This report examines President Trump’s emerging counter-terrorism policies, the dilemmas his administration faces in battling ISIS and al-Qaeda across the Middle East and South Asia, and how to avoid deepening the disorder both groups exploit.
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.
Four years after plunging into Syria’s civil war, Hizbollah has achieved its core aim of preserving the Assad regime. Yet with no clear exit strategy, the Lebanese “Party of God” faces ever greater costs unless it can lower the sectarian flames, open dialogue with non-jihadist rebel groups and help pave the way for a negotiated settlement.
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.
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.
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.
The [Syrian] regime refused to discuss a meaningful political transition even when it appeared to be losing ground militarily, so there is no prospect of it choosing to do so now that it has momentum.
Despite [Hizbollah’s] claim of aiming for a negotiated settlement [in Syria], they are continuing to bet on a maximalist position, on victory.
Turkey has always set the Euphrates as a red line [for Kurdish forces in Syria]. The problem is it will be a huge gamble to really do that with US, Russia and YPG, who are a proficient fighting force.
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.
Originally published in The Times of Israel
With the war in Syria set to continue well into 2017, many of the conflict's core challenges remain unresolved. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2017 annual early-warning report for European policy makers, we encourage the EU and its member states to use future funding and reconstruction as a lever to ensure that meaningful progress is made toward an overarching political settlement.
As U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prepare to meet, the fundamentals of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process hang in the balance.
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.