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Curated by Kenneth Weene
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Syrian refugee artists in Jordan add color to the desert

Syrian refugee artists in Jordan add color to the desert | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Syrian artists who found refuge in Jordan are painting the container homes at the Zaatari camp in the hope of lifting the spirits of camp residents.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
In the worst of times, the human spirit can still attempt to soar. That  is one of the many functions of art, to remind us of what we love, for what we can hope, and to what we can aspire. Join me in celebrating this band of Syrian artists who are using their paints to keep the souls of their countrymen alive. 
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US, Russia Seal Syria Cease-Fire, New Military Partnership

US, Russia Seal Syria Cease-Fire, New Military Partnership | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Click here tThe United States and Russia working in lockstep against the Islamic State group and al-Qaida's affiliate in Syria. A rejuvenated truce that will compel President Bashar Assad's air and ground forces to pull back. New flows of badly needed humanitarian aid.o edit the content
Kenneth Weene's insight:
We can all rejoice that Mr. Kerry, working with his Russian counterpart Foreign Minister Lavrov have come up with a plan that can potentially stop the carnage in Syria and possibly move the world towards peace. Of course, what actually will happen depends on many other players who have had no part in this discussion but who are very much involved in the conflict. 
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Iran deputy minister says Assad should stand in Syrian vote: Fars

Iran deputy minister says Assad should stand in Syrian vote: Fars | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister said on Monday Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should be a part of upcoming presidential elections, according to the Fars news agency.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

The sweet part is that the many countries involved are talking about a  future for Syria. The sour part is that millions of Syrians—Christian, Muslim, and other— are trapped in helplessness and terror hemmed in by Assad, Euro-American fears and prejudices, and ISIS. Today I weep for the people of Paris and for the common people of Syria. There are not enough tears for the pain of humanity.

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U.S. Begins Military Talks With Russia on Syria

U.S. Begins Military Talks With Russia on Syria | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
The diplomatic initiative amounted to a pivot for the Obama administration, which seemed to acknowledge that Russia’s moves, like sending combat aircraft to Syria, had effectively changed the calculus in the civil war.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Long overdue. My biggest critique of the Obama administration's foreign policy and of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State has been the failure to recognize that Russia is a great power with legitimate spheres of influence. It is sad that Russia has had to resort to such gambits to get the U.S. to actually start discussing how to fight ISIS and how to deal with Syria. Making enemies is easy, dealing with friends is easy, but the real work of diplomacy takes negotiation and is difficult. Sadly, Congress has effectively militarized our foreign affairs by downsizing the diplomatic corps and pushing the growth of DOD. To learn more on that, you might want to catch the end of my discussion with Lt. Col. Ron Capps on It Matters Radio, Thurs., Sept 17,. Go to the show website and click on the podcast.

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The Private Lives of Syria’s War Widows

The Private Lives of Syria’s War Widows | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
RAMTHA, Jordan — It was a rare happy occasion for Salma and her neighbors, Syrian war widows struggling to make lives in exile in this dusty…
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Too often we forget the hundreds of thousands of innocent people whose lives are disrupted by the cruelty of war, but the stupidity of intolerance, but the selfishness of self-righteousness, by the power-hunger of authority, and by the meanness of the world's indifference. But sometimes, even in the midst of all that there can be hope.

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Obama Stifled Hillary’s Syria Plans and Ignored Her Iraq Warnings for Years

Obama Stifled Hillary’s Syria Plans and Ignored Her Iraq Warnings for Years | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
The rift between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama over Syria that spilled into public view this week was three years in the making and was about much more than just arming the rebels.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

It seems to this observer that both approaches are fraught with peril. The most rational thing would have been to let the Russians, whose client state Syria is, take the lead. The other big player in the Syrian civil war is Iran, guardian of the Shi'ia, who make up a sizable portion of the Syrian population. The only American ally who has a serious concern about Syria is Israel, who may well have helped create the chaos.  Finally, there are the Turks, who might be concerned, but who certainly have done nothing I know of to get us involved. My bottom line, the U.S. shouldn't see itself as the world's policeman. Hell, we have trouble handling our police at home.

