Syrian Arab Republic (Syria)
Timeline: Syria
750 BC
ASIA
Syria
 
The Assyrians
Neo-Assyrian Empire

Syria and Palestine
Under Control of the
Assyrian Empire




612 BC
ASIA
Syria
 
The Babylonians
Neo-Babylonian Empire

Syria and Palestine 
Under Babylonian Control
Assyrians Conquered




539 BC
ASIA
Syria
 
The Iranians
The Persian Achaemenid Empire

Syria and Palestine
Under Control of the
Persian Empire 
 




332 BC
ASIA
Syria
 
The Greeks
Persian Empire Falls

Syria Becomes Greek City
Alexander the Great
Conquers Persians



64 BC
ASIA
Syria
 
The Roman Empire
Pompey the Great, Roman General

Syria Conquered by the Roman Empire

Under Roman rule, the people of Syria enjoyed peace and prosperity for nearly 200 years. Many high functioning cities emerged througout the region.

Zenobia, the Palmyra Queen

For a short time thereafter, the Roman territory was conquered by an Arab people at Palmyra, before being the Romans regained control.

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FUN FACT
The Syrians
 
 
Syrian people are those who share a common cultural and linguistic ancestry.

Culturally, Syrians derive from a blend of Semitic speaking people who occupied all of  the eastern Mediterranean, including all the countries along the Eastern Mediterranean shores, extending from Greec to Cyrenaica.

The word Semitic is derived from Shem, one of the three sons of Noah in the Book of Genesis.

Syrian Diaspora
Approximately 10 - 15 million Syrians have emigrated from Syria. now live outside of Syria.

0
ASIA
Syria
 

Syrian Civil War Refugees

In 2016, the United Nations identified 4.8 million refugees who have fled Syria, seeking asylum in other countries.  The UN was also able to account for an estimated 6 million internally displaced who relocated to less troubled parts of Syria.

As time went on, it became harder and harder for people to fina a safe place to settle because 3,000 to 6,000 refugees left Syria every day and refugee centers filled to capacity.

By 2014, displaced Syrians were joined by an influx of thousands of weary, displaced people from Iraq.

Turkey, with 2.7 Syrian refugees is the largest host.  Other high refugee centers are Lebanon and Jordan.

Largely due to the Syrian civil war, the UN reports that the total number of refugees worldwide exceeds 50 million.

Poorer countries have expressed conerns about the economic and social cost of absorbing large numbers of refugees.  Some countries began imposing restrictions on the number that could entered, and in some cases, murderous violence is used to restrict entry.




633
ASIA
Syria
 
The Arabs - Islam

Arabs Conquer Syria

The Arabs granted their conquered populations freedom of worship, and many Syrians regarded them as liberators rather than conquerors.

This early Muslim period greatly favored life in Syria.  Under the Umayyad caliphs, Damascus became the capital and center of power of the Islamic Caliphate. And as an imperial capital, it was beautified by many palaces and mosques, and the city prospered.

Revolt
After about 100 years, prosperity began to decline as  Syria and Palestine became the locations of a number of revolts against the new Abbasid Dynasty, who founded their capital in Baghdad, Iraq.


635
ASIA
Middle East
 
The Arabs - Islam
Islam Splits into Sects
Sunni and Shia Muslims
Two Major Islamic Sects Emerge After Prophet Muhammad's Death

Sunni (People of Tradition) and Shia (Party of Ali) Muslims are the two main branches of Islam that emerged after the death of the Prophet Muhammad, based upon opposing views of the right of succession for leadership of Islam.

After Prophet Muhammad's death disagreements broke out over who should succed him as leader of the Muslim community.  The Prophet Muhammad did not name a successor and none of his sons survived into adulthood to fulfill heredity succession.

The Split
Abu Bakr vs Ali
Sunni vs Shia

Umar, a prominent companion of Muhammad, nominated Abu Bakr. This choice was disputed by some of Muhammad's companions, who believed Ali ibn Abi Talib, cousin and son-in-law should be successor.

The conflict and violence between Sunni and Shia is more about political power, than religious differences -- they share common religious beliefs.  At the time of Muhammad's death, the Sunni held the most power and supported Abu Bakr as successor, and the Shia emerged in opposition.





750
AFRICA
Syria
 
The Arabs - Islam
Syria Conquered
Black Banner of the Arab Abbasids
 
Syria Overthrown
by Abbasid Dynasty
Capital Moved to Baghdad
(modern-day Iraq) 
  • Caliph - person considered a political and religious successor to the prophet Muhammad and a leader of the entire Muslim community
  • Caliphate - an Islamic government led by a caliph 
 
The Arab Abbasid Caliphate was the 3rd Islamic caliphates to succeed the prophet Muhammad, descending from Muhammad’s youngest uncle, Abbas ibn Adb al-Muttalib.  They claimed to be the true successors of the prophet Muhammad and set out to replace Umayyad descendants, by virtue of their closer bloodline to Muhammad.
 
 
Coin of the Abbasids, Baghdad, Iraq
 
 After about a decade, the capital of the empire was moved from Damascus to Baghdad (modern-day Iraq) to be in closer proximity to Persia, where an alliance  and heavy dependence on Persian bureaucrats was developing.   Within Syria, Arabic soon became the dominant language, replacing Greek and Aramaic.

The Persians provided strong support in the Abbasid eventual defeat of the Umayyads, and many non-Arab Muslims where welcomed into the new government, helping to integrate Arab and Persian cultures.  However, these moves alienated many Arab supporters, particularly the Khorasania Arabs, who also supported the Abbasid in their defeat of the Umayyads.
 
 
Amir of Khorasan Isma'il ib Ahmad
who Exercised Independent
Authority from the Abassids

Once the Umayyads were out of power, they were virtually exterminated.  However, the only surviving member of the Umayyad royal family, ultimately made his way to Spain where he established himself as an independent Emir (Abd ar-Rahman I).   Abd ar-Rahman III assumed the title of Caliph, and established Al Andalus from Córdoba as a rival to Baghdad as the legitimate capital of the Islamic Empire.
 
 

935
AFRICA
Egypt and Seria
 
The Arabs - Islam
Muhammad ibn Tughj al-Ikhshid
882 – 946

Founder of the
Ikhshidid Dynasty
and Eventual Ruler of Syria
 
Abū Bakr Muḥammad ibn Ṭughj ibn Juff ibn Yiltakīn ibn Fūrān ibn Fūrī ibn Khāqān, better known as Muhammad ibn Tughj al-Ikhshid, was a Turkic slave soldier, who was appointed governor by an Abbasid Caliph, and who would go on to become ruler of Egypt, on behalf of the Abbasid.

Throughout his appointment, he was engaged in many conflicts with other political powers in the region for control over Syria, without which Egypt was vulnerable to invasion from the east, but unlike the others, he was big on making compromises with rivals.  He eventually gained control of all of Syria, founding the Ikshidid Dynasty, which lasted over 30 years. 

During this time, there was a period where he lost control of the northern half of Syria for about  three years, and regained control after the murder of his rival.

When he died, he left his son, Unujur,  as ruler of his domains, under the tutelage of a powerful Black Ethiopian eunuch named Abu al-Misk Kafur, who acted as guardian and protector of both sons,  of al-Ikhsid and who would eventually rule Egypt, after their deaths.
 

