No one seems to know. Readers who follow developments in China closely, know that relations between the two superpowers have grown increasingly strained in the last few years. But while the US has taken a more hostile approach to China, no one seems to know why. Was there something in particular that China did that angered Washington leading to the imposition of economic sanctions, technology blockades and military provocations in the Taiwan Strait?
No, there’s no indication that China did anything. What changed was Washington’s approach to China. And—as you’ll see—Washington’s approach changed very quickly and very dramatically. China went from friend to foe almost overnight.
Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the US maintained a policy of engagement with China that accelerated its development and transformed the country into the main engine of global growth. In December, 2001, China was granted “most-favored-nation”(MFN) status which was followed shortly after by its entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO). These developments allowed China to access western markets which turned China into a manufacturing center for US multinationals like Nike, Apple and Dell. China’s opening also triggered a surge of foreign investment which pumped up growth while strengthening its financial assets and bond market. In short, US policy laid the groundwork for the “Chinese miracle” which set the stage for a great power conflict with the US.
No other country in the world is more responsible for China’s meteoric rise than the United States. Now, however, the foreign policy establishment has decided that it doesn’t like its own creation. It doesn’t like the fact that China took advantage of the opportunities it was given to transform itself into a peer competitor of the United States. It doesn’t like the fact that China’s economy is growing more than twice as fast as America’s and is set to surpass the US within the decade. It doesn’t like the fact that China is building a 21st century, state-of-the-art infrastructure grid that will economically integrate a large part of Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia into the world’s biggest free trade zone. It doesn’t like the fact that China’s expansive economic/political strategy will inevitably replace the “rules-based international order” with a Chinese-led system in which the renminbi is the world’s reserve currency and China’s financial markets are the largest and most liquid in the world. America’s foreign policy establishment is not happy about any of these developments especially since it is largely responsible for all of them.
“The war in Ukraine has driven an increase in sales across the portfolio for sure,” says Matthew Bragoni, a representative of Ensign-Bickford Aerospace and Defense (EBAD).
Bragoni, a US army veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, is standing by his company’s stall in London at the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI). This biannual arms fair is the jewel in the crown of the global weapons industry.
“Everyone’s well aware that the US military has been donating [to Ukraine] a lot of product that was in stock,” he observes. “And so we’re seeing the second order effect where these purchases – as the US emptied out their inventory – they’re re-buying”.
EBAD is based in the US state of Connecticut. Bragoni is the director of their group which is focused on delivering products to “warfighters around the world”. These range from missile parts down to explosives for clearing minefields, which are now being sent to Ukraine – “something we’re very proud of”, Bragoni notes.
Not so long ago, following French President Emmanuel Macron’sBeijing visit, many in the U.S. reacted to his expressed desire to avoid confrontation with China with indignation, labeling the leader a fool and a puppet.
Evidently, the backlash didn’t phase Macron. He doubled-down, saying that “being an ally does not mean being a vassal… [or] mean that we don’t have the right to think for ourselves.” When it comes to responding to fluctuating China-U.S. tensions, Macron believes that for Europe no response is the best response.
And as much as some Americans might wish he was wrong, he is not.
Macron is not witless. He is making a case that prioritizes his country’s tangible interests, not the U.S.’s. These include focusing on his region, avoiding conflict with a major global power, and remaining a relevant actor in world affairs.
Critics like The Spectator World’s John Pietro may label Macron’s call for European strategic autonomy “fantastical” and “unpopular,” but reality is not on their side.
In fact, Macron’s view is very popular. According to the European Council on Foreign Relations, close to three-quarters of Europeans believe that the Continent should pursue increased independence vis-à-vis American military power. Additionally, the report shows that majorities in all surveyed countries believe that Europe should remain neutral in any conflict between China and the U.S. over Taiwan.
“The Pfizer vaccine is contaminated with plasmid DNA, it’s not just mRNA…I’m kind of alarmed about the possible consequences of this…It could be causing some of the rare, but serious, side effects like death from cardiac arrest…
This DNA can and likely will integrate into the genomic DNA of cells that got transfected with the vaccine mix…It’s different from RNA because it can be permanent…
It could cause theoretically…a sustained autoimmune attack towards that tissue.
