Middle East update: December 13 2017

IRAQ Regular readers will know what a big fan I am of Patrick Wing’s “Musings on Iraq” blog, which does invaluable work digesting Iraqi media for English-speaking audiences. Wing today is arguing that the Iraqis fudged the completion of their Jazeera operation, the effort to sweep the western Anbar desert for remaining ISIS members, to… Continue reading Middle East update: December 13 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 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

Middle East update: November 3 2017

SYRIA So, uh, it wasn’t exactly a banner day for ISIS. We’ll get to Iraq in a minute, but the Syrian army declared that it has finally secured all of Deir Ezzor city–it had disputed reports to that effect yesterday, saying that there were still pockets of ISIS resisters in the city. This isn’t a… Continue reading Middle East update: November 3 2017

Middle East update: November 2 2017

IRAQ Iraqi forces captured western Anbar’s large Akkas gas field from ISIS on Thursday. Akkas hasn’t yet entered production so while this is a significant recovery for the Iraqis it’s not a huge loss for ISIS–they weren’t selling the gas. As for the Kurdish situation, little has changed since Baghdad declared an end to talks… Continue reading Middle East update: November 2 2017

Middle East update: October 26 2017

If this is a little abbreviated it’s because I’m getting a really late start, apologies. SYRIA Probably today’s biggest story is that the United Nations’ Joint Investigative Mechanism made its report on the Khan Shaykhun chemical weapons attack to the UN Security Council and found the Syrian government responsible. Hey, I said it was a big… Continue reading Middle East update: October 26 2017

Middle East update: October 25 2017

IRAQ The Iraqi military has started dropping leaflets on the western Anbar towns of Qaim and Rawa, and their environs, in what sure seems like the prelude to a resumption of their offensive in that part of the country. The leaflets say, in part, that “your security forces are now coming to liberate you.” The… Continue reading Middle East update: October 25 2017