 

946
AFRICA
Egypt and Syria
 
The Ethiopians - Islam
 
Abu al-Misk Kafur 
905 – 968 

Black Ethiopian
(and former Slave)
Becomes Ruler
of Egypt and Syria
Abu al-Misk Kafur, originally a slave from Ethiopia, was also known as al-Laithi, al-Suri, al-Labi.  
 
During this period, and under Muslim states in general, Africans did not continue as slaves.  It was common  former slaves to enter the military and reach high positions. They were employed in various occupations, sharing equally in the culture around them. In Kafur’s case, he was promoted as vizier of Egypt.

Kafur had risen to become very powerful, and after the death of Muhamad ibn Tughj al-Ikshid, founder of the Ikhshidid Dynasty, and his former master, he was not disputed as the rightful as ruler of the Ikshidid domains, Egypt and southern Syria (including Damascus), although primarily behind the scenes, without the benefit of ceremony.
Kafur maintained stability inside Egypt. He fought and put down rebellions, and averted a coups.  He also survived the spread of subversive Ismāʿīlī propaganda against him.  His ability to resolve internal political complications is considered as having significantly prolonged the lifespan of the Ikhshidids.
One of Abu al-Misk Kafur's greatest achievements is his successful protection of the Ikhshidid establishment from the Hamdanids (in Syria), Fatimids (in northern Africa, to the west of Egypt), Qarmatians (in the Arabian peninsula), and the Nubians (from south of Egypt).
 
His military and diplomatic measures secured Damascus for the Ikhshidids (from the Hamdanids) in 947.  He was also able to delay the Fatimid expansion into Egypt, until after his death.
 
He made economic accomplishments, stabilizing the currency of the time.  
Abu al-Misk Kafur also gained popularity by being the patron of scholars and writers, and was immortalized in the poetry of al-Mutanabbi - the greatest poet of Kafur's time.
He was a pious man who surrounded himself with religious men, some of whom he showered with gifts. He constructed two mosques (in Giza and on al-Muqattam) and a hospital.   Kafur also constructed a number of sumptuous palaces, and the Kāfūriyyagardens in his capital.  Some of the people, however, felt that he was too extravagant in times of famine.
 

996
ASIA
Syria
 
The Byzantine Empire

Byzantine Empire Conquers
All of Syria
 
In 969, Syria became a battleground for the Byzantines, Hamdanids, and Damascus-based Fatimids.  And, by 996, the Byzantines had conquered all of Syria.  This,however, did not end the chaos, as the Byzantines, Fatimids and Buyids of Baghdad engaged in a constant struggle for supremacy.

1516
ASIA
Syria
 
Ottoman Empire - Islam

Syria Becomes Part
of the Ottoman Empire
of the Turks

Ottomans wereTurkish-speaking Muslims who amassed as strong and resilent empire that survived over 600 years.

In 1516, under Ottoman Sultan Selim I, the ever expanding empire conquered most of Syria, after defeating the Mamlukes at the Battle of Marj Dabiq near Aleppo.  And for over 400 years, Syria was part of the Ottomoa Empire, despite two brief captures by the Iranian Safvids under Shah Ismail I and Shah Abbas.

Because they shared the same faith and respected the Arabic language as the language of the Koran, they did not rule over the Syrians harshly.

Under the Ottomans the area of Damascus became a major center for thousands of Muslim pilgrims on hadj  -- the pilgrimage to Mecca recommended for all Muslims.

The Ottoman Turks reorganized Syria into one large province subdivided into sever districts.  In 1549, it was again reorganized into two provinces -- Damascus and Aleppo.  Within the next 50 years, the province of Raqqa was established in eastern Syria.

1918
ASIA
Syria
 
Syrian Independence
1st (Temporary) Independence

Emir Faisal and His Delegation at
1919 Paris Peace Conference

400 Year Ottoman Rule Ends
Arab and British Troops
Advance into Syria
Damascus and Aleppo Captured

Arab troops led by Emir Feisal, and supported by British forces, capture Damascus and Aleppo, ending 400 years of Ottoman rule.

Arab Self-Rule
Paris Peace Conference
Following the defeat of Germany and the Ottoman Empire in World War I, Emir Feisal promoted Arab self-rule at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference at Versailles.

Fasil King of Syria
and King of Iraq
Emir Feisal of Iraq is proclaimed King of the Arab Kingdom of Syria (Greater Syria) in 1920.  In 1921 he also became King of Iraq (for 12 years). Fasil was a member of the Hashemite dynasty.

Pan-Arabism
Unity Between
Sunni and Shiite Muslims

Faisal fostered unity between Sunni and Shiite Muslims to encourage common loyalty and promote pan-Arabism in the goal of creating an Arab state that would include Iraq, Syria and the rest of the Fertile Crescent. While in power, Faisal tried to diversify his administration by including different ethnic and religious groups in offices.

1920
ASIA
Syria
 
The French


Newly Independent
Kingdom of Syria
Falls Under French Control

San Remo Conference:
Europeans Meet to Divide

Conquered Ottoman Empire
The San Remo conference was an international meeting, held in Italy, after World War I to divide the Ottoman territories captured during the war.   The meeting was held from 19 to 26 April 1920, and attended by representatives of the four Principal Allied Powers of World War I: Britain, France, Italy, and Japan, as well as Greece and Belgium.

France Granted Syria
British Granted Palestine
During this meeting, Great Britain and France claimed administration of Syria and Mesopotamia.  And more importantly, international recognition was given to France for its claims in Syria.  As a result of the conference, Syria-Lebanon were placed under French mandate and Palestine under British control.

King Feisal of Arab Kingdom
of Syria Forced to Flee

Before French Occupation
With his sovereignty ignored, and his territories falling under French military and economic control, King Feisal fled his country just ahead of French occupation.

1920
ASIA
Syria
 
The French

French Divide Syria into
Three Distinct Reqions

 
The French separated the population of Syria into three distinct, governing regions – the Alawi Muslim sect (regarded as heretics by Sunnis) on the coast, the Druze Muslims in the South , and the majority Sunni population in Lebanon.

1925
ASIA
Syria
 
The French


Prominent Arab Druze Leader
Sultan al-Atrash Leads
Revolt Against French Rule

In 1925 Sultan Pasha al-Atrash officially declared revolution against France and led a revolt initiated from the Druze Mountain and that eventually spread to engulf the whole of Syria and parts of Lebanon.

Modern Weaponry Wins
the Day for the French
Al-Atrash won several early battles against the French, but in response, the French sent thousands of troops to Syria and Lebanon, from Morocco and Senegal, equipped with modern weapons, allowing the French to regain many cities.

Sultan al-Atrash
Sentenced to Death
The French sentenced Sultan al-Atrash to death, but he had escaped with the rebels to Transjordan and was eventually pardoned. He returned to Syria in 1937 after the signing of the Franco-Syrian Treaty. He was met with a huge public reception.


1928
ASIA
Syria
 
The French
Proposed Flag of the French Mandate
of Syria and Lebanon

Syrian Nationalist Draft
Constitution for Syria

Syrian nationalist present their draft of a constitution for Syria, that is immediately rejected by the French.

1936
ASIA
Syria
 
The French


Syria and France Negotiate
a Treaty of Independence

In agreeing to work toward Syrian independence, the French maintain military and economic control and dissolve two of the three artificial regions that they created on the coast and in the south, retaining Lebanon as a separate state.

1943
ASIA
Syria
 
The French

Shukri al-Kuwatli
Elected 1st President of Syria

Syrian nationalist, Shukri al-Kuwatli was elected as first president of Syria, and would go on to lead his country to full independence by 1946.

