Weekly Media Digest (10 May)

Curated Reading List


SyriaUntold brings you a new edition of our digest. We want to share with you the features, investigative pieces and long-form essays that we read and thought would interest you.

10 May 2019

'Explosion' by Soulaf Abas

Angela Merkel Welcomed Refugees to Germany. They’re Starting to Help the Economy. (The Washington Post)

A report by the Washington Post reveals that the refugees are becoming a significant part of the labour force in Germany, faster than what many experts had predicted.

“But after spending billions of euros to accommodate the newcomers, Germany is beginning to reap some gains. The number who are either working or participating in a job training program has been growing, and was at more than 400,000 as of the end of 2018. Of those, 44,000 were enrolled in apprenticeships, according to German business groups.”

Regime Preservation: How US Policy Facilitated Assad’s Victory (Al-Jumhuriya)

Michael Karadjis writes in Al-Jumhuriya about the US policy towards Syria throughout the past eight years, analysing how in reality it helped Assad secure his position, despite continuous official public condemnations. 

“The US never intended to apply any serious military pressure to bring about even the limited objectives outlined above. Only a strengthened opposition could exert such pressure, but the rebels were fighting to overthrow the dictatorship and were no proxies; if strengthened enough they would push beyond the US-imposed limits.”

The Controversial Archive: Negotiating Horror Images in Syria (Institute of Network Cultures)

Enrico De Angelis, a researcher specializing in Arab media, examines in this long-read the production of an archive of the "horror pictures" of and about the Syrian conflict. De Angelis interviews many photographers who actively participated in producing this archive, and writes about the ethical and strategic debate surrounding this issue.

"Indeed, if, as many of the interviewed photographers describe, one of the main aims of the archive’s production was to create visual narratives capable of changing the course of the conflict according to their political desires, its failure appears undeniable today.
The cultural negotiation of images takes several forms: public and private discussions, articles, but also individual practices characterizing the approach to digital images (To look or not look at them? Share them or not? How to use them? How to comment or present them?)."

150,000 Flee as Syria ‘Buffer Zone’ Collapses (The New Humanitarian)

Tom Rollins reports on the escalation in violence in Idlib in the past week, which has already claimed dozens of lives and led 150,000 civilians to flee their homes.

“The UN’s emergency aid coordination body, OCHA, said in a 7 May update that airstrikes and shelling had killed at least 80 civilians and injured 300 more between 28 April and 6 May. Of the 150,000 people who have taken flight between 29 April and 5 May, it said that “developments in areas believed to be in or near the demilitarised [buffer] zone [have] resulted in a new wave of displacement, as civilians flee towards areas they consider safer and away from the violence.”

Fewer Than Half of Russians Support Syria Campaign, Poll Says (The Moscow Times

A new Survey by the Russian Levada Center finds support for the Russian arial campaign in Syria waning among Russian citizens.

"Fifty-five percent of Russian respondents say their country should end its military campaign in Syria, up from 49 percent in August 2017, according to a poll published by Levada on Monday.
The share of respondents who want the conflict to go on has stayed at 30 percent in that same period."

Critical analysis of attempts to co-opt the tribes in Syria (LSE Conflict Research Programme

 Haian Dukhan writes about the importance of coopting the tribes of Syria in securing the survival of any political authority, analysing the ways this cooptation worked since Assad came to power in 1970 and until current day. 

"I will attempt in this short piece to provide a critical analysis of local, regional and international efforts to co-opt the tribes in Syria, while arguing that local attempts have generally been more successful in co-opting tribes than those by regional and international powers such as Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the USA. This might have to do with the fact that local forces and structures are more aware of localised realities and histories, especially when it comes to the changes that tribal structures have gone through in the past few decades."

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