It’s also a very real theoretical risk of future cancer in some people.
There’s probably about 200 billion pieces of this plasmid DNA in each dose of the vaccine…This is a bad idea.”
Charlie Kirk, the founder of Turning Point USA, made a visit to Northern Arizona University on Tuesday as part of the organization's efforts to establish 1,600 high school and college chapters across the United States.
However, his presence on campus was met with hostility from triggered leftists and trans activists who hurled slurs and screamed at the conservative celebrity.
Amidst the chaos, Kirk remained undeterred and considered the event a success, bringing Turning Point USA one step closer to achieving their ambitious goals. He stated, "The trans mafia showed up in force at NAU. We didn't let them win. Another big day for TPUSA as we march to our ambitious goals for 1,600 high school and college chapters across America." Kirk later shared footage that revealed his supporters outnumbered his detractors.
Elon Musk’s start-up, Neuralink, announced that they have begun recruiting individuals for its first human trial to test out the company’s very own brain chip implant.
On Tuesday, the tech mogul’s brain implant company reportedly received approval from an independent review board to start recruiting volunteers for its first clinical trial that “would help people with paralysis, to communicate using their thoughts.”
Neuralink is a company that works on developing a brain-computer interference (BCI) that can reportedly collect and analyze brain signals.
Musk reportedly also stated that the company would create a comprehensive brain computer to assist humans in keeping up with artificial intelligence (AI).
In May, Neuralink received approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its first human clinical trial, a significant step after previous delays and setbacks.
At the time, Neuralink described the FDA approval as “an important first step that will one day allow our technology to help many people.”
Fox Business host Larry Kudlow agreed with Breitbart Editor-in-Chief Alex Marlow’s recent editorial about his forthcoming book Breaking Biden arguing that Republicans need to “reset” their narrative about President Joe Biden to focus on his corruption and policy failures rather than his age and gaffes.
United States Magistrate Judge from the District of Delaware, Christopher Burke, has declared that Hunter Biden, 53, must not receive “special treatment” regarding his request to appear virtually for his first court hearing on federal gun charges.
Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, was charged by Special Counsel David Weiss with making an untrue statement during his purchase of a firearm and making a false statement regarding information required to be kept by a federal licensed gun dealer. He was additionally charged with one count of possession of a firearm by a person who is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance.
On Tuesday, Hunter’s lawyers explained to the court that he will not be pleading guilty, while asking for his first court appearance to take place virtually. This was something that Weiss’ team was opposed to in a filing on Wednesday.
For more than three decades [since 1991], the United States of America and the United Kingdom have been waging continuous wars on Iraq to occupy this oil rich country.
The armed forces of those two countries attacked civilians with different kinds of conventional, non-conventional, and banned weapons such as cluster bombs ammunitions, napalm bombs, white phosphorous weapons and depleted Uranium weapons.
Depleted Uranium (DU) is a radioactive and chemically toxic heavy metal. If ingested, inhaled, or it enters the human body through wounds or skin, it remains there for decades.
Within the human body the (DU) particles would be a continuous source for emitting alpha particles. With its toxic effects, published research & epidemiological studies have proved that it causes serious health damages to the human body. Some of the damage to the human body is to lymph tissue, kidneys, developing fetuses, neurological system, the bones, lung fibrosis, and an increase in the risk of many types of cancer and malignancies.
Hundreds of tons of (DU) expenditure have been fired & exploded on Iraqi highly populated areas like Basrah, Baghdad, Nasriya, Dewania, Samawa, and other cities.
Exploration programs and site measurements by Iraqi and non-Iraqi researchers all proved the existence of (DU) related contamination over most Iraqi territories.
Esteemed cardiologist Dr. Peter McCullough unleashed an array of truth bombs during his presentation to the European Parliament on September 13, 2023, in a session specifically focused on the World Health Organization and the global management of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his 1923 book The Goose-Step, renowned muckraking journalist Upton Sinclair examined the consequences of plutocraticcapitalist control of American colleges and universities, writing that “our educational system is not a public service, but an instrument of special privilege; its purpose is not to further the welfare of mankind, but merely to keep America capitalist.”
