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Follow-Up and Correctives on Hashd al-Sha’bi Article

By Sylvain Mercadier and Elijah Magnier After the publication of my article “The militias in Iraq, from popular mobilization to political interference”, Al Rai chief international correspondent and analyst Elijah Magnier commented on...Show More Summary

The Militias in Iraq, From Popular Mobilization to Political Interference

By Sylvain Mercadier and Araz Muhamad Arash The Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) or Hashd al-Shaabi in Arabic, formed in 2014 following a fatwa by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, played a major role in countering the expansion of the Islamic State and in bringing about its ultimate demise in Iraq. As the Islamic State was officially […]

“When the SDF was shocked”- An Azaz Activist’s Perspective on the Afrin Operations

Translator’s preface [Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi]: Operations by the Turkish army and Syrian rebels against the Syrian Democratic Forces’ [SDF] enclave of Afrin in northwest Aleppo province has brought to the forefront the issue of relations between international powers regarding the Syrian crisis, especially Russia, Turkey and the United States. Show More Summary

A Sustainable United States Policy for North Syria, the Kurds, Turkey and the Syrian Government – by Landis and Barber

A Sustainable U.S. Policy for North Syria, the Kurds, Turkey and the Syrian Government By Joshua Landis and Matthew Barber Syria Comment – February 24, 2018 This article is a “part-two” to the previous article “U.S. Policy Toward the Levant, Kurds, and Turkey,” which warned that the United State’s decision to back Kurdish nationalism in […]

US Policy Toward the Levant, Kurds and Turkey – By Joshua Landis 

US Policy Toward the Levant, Kurds and Turkey By Joshua Landis January 15, 2018 The State Department has turned the page on Turkey for it no longer views Ankara is a reliable US partner. Many argue that Washington will abandon Syria’s Kurds in order to assuage Turkish anger. I doubt this. Washington expects more anti-US […]

Beit Jann: Myths and Reality

By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi The Syrian government’s recent recapture of the last rebel-held pocket in the vicinity of Mt. Hermon (Jabal al-Sheikh) near the border with the Golan Heights- comprising the three towns of Beit Jann, Mazra’at Beit Jann and Mughir al-Mir- has led to much exaggeration and distortion about the matter, primarily emanating from […]

Reply to Steven Heydemann’s “Assessing Nikolas Van Dam on Syria’s Fate” – By Nikolaos Van Dam

Reply to Steven Heydemann’s “Assessing Nikolas Van Dam on Syria’s Fate” By Nikolaos van Dam – @nikolaosvandam  for Syria Comment – November 20, 2017 The assessment of Professor Steven Heydemann of my lecture of 9 November 2017, published in Syrian Comment obliges me to react. Next to concluding that my new Syria book is “an informed and […]

Assessing Nikolas Van Dam on Syria’s Fate – by Steven Heydemann

Assessing Nikolas Van Dam on Syria’s Fate By Steven Heydemann – @SHeydemann Smith College for Syria Comment, November 17, 2017 Over the course of his long and distinguished career as scholar and diplomat, Ambassador Nikolas Van Dam, who most recently served as the Netherlands’ Special Envoy for Syria, earned a well-deserved reputation as a deeply knowledgeable specialist […]

Syria: Who will win the future? – By Nikolaos van Dam

Syria: Who will win the future? BY Nikolaos van Dam – @nikolaosvandam  Henriëtte van Lynden Lecture, Amsterdam, 9 November 2017 [1] We all know that the situation in Syria has become a disaster. And one can ask oneself whether this disaster could have been foreseen and prevented. I personally am convinced that the main developments in Syria […]

“No Justice for Khan Sheikhoun,” by Aron Lund

On November 7—that’s tomorrow or tonight, depending on where you are—the UN Security Council will get together for a shouting match about the nerve gas attack in Khan Sheikhoun last April. A new UN-OPCW report has blamed that attack on Bashar al-Assad’s government, but, as you might expect, Russia does not agree. The Century Foundation […]

Who Will Usher the Middle East Into an Era of Peace? – By Sam Farah

Who Will Usher the Middle East Into an Era of Peace By Sam Farah Syria Comment, Oct 23, 2017 In his book Skin in the Game, Nassim Taleb offers a piercing observation: “The entire growth of a society, whether economic or moral, comes from a small number of people. Show More Summary

What the KRG’s Loss of Kirkuk Means for Iraq

by Max J. Joseph Too many takes on Kirkuk have left me cringing. From Kurds, Arabs, Westerners and pretty much everyone else. Observing the mixture of hysteria and celebration was profound and jarring enough to provoke me into this small piece of commentary. Show More Summary

Trump’s Iran Policy is More about Rollback Than Nukes; It Will Cause More Failed States – by Joshua Landis

Trump’s Iran Policy is More about Rollback Than Nukes; It Will Cause More Failed States by Joshua Landis Syria Comment – Oct 14, 2017 The renewed US offensive against Iran is not so much about its nuclear capability or even its missile program, it is about Iran rollback and hobbling its economy. Show More Summary

Minorities and the Kurdish Referendum—by Alda Benjamen

  This article was originally published Sept. 29, 2017 by the University of Chicago’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies and can be accessed here.   Minorities and the Kurdish Referendum by Alda Benjamen   “We must write a new constitution...Show More Summary

Will the U.S. Abandon the Kurds of Syria Once ISIS is Destroyed? by Landis, Itani, Simon

Will the U.S. Abandon the Kurds of Syria Once ISIS is Destroyed? by Joshua Landis, Faysal Itani, Steven Simon For Syria Comment, 1 October 2017 Faysal Itani, a Senior Fellow at the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, questioned whether the United States would stand by the Kurds of north Syria, a prediction that […] The post Will the U.S. Show More Summary

KRG Targets Minorities Ahead of Kurdistan Independence Referendum — Part Two: Annexing Christian Lands

Part One of this two-part series, on the exploitation of the Yazidi Genocide for political purposes, can be accessed here. By Matthew Barber On the same day that the Kurdistan referendum on independence was held, the Assyrian Confederation...Show More Summary

Mahdi al-Harati: a Libyan Force Multiplier

By @tamhussein Sitting across Mahdi al-Harati in the hotel lobby it is difficult to see why anyone would want this quiet Libyan dead. His insulin rests on the low table alongside his sugarless coffee and with him is his over-protective doctor and friend. Show More Summary

Iraqi Minorities Face a Dilemma in Kurdish Independence

By Saad Babir After gaining control of much of Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State jihadist movement (IS) and other Sunni extremists committed grave atrocities and international human rights violations against non-Sunni minorities, including...Show More Summary

Kurdish Independence and the Unheard Yazidi Voice — by Murad Ismael

This article was originally published Sept. 22, 2017 on al-Arabiya and can be accessed here. by Murad Ismael Yazidis have a population of about a half million people in Iraq. Their voting power in the upcoming independence referendum...Show More Summary

Russia Crosses the Euphrates: Implications

5 months agoMiddle East / Syria : Eighth Gate

POLICY ALERT Andrew J. Tabler Also available in ??????? September 18, 2017 By helping Assad's forces bridge the river, Moscow is increasing the risk of direct confrontation while obstructing U.S. efforts to defeat IS, stabilize eastern Syria, and limit Iranian arms transfers. Show More Summary

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