Middle East update: February 1-2 2018

SYRIA BuzzFeed has a decent roundup of what’s been happening in Afrin. No “news” as such, but if you haven’t been following the story and want to get caught up you could do worse. The Trump administration says it may Do Something if it continues to receive reports of the Syrian military using chemical weapons.… Continue reading Middle East update: February 1-2 2018

Middle East update: January 31 2018

SYRIA The YPG is beginning to wonder who its friends are: “How can they stand by and watch?” Aldar Khalil, a senior Kurdish politician said of the U.S.-led coalition against IS. “They should meet their obligations toward this force that participated with them (in the fight against terrorism.) We consider their unclear and indecisive positions… Continue reading Middle East update: January 31 2018

Middle East update: January 29 2018

SYRIA Airwars has produced its first civilian casualty count of the Afrin conflict: A new rolling assessment published by Airwars has so far tracked 24 claimed civilian casualty events within Afrin blamed on Turkey – and a further nine events attributed to Kurdish forces.   From the start of operations on January 20th to January… Continue reading Middle East update: January 29 2018

Middle East update: December 12 2017

Happy Hanukkah to those readers who are celebrating! Now on to the bad news: SYRIA Syrian opposition negotiators say the government’s negotiating team is refusing direct talks and will not engage on any issue at all other than “combatting terrorism.” Which, under Damascus’s definition, presumably includes everybody in the opposition delegation. Obviously there’s no particular… Continue reading Middle East update: December 12 2017

Middle East update: November 29 2017

CLIMATE CHANGE While it probably wouldn’t surprise you to learn that climate change is expected to (already has, really) hit the Middle East and North Africa quite hard, it’s still helpful to see just how dire the projections are: MENA is the world’s most water-scarce region. While about five percent of the world’s population lives… Continue reading Middle East update: November 29 2017

Middle East update: November 28 2017

IRAQ Settlement talks between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government appear to be at an impasse, partly due to Masoud Barzani. The now-former Kurdish president hasn’t disappeared from public life despite his resignation, and if your interest is in seeing tensions between the Iraqi government and the KRG reduced, well, he’s not helping: The ex-Kurdish… Continue reading Middle East update: November 28 2017

Middle East update: November 4-5 2017

Where to even begin. IRAQ With Qaim under control, the Iraqi plan is to move back east along the Euphrates and take the town of Rawa while simultaneously clearing out the rest of the Syrian border area. The focus for now seems to be back on ISIS, though conflict with the Kurds could flare up… Continue reading Middle East update: November 4-5 2017