Shukri al-Kuwatli was a principal leader of the National Bloc, a Syrian political party that emerged to fight for Syrian independence while Syria was under French control.  The Block was led by notable conservatives, land owners, tradesmen, lawyers, etc -- including the 50 most rich and powerful families in Syria.

1944
ASIA
Syria
 
The French


Syria and Russia
Establish Diplomatic Relations
Close Bond Begins to Form

After World War II, the Soviet Union took an interest in the Middle East.

On February 1, 1946, the Soviet Union and Syria signed an agreement where the Soviet Union agreed to rovide military help in the formation of the Syrian Arab Army, promising diplomatic and political support in the international arena.

During the Cold War (1947 - 1991), a stronger political bond developed and Syria was considered an ally to the Soviet Union in opposition to the Western powers.



1946
ASIA
Syria
 
Syrian Independence
2nd Independence


Syria Becomes Independent



1947
ASIA
Syria
 
Syrian Independence
Decade #1

National Bloc Party Dissovled
Splits into Two Parties

The National Bloc, a Syrian political party that emerged to fight for Syrian independence.  Highly instrumental in achieving Syria's independence, the Bloc was led by notable conservatives, land owners, tradesmen, lawyers, etc -- including the 50 most rich and powerful families in Syria.

Out of the Bloc emerged two opposing parties:
  • National Party, based in Damascus
  • People's Party, based in Aleppo. The People's Party was friendly to interests in Hasemite Jordan and Iraq, unlike the National party






1947
ASIA
Syria
 
Syrian Independence
Decade #1

Arab Socialist
Ba'ath Party Founded
Calling for Unification
of the Arab World

The Arab Ba'ath Party was founded in Syria by Michel Aflaq, Salah al-Din al-Bitar, and Zaki al-Arsuzi, based upon an ideology mixing Arab nationalist, pan-Arabism, Arab socialist, and anti-imperialist interests.

Freedom for the Ba'ath Party means freedom from non-Arab control and interference. The party quickly established branches in other Arab countries, but only held power in Iraq and Syria.  

Arab Ba'ath Party and
Arab Socialist Party Merge
In 1952,  The Arab Ba'ath Party merged with the Arab Socialist Party, led by Akram al-Hawrani, to form the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party. The newly formed party was a relative success, and became the second-largest party in the Syrian parliament in the 1954 election.

Egypt and Syria
Become Allies
This, coupled with the increasing strength of the Syrian Communist Party, led to the establishment of the United Arab Republic (UAR), a union of Egypt and Syria. 


1948
ASIA
Syria
 
Syrian Independence
Decade #1

Syria Becomes Involved
in Arab-Israeli War

The Syrians aligned themselves with the other local Arab states that wanted to destroy the state of Israel.  
The Syrian army entered norther Palestine, but was gradually driven back to the Golan Heights by the Israelis.

It was during this period that many Syrian Jews, who faced growing persecution, fled Syria as part of Jewish exodus from Arab countries.

1958
ASIA
Syria
 
Syrian Independence
Decade #2

United Arab Republic
Syria and Egypt Unify

Syria and Egypt for a short-lived political union, which ended when Syria seceded from the union in 1961.

The union was planned as the 1st step towards a larger pan-Arab state, and was created when a group of political and military leaders in Syria proposed a merger between the two states to Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser.

1963
ASIA
Syria
 
Syrian Independence
Decade #2

Ba'ath Party Seizes
Power in Syria
March 8th Revolution:
Syrian Coup d'état

The military committee of the Syrian Regional Branch of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party planned a coup and seized power in Syria.

The Ba'ath Party was able to mobilize Syria's ethnic minorities, who were often underprivileged. The Alawits, the Druzes and the Isma'ilis, for instance, were ethnic groups with low social class who began to embrace a radical form of Arab nationalism, found in the ideology of the Ba'ath Party.

The growth of a new middle class in Syria fueled discontent and they became radicalized, as the traditional elite dominated the largest sectors of the economy and created the most wealth for themselves.




1966
ASIA
Syria
 
Syrian Independence
Decade #3: Rise of al-Assad
Salah Jadid

Civilian Ba'ath Lose Power
in Internal Military Coup
Led by Salah Jadid

Salah Jadid was a Syrian general and political figure in the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party who stage a military coup against civilian Syrian leadership.  

Although he played in the background, he had many men allied to him in some of the top Syrian government and military posts.

After the coup, Hafez al-Assad was appointed defense minister.  Salah Jadid and Hafez al-Assad maintained highly public policy differences.  While Jadid retained allegiance of most of the civilian Ba'ath, Assad gradually asserted control over the military wing of the party.

1967
ASIA
Syria
 
Syrian Independence
Decade #3: Rise of al-Assad
Israel Seizes the
Golan Heights from Syria

Between June 5th and June 10th, 1967, Israel engaged in a war with Egypt, Jordan and Syria, at the end of which, Israel had gained control of the Golan Heights from Syria. 

In the attack, much of Syria's air force was destroyed.



1970
ASIA
Syria
 
Syrian Independence
Decade #3: The al-Assad Regime


Defense Minister
Hafez al-Assad
Declares Himself President
after Military Coup

In 1969, while Salad Jadid was still in power, Hafez al-Assad, Defense Minister, purged several Jadid loyalists.

In 1970, when Jadid sent Syrian-controlled Palestinian troops into Jordan to help the PLO, al-Assad took exception to the move.

Whe the Soviets sent an ambassador to mediate the power struggle between Jadid (whom they supported) and al-Assad, al-Assad was angered. 

Later in the year, Jadid attempted to fire al-Assad and his supporters. This in turn caused al-Assad to launch a coup against Jadid.

Jadid was arrested on November 13, 1970, and was confined to prison until his death in 1993.

Hafez al-Assad declared himself President of Syria in 1971.

1973
ASIA
Syria: Assad Regime
 
Flag used by the Assad Government

President Hafez al-Assad
Implements New Constitution
Leading to Demonstrations




1982
ASIA
Syria: Assad Regime
 

The First Lebanon War
Israel Invades Lebanon
Beginning 8-Year Occupation
Driven Out by Hezbollah

Israel invaded Lebanon to occupy a strip of South Lebanon.  Funded by Iran to combat Israel's occupation, the group Hezbollah is formed and engages in guerilla warfare against Israel.

The military strength of Hezbollah continued to grow, forcing Israel to withdraw on May 24, 2000.

2000
ASIA
Syria: Assad Regime
 
Bashar al-Assad

President Hafez al-Assad Dies Succeeded by Son Bashar al-Assad

After Hafez al-Assad dies on June 10, 200, his son Bashar al-Assad is elected President of Syria.  At the time of his election, Sunni Muslims (including Sufis) made up 74% of the population, Shias 13%, and Syrian Kurds, an ethnic minority, 9%.  Syrian Kurds were targets of ethnic discrimination.

As his father, Bashar al-Assad is a Shia Muslim, but his wife, Asma, is a Sunni Muslim.

Early in his presidency, Bashar al-Assad began to accelerate the socioeconomic policies initiated by his father, policies when favored those connected to the government and the Sunni merchant class.

