What Russia’s upgrade of Syria’s air defences means for Israel

IT WAS “a chain of tragic circumstances” that led to the downing of a Russian spy plane by Syria on September 17th, said Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president. With those words, Mr Putin seemed to accept the episode as an accident and absolve Israel of any blame.

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Bashar al-Assad’s forces crush the resistance

WHEN members of the Muslim Brotherhood rose up against the Syrian government in 1982, killing hundreds of soldiers in the city of Hama, the regime’s response was swift and brutal. Under orders from President Hafez al-Assad, government warplanes and artillery pounded the city for weeks. By the time the army’s bulldozers had finished flattening entire districts, the regime had killed as many as 25,000 people.

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After a year of boldness, Saudi Arabia is in retreat

Nothing but bad news IN JANUARY this year Muhammad bin Salman, the young deputy crown prince who in effect runs Saudi Arabia, declared an end to his country’s “comatose” foreign policy and a determination to push back against Iran.

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