Fadi Esber is a founding associate at The Damascus History Foundation, a private organisation promoting research on chosen themes related to the history of Damascus from the 19th century to the present. He is the managing editor of Dimashq Journal, the first peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary journal dedicated to the city of Damascus and its history. Esber is currently pursing a Doctorate in History at the London School of Economics and Political Science. His research interests include Syrian politics and history, Islamist movements and the international relations of the Middle East.
Henry Kissinger once described military men as “dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy.” This was a less elegant rehashing of the Prussian general Carl von Clausewitz’s famous dictum: “War is not an independent phenomenon, but the continuation of politics by different means.”
It was no coincidence that Turkish troops hoisted their country’s flag on top of the Afrin city hall on March 18, as that date was the anniversary of a key Ottoman victory against Allied troops in Gallipoli in 1915.
Vladimir Putin’s annual speech before the Federal Assembly last week marked a transformation in Russian policy. Since he assumed power at the turn of the century, Putin has focused on pulling Russia out of the dismal situation it had reached following the break-up of the Soviet Union.
In recent weeks, two wars of words have erupted — one between Israel and Lebanon, the other involving Egypt and Turkey — as a result of disputes over natural gas fields in the Eastern Mediterranean. Competition over energy sources has played a central part in shaping Middle Eastern history since
Throughout its long history, only a handful of independent entities have emerged in the geographical space known today as Syria. On the other hand, no less than two dozen empires ruled over the lands of the Levant. Syria, nonetheless, was never a civilizational or geopolitical backwater.
In October 1989, the surviving members of the 1972 Lebanese Parliament convened in the Saudi city of Taif. They reached an agreement to end the 14-year-long civil war by altering the terms on which the Lebanese Republic itself was founded.