2001
ASIA
Syria: Assad Regime
 


Birth of Syrian Civil War
Syrian Opposition Groups
Begin to Form After
Imprisonment of Leading
Anti-Government Activist



2003
BACKGROUN FACTS
Syria
 

ISIS
Pan-Arabism and the
Unification of Arabs

ISIS / ISIL / IS / Daesh
What's in a Name?
ISIS named itself “ISIS” (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) in 2014 after it captured Mosul.  The Obama administration translated their self-assigned name as “ISIL” (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (aka Greater Syria).  At some point, ISIS determined that they were not limited by the geography of Iraq and Syria, so rebranded themselves as “IS” (Islamic State), to express their global footprint.  Finally, the French choose to refer to the group by the Arabic acronym, “Daesh”.

ISIS control large portions of territory in eastern Syria and western Iraq.  The territories controlled by ISIS and its allies have become known for instutionalized slavery, genocide, and ethnic cleansing of Christians, Alawites, and other Shiites and Yazidis.

ISIS is allied with other Islamic groups around the word, from Afghanistan to Nigeria, and have sympathizers as far away as Ottawa and Sydney.

The Ba'ath Party
Seeking Global Unification
of Arab People
In 1947, the nationalistic Arab Ba’ath Movement merged with the Arab Socialist Party to form the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party.  In 1966, the Ba’ath movement split in half, one Syrian-dominated and one Iraqi-dominated.

Saddam Hussein (L) and Bashar al-Assad (R)

Both Saddam Hussein and Bashar al-Assad were rooted in the Ba'ath ideology of Pan-Arabism, or the global unification of all Arab people.

Bashar al-Assad. The al-Assad government was established to run essentially as a “personal government”, based upon and revolving around al-Assads, and loyalty to them, combined with acts of nepotism and ethnic favoritism.  Purist of Ba’ath and Arab nationalism generally opposed the al-Assad regime.

Saddam Hussein. Hussein believed the Ba’ath Party to be revolutionary, but pursued his own politically motivated variation of fundamental Ba’athism, primarily favoring Iraqi nationalism and an Iraq-centered Arab world. He claimed that the Arab nation did not have the class structure which existed in other nations and that class divisions were more along national lines between Arabs and non-Arabs rather than within the Arab community.

2002: Saddam Hussein
(and al-Assad) Attempt
Diplomacy with the U.S.
In December 2002, a representative of the head of Iraqi Intelligence, the General Tahir Jalil Habbush al-Tikriti, contacted former Central Intelligence Agency Counterterrorism Department head Vincent Cannistraro stating that Saddam "knew there was a campaign to link him to 11 September and prove he had weapons of mass destruction”. 

President Bush Rejects
Diplomatic Resolution
Vincent Cannistraro said that “the Iraqis were prepared to satisfy these concerns”, but that the offers made were all “killed” by the George W. Bush administration because they allowed Saddam Hussein to remain in power.  Saddam Hussein countered with an offer to go into exile, if allowed to keep $1 billion USD.

Iraqis Seek International
Support for its Plea of Diplomacy
Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak's national security advisor, Osama El-Baz, sent a message to the U.S. State Department that the Iraqis wanted to discuss the accusations that the country had weapons of mass destruction and ties with Al-Qaeda. Iraq also attempted to reach the U.S. through the Syrian, French, German, and Russian intelligence services.

It is reported the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad sought and mediator when he became frustrated by the difficulty in contacting the United States, after several attempts.

2003: Iraq Invaded
Weapons of Mass Destruction

ISIS is Born
In 2003, the combined forces of the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq to take down the Pan-Arabism, nationalist and socialist government of the Ba’ath, headed by Saddam Hussein.  This coalition sent 160,000 troops into Iraq, with the U.S.A. sending about 130,000 of that number.  The coalition forces also received support Kurdish irregulars in Iraqi Kurdistan.

U.S. President George W. Bush (L), Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair (R)

George W. Bush.  the coalition mission was "to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, to end Saddam Hussein's support for terrorism, and to free the Iraqi people.

Tony Blair. the trigger was Iraq's failure to take a "final opportunity" to disarm itself of alleged nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons that U.S. and British officials called an immediate and intolerable threat to world peace.

Internation Opposition to
the Invasion of Iraq
The invasion of Iraq was strongly opposed by some long-standing U.S. allies, including the governments of France, Germany, and New Zealand. Their leaders argued that there was no evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and that invading the country was not justified.

According to the French academic Dominique Reynié, between 3 January and 12 April 2003, 36 million people across the globe took part in almost 3,000 protests against the Iraq war

Iraq Easy Pickin's for
U.S.-led Western Coalition
Saddam Hussein Flees

The combined forces and Kurdish rebels fought several battles against the Iraqi army to secure the norther part of the country.  And the main body of coalition forces continued to drive into the heart of Iraq, and were met with little resistance. Most of the Iraqi military was quickly defeated.  Baghdad was captured and military occupation of Iraq began. The Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein, and the central leadership of the country went into hiding.

ISIS Comes Into Being
After Western Coalition
Invasion and 
Establishment
of Provisional 
Iraqi Government
ISIS actually began in 1999, in Jordan, as Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad, a group pledging allegiance to al-Qaeda. 

They participated in the Iraqi insurgency following the 2003 invasion of Iraq by Western forces.  After the invasion the Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad became decentralized, having absorbed foreign fighters and a considerable number of Iraqis.  The group then became known as al-Qaeda in Iraq.  After several name changes and continued mergers with other groups, they became known as Islamic State (IS).

The Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad were a militant, Pan-Islamist group  -- a military movement rooted in Islam, termed Jihadism. 

Jihadism became to be used to identify various insurgent and terrorist movements.  Jihadist have identified their major opponents as being Jews, atheists, and Shiites.  They accuse other Muslims of heresy and justified their killing – this caused friction between them and Osama bin Laden. 

They said that the U.N.’s “gifted” Palestine “to the Jews  so [that they could] rape the land and humiliate our people’, and also targeted the U.N.’s support for American “oppressors of Iraq” and the “humiliation [of] our [Muslim] nation”.

Fighting Tactics
Jama’at’s tactics included suicide bombings, often using car bombs, kidnappings, planting explosive devices, attacks using rocket-propelled grenades, small arms and mortars, and beheading Iraqi and foreign hostages and video recordings of these acts on the internet.

The Western Coalition
Establishes Provisional Iraqi Government
After western nations established a provisional government in Iraq, an insurgency quickly emerged.  Dozens of insurgent attacks were attributed to the Jama’ats.  The group transitioned to become al-Qaida in Iraq, with Shiites being their primary target.

2004 U.S. Determined to
Obliterate ISIS Jihadist:
War Against Al-Qaeda

In September 2004, the U.S. began many airstrikes against al-Qaida in Iraq.  The following month, the group pledged allegiance to Osam bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network, and changed its name to Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn, but were still popularly referred to as Al-Qaeda in Iraq.  They became the target of major military operations.

ISIS Does Not
Discriminate in its Jihad
Once mobilized, ISIS fought against the Syrian government, the Syrian opposition, civilians and journalists.  They believed themselves to have the might of right, and globally relevant in the fight for orthodox Islam.


A brief history of ISIS, The Week: Daily Planet, by Tewfik Cassis, November 21, 2015, http://theweek.com/articles/589924/brief-history-isis
Ba’ath Party, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ba%27ath_Party


2007
ASIA
Syria: Assad Regime
 
Syria 2007 – 2010
 
Civil War Sparked by
One of the Worst
Droughts in Recorded History
75% of Syrian Farms Fail
85% of Livestock Die
1.5 Million Displaced

Scientist have overwhelmingly speculated that the drought in Syria was caused by the effects of pollution and Global Warming climate changes.   Desertification in Syria has grown by 6.4% since 1970, with previously fertile lands turning to dust.
 
