A North Korean delegation met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to improve relations recently, just days before the presidential elections. Assad stressed that the relations between the two countries “stem from the common destiny of their peoples.” The Official North Korean and Syrian news agencies, KCNA and SANA respectively, signed a cooperation agreement; both sides pledged “quality control” to match each other’s professional standards.
Lebanon has embarked on a magical phase of stability. Not long ago, the country was on the verge of a Civil War, with Sunni suicide bombers blowing themselves up in Shiite neighborhoods and a rabid political and media discourse, to say the least. There was no government in sight after former Prime Minister Najib Mikati resigned on March 22, 2013, while Syrian refugees crossed the million bar, a mere one fourth of the local population.
It was the 10th of September, 1989. Marwan Fayez remembers the day very well, he, 13 years old, and his sister Sarah, 11, lost their mother after a mortar shell hit their West Beirut flat. “I am still suffering till this day, no words can describe the pain”. She passed away during Michel Aoun’s proclaimed “Liberation War” against the Syrian Army, that left thousands dead and injured in a ruthless bombing campaign.
In my Patrick Seale Obituary, I had sought to interview more Syria experts, among whom is Joshua Landis, one of the leading sources of analysis. Unfortunately, and due to the time difference, my deadline passed, I missed the opportunity to quote him in my piece. Nevertheless, he sent me his interesting comments and I thought they should be published: