Middle East update: July 12 2018

SYRIA The Syrian military seized the city of Daraa on Thursday, symbolically flying the Syrian flag in the middle of town in commemoration. Daraa is an important tactical victory–you can’t control southwestern Syria without it, obviously. But it may be an even bigger symbolic victory, because it was in Daraa in the spring of 2011… Continue reading Middle East update: July 12 2018

Middle East update: July 7-8 2018

SYRIA According to Syrian state media, Israeli planes fired missiles at the T4 airbase outside of Homs on Sunday night. That base is used by Iranian personnel and the Israelis have attacked it previously. The Syrian reports say that their air defenses “thwarted” the attack, shooting down several Israeli missiles and hiting one Israeli aircraft,… Continue reading Middle East update: July 7-8 2018

Middle East update: June 21 2018

SYRIA Syrian artillery struck more targets in the rebel-held southwest on Thursday, and it seems as though Bashar al-Assad has finally committed to that area as his next target. Thousands of civilians have reportedly begun fleeing parts of Daraa province in anticipating of a government offensive there. The Syrian military appears to be focusing its… Continue reading Middle East update: June 21 2018

Middle East update: February 8 2018

SYRIA Obviously today’s big story is the fallout from the overnight US airstrike that reportedly killed, well, some members (estimates are varying wildly, from seven to over 100) of a pro-Bashar al-Assad militia in Deir Ezzor province. The Syrian government, citing the highest estimates, is calling the strike a “massacre,” while the US says its… Continue reading Middle East update: February 8 2018

Middle East update: November 29 2017

CLIMATE CHANGE While it probably wouldn’t surprise you to learn that climate change is expected to (already has, really) hit the Middle East and North Africa quite hard, it’s still helpful to see just how dire the projections are: MENA is the world’s most water-scarce region. While about five percent of the world’s population lives… Continue reading Middle East update: November 29 2017

Middle East update: November 28 2017

IRAQ Settlement talks between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government appear to be at an impasse, partly due to Masoud Barzani. The now-former Kurdish president hasn’t disappeared from public life despite his resignation, and if your interest is in seeing tensions between the Iraqi government and the KRG reduced, well, he’s not helping: The ex-Kurdish… Continue reading Middle East update: November 28 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