 
 
During the course of Syria’s three year drought, the farming system in northeastern Syria collapsed and more than 1.5 million people lost their livelihoods. 

These millions migrated to urban areas in search of food, where they encountered nearly one million Iraqi refugees who had fled the war in their country.  The population jumped nearly 50%, rising to 13.8 million.

Many of these millions settled on the edges of cities, where they faced tough living conditions with poor access to water and electricity. 

Hunger and Overcrowding
Fuel for Civil War in Syria
Overcrowding and poverty created levels of stress, and the poor were forced to compete for scarce employment opportunities and access to water resources. These factors eventually lead to violent civil unrest, and sparking of a civil war.
 

2007
ASIA
Syria: Assad Regime
 
The "Red Line" Crossed

Israel Bombs Syria
Suspected of Building
Nuclear Reactor in
Collusion with North Korea

On September 6, 2007, months after both Israel and Syria engaged in building up troops on both sides of the Golan Height,  the Israeli Air Force sent fighters into Syrian airspace and began a bombing along the banks of the Euphrates River, without any provocation.

Within hours of the attack, Syria denounced Israel for invading its airspace.  Weeks following, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad issued a statement that Syria reserved the right to retaliate.

The Israeli Government 
Declines to Make a Statement
In the days following the bombing, American and European media were flooded with reports, based primarily on anonymoust government sources, claiming that Israel had destroyed a nuclear reactor being assembled in Syria, with the help of North Korea -- a violation of Syria's obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The "Red Line" Crossed
With circumstantial evidence that Syria was constructing a building to hold a nuclear reactor, the Israelis said that the Syrians had crossed, what it termed, the "red line" on the path to building a bomb, and had to be stopped.

It was also reported that some of the Israeli intelligence had been shared in advance with the United States, which had raised no objection to the bombing.

A Strike in the Dark, by Seymour M. Hersh, The New Yorker: Annals of National Security, February 11 & 18, 2008 Issue, http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2008/02/11/a-strike-in-the-dark

2008
ASIA
Syria: Assad Regime
 
 
Israel Assassinates
Syria's Top Military Advisor
 
Muhammad Suleiman, top military advisor to Syrian Presiden Bashar Assad is assassinated.
 
NSA Leaks Published in 2015
Allege Israeli Responsibility
 
 
Edward Snowden
1983 - Present
Leaked NSA Classified Information
 
According to a leaked NSA file, published by "The Intercept", Israel’s naval commando unit shot and killed Muhammad Suleiman, a top military advisor to the Syrian President Bashar Assad in 2008.

Suleiman was shot in the head and the neck, while he was hosting a dinner party at his villa in the seaside Syrian city of Tartus, the report stated, citing a document, which was obtained from the trove of files leaked by the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
The report indicated that the American intelligence agency knew about the operation after monitoring communications signals of the Israel Defense Forces. The file was classified as “SI,” meaning it was collected by signal intelligence.
We’ve had access to Israeli military communications for some time,” the report cited one of the former US intelligence officers as saying.

This is the first official confirmation that Israel was behind Suleiman’s assassination.
 
A top-secret file in the NSA’s internal version of Wikipedia, called Intellipedia, noted that the killing was the “first known instance of Israel targeting a legitimate government official.”

Israel allegedly suspected Suleiman of overseeing arms deals between Iran and the militant group Hezbollah, as well as being the head of Syria’s Al Kibar nuclear facility, which was wiped out by an Israeli airstrike a year prior to the assassination.
While the Israeli government has never openly admitted responsibility for attacks inside Syria, defense sources quoted by Israeli media typically justify such strikes. They allege the targets have links to Hezbollah.
 
-------
The Intercept
The Intercept is an online publication launched in February 2014 by First Look Media, the news organization created and funded by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.  The magazine serves as a platform to report on the documents released by Edward Snowden in the short term, and to "produce fearless, adversarial journalism across a wide range of issues" in the long term. 

Edward Snowden (Currently in Exile)
Edward Snowden is an American computer professional, former CIA employee, and former government contractor who leaked classified information from the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) in 2013.
 

 

2008
ASIA
Syria: Assad Regime
 
George W. Bush
1946 - Present
43rd President of the United States
(2001 - 2009)
United States Attack inside of Syrian Territory Receives Worldwide Condemnation

On October 26, 2008, the U.S. manned an attack, inside of Syrian territory, targeting what was reported to be the main crossing point into Iraq, for smuggling fighters, money, and equipment, in support of the Iraqi insurgence against the United States-led Coalition in Iraq and the Iraqi government.
 
 
 
 
U.S. intelligence gathering believed that militants and their reinforcements were operating openly in Syria, and were responsible for 80% to 90% of the suicide attacks in Iraq.  They also believe that the Syrian government was doing nothing to stop them, and that the raid was intended as warning to Syria. 
 
A Criminal, Terrorist Attack?
President al-Assad of Syrian labeled the attack a "criminal and terrorist" attack on its sovereignty, claiming that all who died were civilians.  U.S. official contended that all those killed were associated with the target of the operation --- al-Qaeda coordinator, Abu Ghadiya.

The Syrian government disputed all U.S. claims, stating that these were "lies from the United States" and that the American troops had violated international law and Syrian sovereignty.  
 
Getting to the Truth
An 2009 investigation by Vanity Fair that interviewed Syrian eyewitnesses, including a man shot during the raid, cast doubt on the U.S. assertion about pursuing Ghadiya.   But, former Clinton administration official Robert Malley, who met with State Department officials at the time, was quoted in the article affirming that Ghadiya was killed in the raid.  However, former CIA officer Robert Baer was highly skeptical, saying, "There’s no conceivable way they would have killed him and not shown his body.

Iraq in Awkward Position
Iraq was in an awkward position because it wanted to remain friendly with Syria, but also wanted to prevent people believed to be creating unrest in Iraq from entering through Syria.   Iraq's official spokesperson officially denounced the attack.
 
Worldwide Condemnation
  • Russia:  "the use of force against independent sovereign states under the disguise of combating terrorism is unacceptable
  • Chinese:  "We oppose any deed that harms other countries' sovereignty and territorial integrity
  • India: "actions resulting in the deaths of civilians are counterproductive."
  • France:  expressed serious concern over the loss of Syrian civilian lives and called for restraint and respect for the territorial integrity of states
  • Spain's foreign minister called for an end to such dangerous events and expressed condolences to Syria for the deaths of civilians
  • North Korea condemned the raid, stating "The military attack is an unpardonable, inhuman criminal act...and state terrorism committed under the pretext of the anti-terrorism war” 
  • Venezuela condemned the raid, calling it a barbaric act,  and President Hugo Chávez characterized the raid as illegal aggression
  • Vietnam opposed the US unilateral military attack and said that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations must always be absolutely respected.
  • Cuba expressed vigorous condemnation for the raid, characterizing it as a criminal action and a violation of international law
  • Indian said that "The scourge of terrorism affects many nations across the world. While this must elicit decisive responses, when such actions result in the death of innocent civilians, they defeat the very objective of the intervention."
  • Arab League denounced the raid and voiced its support to Syria to protect its sovereignty and people. AL Secretary General Amr Moussa underlined the League's support for Syria's right to defend its land and people and called for an investigation in the incident to hold those responsible into account.
  • The Foreign Ministry of Qatar said that the raid contravened "the principles of international law and charters", and expressed its condolences for those killed and injured.
  • Iran condemned the raid, stating that "We actually condemn any attack which violates national sovereignty of countries and leads to the killing of innocent people. Such invasions are unacceptable." 
  • Facing increased internal pressure the Iraqi government unexpectedly criticized the expedition into the border village. A spokesman for the Iraqi, Ali al-Dabbagh, said: "The Iraqi government rejects US aircraft bombarding posts inside Syria. The constitution does not allow Iraq to be used as a staging ground to attack neighbouring countries."
A number of politicians in the United States also condemned the raid.  Representative Dennis Kucinich protested the raid, stating, "Saber rattling and attacks upon sovereign nations who did not attack us are unacceptable."   And Representative Nick Rahall was quoted in 2009 as saying that "[Syrian civilians] lost their lives in an unfortunate attempt by the previous administration to once again mislead, bully, and isolate a regime".
 

