Middle East update: January 30 2018

SYRIA Russia’s big Syrian congress in Sochi concluded on Tuesday–having accomplished, as expected, nothing–and it appears things went really, really well: Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, helped open the conference on Tuesday by reading out a statement from Vladimir Putin saying the conditions were ripe for Syria to turn “a tragic page” in its history.… Continue reading Middle East update: January 30 2018

Middle East update: November 16-17 2017

SYRIA At least 20 people were killed Friday in an ISIS car bombing near Deir Ezzor. To the west, continued fighting in Damascus’s Ghouta suburb has killed nearly 30 people this week. Another five civilians were killed on Friday, at least three of them by rebel artillery fire. The possibility of new fighting in northwestern… Continue reading Middle East update: November 16-17 2017

Middle East update: November 4-5 2017

Where to even begin. IRAQ With Qaim under control, the Iraqi plan is to move back east along the Euphrates and take the town of Rawa while simultaneously clearing out the rest of the Syrian border area. The focus for now seems to be back on ISIS, though conflict with the Kurds could flare up… Continue reading Middle East update: November 4-5 2017

Middle East update: November 2 2017

IRAQ Iraqi forces captured western Anbar’s large Akkas gas field from ISIS on Thursday. Akkas hasn’t yet entered production so while this is a significant recovery for the Iraqis it’s not a huge loss for ISIS–they weren’t selling the gas. As for the Kurdish situation, little has changed since Baghdad declared an end to talks… Continue reading Middle East update: November 2 2017

Middle East update: September 22 2017

IRAQ The Popular Mobilization Units have reportedly joined the operation to liberate Hawijah from ISIS. This isn’t surprising from an operational perspective–the Iraqis are fighting here, at nearby Shirqat, and in western Anbar simultaneously, so it’s all hands on deck–but it could spell trouble for next week’s Kurdish independence referendum. Hawijah is in Kirkuk province,… Continue reading Middle East update: September 22 2017

Conflict update: January 11 2017

On the plus side, I finally finished that interview I was transcribing and sent it to my editor. On the minus side, that plus a checkup at the doctor occupied most of my day. I’ll try to get back in some regular order tomorrow. Syria Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: the Syrian… Continue reading Conflict update: January 11 2017

Say hello to President Aoun

As…expected, I guess, though it wouldn’t have been a total shock had something gone awry, Michel Aoun was elected the new President of Lebanon today, ending a more than 2 year vacancy in that position. Aoun is a former army chief of staff who, despite having fought against Syria and its allies during the Lebanese… Continue reading Say hello to President Aoun