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The allegation that an espionage agent spying for Israel is in danger of losing his life because President Trump revealed classified information is deeply damaging to him. It is said that he told senior Russian officials that the spy had disclosed details of an Isis plot to blow up planes by placing explosives inside laptops... Read More
It is very unlikely that Russia will change its support for President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, despite calls to do so from foreign ministers from the G7 nations gathered in Italy in the aftermath of the use of poison gas in Syria and the US missile strikes. Russia owes its return to great power status... Read More
Winners and losers are emerging in what may be the final phase of the Syrian civil war as anti-Isis forces prepare for an attack aimed at capturing Raqqa, the de facto Isis capital in Syria. Kurdish-led Syrian fighters say they have seized part of the road south of Raqqa, cutting Isis off from other its... Read More
Self-absorbed and irrational Donald Trump may well be, but on Thursday he held what was probably the most interesting and entertaining White House press conference ever. These are usually grimly ritualistic events in which select members of the media establishment, who have often come to see themselves as part of the permanent government of the... Read More
The Syrian peace talks arranged by Russia, Turkey and Iran that opened today in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, show that President Bashar al-Assad is winning the six-year-old war, but his final victory may be a long way off. Several participants in the conference have good reasons to fight on and Isis has recently made... Read More
I read the text of the dossier on Donald Trump’s alleged dirty dealings with a scepticism that soon turned into complete disbelief. The memo has all the hallmarks of such fabrications, which is too much detail – and that detail largely uncheckable – and too many names of important people placed there to impress the... Read More
The new ceasefire in Syria will not mean an end to the shooting, but it marks a crucial development in the five-and-a-half year long civil war. It will not stop the killing because the biggest armed opposition groups — Isis and Jabhat al-Nusra — are not covered by the agreement, and have a strong motive... Read More
The assassination of the Russian ambassador to Ankara by a 22-year-old riot policeman underlines the degree to which Turkey is being destabilised by the hatred and violence spreading from the wars in Syria. Spectacular killings and bombings are happening every few days in which the identity, affiliations or motives of the perpetrators are often in... Read More
The Syrian armed forces are close to capturing the remaining rebel-held districts in the enclave of east Aleppo, bringing them their biggest victory in five years of war. The insurgent armed forces, that were originally estimated to number between 8,000 and 10,000 fighters, have been retreating or giving up more readily than had been expected.... Read More
Airstrikes that hit the wrong target have always been justified or denied by the perpetrators with a rich blend of hypocrisy and lies. It was interesting to see this tradition of deliberate mendacity being not only maintained, but outdone in Syria over the last week. The US was seeking to explain how it had come... Read More
The Government is failing to implement its policy of making war on Isis in Syria which it was supposed to have launched nine months ago after rancorous debate. A report by the House of Commons Defence Committee published on Wednesday says that there have been only 65 UK air raids in Syria during this period,... Read More
The British participation in the misdirected US-led air raid that killed at least 62 Syrian soldiers and the final breakdown of the shaky six-day truce combine to underline the need to bring the war to an end and to emphasise how difficult it will be to accomplish this in the near future. The British and... Read More
At about 5pm on Saturday, two US F-16 fighter bombers and two A-10 specialised ground attack aircraft bombed what they believed was a concentration of Isis fighters besieging pro-government forces in the city of Deir Ezzor in eastern Syria. Whoever it was in the US Air Force who had misidentified the target as Isis made... Read More
The ceasefire in Syria is holding with no one reported killed in fighting anywhere in Syria during the first 15 hours of the truce. Most groups have said they will abide by its terms, though in many cases they are doing so reluctantly. Several armed opposition movements say they have been unfairly treated and see... Read More
A ceasefire began at sunset aimed at ending the five-year long civil war in Syria that has killed over a quarter of a million Syrians and forced five million more to flee the country. Under an agreement between the US and Russia, the initial truce will last seven days, during which time UN convoys will... Read More
Is the agreement important? It is very significant inside and outside Syria because it is between the US and Russia, the most powerful players in the Syrian conflict, who can put pressure on their allies and proxies to comply. It is important too because it is the sign of a change in the international political... Read More
Russia could be poised to beome a super power again after agreeing with the US to launch what amounts to a joint air campaign against the two main extreme Islamist groups in Syria. If the ceasefire that starts at sunset on Monday holds for seven consecutive days and the UN is able to deliver aid... Read More
The proposed ceasefire in Syria is the outcome of a new balance of power in that country that has developed over the last two years. During this period, the US and Russia became militarily involved in the civil war in Syria and Iraq, providing devastating fire power to their chosen allies on the ground. As... Read More
