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Geopolitics

Reports Of Other Syrian Diplomats Set To Defect, Pressure Growing On Regime

CNN, AL JAZEERA, THE GUARDIAN

Worldcrunch

SYRIA - Following the defection of Syria's ambassador to Iraq, both diplomatic and military pressure is growing on President Bashar al-Assad as violence continues, including around the capital Damascus. Reports on Thursday suggest that the defection of Syria's ambassador to Iraq, Nawaf Fares,who called for other members of the regime to follow his lead, could lead to new defections. A journalist at the Abu Dhabi daily The National wrote on Twitter that opposition forces told him as many as 31 top diplomats are ready to switch sides in the ongoing conflict.

In an exclusive statement to Al Jazeera on Wednesday (see video below), Fares explained that he was resigning from his post in Bagdhad and from the ruling Baath party. "I urge all honest members of this party to follow my path because the regime has turned it the party to an instrument to kill people and their aspiration to freedom," Fares told the Qatari television station.

On Thursday the Syrian authorities said they had fired Fares, who is the highest-ranking diplomat to defect since the uprising started 16 months ago, CNN reports. The Guardian Middle East Live Blog is reporting that Fares is now in Qatar.

This is the second high profile defection after a high-ranking brigadier general close to Assad fled the country over a week ago. Reports on Thursday indicated that a new wave of defections could follow.

The Guardian also reported that leaked minutes of the meeting on Monday between Bashar al-Assad and United Nations special envoy Kofi Annan were correct in indicating that the two men had discussed a possible interlocutor for the regime, to explore the formation of a transitional government with the opposition.

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Society

Kleptomania, How A "Women's Pathology" Was Built On Gender And Class Bias

Between 1880 and 1930, there was a significant rise in thefts in department stores, mostly committed by women from the middle and upper classes. This situation brought with it the establishment of a new pathology: kleptomania. A century later, feminist historians have given new meaning to the practice as a protest against the social structures and oppressions of capitalism and patriarchy.

Photo of a hand in a pocket

A hand in a pocket

Julia Amigo

Kleptomania is defined as the malicious and curious propensity for theft. The legal language tends to specify that the stolen objects are not items of necessity; medically, it is explained as an uncontrollable impulse.

What seems clear is that kleptomania is a highly enigmatic condition and one of the few mental disorders that comes from the pathologization of a crime, which makes it possible to use it as a legal defense. It differs from the sporadic theft of clothing, accessories, or makeup (shoplifting) as the kleptomaniac's impulse is irresistible.

Studies have shown that less than one percent of the population suffers from kleptomania, being much more common among women (although determining exact numbers is very difficult).

The psychiatric disorders manual, DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) has included kleptomania since 1962. Previously, it had already received attention from, among others, Sigmund Freud. Like nymphomania or hysteria, kleptomania became an almost exclusively female diagnosis linked to the biology of women's bodies and an “inability” to resist uncontrollable desire.

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