Educational Aftershocks for Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

by Sarah E. Parkinson | published September 7, 2014 - 12:57pm

More than 50 percent of Syrian refugees living in Lebanon are 17 or younger. Back home the great majority of them were in school. But youth who try to continue their education in Lebanon face social, economic and bureaucratic obstacles. The cost can be so steep that their parents may opt to keep them at home. There is a lengthy wait list to attend Lebanese public schools, which are soliciting outside donations to pay teachers and other staff for a second shift made up of refugee children.

The Asad Regime and Its Troubles

Syria, under continuous Baathist rule since 1963, has relinquished its image of the 1950s and early 1960s as a peculiarly ungovernable and unstable state. Next year the regime hopes to celebrate its twentieth anniversary. A good measure of its maturity is that a majority of Syrians were born after the revolution. The regime’s younger members may have been 10 or so when the Baath seized power. For several years now entrants to the military academy cannot remember a time when Syria was anything but Baathist.

From the Editors

The massacre at Sabra and Shatila camps was an episode that immediately transcended the brutal war it was part of. The Israeli commission of inquiry seems almost a distraction from the obvious responsibility of the Begin government in this affair. Many of Begin’s critics regard the massacre as an inexcusable error of criminal proportions, but its implications are more ominous than this. It was a piece of a larger campaign, beginning in the south of Lebanon in early June, that killed more than 17,000 people. The carpet bombing of the camps in the south, the artillery pounding Beirut -- all this the Palestinians survived and the world tolerated.

Waterless Wadi Barada

Manufacturing Scarcity in a Syrian River Valley

by Francesca de Châtel , Mohammad Raba'a
published in MER271

When ‘Ali was a little boy, he spent his summers swimming in the Barada River and playing in the orchards rustling in the breeze along the banks. “Summers in Wadi Barada were amazing,” says the 28-year old from the village of Kufayr al-Zayt to the west of the Syrian capital of Damascus. “I can still hear the water rushing down the valley, and the screams and laughter of children playing in the river. We would spend all day on the banks of the Barada playing in the water, picking blackberries and building campfires in the evenings.”

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Nowhere to Turn for Mosul's Refugees

by Sophia Hoffmann | published July 15, 2014 - 10:51am

In 2006, 30,000 Iraqis arrived in Syria every month, seeking and receiving safe haven from US occupation and sectarian warfare as kidnappings, death threats, and bombings by air and land engulfed Baghdad and the southern governorates of Iraq. By 2011, an estimated 1-2 million Iraqis had fled to neighboring countries.

Refugee Need and Resilience in Zaatari

by Curtis Ryan | published June 22, 2014 - 8:00pm

Not surprisingly, a visit to the Zaatari camp for Syrian refugees in northern Jordan is mainly a depressing experience. Yet there are elements of inspiration here as well.

A New Diplomatic Rift Between Jordan and Syria

by Curtis Ryan | published May 29, 2014 - 11:27am

On May 26, Syria’s ambassador to Jordan, Bahjat Sulayman, received a terse letter from the Jordanian government informing him that he had been declared persona non grata and had 24 hours to leave the country. The expulsion of the Syrian ambassador may have seemed sudden or startling, but it had been brewing for quite some time. What is more surprising, in fact, is that it didn’t happen sooner.

Prospects for China's Expanding Role in the Middle East

by Kyle Haddad-Fonda
published in MER270

In the autumn of 2011, as the international outcry against Bashar al-Asad intensified, it was impossible for the government of China to avoid being drawn into the conflict in Syria. After China joined Russia in October of that year in vetoing a UN Security Council resolution condemning the brutality of the Asad regime, a series of demonstrations erupted throughout the Middle East. Many protesters reserved their strongest feelings for Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who had become the most visible opponent of international intervention in Syria. Yet China, which up to that point had rarely inflamed such passions in the Arab world, was also a target of the demonstrators.

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Patrick Seale: A Remembrance

by Adam Shatz | published May 1, 2014

“It is as a mirror of rival interests on an international scale that Syria deserves special attention,” a young Anglo-Irish journalist wrote in 1965. “Indeed, her internal affairs are almost meaningless unless related to the wider context, first of her Arab neighbors and then of other interested powers. It is no accident that Syria should reflect in her internal political structure the rivalries of her neighbors since, as I hope to show, whoever would lead the Middle East must control her.”

Syria's Drought and the Rise of a War Economy

by Omar S. Dahi | published April 14, 2014 - 11:19am

The grinding war in Syria brings new horrors with every passing week. The death toll and the number of displaced people continue to soar, as more areas of the country are reduced to rubble. This month, two additional issues with dire long-term consequences have been gaining attention: the possible drought affecting the northwest and the entrenchment of a war economy.