A Demand For Action's Christmas campaign has finally taken off, and it warms my heart. We're handing out Christmas presents in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. We want children to smile; children who've been forced to flee with their parents because of their religion and ethnicity. Children who have witnessed the most evil of acts.
There should be no question in anyone's mind that the Paris attacks last weekend have forced the entire country and the nation's leaders to reassess the scope of the terrorism problem, the absolute terror and brutalization that the Islamic State represents, and France's role in countering international terrorism more broadly.
The logic of this is clear; refugees are fleeing Bashar al-Assad, the Islamic State or both. Having experienced the extreme disruption of Syria's brutal civil war caused by the Assad regime's brutal crackdown on domestic uprisings and the subsequent exploitation of this disruption by ISIS, they are unlikely to entertain illusions about the merits of violence.
Putin is trying to burnish his credentials as an international tough guy in Syria, fighting ISIS, or at least appearing to do so. In reality, he seems to be directing bombs against dictator Bashar al-Assad's beleaguered opposition these days. He's doing it, because that's just about all he can do these days.
At a news conference at the United Nations, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov may have been on thin ice when he defended Russian intervention on behalf of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. He pointed to the chaos that followed US targeting of other Arab autocrats like Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi.