Book review: Impossible Revolution

This book is a necessary corrective to the dominant perception—left, right and center—that the opposition in Syria are all jihadists and dictator Bashar Assad the best bet for “stability.” Long a left-wing dissident in Assad’s Syria, Saleh is a veteran of the dictator’s prisons. Here, he traces the origins of the Syrian revolution to agony caused by the regime’s “economic liberalization” (socialist phrases aside), describes the initially unarmed opposition’s popular-democratic nature, and discusses the struggle to keep the Free Syrian Army accountable to this grassroots base after it became clear a military dimension to the revolution was necessary. He makes the case that the Assad regime can be termed “fascist” even by the most rigorous definition, and has been making good on its pledge to “burn the country” before ceding power. (Image: Haymarket Books)

Greater Middle East

Yemen and Syria: fearful symmetry

Russian counterinsurgency in Syria mirrors US-backed counterinsurgency in Yemen, betraying superpower rivalry and "cooperation" alike as inimical to the region's revolutions.

Greater Middle East

Are Rojava Kurds taking the Russian bait?

Syria's Rojava Kurds are accused of coordinating with Russian air-strikes to take territory held by Islamist factions—while Turkey warns them against any further advance.

Greater Middle East

Lines drawn in imperial scramble for Syria

The US and Russia each groom their own rival proxy forces to fight ISIS and the Nusra Front—which in turn pledge to turn Syria into "another Afghanistan."


Sectarian massacres continue in Syria and Iraq

The Nusra Front fired hundreds of missiles into beseiged Alwaite villages in Syria, while ISIS claimed responsibility for suicide blasts that targeted Shi'ite areas of Baghdad.


Russia launches Syria intervention

Russian fighter pilots are arriving in Syria, to begin sorties against ISIS and rebel forces—amid reports that Moscow's elite units are already fighting on the ground for the regime.

Greater Middle East

Syria: Nusra Front announces drive on Damascus

Islamist rebels led by al-Qaeda affiliate Nusra Front have seized new territory in northwestern Syria, and issued a pledge to take Damascus and topple the regime.