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Analysis & Commentary - The Syria Project

The Syria Project Media Articles

13th September 2018 – FDD Policy Brief

Mattis Warns Assad to “Wise Up” While Key Officials Signal Syria Policy Shift

David Adesnik

Secretary of Defense James Mattis confirmed that the Assad regime is preparing to use chemical weapons as part of its impending offensive in Idlib province. Referring to Assad, Mattis told reporters, “He’s been warned,” and “we’ll see if he’s wised up” since previous rounds of U.S. airstrikes. The secretary’s comments follow similar remarks from the president, along with signals from key officials, that the U.S. will pursue a more assertive policy toward Syrian war crimes. more...

7th September 2018 – FDD's CSIF Policy Brief

Treasury Imposes Sanctions on Assad’s Oil Traders

David Adesnik

The U.S. Department of the Treasury struck yesterday at one of the most important lifelines of the Assad regime by imposing targeted financial sanctions on key figures responsible for the illicit import and export of oil products, long prohibited by U.S. and EU sanctions. more...

17th August 2018 – FDD Policy Brief

Assad Regime Restoring Economic Ties with Jordan and UAE

Tony Badran

Following the Assad regime’s recapture of opposition-held areas in southern Syria, pro-regime media have begun boasting the restoration of economic relations with Arab countries, namely Jordan and the United Arab Emirates. Damascus is eager to show that its success on the battlefield will persuade regional governments – including those friendly to the U.S. – to stop treating it as a pariah state. more...

29th June 2018 – FDD Policy Brief

U.S. Should Not Abandon Strategic Base Near Syrian Border

Alexandra N. Gutowski

The White House announced yesterday that President Trump will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin next month in Helsinki, even though Russian airstrikes in southwest Syria are devastating areas inside the ceasefire zone that Trump and Putin endorsed last November. more...

27th June 2018 – FDD's Long War Journal

Confirmed: First evidence of Iranian-controlled militia involvement in southern Syria

The Iraqi Shia militia Liwa Zulfiqar, which is controlled by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, released a picture of its forces in the southern Syria town of Busra al Harir. The photo offers first confirmed evidence of the Iraqi militia’s – and thereby Iran’s – involvement in the current Syrian offensive on rebel-held areas in southern Syria. more...

5th May 2018 – The Hill

Deal or no deal, Trump should punish Iran’s aviation sector

Emanuele Ottolenghi

The decision on whether or not Boeing should sell passenger aircraft to Iran should not be made by Boeing, but by President Trump, says FDD’s Emanuele Ottolenghi in his latest piece for The Hill. He also argues why targeting Iran’s aviation sector should be a priority of President Trump’s – independent of the nuclear deal. more...

23rd April 2018 – Fox News

Iran spreads lies claiming America supports terrorists after US-led attack on Syria

Behnam Ben Taleblu

Iran has been filling the airwaves and the Internet with anti-American lies, slander and ridiculous conspiracy theories since the U.S., Britain and France launched missile strikes on Syria April 14 in response to dictator Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons to kill his own citizens more...

18th April 2018 – The Washington Times

Middle East missions to accomplish

Clifford D. May

Can we at least agree that President Trump’s decision to strike three chemical weapons facilities owned and operated by Bashar al-Assad – vassal of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Russia – was consistent with American values? more...

18th April 2018 – The Wall Street Journal

Use Iran Sanctions to Stop Assad

Mark Dubowitz, Richard Goldberg

Since the weekend military strike against chemical-weapons sites in Syria, the debate in Washington has centered on whether the strike went far enough. But policy makers should consider another question of equal importance: Is the U.S. prepared to cut off the financial lifelines that keep Bashar Assad in power? more...

16th April 2018 – Foreign Policy

Trump Was Right to Strike Syria

John Hannah

Let’s give credit where credit is due. First, U.S. President Donald Trump set a red line and enforced it. He warned that the large-scale use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime would trigger a U.S. attack. When Syrian President Bashar al-Assad crossed that red line a year ago, Trump responded with 59 cruise missiles that took out about 20 percent of Syria’s operational aircraft. more...

