• A Kurdish Alamo: Five Reasons the Battle for Kobane Matters

    A Kurdish Alamo: Five Reasons the Battle for Kobane Matters

    October 10, 2014

    The outcome of the battle for Kobane will have significant implications for the fight against the Islamic State and developments in Turkey, Syria, and Iraq moving forward.

  • A Time Bomb in Lebanon: The Syrian Refugee Crisis

    A Time Bomb in Lebanon: The Syrian Refugee Crisis

    October 06, 2014

    The Syrian refugee crisis is a major driver of violence and political tension in Lebanon. Tolerance for the refugees is gradually turning into resentment.

  • Is Turkey Going to War?

    Is Turkey Going to War?

    October 03, 2014

    While Turkey is likely to lend assistance to the U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State, the recent parliamentary vote won’t trigger any military action by itself. For Turkey, the top priority is not to join the campaign but to leverage it for other purposes.

  • Gulf Participation in the Anti–Islamic State Coalition: Limitations and Costs

    Gulf Participation in the Anti–Islamic State Coalition: Limitations and Costs

    September 23, 2014

    The contribution of Gulf Arab countries in the fight against the Islamic State should not be overstated and should be caveated with an awareness of the risks and costs—for both the Gulf regimes at home and U.S. interests in the region.

  • What Is the “Khorasan Group” and Why Is the U.S. Bombing It in Syria?

    What Is the “Khorasan Group” and Why Is the U.S. Bombing It in Syria?

    September 23, 2014

    The “Khorasan Group,” a network affiliated with al-Qaeda, has been a target of recent U.S. bombing in Syria. The sudden flurry of revelations about the group in the past two weeks smacks of strategic leaks and political spin.

  • What Egypt Can and Cannot Do Against the Islamic State

    What Egypt Can and Cannot Do Against the Islamic State

    September 22, 2014

    In the struggle against the Islamic State, Egypt needs sound political and economic policies that will quench the spread of violence and extremism within the country itself.

  • Syria’s al-Qaeda Wing Searches for a Strategy

    Syria’s al-Qaeda Wing Searches for a Strategy

    September 18, 2014

    Ever since the Islamic State captured vast territories in northern Iraq in mid-June, no group has been more deeply affected by this jihadi civil war than the Nusra Front, which broke off from the Islamic State in April 2013 and has since emerged as Syria’s only official al-Qaeda franchise.

  • Five Hidden Risks of U.S. Action Against the Islamic State

    Five Hidden Risks of U.S. Action Against the Islamic State

    September 11, 2014

    U.S. President Barack Obama’s four-pronged strategy against the Islamic State is fraught with trade-offs, risks, and hidden costs that need to be addressed.

  • Obama’s Strategic Gambles in Syria and Iraq

    Obama’s Strategic Gambles in Syria and Iraq

    September 11, 2014

    Obama’s strategy is a positive step forward after years of relative inaction on part of the United States, but it is far from comprehensive.

  • Syria’s Ahrar al-Sham Leadership Wiped Out in Bombing

    Syria’s Ahrar al-Sham Leadership Wiped Out in Bombing

    September 09, 2014

    The killing of Ahrar al-Sham’s leadership will have major ripple effects in the opposition.

  • Awaiting Assad’s Inauguration Speech

    Awaiting Assad’s Inauguration Speech

    July 15, 2014

    There are no indications that Assad is ready to let anyone not under his control join the new government in his third term as president. Genuine power sharing in Syria will remain as distant as ever.

  • Jordan: The Jewel in the ISIS Crown

    Jordan: The Jewel in the ISIS Crown

    Nikita Malik, Abdullah Shami
    June 24, 2014

    As the Iraqi cities of Mosul and Tikrit fall into the hands of Al Qaeda-influenced jihadists, Jordan will serve as a crucial buffer from the terrorist movements that threaten to spill over into the region.

  • Breaking Baghdad

    Breaking Baghdad

    June 13, 2014

    Leaving Iraq’s second-largest city of Mosul in rebel hands could fatally undermine Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s already weak legitimacy as a national leader. But even if the army were to recapture all or most of the rebel-held cities, the Mosul debacle has already dealt a tremendous blow not only to Maliki but to the Iraqi state as well.

  • Syria’s Phony Election: False Numbers and Real Victory

    Syria’s Phony Election: False Numbers and Real Victory

    June 09, 2014

    To ask whether the June 3 Syrian presidential election results will lead to any change within the government betrays a misunderstanding of the situation: what just played out in Syria was not an election—it was a demonstration of power in which the presidency was the active subject, rather than the people.

  • The Fight for Raqqa

    The Fight for Raqqa

    Sirwan Kajjo
    June 03, 2014

    Since the militarization of the Syrian uprising, Raqqa has been a strategically vital region for all armed groups. Now under the control of ISIS, Raqqa has become a hub where ISIS militants are gathered and dispatched to other battlegrounds across the country.

  • Assad’s Election: A Security Quest

    Assad’s Election: A Security Quest

    June 02, 2014

    A key objective for Bashar al-Assad in his third presidential term is presenting his crackdown on Syrian opposition groups as a fight against jihadism. In doing so, Assad is betting on the eventual support of the international community in this new “war on terror,” which would secure his position in power.

  • Syrian Conflict Transforms Regulations in Jordan

    Syrian Conflict Transforms Regulations in Jordan

    Nikita Malik
    May 28, 2014

    As fighters join Al Nusra and ISIL at an alarming rate, the Jordanian government responds with new anti-terrorism measures.

  • Slow Increase in U.S. Support for the Syrian Opposition

    Slow Increase in U.S. Support for the Syrian Opposition

    May 27, 2014

    The path towards U.S. recognition of the Syrian opposition has been long and tortuous, but the United States has recently taken several steps to signal increased support for the opposition.

  • Lebanon’s Alawites at a Crossroads

    Lebanon’s Alawites at a Crossroads

    May 21, 2014

    The recent end to sectarian violence in Tripoli, Lebanon presents a historic opportunity for Lebanese Alawites to search for new leaders who embrace a more independent approach toward Damascus and a more conciliatory posture toward Tripoli’s Sunni majority.

  • The Syrian Experiment with “Apoism”

    The Syrian Experiment with “Apoism”

    Carl Drott
    May 20, 2014

    The provisional governance structures that have emerged in the Syrian Kurdish-majority areas captured by the PYD have become more formalized, and much of the policies are inspired by the writings of Abdullah Öcalan.

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