Middle East update: December 8-9 2018

SYRIA Syrian state media reported Sunday that Syrian air defenses had intercepted “enemy targets” near Damascus airport. Wow, this is a big stor–I’m sorry, what’s that? They retracted the report? Oh, well, never mind then. The Trump administration has reportedly come to believe that it has enough leverage to force Russia and Iran to in… Continue reading Middle East update: December 8-9 2018

Middle East update: December 7 2018

SYRIA Both the US State Department and the British Foreign Office are now accusing the Syrian government and Russia of carrying out last month’s apparent chlorine gas attack in western Aleppo in order to frame rebels. The goal, according to this scenario, was to undermine the Idlib ceasefire agreement. The one that, uh, Russia negotiated… Continue reading Middle East update: December 7 2018

Middle East update: September 6 2018

SYRIA CNN’s Barbara Starr (who gets a lot of scoops from the Pentagon because she’s generally willing to report whatever the Pentagon tells her so take this with a grain of salt) reported Thursday evening that the Russian military has warned the US twice in the past week that it’s preparing to attack “militants” in… Continue reading Middle East update: September 6 2018

Middle East update: August 23 2018

SYRIA Al-Monitor’s Fehim Taştekin reports on Turkey’s plan to avoid heavy combat in Idlib province: Based on leaks to the media and information learned on the ground, a comprehensive strategy is emerging: Turkey wants to give the appearance of having deterrent power with its own military assets and to set up a joint front with… Continue reading Middle East update: August 23 2018

Middle East update: July 28-29 2018

ARAB NATO Juan Cole has some thoughts about European NATO-hater Donald Trump’s plans to contrive an Arab NATO despite the fact that some of its potential members don’t really like one another very much: So here are the problems with this Arab NATO. First, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar won’t be interested in taking a public… Continue reading Middle East update: July 28-29 2018

Middle East update: June 16-18 2018

SYRIA Syrian and Iraqi paramilitary groups say that the US-led coalition attacked them late Sunday night. The groups say that drones, which they believe to belong to the US, struck a Syrian military base near the border town of al-Harra, southeast of al-Bukamal, at around 10 PM. The Iraqis claim the attack killed 22 of… Continue reading Middle East update: June 16-18 2018

Middle East update: June 12 2018

SYRIA The United Nations says that over 900,000 Syrians were displaced in the first four months of 2018. That figure blows past the highest number of displaced persons created in any four month period since the Syrian war–a war that has displaced almost 12 million people both internally and as refugees–began. A possible government offensive… Continue reading Middle East update: June 12 2018