January 28, 2021

SYRIA’S SILENT WEAPONS

Components of a modern smallpox vaccination kit including the diluent, a vial of Dryvax vaccinia vaccine, and a bifurcated needle.

PDF version available here   The decommissioning of Syria’s vast chemical weapon arsenal has brought its weapons of mass destruction into the media spotlight. Far less attention has been paid to Syria’s admitted biological warfare program, one of the largest in the Middle East today. While Asad’s chemical weapons have been monitored for decades, biological weapons are silent weapons. There are no identifying heat signatures, no activities such as mixing precursor materials … [Read more...]

IN THE ARENA OF THE ZU’AMA – REVIEWING HIZBALLAHʼS ROLE IN LEBANON

Hizballah Anti-American and anti-Israeli propaganda  ("Exhibition of the Lebanese resistance") Baalbek, Lebanon.

PDF version available here   Hizballah is usually defined as an Iranian group whose origins are found within the Shi’a and Iranian traditions. In this paper, however, we examine the activity of Hizballah as a Lebanese za’im, namely, within the context of the Lebanese elite families (zu’ama). We explore various aspects of Lebanese zu’ama that also typify Hizballah. These aspects include the provision of social services to the people, and the use of surveillance measures … [Read more...]

FROM STATION Z TO JERUSALEM

Figure 1. On July 15, 1942, at his East Prussian headquarters near Rastenburg, Hitler meets the former Iraqi premier Rashid Ali al-Kailani, a member of the al-Qadiriyya brotherhood, which to-gether with seven similar Islamist organizations played a key role in Berlin’s Middle East policy from 1894 on. On May 15, 1942, al-Kailani promised Hitler in a secret letter “to fight the common enemy until final victory.”

PDF version available here Excerpted from Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East, by Barry Rubin & Wolfgang G. Schwanitz, published February 2014 by Yale University Press. Copyright © 2014 by Barry Rubin & Wolfgang G. Schwanitz. Reprinted by permission of Yale University Press.   FROM STATION Z TO JERUSALEM   It began as another normal summer day in June 1942 at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp near Berlin, the place where SS trainees were taken to … [Read more...]

WHAT DOES THE ARAB NEWSPAPER THINK ABOUT ITSELF?

arab newspapers

PDF version available here Recent data appear to demonstrate the weakening of the Arab newspapers versus strengthening of the digital media. However, this weakening is less extensive than the corresponding erosion of Western newspapers in their own markets. This study examines the question of how Arab newspapers see themselves. A content and discourse analysis of articles in seven newspapers of different characteristics and distribution zones indicates an ambivalent attitude towards the … [Read more...]

THE DIFFUSION OF INTRA-ISLAMIC VIOLENCE AND TERRORISM: THE IMPACT OF THE PROLIFERATION OF SALAFI/WAHHABI IDEOLOGIES

PDF version available here The diffusion of intra-Islamic violence and terrorism is increasing because of the empowerment of extremists based on the proliferation of Salafi/Wahhabi ideologies. The concept of “takfir,” which militants use to judge a Muslim as a “non-believer,” hence exacting the punishment of death for apostasy, serves as the justification for killing civilians. This study analyzes the Salafi/Wahhabi source of inspiration for the diffusion of intra-Islamic … [Read more...]

PROCEEDING WITH CAUTION: THE CURRENT BALANCE OF FORCES IN THE SYRIAN CIVIL WAR AND ISRAELI CONCERNS

Israeli soldiers in an abandoned military outpost overlooking the ceasefire line between Israel and Syria on Tal Hazika near Alonei Habshan.

PDF version available here Aided by Hizballah and Iraqi Shi’a volunteers, the Asad regime scored significant gains in the civil war in Syria in the first months of 2014.  The regime has completed its re-conquest of the Qalamoun mountains and driven the rebels out of Homs. These gains constitute a consolidation by the Asad regime of its area of control in Syria, which runs from Damascus to the western coastal area, and now includes all the country’s provincial capitals with the … [Read more...]