IRAQ Former Iraqi President Jalal Talabani died on Tuesday about a month shy of his 84th birthday. A high-ranking member of the Barzani family’s Kurdistan Democratic Party, Talabani split from the KDP in 1975 to found the leftist Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. While they’re currently collaborating in a unity government of sorts, the PUK remains… Continue reading Middle East update: October 3 2017
SYRIA You may have noticed the Syrian army paying considerably more attention to ISIS in recent weeks. That’s partly a function of the fact that the civil war in western Syria is all but over or at least frozen, with Bashar al-Assad clearly ascendant, so ISIS is the next logical target for Damascus. But it’s… Continue reading Middle East update: September 16-17 2017
I know it’s a little early this evening, but I’m beat and so I’m deciding to call it a night barring some major thing happening. SYRIA Depending on which account you believe, a major ISIS counterattack in Raqqa on Friday either mostly fizzled out or made substantial territorial gains. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights… Continue reading Middle East update: June 30 2017
QATAR Today in “Me Or Your Lying Eyes,” it’s Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir: “There is no blockade of Qatar. Qatar is free to go. The ports are open, the airports are open,” Jubeir said alongside a silent Tillerson who had called last week for the embargo on Qatar to be “eased”. “The limitation on… Continue reading Middle East update: June 13 2017
SYRIA UPDATE: The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is reporting that there’s been an explosion and fire at Damascus International Airport. No cause has been suggested. As promised, the French government has produced proof that Bashar al-Assad’s government was behind the April 4 chemical weapons attack in Khan Shaykhun–and as expected, it’s somewhat less than meets… Continue reading Conflict update, April 26 2017
Putting two and two together, Mohammad Javad Zarif’s recent travels and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s recent chat with Saudi FM Adel al-Jubeir point to a coordinated push by Bashar al-Assad’s two biggest allies, Russia and Iran, to follow-up the nuclear deal by recharging some kind of peace process in Syria. In fact, Zarif is… Continue reading Tag team effort
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is on a bit of a diplomacy jag in the aftermath of reaching the nuclear agreement with the P5+1. On Tuesday and Wednesday he was in Lebanon, where he met with Lebanese Prime Minister (and acting President, on account of they don’t currently have one) Tammam Salam and other… Continue reading Is Iran pushing a diplomatic solution for Syria?