Strategic Assessment of the War on Syria in Fall 2018: Idlib & The Northeast

The onset of three major developments next month will change the entire dynamic of the War on Syria, meaning that the country’s decision makers must urgently assess the true state of strategic affairs as they presently stand, forecast the most probable scenarios that will unfold across the coming months, and seriously consider which policies could …

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Russia Winks at Turkey by Recognizing the Turkoman Community in Syria

Russia’s acknowledgement of the Turkoman community in northern Syria and its victimization by US-backed Kurdish forces is an important milestone that hints at how the tense situation in that part of the country might be resolved through Moscow’s diplomatic mediation in the future. Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Maria Zakharova issued a strong statement …

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President Assad’s Amnesty Decree Is Helpful, But Not Everyone Will Follow It

The world should welcome President Assad’s latest decree granting amnesty to military deserters inside and outside of the country, but observers shouldn’t forget that it isn’t a new initiative and might therefore not be observed by the parties that matter most because they ignored his government’s identical outreaches over the past couple of years. Europe’s …

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US Sends More Diplomats to Coalition-Controlled Areas of Syria: What’s Behind the Move?

Defense Secretary James Mattis announced on Oct. 2 that the number of US diplomats in Syria had doubled. No specific number was mentioned, but the move was motivated by the need to intensify the diplomatic effort, with “the military operations becoming less.” Under the label of “Syria,” the secretary was referring to more than a quarter of …

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Iraq: A Ticking Time Bomb for Oil Markets

Iraq’s ministry of oil has published a very optimistic report on the country’s capability to ramp up production, but internal political issues could lead to a new crisis after this weekend. At the same time that a new Iraqi government is forming, a government that is increasing Iranian influence within Iraq, another election is threatening …

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US Military in Syria Ready for Long-Endurance Mission

Speaking at the UN General Assembly on Sept. 29, Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem demanded that US, French and Turkish forces leave his country immediately or be dealt with “accordingly”. Indeed, with the Islamic State reduced to insignificance, they have no justification for being there. The message is primarily addressed to Washington. Trained and equipped …

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Turkey and Syria: When “Soft Power” Turned Hard

The onset of the so-called Arab Spring in late 2010 took governments around the world by surprise, and Turkey's Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi, AKP) government was no exception. Repositioning itself to meet new circumstances, it gradually turned its back on some of the defining principles of its previous policy. Opposed to …

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Iran’s Anti-Terrorist Missile Strike in Iraq Sent Several Important Messages

Iran admitted to a recent missile strike against Kurdish militants in Iraq. The attack took place almost two weeks ago on 8 September and was shortly thereafter confirmed by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), but Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari commented on it last Thursday by remarking that the “IRGC’s recent revenge against the terrorists …

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Trump’s “Mr. Kurd” Quip was Followed by a Major Strategic Insinuation

Many in the media are talking about how Trump referred to a Kurdish journalist as “Mr. Kurd”, but they’re missing the major strategic insinuation that he made when responding to his question. The latest “viral” video circulating about Trump is how he referred to a Kurdish journalist as “Mr. Kurd” when calling upon him during …

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