The Syrian revolution now has to be seen as part of a wider conflict in the region. There is no use just talking about the revolution and the subsequent outbreak of civil war, and then viewing the Turkish-Kurdish war as a separate event, as well as the international effort against ISIS as something different again. All of them are interlinked and overlap.
What do Jose Mourinho, ancient artefacts, and tourism have in common?
At first glance, not much, but on investigation we find that they all play a role in the continuous, if somewhat confused, campaign of propaganda by the Syrian regime leader Bashar al-Assad.
A story that emerged recently, that immediately jumped out at me as somewhat strange, was the news that Jose Mourinho – of Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, and Real Madrid fame – had been targeted as the next manager for the Syrian football team.
Not one to shy away from controversy, Mourinho was said to be “honoured” at the approach, but ultimately rejected the job offer.
And whilst the audacious bid to land the “special one” came as a shock, in reality, we should not be too surprised when we see this move in the wider context of Assad’s propaganda machine.
Whilst the world’s major powers collectively pat themselves on the back for brokering a ceasefire in Syria, they fail to notice that the war, though diluted in its violence, is yet to stop.
Despite the widely reported truce between Regime forces and those opposed to Bashar al-Assad, the death toll continues to rise in Syria. The oft-quoted figure of 250,000 dead has sat unchanged for at least 18-months and is in all likelihood so far from the truth that it should be ignored outright.
Since the ceasefire has come into force, the monthly casualties have dropped substantially, but soldiers, and more worryingly, civilians continue to die en masse.
In the 12-months of 2015, myself and 11 other comrades embarked on a commitment of Effective Altruism.
Our pledge was to donate a percentage of our monthly wages to charities that are capable of making the biggest impact at the lowest cost. Embodying the very nature of the phrase “more bang for your buck”, we paid money to those organisations who could save, or at least drastically improve, the most lives.