Middle East update: June 2-3 2018

SYRIA Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem made it clear to reporters in Damascus on Saturday that his government is targeting southern Syria next. Muallem said that the government wants to retake rebel-held parts of Quneitra and Daraa provinces in southwestern Syria, though it will attempt to do so through reconciliation/evacuation agreements with the rebels before it… Continue reading Middle East update: June 2-3 2018

World update: May 30 2018

I’ll be out most of the late afternoon/evening so you’re getting a short midday update today. MIDDLE EAST SYRIA Turkish media declared on Wednesday that US and Turkish officials have reached a deal to remove the YPG from Manbij. Getting the Kurds out of Manbij would avoid a potential Turkish assault on that town, which… Continue reading World update: May 30 2018

Middle East update: May 26-27 2018

SYRIA A group of ISIS fighters attacked a Syrian military position in Deir Ezzor province overnight and, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, killed 35 pro-government troops including nine Russian soldiers–not contractors, but actually active duty soldiers. Russia’s defense ministry has acknowledged four Russian deaths in the attack, which it says also left… Continue reading Middle East update: May 26-27 2018

Middle East update: May 10 2018

SYRIA More information has come in about the apparent overnight exchange of artillery fire between the Israeli military and somebody in Syria. The Israelis say that Iran’s Quds Force attacked targets in the Golan Heights, which if true–emphasis on “if,” the Iranians insist it wasn’t them–would be the first time Iran has ever directly attacked… Continue reading Middle East update: May 10 2018

Middle East update: April 28-29 2018

SYRIA So, um, it appears that the Syrian Democratic Forces and the Syrian army fought each other over the weekend in eastern Syria: U.S-backed Syrian Democratic Forces said they expelled had Syrian troops that briefly took control of a string of villages in oil rich areas east of the Euphrates river near the Iraqi border… Continue reading Middle East update: April 28-29 2018

Middle East update: April 21-22 2018

ISIS A new statement from ISIS’s official spokesman suggests that the group is shifting its focus away from the West and on to governments in the Middle East: The remarks were a departure from the last pronouncement issued by the spokesman, Abu Hassan al-Muhajir, which aimed to incite attacks against Europe and North America. It… Continue reading Middle East update: April 21-22 2018

Middle East update: April 14-15 2018

SYRIA I’ve collected most of my thoughts about Syria at LobeLog, so if you’re looking for those please go there. The upshot is that I’m not a fan: If the strike wasn’t legal, was it at least justifiable? The fact that Russia would have reflexively vetoed any action against Syria regardless of the evidence is… Continue reading Middle East update: April 14-15 2018