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Entries in The Guardian (83)


Syria Opinion: How to Meet the Challenge of Covering Conflict

Dramatic and complex events like those in Syria, with the prospect of further escalations both in and beyond that country's borders, demand careful, dedicated and in-depth coverage and analysis. Yet, on Wednesday, The Guardian announced that after 28 months, it is ending its Live Coverage not just of Syria, but of the entire Middle East. Its reason --- news is slowing to "gradual incremental developments" and it can no longer justify expenditure of resources on the project.

Of course, the decision was probably reached because of "business", not journalism. However, if news is to be effective, media have to find a way out from the financial dead end. An initiative has to put a relatively small investments into high-quality, dedicated work that might stand a chance of building an audience and encourage readers to pay attention to a story on a continuing basis.

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US Feature: Why is British Resident Shaker Aamer in Guantanamo Bay After 11 Years? 

Aamer's continuing incarceration is all the more mysterious, given that the Americans ruled almost six years ago that he could be freed from Guantánamo. In June 2007, he was officially cleared for release. A security assessment by the US government acknowledged it had no concrete evidence against him. Two years later, the Obama administration reiterated the lack of a case against him, underlining the fact that he could be released.

So why is Aamer the only one among the 16 detainees who possessed British citizenship and residency who is still being held in Guantánamo?

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Syria Feature: Who Killed the 110 Men Found in the Quweig River? (Chulov/Solomon)

The bodies in the Quweig River in late January (Photo: Thomas Rassloff/EPA)

In the days following the massacre, Syrian officials blamed "terrorist groups" for the deaths. State television broadcast a ‘confession’ from an alleged member of Jabhat al-Nusra, the jihadist group....

The confession was derided by every one of the 11 people interviewed by the Guardian as well as dozens of others that came and went from the Revolutionary Security centre during the week we were there.

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Syria Feature: US, Britain, and France Train Insurgents in Jordan (Borger/Hopkins)

EA Video Analysis, 21 February: "How and Why the US is Arming the Insurgents"

Western training of Syrian rebels is under way in Jordan in an effort to strengthen secular elements in the opposition as a bulwark against Islamic extremism, and to begin building security forces to maintain order in the event of Bashar al-Assad's fall.

Jordanian security sources say the training effort is led by the US, but involves British and French instructors.

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Iraq Feature: The US Pentagon is Linked to Torture Centres (The Guardian/BBC Arabic)

The 5-minute trailer for the full Guardian/BBC documentary

The Pentagon sent a US veteran of the "dirty wars" in Central America to oversee sectarian police commando units in Iraq that set up secret detention and torture centres to get information from insurgents. These units conducted some of the worst acts of torture during the US occupation and accelerated the country's descent into full-scale civil war.

Watch the full Guardian/BBC Arabic documentary

Colonel James Steele was a 58-year-old retired special forces veteran when he was nominated by Donald Rumsfeld to help organise the paramilitaries in an attempt to quell a Sunni insurgency, an investigation by the Guardian and BBC Arabic shows.

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Syria Video Feature: The Dangers of Reporting for State TV (Sturdee)

Nick Sturdee writes in The Guardian:

What's it like to represent one of the world's most reviled regimes? At the very heart of Damascus, opposite the army's chief of staff headquarters – crippled by car bombs in September – stands a building with a shiny blue facade, topped by towers of satellite dishes. In front a big screen proudly emits what the building produces – the world according to Syrian state TV.

It's the frontline in a "media war" that the Syrian government sees itself as waging against the outside world. And the newest and youngest weapon in this war is the Syrian News Channel, al Ikhbariya, --- a satellite channel combating such hostile voices as al Jazeera, al Arabia and...the BBC.

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Syria Feature: The Growing Crisis in Health Care (IRIN)

Doctor with Syrian Refugees in LebanonThe nearly two-year conflict in Syria has claimed tens of thousands of lives, destroyed entire neighbourhoods, and sent hundreds of thousands of people fleeing. More quietly, however, it has eaten away at the country's healthcare system. Pharmaceutical factories, which used to produce more than 90% of the country's drug needs, are down to one-third of their former production.

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Syria 1st-Hand: Why Insurgents Are Fighting Each Other in Aleppo (Abdul-Ahad)

Destroyed Storefront in AleppoIt wasn't the government that killed the Syrian rebel commander Abu Jameel. It was the fight for his loot. The motive for his murder lay in a great warehouse in Aleppo which his unit had captured a week before. The building had been full of rolled steel, which was seized by the fighters as spoils of war.

But squabbling developed over who would take the greater share of the loot and a feud developed between commanders. Threats and counter-threats ensued over the following days.

Abu Jameel survived one assassination attempt when his car was fired on. A few days later his enemies attacked again, and this time they were successful. His bullet-riddled body was found, handcuffed, in an alley in the town of al-Bab.

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Iran Opinion: "The Riskiest Job" --- A Tribute to Imprisoned Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh (Ebadi)

Not so long ago, my colleague Nasrin Sotoudeh was the lawyer so many of us human rights defenders in Iran would call when our government harassed us or put one of us, or one of our family members, in jail. Sadly it is now Nasrin who is in jail. The government's accusations against her include acting contrary to "national security", "propaganda against the state", and "membership" of the Center for Defenders of Human Rights, an organisation I founded in 2001. The government has also accused her of failing to wear hijab, the traditional Islamic covering for women. On some of these trumped-up charges she has been sentenced to 11 years in jail, and is now banned from practising law for 20 years.

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Iran Feature: An Activist's Imprisonment Turns a Family Against the Regime (Dehghan)

When Iranian student activist Arash Sadeghi was temporarily released from Tehran's infamous Evin prison in November 2010, he anticipated a little respite from a year of harsh beatings and agony in jail.

Instead, within a few days, security officials had raided his home in middle of the night. As they broke their way into the house, Sadeghi's mother, who was alone with her daughter, suffered a heart attack.

The officials continued their search as she laid unconscious on the floor, ransacking the house and trying to find Sadeghi, who was at his grandfather's house that night. When the officials left, Farahnaz Dargahi was taken to hospital. She died within a few days.

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