Middle East update: November 8 2017

SYRIA There’s been no official confirmation as I write this, but “pro-government sources” are saying that the Syrian army and its allied militias (including at least one–Kataib Hezbollah–that has crossed into Syria from Iraq) have captured al-Bukamal, the last ISIS position of any significance in eastern Syria and along the Syria-Iraq border. If true, this means… Continue reading Middle East update: November 8 2017

Middle East update: October 30 2017

IRAQ Masoud Barzani’s supporters didn’t take the news of his kind-of-resignation very well: Barzani’s statements incited his followers in Irbil, Zakho and Dohuk to attack opposition politicians, storm the parliament building, and go after the media and political offices. First, parliamentarian Rabum Maruf of Change was attacked while he was giving a speech to reporters… Continue reading Middle East update: October 30 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

Middle East update: October 21-22 2017

SYRIA The Syrian Democratic Forces captured the Omar oil field in eastern Deir Ezzor province on Sunday, setting up a potentially awkward situation with respect to the Syrian army. The New York Times calls this development “a major blow” to ISIS, but it’s really a much bigger blow to the Syrian government. I mean, ISIS was… Continue reading Middle East update: October 21-22 2017

How much of Iraq does the Iraqi government actually control at this point?

Seriously, I don’t know anymore. I’m not talking about the parts of Iraq that are controlled by ISIS–obviously Baghdad has no real control over them at this point, but presumably (hopefully) that’s temporary. But of the rest of the country, the parts that aren’t controlled by ISIS, and in terms of the normal everyday things… Continue reading How much of Iraq does the Iraqi government actually control at this point?

Should’ve checked the fine print

We’re a couple of days into the new phase of Turkey’s “war on terror,” and so far it looks pretty much like the old phase, where the Turks offer nominal lip-service about opposing ISIS but focus their energy, and ordinance, almost exclusively on the Kurds. Turkey’s air force has allegedly flown hundreds of sorties against… Continue reading Should’ve checked the fine print