sectarianism is a symptom of the problem, not the underlying problem itself. Many of the region’s conflicts are more about ethnic identity and nationalism, but Arab dictators use sectarianism to bolster their positions.
Donald Trump’s announcement that he is withdrawing all US military personnel from Syria may fulfil one of his 2016 election pledges to the American people. But it is also a — domestically driven — betrayal of key American allies, not least the Kurds. Latest clear indicator of the overall shape of US foreign policy for as long as Mr Trump remains in the Oval Office.
Any Turkish strike on Kurds in Syria east or west of the Euphrates unwelcome to the Pentagon and would risk a clash with US-led or actual US troops.
Syria – Idlib ceasefire holds. Turkey/Russia/Germany/France summit. Political agreement still elusive, many local problems.
Erdoğan shrugging off what appears to outsiders an economic crisis. How far will he take his criticisms of the US?
Syrian government forces to target Idlib next. Complications with Israel, Iran, Turkey, Kurds, China, US, IS. Russia in the driving seat.
The boundaries of Arab states, mainly drawn by colonial powers, have shown remarkable durability. In some instances, these boundaries have been challenged but such challenges have generally failed to change the map of the region.
Turkey is Israel’s sixth largest trade partner but the Palestine issue poisons relations; the Turkish public and opposition demand action over Gaza; Turkey and the US also bitterly at odds over a range of major issues.
a euphemism for extra judicial killing to protect the reputation of a family. Ancient and widespread, but information other than anecdotal exceptionally hard to find.
Turkish intervention in Afrin bogged down. Israel loses an F-16 and retaliates against Syrian and Iranian positions. Outlook stormy. In our posting of 29 January we quoted Charles Glass on the war in Syria: “The latest phase has little to do with Syria, apart from the fact that it’s taking place there.” Since then the bloodshed has continued in what the UN describes as “Even by Syria’s atrocious standards.. exceptionally deplorable developments”, with at least 277 civilians killed between 4 and 9 February, most of them in “airstrikes by the …