If Sinclair were alive today, he would likely be horrified though not surprised by the appointment of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to a professorship at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) and Presidential Fellow at Columbia World Projects (CWP).
Clinton is offering a class at the school this fall, with Dean Keren Yarhi-Milo, called “Inside the Situation Room.” It will have students “examine decision-making in a variety of historical and contemporary contexts, from the search for Osama bin Laden, to the ‘red line’ in Syria, to negotiating with Iran,” according to a press release from the University.
Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley apparently hasn't checked a poll lately because she recently sided with CEOs over UAW workers regarding an automaker strike. Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian discuss on The Young Turks.
Some Democrats are panicking that Donald Trump is "outmaneuvering" President Joe Biden, according to a new report.
On Monday, the New York Times reported that Trump will skip the second Republican primary debate on Sept. 27 to visit Detroit, where he will meet with auto union workers. The decision was made just days after the United Auto Workers went on strike.
Trump's decision to skip the debate and engage with union workers, according to the Times, shows that his campaign is looking past the Republican primary and focusing its efforts on campaigning against Biden. And unfortunately for the president, that's also exactly how some Democrats understand it, Politico reported.
"Trump scooped us. Now if we announce we're going, it looks like we're just going because of Trump," a Democratic strategist told Politico. "We waited too long. That's the challenge."
At a House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources hearing on the Biden administration's "mismanagement of the federal onshore oil and gas program," Ocasio-Cortez claimed that nearly one-quarter of U.S. "carbon pollution" comes from oil and gas drilling on federal lands.
"As it stands, nearly a quarter of the United States' current carbon pollution comes from fossil fuel production on federal lands and waters," she claimed.
But according to Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance, the New York Democrat is wrong.
Not only did Sgamma open her testimony by calling out Ocasio-Cortez for her "complete falsehood," but with data in hand, Sgamma corrected the record.
"I just want to start off by correcting something the ranking member said in her opening statement. She claimed that oil and gas production on federal lands is responsible for about a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions," Sgamma said.
"That's based on a misreading of a USGS study of greenhouse gas emissions," she explained. "And if you actually look at the numbers, production on federal lands and waters accounts for 0.6% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions — not 'nearly a quarter.' Even the Interior Department stopped using that number after I simply pointed out the numbers from the USGS report."
President Biden will announce a new weapons package for Ukraine when Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visits Washington on Thursday, Reuters reported on Wednesday.
Sources told Reuters that the package will be worth $325 million and is expected to include the second tranche of widely-banned cluster bombs in the form of 155mm artillery shells. The US began providing Ukraine with cluster munitions in July despite their history of killing and maiming civilians.
The cluster munitions the US is providing Ukraine are packed with 72 submunitions, known as bomblets, that are scattered over a large area. Cluster bombs are so hazardous to civilians because many of the submunitions do not explode on impact, and can be found years or decades later.
Due to their indiscriminate nature, cluster bombs are banned by over 100 countries by the Convention on Cluster Munitions, but the US, Ukraine, and Russia are not signatories to the treaty.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky attacked the UN as an ineffective body unable to enforce its own principles. The Ukrainian leader called for Russia to lose its veto power on the Security Council (UNSC).
Speaking at a special session of the UNSC – the UN’s most powerful body – Zelensky said the organization had failed to uphold its values. “Ukrainian soldiers now are doing at the expense of their blood what the UN Security Council should do by its voting,” he argued. “They’re stopping aggression and upholding the principles of the UN Charter.”
He went on to call for Russia to be punished for invading Ukraine by removing Moscow’s veto power at the UNSC. “Humankind no longer pins its hopes on the UN when it comes to the defense of the sovereign border of nations.” Zelensky continued, “We should not wait for the aggression to be over. We need to act now. Our aspiration for peace should drive the reform.”
The Ukrainian leader added that removing Russia’s veto power was a “necessary step..because all efforts are vetoed by the aggressor.” The US, UK, France, China, and Russia are permanent members of the UNSC and can veto any resolution that comes to the floor of the body.
The Ukrainian Main Directorate of Intelligence (HUR) claims a sabotage attack was carried out on a key Russian airbase just miles from Moscow. The HUR has not provided evidence any Russian planes were damaged or that the covert operation happened.
