Syria Agonistes

There was, from the outset, a predictability about how the Syrian crisis would come to this, a global strategist’s calculation versus the terrible suffering happening on the ground. At present there are over 1.8 million refugees from Syria registered with UNHCR, with another 186,000 awaiting registration. In total, then, approximately 2 million Syrians have left … Continue reading

Syria Adrift

This blog has been a touch quiet, and the reason is basically Syria, for two interconnected reasons. The first is straightforward enough. I have been finalising a book put together on the basis of my experiences of living in Syria immediately prior to the current tragic events. It is about living in an old Arabic … Continue reading

Twittering Damascus

It was mesmerising to sit in Phnom Penh and “watch” on Twitter as events allegedly unfolded in Damascus overnight on 19/20 May and over the next 36 hours. Early on Sunday morning I logged on to Twitter as normal, because since signing up a year or so ago, after a lot of initial scepticism, it … Continue reading

Syria In Vogue But On The Outer

As the Kofi Annan plan peters out and the shelling of places like Hama and Homs resumes, the international focus on Syria is now focused momentarily on a sideshow, the mysterious disappearance from the Vogue website of a profile on Asma al-Assad first published in March 2011. ( ).  However, some of that original piece … Continue reading

W(h)ither Syria?

The current troubles in Syria began almost a year ago.  In that short time the country has gone from a growing interaction with the West and an opening-up economy, to a rising chorus of demands for military intervention to oust President Bashar al-Assad and stop the blood-letting.  It has been a rapid, bewildering degeneration, taking … Continue reading

Watching Syria Sadly

For anyone who has been to Damascus and Syria in the past few years and inevitably fallen for both, there is a current air of unreality in imagining that the locals no longer risk travelling on the road north, and that the road to the airport has seen what amounts to military action.  There are … Continue reading