Inside Opinion

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Tag: Middle East

April
25th

A red line for Syria – and for President Obama

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

What does “red line” mean? What does “game changer” mean?

Either Barack Obama or Syria’s Bashar Assad will come to regret those words. In the near future, we’ll find out which.

When the president of the United States issues a warning that dire, he’d best be ready to back up the words with action. Assad’s government appears to have crossed Obama’s portentous line by using chemical weapons against rebels – such is the assessment of Britain, France, Israel and now the U.S. secretaries of Defense and State. What next?

If the evidence of nerve gas attacks is established beyond a reasonable doubt, Obama must come through – somehow – on his unspecified threat.

A U.S. invasion of Syria cannot be an option; the Middle East is enough of a mess already without a herd of American elephants stomping into a conflict few people on this side of the planet understand.

We want to help the good guys win, but it’s hard to figure out exactly who they are. Assad is a brutal tyrant, but some of his enemies are friends of al-Qaida, which makes them enemies of ours.

One of the best reasons to tread cautiously is the possibility that sarin – which is 500 times more toxic than cyanide – might fall into the hands of people who rejoiced at the sight of mangled Americans at the Boston Marathon.
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Jan.
3rd

Headlines we’ll read in 2013, for better or worse

Everyone likes predictions (why else do we read horoscopes?). Here are some from David Rothkopf of Foreign Policy. For the most part, he sees positive developments, particularly for the world economy. But he ends on a sad, pessimistic note.

Headlines we’ll be reading in 2013

By David Rothkopf

WASHINGTON — As that great geopolitical theorist Carly Simon once observed, “We can never know about the days to come but we think about them anyway, yay.” She then went on to say, as ketchup lovers everywhere remember, “Anticipation, anticipation, is making me late . . . is keepin’ me waitin’.”

Of course, the tortures of anticipation are well known to observers of the slow-motion train wreck that has been Washington’s management of America’s financial situation, or the recent, interminable U.S. presidential campaign, or the hideously slow path to oblivion followed by the Assad regime in Syria, or the painfully circular Eurofollies, not to mention the gradual but undeniable degradation of the planet’s environment that goes on year in and year out despite our clear knowledge about how to avoid the damage.

The time has come to say “enough.” We live in an age in which the average consumer expects instant gratification. There is no reason those who are interested in the bigger issues taking place in the world shouldn’t have it too. For that reason, we bring to you the top headlines that you will be looking back at when 2013 draws to a close 12 months from now. Think of it as the year in review, before it happens. Read more »

Dec.
22nd

Parents plead for journalist son’s release

On Sunday we’re running a piece about missing journalist Austin Tice, written by Washington Post executive editor Marcus Brauchli and Anders Gyllenhaal, vice president for news at McClatchy Newspapers. Tice’s parents have written this open letter to their son’s captors.

By Marc Tice and Debra Tice

HOUSTON — Our family is longing for the safe return of our cherished son and beloved brother Austin, who was taken captive while working as a journalist in Syria.

So many things have happened in the more than 18 weeks he has been missing. We missed him terribly at the family gathering for the feast of Thanksgiving. We are a close-knit family, sharing so many memories and traditions. Now, as we prepare for the joyful celebration of Christmas, we desperately want our family to be whole. Our hearts are heavy to think his chair may once again be empty at our family table; we dread missing his great storytelling and contagious laugh. Read more »

Sep.
19th

Here’s how desperate for work some actors are

By Myles Crawley
Los Angeles Times

Last week, an acquaintance sent me a link to an article on the Atlantic’s website about “Innocence of Muslims,” the anti-Islam film that has provoked so much violence in the Middle East. To my horror, the story prominently featured a picture of me.

When I watched the film clip, I was even more appalled. A year earlier, I had done two days of acting in a film I’d been told would be called “Desert Warrior.” The images were clearly from that film, but my words had been replaced by words I would have never uttered, and the resulting film was something I would never have agreed to participate in. Here’s how it happened.

It was July 2011. One night, while looking through Craigslist, I happened upon an ad looking for actors for an film called “Desert Warrior.” I sent an email inquiring about roles, and a few days later got a request from the director for my bio and head shot.

A couple of weeks later, I was invited to an audition at what looked like an old nightclub on La Cienega. There, I met the director and another man who identified himself as Sam Bacile. The part I read for was that of a doctor in a clinic. The director read the part of the other character, a military officer of some kind. There was no mention of Muhammad or Islam in the script I saw.
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