Middle East update: September 4-5 2017

IRAQ A spat between Baghdad and Erbil is threatening to delay the start of the Hawijah operation. Specifically, the Kurds are objecting to a role for the Popular Mobilization Units in this next offensive, but the PMUs and the Iraqi government seem committed to their participation. The Kurds are threatening to bar Iraqi units from… Continue reading Middle East update: September 4-5 2017

Middle East update: September 1 2017

In an effort to not be up until 2 AM for a change, I’m going to try wrapping things up early today and see how that goes. I don’t want to say this could be the new normal, but for my own sanity I may start trying to get these updates out a little earlier… Continue reading Middle East update: September 1 2017

Middle East update: August 12-13 2017

IRAQ Preparations continue for the eventual Tal Afar operation, but it’s not clear at this point what the hold up is. Iraqi forces are in place to begin attacking the city but the order hasn’t come down from Baghdad yet. On Sunday, two American soldiers were killed east of Tal Afar in what the anti-ISIS… Continue reading Middle East update: August 12-13 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 13 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

Middle East update: May 27-29 2017

IRAQ The main story here is that the final phase (or, I guess, the first part of the final phase) of the Mosul operation has begun. On Saturday, Iraqi forces began their effort to clear the last section of western Mosul, including the Old City, of ISIS insurgents. Federal police are still anchoring the line… Continue reading Middle East update: May 27-29 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