• The Ajnad al-Sham Islamic Union

    The Ajnad al-Sham Islamic Union

    March 04, 2014

    Ajnad al-Sham appears to be the second-biggest rebel coalition in the Damascus area, and on the local level, the coalition seems to serve as a counterweight to the Islam Army as well as to more hardline jihadis, like al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front.

  • The Ukraine Conflict and Syria

    The Ukraine Conflict and Syria

    March 03, 2014

    If the conflict in Ukraine develops into a lasting standoff between the U.S.-EU camp and Russia, it may shift the dynamics in Syria in more direct ways as well.

  • Knocking On Every Door: An Interview With Saleh Muslim, Part II

    Knocking On Every Door: An Interview With Saleh Muslim, Part II

    February 28, 2014

    Saleh Muslim Mohammed, co-chair of the largest Kurdish party in Syria, explains the PYD’s views on the conflict in Syria and the Rojava, or Western Kurdistan, project.

  • The People’s Rule: An Interview With Saleh Muslim, Part I

    The People’s Rule: An Interview With Saleh Muslim, Part I

    February 27, 2014

    Saleh Muslim Mohammed, co-chair of the largest Kurdish party in Syria, explains the PYD’s views on the conflict in Syria and the Rojava, or Western Kurdistan, project.

  • Islam in Syrian Textbooks: Monolithic and Nonpluralistic

    Islam in Syrian Textbooks: Monolithic and Nonpluralistic

    February 26, 2014

    The school system in Syria has failed to be a crucial incubator of social and cultural understanding—notably when it comes to Islamic education. The effects of this failure are keenly felt today as Syria suffers sectarian conflict and a surge of religious intolerance.

  • Who and What Was Abu Khalid al-Suri? Part II

    Who and What Was Abu Khalid al-Suri? Part II

    February 25, 2014

    The Syrian Salafi faction known as Ahrar al-Sham has always stressed that it is not subservient to any group outside Syria, including al-Qaeda. Even so, there are connections between Ahrar al-Sham and al-Qaeda members.

  • Who and What Was Abu Khalid al-Suri? Part I

    Who and What Was Abu Khalid al-Suri? Part I

    February 24, 2014

    Analysts have claimed that Abu Khalid’s presence in the Ahrar al-Sham leadership shows that Ahrar al-Sham has direct links to al-Qaeda. However, little is known about the nature of Abu Khalid’s involvement with al-Qaeda, and most publicly available information seems to suggests a more nuanced relationship.

  • Assad’s Achilles’ Heel: The Manpower Problem

    Assad’s Achilles’ Heel: The Manpower Problem

    Balint Szlanko
    February 21, 2014

    While the Syrian regime has seen some important success recently, it continues to be hobbled, and might eventually be undone, by a serious manpower problem.

  • What Does the Lebanese Cabinet Mean for Syria?

    What Does the Lebanese Cabinet Mean for Syria?

    February 18, 2014

    There are clear signs that Syria is now progressively replacing Lebanon as the region’s geopolitical chessboard. This means that Lebanese politics will increasingly be viewed through a Syrian lens.

  • A Government to Fill the Void in Lebanon

    A Government to Fill the Void in Lebanon

    February 18, 2014

    If the creation of a cabinet does indeed result in intensified efforts to “disassociate” Lebanon from Syria, it may grant Lebanon some well-earned breathing space—but tightening the border could also increase the pressure within Syrian borders.

  • A Coup in the Supreme Military Council?

    A Coup in the Supreme Military Council?

    February 17, 2014

    The Supreme Military Council (SMC) issued a statement announcing that it had expelled its own chief of staff, Salim Idris. But confusion reigned—and soon thereafter, an SMC commander called the decision a “coup."

  • Syria’s Southern Spring Offensive

    Syria’s Southern Spring Offensive

    February 14, 2014

    The rebel groups' armed offensive in southern Syria helps clarify where they think the real renegotiation of power in Syria is taking place: on the battlefield.

  • Syria’s Spillover Effect on Jordan

    Syria’s Spillover Effect on Jordan

    Nikita Malik
    February 13, 2014

    There is a risk that the flow of weapons and fighters from Jordan into Syria will contribute to lawlessness and insecurity in Jordan, and the spillover of the hundreds of thousands of Syrians refugees into Jordan is likely to continue.

  • No Stability in Syria Without Political Change

    No Stability in Syria Without Political Change

    Thomas Pierret
    February 12, 2014

    Attempts to resolve the conflict by focusing only on its regional dimension will be doomed to fail. Any credible peace effort requires negotiations that deal with the root problem and the demand for real political transition.

  • As Syria Crumbles, Israel Woos the Golan Druze

    As Syria Crumbles, Israel Woos the Golan Druze

    Tobias Lang
    February 11, 2014

    More than thirty years after its annexation of the Golan Heights, the civil war in Syria seems to have presented Israel with a chance to draw the Druze population of the Golan Heights closer to itself.

  • Ambiguous Rebel Statements on the Geneva Negotiations

    Ambiguous Rebel Statements on the Geneva Negotiations

    February 10, 2014

    Despite the radicalization and despair that has set in on the opposition side, some combination of international pressure and real political opportunity could still have an influence on the insurgency’s ideological choices.

  • Russia’s Influence in Syria: The Million Ruble Question

    Russia’s Influence in Syria: The Million Ruble Question

    February 07, 2014

    In the past three years, Russian influence in Syria has swelled dramatically and Moscow has acquired a new hand to play in regional politics.

  • Syria Drawn Into Turkey’s Crisis

    Syria Drawn Into Turkey’s Crisis

    February 06, 2014

    Syria is clearly an area where Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan is dangerously exposed, at a time when he is already facing growing internal pressure.

  • Sharia Strategy: Rule of Law Replacing the State

    Sharia Strategy: Rule of Law Replacing the State

    Corri Zoli, Emily Schneider
    February 04, 2014

    Instead of focusing on the institutions of a future Syria, the al-Qaeda aligned Nusra Front is trying to implement a more broadly based Islamic rule of law.

  • Isolating the Islamic State

    Isolating the Islamic State

    February 04, 2014

    A civil war has erupted within global jihadism and it seems to pass the point of no return. Senior militants and clerics are now lining up to isolate and undermine the Syrian-Iraqi faction known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

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