Anton Gerashchenko, an advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, posted details about the alleged covert bombing on Twitter. “Unidentified saboteurs blew up two airplanes and a helicopter in Moscow region on 18th September – Ukrainian Defense Intelligence. The sabotage reportedly took place at the Chkalovsky Air Base, where government planes, “doomsday” planes and reconnaissance aircraft are based,” he wrote. “Unidentified persons placed explosives on a closely guarded airfield and blew up AN-148 and IL-20 aircraft (both belonging to the 354th Special Operations Aviation Regiment), as well as a MI-28N helicopter, which had previously been actively engaged in shooting down attack drones.”
Ukrainska Pravda reported the HUR believes the damage to Russian aircraft will take time to repair. “The damage caused to the planes makes their rapid restoration improbable. A tail part of the helicopter was damaged by the explosion. Another AN-148 parked close to other ones was slightly damaged,” the HUR said.
Ukrainian officials and intelligence provided satellite photographs that show Chkalovsky Air Base and the aircraft, but the satellite photos allegedly proving that the bombing took place are blurry and do not confirm the HUR assertions.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi used his time in front of the UN General Assembly to request President Joe Biden commit to a return to the 2015 nuclear deal or abandon the agreement. The Iranian leader stressed that Tehran believes Washington’s control over the global economy is faltering.
Speaking in New York on Tuesday, Raisi urged Biden to show he would like to return to the Iran nuclear deal – or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the agreement’s official name. The US should “demonstrate in a verifiable fashion” that it wants to return to the 2015 nuclear deal, he said. Adding, Washington must choose a path, “either JCPOA or not.”
Raisi explained Iran was in full compliance with the agreement when then-President Donald Trump exited the deal in 2018 and reimposed sanctions on Tehran that were lifted under the JCPOA. The UN’s nuclear watchdog – the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) – confirmed that Iran was fully complying with the terms of the JCPOA.
After Trump initiated an economic war on Tehran aimed at destroying the Iranian economy, the Islamic Republic started to walk back its commitments to the JCPOA, including caps on enrichment and inspections.
Washington imposed sanctions on four entities and seven people in Russia, China, and Turkey over their alleged assistance with Tehran’s drone program which the US says has significantly benefited Russia in its war with Ukraine. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has denounced the accusations that Tehran has been arming Moscow since the Kremlin launched its invasion last year.
The sanctions announced by the Treasury Department on Tuesday target the Iranian drone company Aircraft Manufacturing Industrial Company – also known as HESA – which was hit with sanctions in 2008, along with its managing executives. Additionally, a Chinese tech company, two Turkish money exchangers, and a group of Russian parts manufacturing companies were hit with sanctions.
“Iran’s continued, deliberate proliferation of its UAVs enables Russia, its proxies in the Middle East, and other destabilizing actors to undermine global stability,” said Brian E. Nelson, the Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.
State Department spokesman Matthew Miller further declared that Washington will “continue to use every tool at our disposal to disrupt these efforts and will work with Allies and partners to hold Iran accountable for its actions.”
However, while meeting with media executives on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Raisi explained “[Iran] is against the war in Ukraine” and reiterated Tehran’s offer to mediate peace talks between the two sides. He emphasized that his nation’s strong ties with Russia includes defense cooperation but insisted there have been no weapons transferred since Ukraine was invaded last February.
“If they have a document that Iran gave weapons or drones to the Russians after the war,” then they should produce it, Raisi said. Moscow has officially denied that Iran’s drones are being used by Russian forces against Ukraine. In June, US intelligence officials accused Tehran of assisting Moscow in building a drone manufacturing plant that may be operational next year.
US President Joe Biden’s speech before the General Assembly on September 19 spent surprisingly little time on Russia and the war in Ukraine and, in many ways, hit many of the right notes with its praise of “Sovereignty, territorial integrity, human rights . . . the core tenets of the U.N. Charter, the pillars of peaceful relations among nations. . ..” But America’s past performance on these very issues weaken the persuasiveness and sincerity of the appeal.
The opening remarks of Biden’s speech demonstrated America’s tone deafness to the demands of the global majority and the rising nonaligned multipolar movement. His comment that “As president of the United States, I understand the duty my country has to lead in this critical moment” represents a continued insistence on US hegemony.
