Middle East update: September 4-5 2017

IRAQ A spat between Baghdad and Erbil is threatening to delay the start of the Hawijah operation. Specifically, the Kurds are objecting to a role for the Popular Mobilization Units in this next offensive, but the PMUs and the Iraqi government seem committed to their participation. The Kurds are threatening to bar Iraqi units from… Continue reading Middle East update: September 4-5 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

Conflict update: December 11

Egypt A major bomb (12 kg of TNT) hit St. Mark’s Cathedral (see the photo above) in Cairo this morning, killing at least 25 people, wounding at least 49, and from the photos I’ve seen absolutely pulverizing the interior of the church. No group has claimed responsibility yet as far as I can tell, but… Continue reading Conflict update: December 11

The New Syrian Army lost its air force

We now have a bit of an explanation as to how the U.S.-backed New Syrian Army was so roughly handled by ISIS at Al-Bukamel last week: the lost their air force. Well, to be more precise they lost their American air support: American warplanes were diverted from an offensive launched against the Islamic State last… Continue reading The New Syrian Army lost its air force

Liberating Fallujah, or whatever’s left of it

Fallujah officially belongs to Iraq again, per the Pentagon: Iraqi security forces have “100 percent control” of Fallujah, located 40 miles west of Baghdad, Pentagon officials said. Fallujah was the first city taken over by ISIS in January 2014. “I congratulate Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi and the Iraqi people for their progress in freeing the… Continue reading Liberating Fallujah, or whatever’s left of it

Happy Refugee Day, now here are some more refugees

Today in the UN’s World Refugee Day, and it’s not one for celebrating: The number of refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people around the world has topped 65 million, the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees said Monday. As of December 2015, there were 65.3 million displaced people, according to a report from the refugee… Continue reading Happy Refugee Day, now here are some more refugees

The Fallujah operation is reportedly going sideways

The operation to liberate Fallujah has reportedly hit a wall, and control over it appears to have slipped entirely from Baghdad’s grasp. The Iraqi special forces that have been tasked with leading the advance into the city say that they’re being stymied not by ISIS’s resistance but by an inability to coordinate their operation with… Continue reading The Fallujah operation is reportedly going sideways