The collapse of U.S.-led Israeli-Palestinian talks in 2014 led to political instability, rising violence and settlement expansion. To improve his successors’ peace-making chances, President Obama should push for a new UN Security Council resolution setting out the basic parameters of a deal.
CrisisWatch is a monthly early warning bulletin designed to provide a regular update on the state of the most significant situations of conflict around the world.
Turkey is under growing pressure from nearly three million Syrian refugees. To mitigate domestic tensions and spillover from regional conflicts, Ankara needs to develop, and find support for, new policies that open refugees’ routes to jobs, education and permanent legal status.
On both sides of the Syria-Turkey border, the uncompromising strategies of Ankara, Turkey’s insurgent Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and its Syria-based affiliate, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), are propelling a dangerous conflict toward escalation. The lone force able to head it off is the United States, and if it fails, Islamic State is ready to exploit any new disorder.
A deceptive calm on Jerusalem’s Holy Esplanade is unlikely to hold under pressure from the ongoing “third intifada”, widespread dissatisfaction among Palestinian youth and growing Jewish Temple activism. Bolstering the 1967 Status Quo arrangement remains crucial, but immediate attention must be on maintaining more recent understandings on access to the Esplanade as the religious holiday season begins.
Many questions surround Moscow’s surprise announcement of a force reduction in Syria. Yet it clearly enhanced Russia’s leverage over the regime and provided a much-needed dose of credibility to the nascent political process. Avoiding further regional unravelling and spiralling radicalisation, however, and pushing the conflict toward an initial settlement will require further adjustments in Russia's strategy, including addressing the Assad conundrum.
Russia’s North Caucasus insurgency has gone relatively quiet, as Moscow crushed militants and many left to fight in Syria and Iraq. But longstanding grievances remain and the war may only have widened, as evidenced by the bombing of a Russian airliner in Egypt and the emergence of new groups swearing allegiance to the Islamic State in Russia itself.
Essentially Netanyahu was presented with the choice between a one state or two [state solution]. But he is in favour of one state and a half.
I think it's fair to assume that Turkish reluctance to get further involved in the Aleppo fight was linked to its understanding with Russia regarding [Operation] Euphrates Shield.
Netanyahu is basically someone who is extremely risk-averse and wants to preserve stability at all costs.
Have the [Syrian] rebels failed tremendously? Absolutely. Have the supporting states been just as factious as the rebels? Absolutely.
The Russian government understands very well the condition of the Syrian army and their capacity to really govern in [the Sunni areas]. They need to maintain what they have already gained.
The U.S. alliance with the YPG [People’s Protection Units] in Syria is purely tactical. It’s using the YPG as if it’s a security contractor.
U.S. policy threatens to undo not only the two-state solution, but stable relations with Israel’s Arab neighbors.
Originally published in The Cairo Review of Global Affairs
As a new round of Russian and Turkish-backed peace talks on Syria gets underway, Senior Syria Analyst Noah Bonsey looks at the shifting political dynamics and the challenges ahead.
Once again Israeli leaders denounce UNESCO and tell their people with an odd tone of satisfaction: “The whole world is against us; we you told you so!”
Originally published in The Jerusalem Post
Defusing conflict over Jerusalem’s holiest site.