Tag Archives: Hama

Donald Trump is Wrong (Again): Saddam Hussein Supported Terrorism

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on July 6, 2016

Last night Donald Trump unburdened himself of the view that Saddam Hussein was an efficient anti-terrorist operator. It is a statement Trump has made before, and it is one of such staggering ignorance—yet one which has such wide sympathy—that it seemed worth examining the multiple ways in which it was wrong. Continue reading

Who Killed The Anti-Assad Imam In London?

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on April 9, 2015

Abdul Hadi Arwani

Abdul Hadi Arwani

Abdul Hadi Arwani, a Syrian-born imam, was found shot dead in his car on Tuesday in Wembley, northwest London. The British police are still refusing to officially name Arwani, but his friends and supporters have done so. Arwani leaves behind six children.

There are many possibilities for who killed Arwani. As the manager of a construction firm, it could be a deal gone wrong. The involvement of anti-terrorism police in the investigation into Arwani’s murder could indicate a far-Right anti-Muslim assailant. However, a source close to the investigation said that Arwani was struck down in an operation that had all the hallmarks of a “State-sponsored assassination“. To find that the long arm of Bashar al-Assad’s mukhabarat had caught up with Arwani would hardly be a surprise. Continue reading

What To Do About Syria: Sectarianism And The Minorities

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on December 24, 2014

The Armenian Catholic Church of the Martyrs in Raqqa City

The Armenian Catholic Church of the Martyrs in Raqqa City

In the last few days I’ve been asked a lot about my longstanding view that the beginning of a Western strategy in Syria is the removal of Bashar al-Assad. The question has come from various angles and been phrased in various ways but it always boils down to: “What comes next?”

The best response I have seen to this comes from Thomas Nichols: “When someone says ‘tell me how it ends,’ it’s another way of saying: ‘I just don’t happen to like this particular case for intervention,’ for whatever reason.” Continue reading

Iraq Is Still Suffering The Effects Of Saddam Hussein’s Islamist Regime

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on December 17, 2014

Throughout his entire trial, Saddam Hussein was never without a Qur'an

Throughout his entire trial, Saddam Hussein was never without a Qur’an

In June, Samuel Helfont published a paper for the Middle East Institute entitled, ‘Saddam and the Islamists: The Ba’thist Regime’s Instrumentalization of Religion in Foreign Affairs’. Relying on “newly released Iraqi state and Ba’th Party archives,” Helfont’s central argument is:

Saddam maintained deep reservations about Islamism until the end. However, this did not prevent his regime from working extensively with Islamists and Islamic activists outside Iraq. Indeed, religion played a leading role in the country’s foreign policy throughout the 1990s.”

Continue reading

The Anti-Interventionists Got What They Wanted in Syria and Iraq: Are They Happy Now?

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on July 1, 2014

BBC map of ISIS’/Islamic State’s operational area

As we enter the fortieth month of Syria’s ordeal, and with the renegade Zarqawi’ite network in Iraq finally declaring that its virtual ministries are being uploaded into a fully restored Caliphate extending from Raqqa to Tikrit, the most depressing thought of all is that it did not have to be this way. Continue reading

Hama: The Forgotten Front

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on April 12, 2014

Aftermath of the Hama massacre, 1982

Aftermath of the Hama massacre, 1982

Hama. The very word in the Syrian lexicon denotes violence and the immovability of the House of Assad. There, in 1982, Hafez al-Assad secured the title deeds to his dynasty. Hafez had intruded into the Lebanon during its time of sorrow and the “blowback”—which it turns out is not only for Americans—had sparked an uprising inside Syria led by the Muslim Brotherhood. Continue reading