2011
ASIA
Syria: Assad Regime
 

Using Facebook and Twitter
Activist Call for a
"Day of Rage"

On February 3, 2011, Syria Activist called for a "Day of Rage" against the government of Bashar al-Assad to be observed the following day, on February 4th.

It was a non-event.

2011
ASIA
Syria: Assad Regime
 

Students Arrested and Tortured
for Writing Anti-Governement
Graffiti in the City of Daraa

On March 6, 2011, 15 young students from prominent families were arrested for writing anti-government graffiti that read "The people want the fall of the regime"

The Syrian government would go on to wage a campaign of arrests that captured over 10,000 people. Syrian law was changed to allow police and security forces to detain anyone for 8 days without warrant.  They were placed in inhuman, cramped rooms, and some were beaten or suffered electric shock in Syrian torture centers.

2011
ASIA
Syria: Assad Regime
 

Major Unrest Begins
in Damascus and Aleppo

On March 15, 2011, nearly 10 days after the arrest and torture of 15 students, major unrest begins in Damascus and Aleppo.

The demonstrators began to clash with local police, and by the third day, security forces attacked protestors gathered at a mosque, after Friday prayers.  Water cannons and tear gas were intially used, then live fire.  Four of the protestors were killed.

A couple of days later, mobs burned down the Ba'ath Party headquarters and other public buildings.  Security forces responded immediately with live ammunition.  The two-day assault resulted in the death of 15 protestors.

By March 25th, 10 days after the initial uprising, mass protests spread nationwide.  And as demonstrators emerged after Friday prayers, at least 70 were killed by al-Assad security forces.

2011
ASIA
Syria: Assad Regime
 


Syrian Government Launches 
Major Military Operations
Against Anti-Government Protestors

An estimated 6,000 soldiers backed by tanks and snipers opened fire on civilians in Daraa and two other locations.

Armed security agents conducted house-to-house sweeps, confiscating flour and food. Neighborhoods were sectioned off and checkpoints erected. Electricity, water and cellphone services were cut.

At least 11 people were killed and several others lay in the streets dead, or near death.

By May 5th, most of the protests had been suppressed and the military began pulling out, with some remaining to keepthe situtation under control.

2011
ASIA
Syria: Assad Regime
 

President Obama Issues
Executive Order 13573
Imposing Sanctions on Syria

As Bashar al-Assad continued to ignored international condemnation for his not pursuing peaceful resolution with anti-government protestors, the United States intensified political and economic preassure by imposing sanctions on al-Assad and six of his senior officals for human rights abuses, and the "continuing escalation of violence against the people of Syria including through attacks on protestors, arrests and harassment of protestors and political activists, and repression of democratic change".  With this sanction all assets held by the parties, in US jurisdiction would be frozen and any trade with them prohibited. 

The Obama administration hoped that by applying additional pressure, Mr. Assad, once viewed as a reformer, would be more considerate of negotiating a way to remain in power, rather than pushing foward with more "violence, intimidation and repression".

Until this time, American and European officials criticized the Syrian government but stopped short of sanctions, believing that satisfactory negotiation could be achieved.

In addition to al-Assad, the commander of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Qassem Soleimani and his deputy were also sanctioned, as they were thought to be providing material support to the al-Assad government.

The sanctions are largely symbolic as al-Assad and his cohorts have few assets in the US and are unlikely to ever visit the country.

Note:  this follows an Executive Order (#13572) of April 29, 2011 imposing sanctions on Assad relatives and other Syrian officials, but not Assad himself.


2011
ASIA
Syria: Assad Regime
 


President Bashar al-Assad
Launches Unrelenting Attack
Against the Epicenter of
Anti-Governemnt Protests
at Hama

Hundreds are left dead in the city of Hama, the center of anti-government protests, by Syrian security forces backed by tanks and snipers.

Corpses are scattered in the streets, while Hama hospitals are overwhelmed with casualties.

President Obma call the reports "horrifying".

2011
ASIA
Syria: Assad Regime
 


United States, Britain, France
Germany, European Union
Demand that
Bashar al-Assad Resign

President Barack Obama, the leaders of Britain, France and Germany and the European Union joined to demand that Syrian President Bashar Assad resign, saying his brutal suppression of his people has made him unfit to lead.

After months of attempted diplomacy, including several sanctions, the Obama administration made a gradual policy sift toward the al-Assad regime.

Pressure was exerted for the ouster of al-Assad after his months-long crackdown on dissent that killed more than 2,000 people, according to human rights activists.

2011
ASIA
Syria: Assad Regime
 

Hu Jintao, President of the People's Republic of China (L) and Dmitry Medvedev, President of Russia (R)

China and Russia Veto
Proposal by European Nations and U.N. Security Council to Sanction Syria
 
China and Russia defend Assad's actions and oppose military action against Syria.  Both countries have armed the Assad regime.



2012
ASIA
Syria: Assad Regime
 

Obama Declines to Arm Syrian Rebels and is Attacked by GOP Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney for Weak Foreign Policy

Virtually everyone in the US, including Obama, wanted to support the opposition in Syria. But the question was whether the US should send Stinger missiles and rocket-propelled grenades, or offer moral support and humanitarian aid and stay out of the conflict.

United States Amabassador to Syria (2010 to 2014), Robert Ford, told administration officials years ago they should arm the rebels. If the US doesn't help, he said at the time, extremists will give them money and lure them into their organizations.

Mitt Romney Favors Arming Anti-Government Forces
Days after a massacre of at least 100 Syrian anti-government groups, United States GOP Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, called for the U.S. and partner nations to “arm the opposition so they can defend themselves” against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. 

Mitt Romney went on to attack President Obama’s “lack of leadership”, blaming his lame foreign policy for the slaughter of tens of thousands by Bashar al-Assad.  

Others who supported arming the rebels included:
  • CIA Director David Petraeus
  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
  • most of the foreign-policy establishment in Washington, both Democrat and Republican
Obama Favors Diplomacy
The Obama administration, through White House press secretary, Jay Carney, made a statement that signaled that it was not willing to engage the military in the Syrian conflict, or arming the anti-government forces, stating that it was  “not the right course” and would lead to more “chaos and carnage”.  Instead of involving the military, Obama is more inclined to issue diplomatic sanctions against Syria, including expelling Syrian diplomats from the U.S.

Another area of “attack” strongly considered by the Obama administration was to build a dialog with Russia, which has backed the Bashar al-Assad regime, but who had recently joined the U.N. Security Council in condemning Syria.   

