Still not doing European politics for the time being…though the protests in Ukraine have definitely been “exciting.”
From the article “The Things They Carried”
Foreign Policy has a great post where they talked to Peter White, one of the chemical weapons inspectors who has been recently working in Syria. They discuss all the different things that he normally brings (like the all-useful spork and his chemical weapons inspector notebook) to things that are especially relevant if working in a warzone like Syria (i.e. body armor). You can read the entire story here.
Like the International Law class, students in my World Politics class this semester were given a last assignment where they were asked to choose a current news story and relate it to what they learned this semester. Here is the first in this series of papers – a student guest post on the basics of the Syrian rebellion.
Al Jazeera has an excellent interactive map of the different groups that make up the Syrian rebellion.
Syrian Rebel Groups
The Free Syrian Army group (FSA) was formed in August 2011 by army deserters based in Turkey, led by Col Riad al-Asaad. There are many stories in the news over these groups, so I thought I would just describe what they are and what they do. They’re leader, Brig Gen Salim Idris, was a general in the Syrian Army before he deserted in July of 2012. Now he is the Chief of Staff for the Supreme Military Counsel (SMC) for the Free Syrian Army. As previously stated, the FSA is made of military deserters. In spite of their experience, there are also many that are just regular people fighting for a cause they believe in. Because of this, the FSA’s leaders have a difficult time keeping operational control over what their men are doing. The rebels are known for being chaotic and unorganized. Continue Reading
In light of the newest developments in Iranian nuclear negotiations and continuing the student guest posts on US policy options in dealing with Iran, here is an overview of the pros and cons considering the airstrike option.
The United States has the ability to substantially reduce the risk of Iran developing weapons of mass destruction and decreasing uranium enrichment by utilizing air strikes on Iranian nuclear plants. Use of air strikes would entail a “premeditated aerial bombardment,” of an Iranian reactor through bombing or missiles (D’Amato, 1983). Air strikes could be either unmanned drones or manned military planes, and is, in fact, something that Israel has prepared to deploy. This article in The Atlantic Wire lays out a would-be Israeli attack step by step and provides maps of the four most targeted sites. The article leans heavily on manned military planes, and also a couple submarines. An unmanned air strike, like the one mentioned in this article, Iranian missiles would be taken out by Israel before they even left the ground in Iran.
Possible Israeli airstrike routes (image from the Atlantic Wire)