What should be reconsidered after the Syrian peace talks in Moscow?

RD WEBCAST: With the first round of Syrian peace talks in Moscow now complete and the second on their way in March, talk is of how to adjust the “Moscow format” to produce a final settlement to the Syrian crisis.

The Geneva format for Syrian peace talks was supposed to pave the road to a comprehensive agreement and, ultimately, a settlement of the Syrian crisis. However, the last meeting in Geneva, which took place a year ago, delivered almost zero results and left the conflict without foreseeable hope for future settlement. In response, Russia’s Foreign Ministry invited Syrian opposition leaders and the Syrian government to sit down and discuss the issues in Moscow from Jan. 26-29.

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share Humanitäre Diplomatie für Syrien im Stillen

Auf ihre Versammlung im vergangenen Mai hat die Weltgesundheitsorganisation WHO eine Resolution verabschiedet, die die „Verschlechterung der Gesundheitsbedingungen der syrischen Bevölkerung auf dem besetzten Golan als Ergebnis der unterdrückerischen Praktiken der israelischen Besatzung“ verurteilt. Die Resolution, Geistes Kind der syrischen und palästinensischen Delegierten, tat es anderen Versuchen gleich, Israel in internationalen und UN-angegliederten Institutionen zu verurteilen. Interessanterweise kam diese Verurteilung just zu dem Zeitpunkt, als eine weitere Gruppe verletzter Syrer die syrisch-israelische Grenze überquerte, um in einem Militärlazarett (oder Spital) behandelt zu werden, das aus eben diesem Grund auf dem Golan aufgestellt wurde. View full post…

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Some Quiet Humanitarian Diplomacy on Syria

The Journal of International Security Affairs

JERUSALEM— In its meeting this past May, the World Health Organization adopted a resolution condemning the “deterioration of the health conditions of the Syrian population in the occupied Golan as a result of the suppressive practices of the Israeli occupation.” The resolution, a brainchild of the Syrian and Palestinian delegates, joined sundry other attempts to condemn Israel in the international and UN-related institutions. Interestingly enough, this condemnation came just as yet another group of wounded Syrians had crossed the Syrian-Israeli border to be treated in a military hospital that was set up for that precise purpose in the Golan. As of this writing, over 100 injured. View full post…

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The Making of Lebanese Foreign Policy

The Making of Lebanese Foreign Policy:
Understanding the 2006 Hezbollah–Israeli War
by Henrietta Wilkins
(London: Routledge, 2013), 180 pages
 
Reviewed by Nir Boms for the Israeli Journal of Foreign Affairs
 
 
 
In August 2013, seven years after the end of the Second Lebanon War, air raid sirens were again sounded in northern  Israel. Four missiles fired from Lebanese territory struck residential areas. This time, it was not Hizbullah that was behind the attacks, but the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, an al-Qa’ida-linked group that took “credit” for similar missile strikes on Israel in 2009 and 2011. Lebanese President Michel Sleiman condemned the incident as a violation of UN  Security Council Resolution 1701 and Lebanon’s sovereignty. Hizbullah  did not comment. Israel retaliated and launched an attack in Na’ameh, targeting a base of a Palestinian militant group. This incident can be seen as a microcosm of the Lebanese reality in which a president can only complain about the violation of national sovereignty by militias and terror groups that operate on his territory but are beyond his control. These recent events tie in with the volume under review.
 
Henrietta  Wilkins’ book, an adaptation of her PhD thesis at Durham  University, seeks to explain Lebanon’s behavior in the international  arena during the 2006 war between Hizbullah and Israel and, in so doing, to highlight the limitation of systemic theories in explaining foreign policy. On the one hand, this book is about Lebanon with a focus on the 2006 war and its ramifications for Lebanon’s foreign policy. On  the other  hand,  it is also a treatise  on International  Relations  (IR) theory and, even more so, about the limitation of systematic IR theories that often attempt  to synthesize (and  simplify) foreign policy principles but, at the same time, fail the “deduction” test. View full post…
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