Middle East update: November 18-19 2017

Reserving the right to pop back up if something major happens, and of course barring some kind of unforeseen problem on the back end, this is going to be our last set of updates until Monday, November 27. Thanksgiving is going to be extra challenging this year for a myriad of family reasons, and so… Continue reading Middle East update: November 18-19 2017

Middle East/Europe/Americas update: November 15 2017

It’s a bit of an odd day for the blog in that there was huge news from Africa and comparatively not so much news from the Middle East, so I’ve rejiggered our regular format to try to keep everything at a reasonable length. MIDDLE EAST SYRIA There’s been considerable fighting over the past two days… Continue reading Middle East/Europe/Americas update: November 15 2017

Middle East update: November 11-12 2017

IRAQ Iraqi forces are moving against Rawa, the last town of any size in Iraq still under ISIS’s control. Initially I have to admit I thought the Iraqis would take Rawa before Qaim and work their way west to the Syrian border, but instead they opted to go around Rawa, take Qaim and close off… Continue reading Middle East update: November 11-12 2017

Middle East update: November 10 2017

Best wishes to any readers who are commemorating Arbaʿeen. and/or Veteran’s Day (which is actually tomorrow, I know, but Saturday is typically attwiw’s rest day so I most likely won’t be here). SYRIA Well, it’s happening. With al-Bukamal now in Syrian hands, Bashar al-Assad’s army and its allies have turned their attention toward the Syrian… Continue reading Middle East update: November 10 2017

Middle East update: November 9 2017

SYRIA The Syrian army made it official on Thursday: it (with some help from its allies) has taken al-Bukamal from ISIS. This occasioned a dramatic declaration of victory from Damascus, but ISIS still controls enough Syrian countryside to disappear and go underground if that’s what its leaders want to do. That’s not really a clear victory.… Continue reading Middle East update: November 9 2017

Middle East update: November 8 2017

SYRIA There’s been no official confirmation as I write this, but “pro-government sources” are saying that the Syrian army and its allied militias (including at least one–Kataib Hezbollah–that has crossed into Syria from Iraq) have captured al-Bukamal, the last ISIS position of any significance in eastern Syria and along the Syria-Iraq border. If true, this means… Continue reading Middle East update: November 8 2017

Syria’s twists and turns

There’s such a constant barrage of news from Syria, somebody always advancing on this or launching air strikes on that, and it can be easy to slip into a sort of hazy feeling that things are going a certain inexorable way. Lately, for example, ISIS always seems to be struggling, as it is in Manbij… Continue reading Syria’s twists and turns