Middle East update: July 12 2018

SYRIA The Syrian military seized the city of Daraa on Thursday, symbolically flying the Syrian flag in the middle of town in commemoration. Daraa is an important tactical victory–you can’t control southwestern Syria without it, obviously. But it may be an even bigger symbolic victory, because it was in Daraa in the spring of 2011… Continue reading Middle East update: July 12 2018

World update: July 10 2018

It’s been a long day so if it’s OK with you I’m going to roll through these updates with a minimum of banter. MIDDLE EAST SYRIA Rebels in Daraa city say they’ve begun surrender talks with Russian officials in hopes of staving off a full Syrian-Russian offensive. The inevitable recovery of Daraa will be a… Continue reading World update: July 10 2018

Middle East update: May 29 2018

SYRIA An anonymous “pro-Assad commander” in Syria says that the Syrian army is ready to invade Daraa. The United States says it better not. Russia says only the army itself should invade, without its Iran-backed allies. Rebels in the southwest Syrian enclave say they see no sign that the army is preparing to invade and… Continue reading Middle East update: May 29 2018

Middle East update: May 28 2018

In the interest of the Memorial Day holiday, today’s update(s) may be a little shorter and/or earlier than usual. SYRIA Presumably confirming that a Syrian offensive against Daraa is imminent, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters on Monday that only Syrian military personnel should occupy that area, which abuts Syria’s disputed border with Israel.… Continue reading Middle East update: May 28 2018

Middle East update: June 17-18 2017

IRAQ Iraqi forces said on Sunday that they’ve begun their attack on Mosul’s Old City, ISIS’s one real remaining stronghold and the district from which they’ve been able to hold out for several months now. But as usual with these sorts of announcements, this one is surrounded by contradictory and confusing reports from the Iraqis… Continue reading Middle East update: June 17-18 2017

Middle East update: June 3-4 2017

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES Hackers have apparently compromised the personal email account for Yousef al-Otaiba, the UAE Ambassador to the US, and leaked its contents to several media outlets including The Intercept and Huffington Post. There’s some serious stuff in this leak. Otaiba, for those who don’t know, is one of the most active ambassadors in… Continue reading Middle East update: June 3-4 2017