President Obama was intent on keeping a diplomatic approach for as long as he was able.

Those who stood by Obama's diplomatic approach included:
  • top members of the national security staff
  • most of America
Obama Critics Call
for Military Air Strikes

Critics of Obama’s policies in Syria say that the calls for Assad to leave power aren’t going to be effective unless they are backed up with action, something the administration thus far has yet to provide.

The GOP 2008 presidential nominee, Senator John McCain, called for air strikes as part of an international campaign to give the opposition safe zones in Syria.  However, McCain, as many others of the GOP, do not believe the U.S. should commit ground troops, but that allied countries, such as Turkey, should provide military force where necessary.


2012
ASIA
Syria: Assad Regime
 

Syrian Officials Threaten to
Deploy Chemical Weapons
Against Foreign Intervention

While Syrian leadership offered assurances, through Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi, that they would never use chemical weapons against its own citizens, they threatened to use such weapons against foreign nations who attempted to intervene in their conflicts.


2012
ASIA
Syria: Assad Regime
 

The Red Line
President Obama Promises
"Significant Consequences" if
President Bashar al-Assad
Uses Chemical Weapons

At this time, the United States had been working with allies in the region to develop contingency plans against worst-case scenarios, such as deployment of chemical weapons.

The planning included detailed arrangements for securing chemical arms with Special Operations troops in the event that they are seized by militants.

Under this climate, President Obama issued a warning that if there was any movement or use of chemical weapons by the Syrians, a red line would be crossed, and Syria would experience significant consequences.

2013
ASIA
Syria: Assad Regime
 


ISIL / ISIS
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant /
Islamic State of Iraq and Syria
Expands Into Syria



2013
ASIA
Syria: Assad Regime
 


President Obama Announces
that He Will Seek Authorization
from Congress Before Using 
Military Forces to Intervene in
Syrian Civil War

Opposition to Use of Military Force Grows Among U.S. Senators of Both Parties
Following his August 31, 2013 announcement that he would seek authorization from Congress to use military airstrikes in Syria, President Barack Obama, and his administration, campaigned for over a week in a push for congressional approval. However, over that time, opposition only grew among among senators of both parties.

World Wide Protests
Against Attacking Syria

Senate Delays Planned Vote
The Senate was scheduled to vote on August 7, 2013 on a procedural motion to begin formal debate on the resolution, but the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, announced on August 5, 2013 that the vote would be delayed in order to buy the president more time to make his case to senators and the public.

News of Russia Seeking
Deal to Dismantle Syrian
Chemical Weapons Program
The delay also came amid reports that Russia was seeking a deal with Syria to dismantle its chemical weapons program.

Dismantling Syrian Chemical Weapons Program Trumps
Need for Use of Military Force
Obama said in television interviews Monday such a deal could circumvent the need for U.S. military intervention

2013
ASIA
Syria: Assad Regime
 

President Obama Pushes for
Military Airstrikes in Syria
No Support from Congress


President Obama gave a speech in the White House Rose Garden on 31 August in which he announced that he would seek authorization from Congress before using American military forces to intervene in the Syrian civil war. Obama argued that it was necessary to intervene because the recent chemical weapons attack in Syria "risks making a mockery of the global prohibition on the use of chemicals weapons" and that it put U.S. regional allies that share a border with Syria in danger. He also said that, "while I believe I have the authority to carry out this military action without specific congressional authorization, I know that the country will be stronger if we take this course, and our actions will be even more effective".

However, Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, was forced to delay a procedural vote due to opposition among senators in both parties.

Five GOP Sens. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Johnny Isakson of Georgia, Roger Wicker of Mississippi, and Mike Enzi of Wyoming, and Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota,.announced Monday they would vote against a resolution authorizing the use of force.

The delay also came amid reports that Russia was seeking a deal with Syria to dismantle its chemical weapons program. Obama said in television interviews Monday such a deal could circumvent the need for U.S. military intervention.

The opposition underscored the uphill battle Obama faces on Capitol Hill to rally around his foreign policy agenda. 


2013
ASIA
Syria: Assad Regime
 

Movement Towards Military Strike Halted
Authorization from Congress Not Needed
United States and Russia
Reach Geneva Agreement
to Destroy Syria Stockpile
of Chemical Weapons

In 2013, Secretary of State, John Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrow, met in Geneva for three days, along with a delegation of technical experts from both countries, to draw up a blueprint for ensuring that Syria relinquished its chemical weapons.
Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov

As a result a Geneva agreement was struck to destroy Syrias stockpile of chemical weapons by mid-2014.

The agreement required Syria to provide a comprehensive list of its chemical weapons within a week and to allow inspectors into the country by November. Chemical weapons stockpiles were to be removed or destroyed by the middle of the next year, 2014.

President Obama States
President Bashar al-Assad
Held to International Standard
President Barack Obama said, "The international community expects the Assad regime to live up to its public commitments".  In addition, John Kerry stated, "The world will now wait for the Assad regime to honour its commitments... There is no room for anything other than full compliance."

Use of Force Outlawed
United Nations Security

Council Becomes Central
to Chemical Weapons Issue

As part of the agreement, Russia said that it would not allow the use of force to be considered, even in the event that Syria failed to properly comply with the conditions.

John Kerry said any violations would result in "measures" from the UN security council; Lavrov said violations would have to be sent to the security council from the board of the Chemical Weapons Convention before sanctions, short of the use of force, would be considered.

Obama Withdraws Intent
of Military Strike Against Syria

Additionally, the White House announced that with the agreement, it would not seek authorization for military force from Congress.

2014
ASIA
Syria: Assad Regime
 

President Obama
Signs Executive Order
to Arm & Train Syrian Rebels

In his reluctance to deploy U.S. combat troops to fight ISIS, President Obama signed legislation, as part of a larger bill that funds the government through December 11th, to arm and train Syrian rebels for the fight.


2015
ASIA
Syria: Assad Regime
 

Obama Administration Ends Effort to Train Syrian Rebels to Combat ISIS

The Obama administration abandoned its efforts to build up a new rebel force inside Syria to combat the Islamic State, acknowledging the failure of its $500 million campaign to train thousands of fighters and announcing that it will instead use the money to provide ammunition and weapons for groups already engaged in the battle.


Obama Administration Ends Effort to Train Syrian Rebels to Combat ISIS, by Michael D. Shear, Helene Cooper and Eric Schmitt, October 9, 2015, The New York Times: Middle East, https://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/10/world/middleeast/pentagon-program-islamic-state-syria.html

2016
ASIA
Syria: Assad Regime
 

C.I.A. Arms Shipment
to Syrian Rebels Hijacked
and Sold on Black Market

Millions of dollars worth of weapons shipped into Jordan by the United States C.I.A. and Saudi Arabia government, intended for Syrian rebels to fight against the Bashar al-Assad government, were stolen and put on the black market for resale.

Jordanian rebels were accused of the theft, but Mohammad H. al-Momani, Jordan's minister of state for media affairs, said the allegations of Jordanian involvement were "absolutely incorrect".

In 2013, a training program was established in Jordan, run by the C.I.A. and several Arab intelligence services, to build forces to fight against Bashar al-Assad.  These groups were being provided mortars, antitank guided missiles and other weapons.

