The Corner

National Security & Defense

Death and Disaster in Syria and Iraq

News from Syria is dramatic. Units loyal to the Bashar Assad regime have been besieging Aleppo, the country’s most important city after Damascus. In heavy fighting, secular rebels appear to have liberated most of it, maybe all of it. Television crews have made their way in, and the resulting film is indeed grim. Aleppo is ruined, by the look of it beyond repair. The vistas of shattered housing and shops are frightening. All the while, there is background noise. The Russians backing Assad are doing what they do best, which is to bomb and shell every building indiscriminately into rubble, and every human being into a corpse. No finesse there, just plain unapologetic brutality.

Iraq may be even worse. Virtually nothing is left of Ramadi and Fallujah, where the Iraqi army and the strange coalition of Kurds, Iranian-backed Hezbollah, and special advisers from the U.S. and the U.K. have taken on, smashed, and driven back the extremists of the Islamic State. Mosul looks destined to be the arena for the last stand of ISIS. A mixed population of over 2 million people used to inhabit this historic city. Christian minorities, Armenians and Assyrians, have already fled. ISIS boasts that not a single cross is left in Mosul. Kurds already occupy parts of Mosul, and a force of 5,000 Kurdish peshmerga is closing in. These are battle-hardened troops, Muslims too, and they are quite possibly campaigning in the hope of gaining a homeland independent of Arabs.

Everything looks in place for death and disaster on a scale not seen since the Second World War.

David Pryce-Jones — David Pryce-Jones is a British author and commentator and a senior editor of National Review.

Most Popular


Democrats Are Dumping Moderates

The activist base of the Democratic party is lurching left fast enough that everyone should pay attention. Activists matter because their turnout in low-turnout primaries and caucuses almost propelled leftist Bernie Sanders to victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016. Last month, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez unseated New ... Read More

Questions for Al Franken

1)Al, as you were posting on social media a list of proposed questions for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, did it occur to you that your opinion on the matter is no more relevant than Harvey Weinstein’s? 2) Al, is it appropriate for a disgraced former U.S. senator to use the Twitter cognomen “U.S. ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Strzok by a Farce

An investigation is one of two things: a search for the truth, or a farce. The House is conducting a farce. That fact was on full display during ten hours of testimony by Peter Strzok, the logorrheic lawman who steered the FBI’s Clinton-emails and Trump–Russia probes. The principal question before the ... Read More
Film & TV

Stalin at the Movies

Toward the end of The Death of Stalin, two Communist Party bosses size up Joseph Stalin’s immediate successor, Georgy Malenkov. “Can we trust him?” one asks. “Can you ever really trust a weak man?” his comrade answers. Good question. Last week brought the news that the head of Shambhala ... Read More