• 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).

  • A Public Service Announcement From Al-Qaeda

    A Public Service Announcement From Al-Qaeda

    February 03, 2014

    A statement released by the top leadership of al-Qaeda asserts that there is no organizational link between the group and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

  • A Rift in the National Coordination Body

    A Rift in the National Coordination Body

    January 31, 2014

    The alliance between Syria’s Arab nationalist and pacifist opposition and its most hardline Kurdish guerrilla movement is possibly nearing a divorce.

  • The Politics of the Islamic Front, Part 5: The Kurds

    The Politics of the Islamic Front, Part 5: The Kurds

    January 30, 2014

    The Islamic Front has presented unified positions on a number of issues, but in one case the Islamic Front has had trouble reconciling its stated ideological agenda with political reality—namely, the Kurdish question.

  • How the War in Syria Empowers Lebanese Jihadism

    How the War in Syria Empowers Lebanese Jihadism

    January 29, 2014

    Viewing Lebanon as a transit point for the struggle in Syria and considering its state institutions as legitimate targets may, in due course, fuel the rise of the much-feared Islamic State of Lebanon.

  • Syria’s “Lost Province”: The Hatay Question Returns

    Syria’s “Lost Province”: The Hatay Question Returns

    Emma Lundgren Jörum
    January 28, 2014

    The Hatay region, located on the coast north of Latakia, was originally a part of Syria, but Turkey annexed the region in 1939. While Hatay has made a forceful comeback in Syrian media, nothing suggests that the new rhetoric is indicative of a deeper change in the view that has quietly guided Syrian policy ever since 1939.

  • The Other Syrian Peace Process

    The Other Syrian Peace Process

    January 27, 2014

    The Umma Initiative, launched by Saudi Salafi preacher Abdullah bin Mohammed al-Moheisini, calls for an immediate ceasefire between the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and other rebels, and the election of a joint arbitration court from a list of ten independent religious scholars.

  • Weak Rebel Support for the Syrian Peace Talks

    Weak Rebel Support for the Syrian Peace Talks

    January 24, 2014

    Most of Syria’s large rebel groups have explicitly distanced themselves from the Geneva talks.

  • A Revolution in Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood?

    A Revolution in Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood?

    January 23, 2014

    A recent statement authored by a self-described “group of sons of the Muslim Brotherhood” criticizes the organization's leadership handling of politics over the past three years, revealing real grievances

  • The Syrian Regime’s Geneva Strategy

    The Syrian Regime’s Geneva Strategy

    January 22, 2014

    President Bashar al-Assad sent a delegation to Geneva II composed largely of veteran diplomats, politicians, and media specialists. According to the Syrian president, they are going to the talks in order to discuss the best way to “fight terrorism” in Syria.

  • Geneva II: Avoiding a Death Foretold, Part II

    Geneva II: Avoiding a Death Foretold, Part II

    January 21, 2014

    Much hinges on how Russia and Iran are approached by the Friends of Syria group, which will have to rethink their approach to opposition representation at negotiations and, more importantly, how a transitional process in Syria will unfold in practice.

  • Geneva II: Avoiding a Death Foretold, Part I

    Geneva II: Avoiding a Death Foretold, Part I

    January 21, 2014

    The United States and Russia should present Syrians of all persuasions with a practical template against which to measure both the regime’s and the opposition’s willingness to find a genuine political solution.

  • My Experiences as Head of the UN Mission in Syria

    My Experiences as Head of the UN Mission in Syria

    Robert Mood
    January 21, 2014

    The United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria had a weak mandate, followed passive rules of engagement, and operated within a political six-point plan that was challenging to translate to field realities.

  • The Kurds and Geneva II

    The Kurds and Geneva II

    Wladimir van Wilgenburg
    January 20, 2014

    Syrian Kurds fear that the Kurdish issue will be ignored in the Geneva II Syrian peace conference, despite the fact that Kurds control a significant part of northern Syria, including many oil-producing areas.

  • The Politics of the Islamic Front, Part 4: The State

    The Politics of the Islamic Front, Part 4: The State

    January 17, 2014

    The Islamic Front argues for social and educational work to help develop the public’s Islamic consciousness, but it rejects the idea that Syrians could ever be allowed to vote on whether to have sharia law, or Islamic law, or to what degree.

  • The Politics of the Islamic Front, Part 3: Negotiations

    The Politics of the Islamic Front, Part 3: Negotiations

    January 16, 2014

    On political matters, just as in religious affairs, the Islamic Front has staked out a hawkish position. Its officials say that they are firmly opposed to any peace deal with the regime and seem unwilling to hold talks even on minor matters.

  • The Politics of the Islamic Front, Part 2: An Umbrella Organization

    The Politics of the Islamic Front, Part 2: An Umbrella Organization

    January 15, 2014

    Any attempt to describe the Islamic Front’s ideology is complicated by the fact that even some of its members seem puzzled by it. The member factions still serve under different leaderships, and there is no guarantee that they will be able to coordinate their policies or keep disagreements under control.

  • The Politics of the Islamic Front, Part 1: Structure and Support

    The Politics of the Islamic Front, Part 1: Structure and Support

    January 14, 2014

    As soon as it announced its formation on November 22, 2013, it was clear that the Islamic Front would be a powerful influence on Syria’s future and a key actor in the rebellion against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

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