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.
The Syrian refugee crisis is a major driver of violence and political tension in Lebanon. Tolerance for the refugees is gradually turning into resentment.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 strategy is a positive step forward after years of relative inaction on part of the United States, but it is far from comprehensive.
The killing of Ahrar al-Sham’s leadership will have major ripple effects in the opposition.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As fighters join Al Nusra and ISIL at an alarming rate, the Jordanian government responds with new anti-terrorism measures.
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.
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 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.