The ceasefire agreement in Syria between the US and Russia is the most important development in Syria since the Russian military intervention on 30 September last year. It is so significant because it is an accord reached after 10 months of negotiations between the heaviest and most influential hitters in the conflict. They should be... Read More
The withdrawal of Russian forces from Syria strengthens the current ceasefire, de-escalates the violence and brings in view the distant prospect of an end to five years of war. The extent of the Russian pull-out remains uncertain as some of its bombers flew home on 15 March, while others attacked Isis fighters holding the ancient... Read More
At an early stage of the war in Syria, an Iraqi official went to see a Nato commander. “What’s the difference between what is happening in Syria and Libya [where Muammar Gaddafi had just been overthrown]?” he asked. The reply of the Nato general was simple and crisp. “Russia is back,” he said. The rebirth... Read More
The war in Syria and Iraq has reached a decisive turning point with the announcement by the US and Russia in Munich that they have agreed on the delivery of food and other aid to besieged communities in Syria; this would be followed by “a cessation of hostilities” in preparation for a formal ceasefire. A... Read More
The suggestion by Saudi Arabia that it send ground troops to Syria might mean the limited deployment of Saudi special forces alongside their US counterpart or a more ambitious intervention, probably in combination with the Turkish army. The suggestion by Saudi Arabia that it send ground troops to Syria might mean the limited deployment of... Read More
The peace talks between Syrian government and opposition scheduled to begin on Friday in Geneva were preceded by furious arguments about who should or should not attend. This did not augur well for ending or even de-escalating a war that has torn Syria apart and forced more than half its 22 million people to flee... Read More
The Syrian peace talks between government and opposition will begin in the next few days in Geneva in an atmosphere of almost undiluted gloom about the prospects for success. The two sides hate each other and have spent five years trying to kill each other, making it unlikely that they will agree to share power... Read More
The war in Iraq may become more like the war in Afghanistan over the coming years. Isis forces in fixed and identifiable positions cannot withstand ground assaults backed with intense air attacks by the US Air Force or, in the case of the Syrian army, by the Russians. The last extreme-fundamentalist Sunni state in the... Read More
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Explosive violence breaks out on an international scale
The CIA analyst is confident about what is likely to happen in Syria. He says that “Assad is playing his last major card to keep his regime in power”. He believes that the Assad government will step up its efforts to prove that its enemies “are being manipulated by outsiders”. The probable outcome is a... Read More
The battlefield in Syria and Iraq is getting more complicated by the day. The Syrian government says that US aircraft attacked Saeqa army camp, firing nine rockets that killed three soldiers and wounded 13. This is denied by the US military, which says it is “certain” that Russian aircraft carried out the attack. It is... Read More
The House of Commons vote in favour of British air strikes against Isis being extended from Iraq to Syria could be interpreted as the symbolic moment when Britain began its fourth military intervention in the Middle East since 2003. Hilary Benn made his striking emotional appeal for Britain to confront Isis just as we once... Read More
Nato will be worried by strike on Russia
Turkey must have been eager to shoot down a Russian aircraft. Even going by the Turkish account of what happened, as illustrated by a Turkish map of the route of the Russian plane, it would only briefly have been in Turkish airspace as it crossed a piece of Turkish territory that projects into Syria. Why... Read More
Air power may not be enough to stop the jihadis, who are expecting more help from Turkey now
Once again the world has underestimated the strength and viciousness of Isis. The group has always retaliated against any attack by targeting civilians and killing them in a way that ensures maximum publicity. This happened most recently in Turkey on 10 October when Isis suicide bombers killed 102 people attending a pro-Kurdish peace demonstration. In... Read More
The country is finding itself increasingly at odds with the US, Russia and Iran over developments in the conflict
Russian planes carried out 71 sorties and 118 air strikes against Islamic fighters in Syria over the past two days compared to just one air strike by the US-led coalition – and this single strike, against a mortar position, was the first for four days. The Russian air campaign in Syria is far more intense... Read More
Iraqi political and military leaders are demanding that the government follow Syria in requesting Russia to start air attacks on Isis fighters in Iraq. Two members of parliament are quoted as saying that the Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, is under “tremendous pressure” from his ruling National Alliance group to call for Russian military help. The... Read More
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The candidate is demonised as an exotic celebrity but he knows more about Iraq and Syria than his critics
In 1989 I met Donald Trump several times in Palm Beach in Florida where he was trying to stop jets from a newly expanded Palm Beach International Airport from roaring over his enormous mansion. This was Mar-a-Lago, a magnificent house with 58 bedrooms and 33 bathrooms which Trump had bought four years earlier without realising... Read More