2016
ASIA
Syria: Assad Regime
 

President Obama Discusses
Policy on Syria at Town Hall
hosted by Jake Tapper

If video not active, click try this link

2016
ASIA
Syria: Assad Regime
 
Maria Zakharova
Russian Foreign Affairs Minister

Russia Labels U.S. Easing
Restrictions on Arming Syrian Rebels
a "Hostile Act"

2017 U.S. Defense
Spending Signed into Law
On December 23, 2016, outgoing President Barack Obama passed the 55th consecutive National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).  The NDAA is a United States purposed federal bill which specifies the budget and expenditures of the United States Department of Defense (DOD) for any given year.  With his signing of the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2017, the bill became law, authorizing the DOD to spend $618.7 billion in the 2017 Fiscal Year.

The 2017 NDAA also authorized the Countering Information Warfare Act of 2016 to counter the spread of Russian propaganda of biased information.


China Objects to U.S. Defense Bill

Immediately after Obama signed the NDAA bill into law, China lodged a protest against the bill, citing that it included a plan to conduct high-level military exchanges with self-ruled Taiwan. 

In the administration of B. Obama they must understand that any weapons handed over will quickly end up in the hands of jihadists with whom the sham 'moderate' opposition have long acted jointly… Such a decision is a direct threat to the Russian air force, to other Russian military personnel, and to our embassy in Syria, which has come under fire more than once. We therefore view the step as a hostile one.
Maria Zakharova, Russian Foreign Affairs Minister, 2016


Russia Objects to U.S. Defense Bill

In the day following China’s objections, Russia joined the global opposition to the US defense policy because of the easing of restrictions on arming Syrian rebels, stating that any delivery of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles would directly threaten Russian forces in Syria. 




2016
ASIA
Syria: Assad Regime
 

Russia Calls U.S. 
Supplying Weapons to
Syrian Rebels a "Hostile Act"

For over a year, the Russian government has led a campaign of air strikes in Syria to help President Bashar al-Assad and his forces retake territory lost to rebels.  And the Russian government said that the U.S. participating in supplying rebel forces with weapons, particularly shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles was a direct threat to Russian forces in Syria.

However, State Department spokesman, Mark Toner, dismissed Russian charges, saying that the administration remains opposed to providing portable anti-aircraft missles (MANPADS) to Syrian opposition groups.


2017
ASIA
Syria: Assad Regime
 
Donald J. Trump
45th President of the United States

President Trump Orders
Missile Attacks in Syria
on 77th Day in Office


One day following a chemical weapons attack on a Syrian town, in which nearly 100 civilians were killed, including infants and children, President Trump assumed his leadership position and ordered a military strike, from naval destroyers position in the Mediterranean Sea, targeting an airbase in Syria, thought to be the source from which the chemical attacks were  initiated.

Bashar al-Assad
President of Syria

Although the Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, has denied any involvement in, and has gone on record condeming the human rights violation, it is being speculated and generally accepted that he is directly responsible for the unjustified attack.

2017
ASIA
Syria: Assad Regime
 

Red Lines Crossed
Syrian Allies Ready to
Defend Bashar al-Assad
After U.S. Missile Strike

Just two days after the United States fired dozens of missiles at a Syrian air base, in response to Syria’s reported use of chemical weapons, a joint command center of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad supporters, made up of:
  • Russian forces
  • Iranian forces
  • Shi’ite militia groups sponsored by Iran (an led by Lebanon’s Hezbollah group)
published the following statement:

What America waged in an aggression on Syria is a crossing of red lines. From now on we will respond with force to any aggressor or any breach of red lines from whoever it is and America knows our ability to respond well….
Russia, Iran and other supporters of Bashar al-Assad

Russia and Iran Accuse U.S. of Violating International Law
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iran’s Hassan Rouhani said in a phone call that aggressive U.S. actions against Syria were not permissible and violated international law. 

U.S. Secretary of State
Blames Russia

U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, blamed Russia for failing to carry out the 2013 Geneva agreement, struck with President Obama, to secure and destroy chemical weapons in Syria.


Allies of Syria’s Assad Say U.S. Attack Crosses “Red Lines”, Huff Post: The World Post, April 9, 2017, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/allies-of-syrias-assad-say-us-attack-crosses-red-lines_us_58ea2ebbe4b058f0a02fcaf0?

2017
ASIA
Syria: Assad Regime
 

Syria on Agenda
Special G7 Meeting of Foreign Ministers Held
Today in Italy

Along with representation of the European Union, the Group of 7 (G7) consists of:
  1. Canada
  2. France
  3. Germany
  4. Italy
  5. Japan
  6. United Kingdom
  7. United States
Seven Major World Economies
The G7 are the seven major advanced economies in the world, representing 64% of the net global wealth of $263 trillion.  To become a member of the group, a country must have a very high national wealth and advanced human development in the areas of life expectancy, education, and income production.

Primary Concern: Healthy Global Economy
The organization was founded to deal with the collapse of the 1971 exchange rate, 1970s energy crisis and the recession that followed, which sent ripples throughout the international economic community.

G7 Meets Annually to Discuss Economic Policies
The G7 meets annually at a summit site to discuss economic policies, while G7 finance ministers meet from 2 to 4 times a year at stand-alone meetings.  The 43rd G7 summit has been scheduled for May 26, 2017 in Taormina, Sicily, Italy, where the major topics are expected to be Africa and Migration.

April 10, 2017
Special G7 Meeting Called for Foreign Affairs Ministers
In response to the humanitarian crisis in Syria, and the U.S. missile attack against that country a few days ago, a special G7 Meeting for Foreign Affairs Ministers was called by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Angelino Alfano, to be held on August 10, 2017.  In addition to standard member attendance, invitation was extended to the Foreign Ministers of:
  • Turkey
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Jordan
  • Qatar
U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, was in attendance.

2017
ASIA
Syria: Assad Regime
 

US-led Coalition and
Syrian Anti-Government
Rebels Join to Battle ISIS

On the Syrian-Jordanian border, coalition forces engaged in battle against an ISIS bomb and suicide vest attacks.  Some American forces were already in place at the point of attack and were aided by Syrian opposition forces, known as VSO.

U.S. Working with Vetted Syrian Forces in Fight Against ISIS
The U.S. government put out a statement that they are free to work with Syrian government opposition forces because they have been vetted and primarily assigned to operations to clear ISIS from the Hamad Desert, and have proven effective in countering the ISIS threat in southern Syria and maintaining security along the Syria-Jordan border.

Some of the countries participating in the US-led coalition battling ISIS include:

  • United Kingdom
  • France
  • Australia
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Turkey
  • Jordon

Coalition and Syrian opposition forces repel ISIS attack, by Ryan Browne, Barbara Starr and Jamie Crawford, April 10, 2017, CNN: Politics, http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/09/politics/isis-attack-coalition-forces-in-syria/index.html


2017
ASIA
Syria
 

Russia Vetoes
United Nations
Syria Resolution

The United Nations Security Council resolution condeming and ordering the investigation of the suspected use of chemical weapon by Syria was vetoed by Russia and Bolivia.  China, Kazakhstan and Ethiopia abstained.

The resolution was drafted by Britain, France and the United States.

It is the eight veto by Russia, in defense of its close ally, Bashar al-Assad.  China, also allied with al-Assad by vetoing six resolutions.




2017
ASIA
Syria
 

Thousands Flee Cities Under
Siege by Anti-Government Rebels

A convoy of buses with thousands of Syrian evacuees on board, fleeing villages under siege by anti-government rebels, was struck by a car bomb, killing 126, including 68 children.  At least 100 of those killed were pro-Assad, while the rest were humanitarian aid workers, and rebel escorts.