Biden’s criticism of Russia’s “illegal war of conquest,” its “aggression” and his appeal to “sovereignty” and “a world governed by basic rules that apply equally to all nations” is justified. But he said it as if he was unaware of, and the assembled audience did not remember, Kosovo, Iraq, Libya, Grenada and Panama. He said it as if the US did not conduct 72 regime changes during the Cold War with Russia, as Lindsey O’Rourke, Associate Professor of Political Science at Boston College, has documented. And as if those regime changes had not continued unabated since, including, most recently, the US encouragement of the coup in Pakistan that removed Prime Minister Imran Khan from office for his “aggressively neutral position” on the war in Ukraine. He said it as if the US was not starving Cuba and unilaterally sanctioning a host of countries in contravention of those basic laws.
The US drills were carried out last week and included an amphibious ready group led by the USS America, an amphibious assault ship that can carry certain types of aircraft, including F-35 fighter jets. According to The South China Morning Post, the drills marked the largest US show of force in the Yellow Sea in 10 years.
Ethnic Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh say they have agreed to a Russian proposal for a ceasefire, a day after Azerbaijan began an offensive to take control of the contested enclave and demanded a full surrender.
The agreement for a ceasefire starting at 1pm local time [09:00 GMT] on Wednesday was also confirmed by Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defence. The office of President Ilham Aliyev separately confirmed talks with Armenian separatists about “reintegration” with Azerbaijan on Thursday in the town of Yevlkah.
As leading American politicians, generals, and pundits continue advocating for open-ended support to Kyiv in their war against Russia, a sober, accurate analysis of Ukraine's nearly completed summer offensive reveals that the heroic sacrifice Ukraine continues to make is producing little to no meaningful progress toward the objective of evicting Russia from Ukraine's territory.
Washington should instead employ a necessary course correction and form a new policy, based on the harsh, ground-truth combat realities in Ukraine. Revising the objectives would give Washington and Kyiv a chance to preserve Ukrainian lives and American interests.
Washington's current policies do neither.
Despite great hopes for a rapid success, Ukraine's months-in-the-making offensive has sputtered from the outset. That shouldn't have surprised anyone in the White House. On April 5, two months before the start of the offensive, I wrote that "Zelensky's troops—with little to no air power and a dearth in artillery ammunition—could suffer egregious casualties while gaining little."
A delegation of Australian Members of Parliament spoke out Wednesday evening after meeting with Biden admin officials at the Department of Justice demanding the release of Australian citizen and Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange.
The delegation included five different political parties as well as Assange's brother Gabriel Shipton.
Senator Peter Whish-Wilson (Green Party) spoke first, describing that "Australia and the US are the closest of friends and the closest of allies, and of course that kind of relationship should be built on mutual trust and mutual respect."
"It was a good start that we had a meeting today with the Department of Justice as a cross-party Australian delegation."
Australian MP Tony Zappia (Labor Party) invoked the Statue of Liberty and explained that "Julian Assange, an Australian citizen, has been effectively deprived of his liberty for the last 11 years."
"We're here to speak to the US government and to make it clear that the people of Australia believe that Julian Assange has been punished enough, that his detention should come to an end, that the charges against him should be dropped."
Historians have branded a recently released children’s history book as an attempt to “brainwash” youngsters over dubious claims that England’s famed Stonehenge monument was built when Britain was a “black country”.
Nigerian-born British author Atinuke’s new illustrated children’s book, titled Brilliant Black British History, has asserted that “Britain was a black country for more than 7,000 years before white people came, and during that time the most famous British monument was built, Stonehenge.”
The book goes on to claim that “Britain has been a mostly white country for a lot less time than it has been a mostly black country,” according to The Telegraph.
Atinuke’s book, which is aimed at children seven and above, presents a supposed chronological history of the existence of black people in the country, starting with the ‘Cheddar Man’ — the oldest discovered human remains found in the UK dating back around 10,000 years ago. The book claims the pre-historic human had skin “as dark as can be”.
While some analysis of Cheddar Man’s DNA indicated that he may have had dark skin and blue eyes, other scientists, including geneticist Susan Walsh at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis, said that genetic modelling is not advanced to make a firm determination of his skin colour.
