretary, also said that the British government’s position is to oppose settlement building and support Syria’s claim on the Golan Heights, which have been under Israeli control for 44 years.

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Foreign Office says no to MIA report

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 16, 2010

The British government is refusing to release documents which could shed light on the fate of three Israeli soldiers missing since 1982 because it says sensitive information could harm diplomatic relations with Syria.

On June 11 1982, three Israeli soldiers went missing after a battle with Syrian and Palestinian forces near the Lebanese village of Sultan Yaqub in the last moments of the Lebanon war. Zachary Baumel, Yehuda Katz and Zvi Feldman, all in their 20s at the time, are still officially MIA - missing in action.

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Radical cleric Bakri chooses Hizbollah lawyer

By Jennifer Lipman, November 16, 2010

A radical Islamic preacher who was last week sentenced to life behind bars for terrorism charges has selected a Hizbollah leader as his defence lawyer.

Omar Bakri, who was sentenced in absentia but captured by security officials just days later in Libya, has appointed Hizbollah deputy Nawwar Sahili to represent him in a retrial.

No court date has been set yet, but under Lebanese law a retrial is necessary because the Syrian-born cleric failed to attend court.

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