News, Notes and Links | 06.02.16

Headlines:

Saudi Arabia is ready to participate in ground operations in Syria, military spokesman says.

U.N. suspends peace talks in Syria for three weeks.

34 groups have pledged alligience to ISIS, U.N. Secretary-General says.

World leaders pledges more than 10 billion dollars for Syria.

Tunisia completes the construction of barrier along its border to Libya.

Russia: “reasonable grounds” to suspect Turkey is preparing a military intervention in Syria.

 

Recommended Reads:

Syrian rebels are losing Aleppo and perhaps also the war | By Liz Sly, Washington Post

Syrian rebels battled for their survival in and around Syria’s northern city of Aleppo on Thursday after a blitz of Russian airstrikes helped government loyalists sever a vital supply route and sent a new surge of refugees fleeing toward the border with Turkey.

The Russian-backed onslaught against rebel positions in Aleppo coincided with the failure of peace talks in Geneva, and helped reinforce opposition suspicions that Russia and its Syrian government allies are more interested in securing a military victory over the rebels than negotiating a settlement.

Chemical Wonders | By Joost Hiltermann, London Review of Books

Predicting what will start a war, and when, is an unrewarding business. Long-term trends (‘causes’) are often clear enough, but not the proximate causes, or triggers. We can assess the comparative significance of competition for resources, hunger for power, the nature of political systems, the psychology of leaders. What precipitates a conflict, though, may be a sudden, unforeseen event: an accident, misreading or miscalculation, or a temperamental leader’s flash of hubris. Often, of course, it is a combination of such things. Yet there is nothing inevitable about the outbreak of conflict.

China’s Stance on East Jerusalem | By Mohammed al-Sudairi, MERIP

For those accustomed to the themes of Sino-Arab diplomacy, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo on January 21 was predictable enough. It might not have attracted much attention at all if not for Xi’s statement that “China firmly supports the Middle East peace process and supports the establishment of a State of Palestine enjoying full sovereignty on the basis of the 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

 

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