Middle East update: January 6-7 2018

SYRIA The fighting in Idlib province continues to intensify, and at this point I think we can officially scrap any notion of “deescalation.” For now the Syrian army’s goal remains the Abu al-Duhur airbase (they’re nearly there after capturing the village of Sinjar over the weekend), though they also want to take the eastern part of… Continue reading Middle East update: January 6-7 2018

Middle East update: December 9-10 2017

IRAQ The Iraqi government on Saturday declared that its war with ISIS is over. On Sunday, it even held a big happy victory parade through downtown Baghdad. Before you get too excited, what this apparently signifies is that Baghdad has taken control over its side of the Iraq-Syrian border from ISIS. So territorially the group… Continue reading Middle East update: December 9-10 2017

Middle East update: December 8 2017

MIDDLE EAST IRAQ One of the positives that came out of the Mosul operation was the performance of Iraq’s elite “Golden Division” (Counterterrorism Service or CTS) special forces unit. That unit had received considerably more US training and materiel than other Iraqi units, and it clearly outperformed the rest of Iraq’s fighting forces. Outperformed them… Continue reading Middle East update: December 8 2017

Middle East update: December 7 2017

YEMEN Saudi-aligned Yemeni fighters captured Khoukha, a coastal region around 220 miles southwest of Sanaa, from the Houthis on Thursday. Khoukha is not that far south of Hudaydah, if you’re wondering how the Saudis might be planning to make Yemen even more of a hellscape than it already is. If they attack Yemen, all those people… Continue reading Middle East update: December 7 2017

Middle East update: December 6 2017

ISRAEL-PALESTINE Donald Trump made it official on Wednesday: he does, in fact, wear adult diapers the United States recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and he has ordered the State Department to move the US embassy there from Tel Aviv. In making this announcement, he actually tried to suggest that he was advancing the Israel-Palestine peace… Continue reading Middle East update: December 6 2017

Middle East update: December 5 2017

YEMEN Well, Ali Abdullah Saleh’s death had one fairly immediate impact: there were no reports of fighting between his supporters and the Houthis in Sanaa on Tuesday. Instead, the Houthis and their supporters held a rally to celebrate killing their erstwhile ally and rounding up Saleh diehards in the capital. Ahmed Saleh, the ex-dictator’s son,… Continue reading Middle East update: December 5 2017

Middle East update: December 4 2017

YEMEN WELP. You can throw out a bunch of yesterday’s update, because ex-Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, recently seen divorcing the Houthis and moving in with Mohammad bin Salman, up and got himself killed, to death even, on Monday. The circumstances of his untimely demise cannot be entirely hashed out at this point, and might… Continue reading Middle East update: December 4 2017