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The Next Phase of the Syrian Conflict

The Next Phase of the Syrian Conflict | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Seems that no matter how good the cause, for example the overthrow of a brutal dictator, the number of "leaders" who will emerge to try to gain power will always make the process suspect. That is what makes people like George Washington and Nelson Mandela and even Daniel Ortega so incredible. They were able to limit their own ambitions and to accept the right of others to lead as well.

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How this 14-year-old Syrian refugee is fighting to end child marriage

How this 14-year-old Syrian refugee is fighting to end child marriage | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Following in the footsteps of her role model Malala Yousafzai, Omaima Hoshan, a 14-year-old living in Jordan’s Zaatari refugee camp, is raising awareness about the physical and psychological risks child marriage poses to young girls.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
We should all celebrate this young woman. Her determination to help other girls to find their own lives and to not be "cast" into marriage is heartening and important. 
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Syria's first Kurdish university attracts controversy as well as students - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East

Syria's first Kurdish university attracts controversy as well as students - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Syrian Kurds have big plans to expand the first university based in Rojava, which they launched just last year.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I applaud the Kurdish people of Syria for creating a university to educate their your people. Of course, the very nature of such a school will provide impetus for Kurdish independence and opposition to Turkish and Syrian central governments. That is the nature of such ethnically and religiously specific schools, to stress the values and identities of their population. If the governments of Turkey, Syria, and what's left of Iraq don't want that to happen, then they should make it meaningful to have a Kurdish identity in each state. I don't see that happening, so I'll root for this school and its students. I wonder when they'll field their first football (soccer) team. 
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Russia Surprises U.S. With Accord on Battling ISIS

Russia Surprises U.S. With Accord on Battling ISIS | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Russia left the United States scrambling by reaching an understanding with Iraq, Syria and Iran to share intelligence about the Islamic State militants.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

The sweet side of this, Russia and Iran are going to be spending their energies fighting the Islamic State. The sour side is that the United States has to face its loss of hegemony in the Middle East. Wait, maybe that's sweet too. Maybe it's time for the U.S. to stop trying to be the policeman of the world.

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Moscow meetings on Syria produce six-point document

Moscow meetings on Syria produce six-point document | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Members of Syria’s so-called “tolerated” opposition agreed Wednesday on a six-point document to deal with the war, on the third day of talks taking place in Moscow.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

I have said it before, and I will repeat: The conflict in Syria can only be resolved in Moscow. Russia is the major support for the Assad regime and the only power that can effectively push him towards a solution. It behooves the U.S. to recognize that reality and to stop trying to be the world's policeman. I should add that when we look at some of the  behaviors of American police we can assuredly see one of the reasons many people here and abroad don't want us policing the world; they don't want to be shot in the back. Somebody has to say it; the U.S. is not a reliable or responsible policeman.

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Syrian Rebels Seize Russian Spy Station Near Israeli Border

Syrian Rebels Seize Russian Spy Station Near Israeli Border | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
When the Free Syrian Army pushed Assad’s soldiers out of a town south of Damascus, the last thing they expected to find was a Russian spy post, a few miles from the Golan Heights.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

As I have said all along, the Russians consider Syria part of their sphere of influence and nothing good will be accomplished there without the Bear's cooperation.

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Syria's New Rebel Front

Syria's New Rebel Front | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
A new and dangerous front appears to have opened in Syria. Since early January 3, members of three militant fronts -- the largely nationalist Syrian Revolutionaries Front; the moderately Islamist Jaish al-Mujahideen; and the Salafist Islamic Front (IF) -- have engaged in sustained clashes with the extremist Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). - See more at: http://mideastafrica.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2014/01/08/syrias_new_rebel_front?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=%2AMideast%20Brief&utm_campaign=Mideast%20Brief%201-10-2014#sthash.0GhP6hug.dpuf
Kenneth Weene's insight:

For years the dictators of the Middle East, those like Saddam and Assad, have kept the evil genie of competing tribes, sects, and political viewpoints from colliding in chaos. It isn't clear how this will end, but the process is going to be dirty, brutish, and filled with suffering for ordinary people.

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