According to recent findings from the University of Porto in Portugal claimed that the people who inhabited Britain at the time of Stonehenge’s construction, approximately 5,000 years ago, likely had pale skin similar to modern-day Britons.
Australia’s Fair Work Commission is set to decide on Friday whether to halt the strikes at Chevron’s two LNG export facilities in Australia after the latest talks between the U.S. supermajor and trade unions failed on Wednesday.
“The ongoing lack of agreement reinforces our view that there is no reasonable prospect of agreement between the parties,” a spokesperson for Chevron told Reuters today.
The workers have stepped up their industrial action that began earlier last week, and plan further escalations in the coming weeks.
After the latest negotiations between the trade unions and the U.S. company failed to resolve the labor dispute, the Fair Work Commission, the labor market regulator, will meet on September 22 to hear the dispute after Chevron reached out to it in an effort to force the workers to settle.
The supermajor is seeking to get a so-called “intractable bargaining” declaration from the Fair Work Commission, meaning the FWC could force workers to agree to terms proposed by Chevron.
About three weeks after Shell, Europe's largest oil company, quietly shelved the world's largest corporate plan to develop carbon offsets, the world's number four iron ore producer, Fortescue Metals Group Ltd., has decided to end purchases of voluntary carbon offsets. This comes as at least one major study has revealed carbon offsets are prone to 'greenwashing' and most credits don't actually benefit the climate.
Billionaire Andrew Forrest's Fortescue Metals produced about 2.55 million tons of scope 1 and 2 carbon dioxide emissions in the year leading up to June 30. Bloomberg said the company has implemented a new policy to halt purchases of carbon offset credits from the current fiscal year.
"We are the only heavy emitter in the world to stop purchasing voluntary offsets," Dino Otranto, chief executive officer of Fortescue's metals business, said in a statement.
The move by Fortescue comes after Shell laid out an updated strategy for the company that included cutting costs and doubling down on profit centers (oil and gas) - which notably shelved the world's largest corporate plan to develop carbon offsets.
According to Bloomberg Green's investigations, many offset programs don't deliver the promised environmental benefits.
The European Right is calling out Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni for what they call a betrayal and U-turn on migration at this key moment that the southern Italian island of Lampedusa is being overwhelmed with well over 6,000 migrants, the bulk of which flooded the tiny outpost on a single day last week.
For example, Matteo Salvini and France's Marine Le Pen, who leads the National Rally’s parliamentary faction, have blasted Meloni for her handling of the crisis, or rather for being missing in action at this pivotal moment.
"(There is) trouble, trouble for those leaders who don’t realize there are signs of alarm and danger from the massive arrival of migrants on Lampedusa," Le Pen said at a rally this week. "An island of 6,000 people, where more than 6,000 migrants arrived in a single day — trouble for the population in which the leaders don’t take action immediately to face this giant challenge."
The AP called it a direct "swipe" at Meloni, even though she wasn't mentioned by name. Le Pen went so far as to say these same leaders "justify their cowardice by claiming there is no alternative."
Syria is clearly on the verge of collapse in terms of the economy and humanitarian situation.
The country's southern province of al-Suwayda', whose population primarily comes from the Druze minority, is currently witnessing protests on an unprecedented scale. While the province has previously seen protests motivated primarily by the country's deteriorating economic and livelihood situation, these protests are now far more widespread in the province and larger in scale.
There has also been a definite paradigm shift in these protests: the main initial demands to improve the economy and livelihood situation were endorsed by the Druze community's three leading religious authorities in Syria. Calls for the government to resign, for the departure of President Bashar al-Assad and a political transition are now stronger and more prevalent. In multiple localities in the province, which has formally been under government control since the start of the unrest and civil war in 2011, demonstrators have closed the Ba'ath Party headquarters and removed portraits of Assad and his father, Hafez al-Assad.
While these protests are in themselves remarkable for the province in terms of the numbers participating, their persistence and how open the calls for political change are, they do raise the question about whether they constitute the potential for a real shift in Syria's "status quo" since spring 2020. However much one might sympathise with the protests, they are probably unlikely to shift the situation in a significant way. The protestors, although immensely courageous, are too few, and have little leverage.