While rivals in every other respect, both are supporting the local branch of the PKK in Syria conflict
Turkey has summoned separately the American and Russian ambassadors in Ankara to complain about their countries acting in support of the military forces of the Syrian Kurds who are fighting Isis. The Turkish government’s alarm underlines its problem in fighting a guerrilla war against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Turkey at a time when... Read More
Meanwhile Moscow steps up air strikes against opposition targets
Turkey said that radar used by Russian aircraft and its surface-to-air missile systems in Syria locked on to Turkish jets as the Russian air campaign intensifies against opposition targets. The Turkish military said that eight Turkish F-16 fighters patrolling the Turkish Syrian border had been threatened by a Mig-29 and later by an anti-aircraft missile... Read More
Vladimir Putin’s military intervention could hasten the war’s end
Russia’s military intervention in Syria, although further internationalising the conflict, does however present opportunities, as well as complications. There are no simple solutions to this terrible war which has destroyed Syria. Out of a population of 22 million, four million Syrians are refugees abroad and seven million have been displaced inside the country. I was... Read More
Few moderates remain in the war-torn country and those that do exist lack military strength
The controversy over who exactly the Russians are bombing in Syria is the consequence of a genuinely confusing situation on the ground combined with a heavy dose of propaganda. A big distinction is made between Isis and the other leading rebel organisations such as Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham - the main three Islamist groups... Read More
Russia and the US will no longer be on the sidelines of the conflict, but will be centre stage
The start of Russian bombing in Syria transforms the civil war there. It means that Russia and the US will no longer be on the sidelines of the conflict, but will be centre stage. Their full engagement may mean that the war will be brought to an end earlier because Washington and Moscow will have... Read More
Airstrikes were launched early on Wednesday morning, just hours after the decision had been approved by the Russian Parliament
Russian military jets have carried out air strikes in Syria for the first time, targeting what Moscow said were Isis positions. The strikes were launched hours after the Russian parliament gave their seal of approval on Wednesday morning. However, a US official has cast doubt on the claim that the Kremlin is tragetting Isis, saying... Read More
As yet there is a shortage of proven facts to sustain allegations of a big new Russian military build-up in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Russian soldiers have joined the ground war in Syria. More Russian supplies are being rushed to Syria to prop the weakening regime of President Bashar al-Assad. Greater Russian involvement will prolong the war in Syria, warns US Secretary of State John Kerry. Russia is reported to be planning to strengthen a Syrian naval base at... Read More
Russia is Assad’s main arms supplier and has so far prevented all-out Western intervention
A couple of years ago, an Iraqi minister was speaking to a senior American general about the war in Syria and why President Bashar al-Assad was still in power when Muammar Gaddafi had been swiftly overthrown and killed by rebels in Libya in 2011. “The big difference between now and then is that Russia is... Read More
Collateral damage is inevitable in the chaos of proxy war
We live in an era in which great military powers do not want to confront each other directly so they operate through local proxies. This has the advantage that Russia was not openly intervening with its own troops in eastern Ukraine but could influence events on the ground by operating through heavily armed separatists whose... Read More
Powers call for humanitarian aid as rebels fight each other
The US and Russia have discussed a ceasefire in Syria and the delivery of humanitarian aid to besieged rebel-held areas, as the civil war between rival rebel groups intensifies. After a meeting between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Paris, Mr Kerry said “we talked about the possibility... Read More
Deal in Geneva shows the Kremlin’s influence is at its greatest for more than 20 years
Russia’s return to the status of a great power has been obvious for some time. A Middle East leader who asked a senior American general earlier this summer about US plans for military intervention in Syria was told that prospects differed from the past because “Russia is back” as a major player. The agreement reached... Read More
Putin's Gas: 115 Hostages Killed by Russian Poison Gas
MOSCOW. The dreadful truth about the end of the Moscow theatre siege was becoming clear yesterday. The secret gas, pumped into the building to knock out the Chechen rebels and allow crack Russian troops to storm the building just before dawn on Saturday, killed scores of hostages and caused many others to slip into a... Read More
A series of bomb attacks on civilians in Russia two and a half years ago killed 300 and set the scene for a new war in Chechnya and the sudden elevation of Vladimir Putin, a little-known intelligence officer, as the unchallenged leader of Russia. The bombs terrified Russians, as they were designed to do, because... Read More
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Patrick Cockburn
About Patrick Cockburn

Patrick Cockburn is the Middle East correspondent for the British newspaper The Independent. He was awarded the 2005 Martha Gellhorn prize for war reporting. His book on his years covering the war in Iraq, The Occupation: War and Resistance in Iraq (Verso) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for non-fiction.


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