Middle East update: October 6 2017

SYRIA We haven’t talked much about Raqqa in recent weeks, as the potential for an Assad-Kurd–and, therefore, Russia-America–throwdown in Deir Ezzor has stolen most of the attention, but the Syrian Democratic Forces appear to be in the last phase of their campaign, with estimates putting the number of remaining ISIS forces in the city at… Continue reading Middle East update: October 6 2017

Middle East update: August 8 2017

SYRIA Later in the day on Tuesday the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that coalition airstrikes have killed 29 civilians, including 14 children, in Raqqa over the past day. There’s been no comment from the coalition or the Pentagon. In Ghouta, meanwhile, the beatings will continue until morale improves: Pro-government forces intensified their assault… Continue reading Middle East update: August 8 2017

Middle East update: June 28-29 2017

SAUDI ARABIA Let’s check in on former Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef in his definitely totally voluntary and in no way forced retirement. I’m sure he’s having a fantastic time: The recently deposed crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Nayef, has been barred from leaving the kingdom and confined to his palace in… Continue reading Middle East update: June 28-29 2017

Middle East update: June 19-20 2017

BREAKING: Well, I suppose this was inevitable: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Wednesday appointed his 31-year-old son Mohammed bin Salman as crown prince, placing him firmly as first-in-line to the throne and removing the country’s counterterrorism czar and a figure well-known to Washington from the royal line of succession. In a series of royal decrees… Continue reading Middle East update: June 19-20 2017

Middle East update: June 8-9 2017

IRAN We’ve learned a bit more about five of the men who, along with two other men and one woman, attacked Iran’s parliament building and Ayatollah Khomeini’s mausoleum on Wednesday, killing 17 people in the process. On Thursday, the Iranian government said that these five attackers had been recruited by ISIS from inside Iran. They were… Continue reading Middle East update: June 8-9 2017

Middle East update: June 2 2017

IRAQ ISIS may be down to three Mosul neighborhoods now, as Iraqi authorities said today that their forces have captured the city’s Sihha neighborhood from the insurgents. I know I keep saying this, but the Iraqis have a tendency to overestimate their progress, so Sihha may not quite be under full Iraqi control yet, but… Continue reading Middle East update: June 2 2017

Middle East update: May 25 2017

SYRIA I don’t want to alarm anybody, but those American strikes on Syrian government-aligned forces near Tanf last week may not be the end of the conflict there. The map below is a week old in terms of who controls what, but I think it will do for our purposes. The Syrian army has reportedly… Continue reading Middle East update: May 25 2017