Middle East update: February 14 2018

SYRIA One addendum to yesterday’s update. When I cited the New York Times on estimates of Russian casualties in last week’s US airstrikes in Deir Ezzor, I somehow let this gem of a sentence slide past me: The attack occurred in the vicinity of Deir al-Zour, a strategic, oil-rich territory that is coveted by the Syrians.… Continue reading Middle East update: February 14 2018

Middle East update: February 8 2018

SYRIA Obviously today’s big story is the fallout from the overnight US airstrike that reportedly killed, well, some members (estimates are varying wildly, from seven to over 100) of a pro-Bashar al-Assad militia in Deir Ezzor province. The Syrian government, citing the highest estimates, is calling the strike a “massacre,” while the US says its… Continue reading Middle East update: February 8 2018

Middle East update: February 7 2018

SYRIA BREAKING: All the stuff below is still good, it’s still good! But this should probably take precedence: U.S. aircraft carried out rare, retaliatory strikes in Syria’s Deir al-Zor province on Wednesday against forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after they attacked U.S.-backed fighters’ headquarters there, U.S. officials said.   No U.S. troops embedded with… Continue reading Middle East update: February 7 2018

Middle East update: November 16-17 2017

SYRIA At least 20 people were killed Friday in an ISIS car bombing near Deir Ezzor. To the west, continued fighting in Damascus’s Ghouta suburb has killed nearly 30 people this week. Another five civilians were killed on Friday, at least three of them by rebel artillery fire. The possibility of new fighting in northwestern… Continue reading Middle East update: November 16-17 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 28-29 2017

IRAQ You don’t have Barzani to kick around anymore (sort of): The president of Iraq’s self-ruled northern Kurdish region, Masoud Barzani, dissolved his powers as president Sunday, distributing them between the Kurdish prime minister, Parliament and the judiciary, a Kurdish official told The Associated Press.   Barzani also informed parliament that he will not seek an… Continue reading Middle East update: October 28-29 2017