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Middle East & North Africa

Rigged Cars and Barrel Bombs: Aleppo and the State of the Syrian War

Middle East Report N°155, 9 September 2014

A man walks between destroyed buildings after heavy shelling by regime forces in Aleppo, Syria on August 28, 2014.Syria is sliding toward unending war between an autocratic, sectarian regime and the even more autocratic, more sectarian jihadi group that has made dramatic gains in both Syria and Iraq. Without either a ceasefire in Aleppo or greater support from its state backers, the mainstream opposition is likely to suffer a defeat that will dash chances of a political resolution for the foreseeable future.

Recent Reports

Rigged Cars and Barrel Bombs: Aleppo and the State of the Syrian War, Middle East Report N°155, 9 Sep 2014

Syria is sliding toward unending war between an autocratic, sectarian regime and the even more autocratic, more sectarian jihadi group that has made dramatic gains in both Syria and Iraq. Without either a ceasefire in Aleppo or greater support from its state backers, the mainstream opposition is likely to suffer a defeat that will dash chances of a political resolution for the foreseeable future.

Iran and the P5+1: Getting to “Yes”, Middle East Briefing N°40, 27 Aug 2014

November’s deadline could be the last chance to avoid a breakdown in the Iran and the P5+1 nuclear talks. Compromise on Iran’s enrichment capacity is key to ending the impasse, requiring both sides to walk back from maximalist positions and focus on realistic solutions.

Gaza and Israel: New Obstacles, New Solutions, Middle East Briefing N°39, 14 Jul 2014

To break the violent impasse, Israel must change its policy toward Hamas and work toward a lasting ceasefire, recognising how much its own stability depends on the stability of Gaza.

Iraq’s Jihadi Jack-in-the-Box, Middle East Briefing N°38, 20 Jun 2014

The jihadi surge is the tragic, violent outcome of steadily deteriorating political dynamics. Instead of a rash military intervention and unconditional support for the Iraqi government, pressure is needed to reverse sectarian polarisation and a disastrous record of governance.

The Huthis: From Saada to Sanaa, Middle East Report N°154, 10 Jun 2014

Continued fighting between Huthis and their various opponents could lead to a major conflagration, further undermining the Yemen’s troubled political transition.

The Tunisian Exception: Success and Limits of Consensus, Middle East and North Africa Briefing N°37, 5 Jun 2014

To prevent a rerun of last year’s political crisis, Tunisia needs far-sighted political precautions that can preserve the national compromise beyond the 2014 elections.

Lebanon’s Hizbollah Turns Eastward to Syria, Middle East Report N°153, 27 May 2014

Hizbollah’s intervention in Syria strengthens the Assad regime but transforms the Shiite movement as it redefines the enemy and itself within the confines of an increasingly sectarian struggle.

Iran and the P5+1: Solving the Nuclear Rubik’s Cube, Middle East Report N°152, 9 May 2014

A comprehensive nuclear accord may be in reach if both sides – Iran and the Security Council permanent members plus Germany – show determination to settle on a technical agreement and isolate the deal from its complex regional context.

Flight of Icarus? The PYD’s Precarious Rise in Syria, Middle East Report N°151, 8 May 2014

The PYD (Kurdish Democratic Union Party) has imposed its dominance in northern Syria, but its long-run prospects – like those of the areas it controls – depend on the party’s ability to adopt a more balanced and inclusive strategy.

Iraq: Falluja's Faustian Bargain, Middle East Report N°150, 28 Apr 2014

An alliance between the local military council and the jihadi ISIL group is keeping the besieging Iraqi army at bay around Falluja, but unless Sunni alienation is addressed, the city risks a new round of devastating conflict.
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Latest Translations

The Tunisian Exception: Success and Limits of Consensus
Middle East and North Africa Briefing N°37, 5 June 2014
Now available in Arabic
The Huthis: From Saada to Sanaa
Middle East Report N°154, 10 June 2014
Now available in Arabic
Lebanon’s Hizbollah Turns Eastward to Syria
Middle East Report N°153, 27 May 2014
Now available in Arabic
Flight of Icarus? The PYD's Precarious Rise in Syria
Middle East Report N°151, 8 May 2014
Now available in Arabic
Iraq: Falluja's Faustian Bargain
Middle East and North Africa Report N°158, 28 April 2014
Now available in Arabic