Most recent article by: Kristin Helberg

US President Barack Obama speaking in the White House about the humanitarian relief situation in Iraq, 7 August 2014 (photo: Reuters)

The Middle East policies of Europe and the US

Mistakes must not be repeated

For years, the West's foreign policy approach to the Middle East has been short sighted and counterproductive. A shrewd blend of engagement and restraint in the region is now required. However, where there is a threat of genocide at the hands of terrorists or regimes, civilians must be protected using all available means, writes Kristin HelbergMore

A peaceful demonstration against the Assad regime in Kafranbel (photo: Reuters)

Non-violent resistance in Syria

Sowing the seeds of democracy

There is no nation-wide democracy movement in Syria, but there are local initiatives that are defying the war, strengthening civil society and preparing the ground for a free and pluralistic political system, writes Kristin HelbergMore

Anti-Assad graffiti in Istanbul (photo: dpa/picture-alliance)

Civil war in Syria

No peace with Assad and al-Qaida

Bashar al-Assad is no bulwark against terrorism. On the contrary, he is a beneficiary of the Syrian conflict. As long as he continues to destroy his country, the jihadists will flourish in the chaos. Only his departure can unite Syrians in the fight against al-Qaida and bring peace to the nation, writes Kristin HelbergMore

Syrian activists inspect the corpses of civilians killed by nerve gas in north-eastern Damascus (photo: Reuters)

Civil War in Syria


The Time to Act is Now

In this commentary, Kristin Helberg says that there will be no negotiated solution to the Syrian crisis unless the conflict is escalated to international level. Until then, Syrians will continue to pay the price for the world's half-heartednessMore

Syrian anti-regime protesters wave pre-Baath Syrian flags, now used by the Free Syrian Army, during a demonstration after the weekly Friday prayers in the Bustan al-Qasr district of the northern city of Aleppo on February 8, 2013 (photo: Aamir Qureishi/AFP/Getty Images)

European Policy on Syria

The Time for Caution is Past

In view of the suffering and the destruction in Syria and the reticence of the US, the Europeans must assume more responsibility. They should expedite the reconstruction of liberated territories, bolster the National Coalition, finance rebels fighting for a democratic Syria and apply diplomatic pressure to pave the way for a political transition, says Kristin HelbergMore

Anti-Assad demonstration in Damascus (photo: Reuters)

Syria's ''National Coalition''

Support for the Moderate Forces

Instead of continuing to complain about the radicalization and militarization of the initially peaceful popular uprising, the time has come for the West to act. The National Coalition offers a transitional alternative to the Assad regime – and it needs our support. By Kristin HelbergMore

The flag of the Syrian opposition (photo: Reuters)

The Syrian Conflict

Preparing for the Endgame

Syria's fate is being decided on the battlefield and not at the negotiating table. In some parts of the country, the post-Assad era has already begun. The Syrian opposition must now prepare itself to assume power and needs support from the international community, writes Kristin HelbergMore

Candles for those killed in the uprising in the cities of Syria (photo: Dareen Al Amoari)

Uprising in Syria

Homs and Hama: Is History Repeating Itself?

Thirty years after the massacre in the Syrian city of Hama, in which over 20,000 people lost their lives, people are once again being massacred in Syria. Yet according to Kristin Helberg, although the regime's brutality is the same; the current uprising is different to the one in 1982More

President Assad of Syria (photo: picture alliance/dpa)

Portrait of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

The Man of Missed Opportunities

Just as he did in the "Damascus Spring", President Assad has again chosen to suppress the democracy movement during the current "Syrian Spring" that has swept across the entire country. Over the past eleven years, Assad has squandered no less than five opportunities to steer his country onto the path to democracy. That's at least one too many for him to have any credibility now when seeking dialogue with the opposition, says Kristin HelbergMore