Russia’s proposal for humanitarian corridors for Eastern Ghouta and Rukban camp have little chance of mitigating suffering there. Instead, Moscow should push for a negotiated resolution of Eastern Ghouta through UN Security Council Resolution 2401 and secure normal aid agency access to Rukban, thereby enhancing its credibility as a mediator.
The President's Take
In my second monthly column to accompany CrisisWatch, our unique conflict tracker, I look at how outside actors are now openly fighting not for Syria, but over it. I also note more bad news from Venezuela, and flag our upcoming report on how the outside world and regional governments can avert disaster there. Read more …
President & CEO
Though the Islamic State (ISIS) is beaten in Iraq, the battle for the country’s political soul is not over. Baghdad should act to restore local governance in Sinjar, where ISIS terrorised the local community, and encourage the district’s displaced people to return home.
An imminent military showdown in Idlib with disastrous human costs can be avoided only if Turkey strikes a deal between Russia, on one hand, and militants, on the other, and deploys its forces along the front lines to deter an escalation.
Facts on the ground in Syria are defining the contours of the country’s political future and also the geography of a looming clash between Israel, Hizbollah and other Iran-allied militias. Russia should broker understandings to prevent a new front from opening.
Host community hostility toward Syrian refugees is on the rise in Turkey’s metropolitan areas. In order to defuse tensions and mitigate rising intercommunal tensions, Ankara and its international partners should support long-term strategies for the Syrians’ sustainable integration.
The 2015 Iran nuclear accord is working, but is at risk from longstanding U.S.-Iran rivalry, Trump administration policies and Tehran’s upsurge of activism in the Middle East. The deal’s other signatories should encourage the U.S. not to withdraw and consider ways to sustain the deal, regardless of U.S. actions and as long as Iran remains committed to it.
La polarisation politique et la nostalgie, illusoire, d’un gouvernement centralisé fort planent au-dessus du septième anniversaire du déclenchement de la révolution tunisienne de 2011. La coalition au pouvoir devra mener les réformes qu’elle avait promises, mettre en place la Cour constitutionnelle et organiser des élections municipales, déjà reportées à de nombreuses reprises, si elle veut que la transition tunisienne reste l’exemple d’une transition réussie dans le monde arabe.
One doesn’t ascend to the pinnacle of power from the position of a virtual underdog in Iran’s politics without having Machiavellian skills. No one could pose a serious challenge to [Ayatollah Khamenei].
Russia needs both the Syrian regime and Turkey. So it has to give a little bit to both and it has to ... make them equally angry, if that's what it wants.
[With Mike Pompeo named to replace Rex Tillerson as U.S. secretary state,] now you have the appointment of someone who has made it an article of faith that the Iran deal needs to be ripped up.
We’re caught in a crisis of identity. People [in Israel] are worried about globalization, about a sense of losing tradition. It’s the autonomy of the individual versus Jewish tradition.
What's happening now is that the Syrian regime is trying to regain control over as large an area as possible. At the same time, other regional conflicts involving Syria are having a greater impact.
The YPG is an integral part of the PKK command structure. They may be mostly Syrians, though not exclusively, but all are part of the PKK.
Originally published in The Washington Post
Joost Hiltermann, Crisis Group's Program Director for the Middle East and North Africa talks about a new phase in Syria’s war that augurs escalation with Israel.
Originally published in Lowy Institute
Sultangazi is home to a mix of religious and ethnic groups – as well as 50,000 Syrian refugees. The district received the refugees warmly. But resentment is rising, as public services suffer and opposition forces suspect the ruling party of using refugees to exacerbate social divisions.
But following the hostilities over the weekend, does Putin want to?
Originally published in The Atlantic