The managing editor of Foreign Affairs magazine recently went to Damascus, where he interviewed President Bashar al-Assad. Ekklesia associate and regional expert Dr Harry Hagopian assesses where the president stands in the tragic and bloody mess that exists in Syria at the moment, where ordinary people are caught between competing barbarisms.
Our associate Dr Harry Hagopian, an expert commentator and ecumenical consultant on the Middle East and North Africa, has been particularly busy during Advent, recording several broadcasts before a stay in a Monastery.
On 24 April 1915, close to a year into World War I, two hundred Armenian community leaders living in Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul) were rounded up and force-marched into detention by the Ottoman authorities.
The Catholic Ordinaries in the Holy Land and the Justice and Peace Committee issued a statement about the persecution of Christians in the Middle East. It is a highly significant document in the light of recent media attention to these issues, and repeated statements from Baroness Warsi and others. There are serious issues at stake here, but it is important that they are understood properly and in context so that the appropriate solidarity for all oppressed groups can be expressed.
The barbarity of the response to protest by the Syrian regime - bullets, shabihas and tanks that soon graduated to chemical weapons and TNT barrels - also weaponised an equally radical bunch of people who carry with them the cloak of religiosity although they do not care a jot about the future governance of Syria, says regional analyst Dr Harry Hagopian. So where do we go from here?
In the first Middle East Analysis podcast of 2014, regular studio guest Dr Harry Hagopian, a regional expert and Ekklesia associate, looks at the upcoming Geneva 2 meeting about the on-going crisis in Syria, Egypt's constitutional referendum, and other Middle East and North Africa related concerns.