14th April 2018 – Fox News

Why targeting Syria’s chemical weapons is not enough to stop rising civilian death toll

Jonathan Schanzer

By firing 105 missiles at Syrian chemical weapons targets before dawn Saturday, the U.S., Britain and France sent a clear message to dictator Bashar Assad: they will not tolerate his regime’s use of toxic gas and other weapons of mass destruction against his own citizens. more...

13th April 2018 – Foreign Policy

Why Is Trump Going Soft on Hezbollah?

Emanuele Ottolenghi

On Saturday, Vice President Mike Pence is set to meet with regional leaders at the Summit of the Americas, where he should tell those assembled that it is time to launch a coordinated campaign against Hezbollah’s illicit empire in Latin America. (The Vice-President is stepping in for President Donald Trump, who abruptly cancelled his Latin America trip to oversee the U.S. response to Syria’s latest chemical attack outrage). But first, the White House has to show that it is prepared to take the lead by designating Hezbollah, a political and militant organization based in Lebanon, as a Transnational Criminal Organization under U.S. law. more...

13th April 2018 – Fortune Magazine

Commentary: How Trump Can Neutralize Assad in Syria

Behnam Ben Taleblu

Ali-Akbar Velayati, a foreign affairs advisor to Iran’s Supreme Leader, met with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad on Thursday, just one day after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened military action against Damascus for its latest chemical attacks. The timing of the meeting attests to the resoluteness of Iranian support to Assad, which has only intensified over the past seven years of the Syrian Civil War. As the U.S. contemplates an appropriate military response, it must not miss an opportunity to contest Iran in the most important theater to it in the Middle East. more...

11th April 2018 – The Jerusalem Post

German company involved in Syrian chemical attacks defies U.S. warnings

Benjamin Weinthal

After a Syrian photographer found parts made by German company the Krempel Group in the remains of Iranian-produced chemical rockets that gassed Syrian civilians in January and February, the firm rejected on Wednesday new US warnings about the dangers of conducting business with the Islamic Republic. more...

11th April 2018 – The Washington Times

What’s at stake in Syria

Clifford D. May

Syria is a far-away land about which we know little. But we do know this: Over the past seven years, more than a half million people have been slaughtered there, with an estimated 150 murdered by chemical weapons just last weekend in a town outside Damascus. more...

9th April 2018 – Politico

How Putin’s Folly Could Lead to a Middle East War

Jonathan Schanzer

Donald Trump needs to stop prevaricating over Syria and take advantage of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Syria failures. more...

9th April 2018 – FDD Policy Brief

Assad Chemical Attack Shows Failure of U.S. Deterrence

David Adesnik

Precisely a year and a day after the U.S. punished the Syrian regime with missile strikes for its use of chemical weapons, Damascus launched a new round of chemical attacks that killed at least 40 civilians in the besieged city of Douma east of the capital. Although last year’s punitive strikes deterred Assad for several months, he began probing U.S. resolve earlier this year with a series of chlorine attacks that prompted no response, thus exposing the inconsistency of American deterrence. more...

9th April 2018 – New York Post

What to do about Syria — and its chief accomplice, Iran

Richard Goldberg

Within hours of learning that Bashar al-Assad launched another horrific chemical-weapons attack on his own people, President Trump tweeted there’d be a “big price to pay.” He should follow his instincts by holding Assad accountable, increasing his leverage over Vladimir Putin and breaking Iran’s strategic foothold in Syria. more...

8th April 2018 – The Weekly Standard

Assad’s Horror, and Those Who Enable It

Thomas Joscelyn

Horrific images from the aftermath of a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria are once again circulating online. The scene of this gassing is the eastern Ghouta suburb of Damascus. Both the location and the timing of this apparent war crime are symbolically important. And while the immediate focus will be on Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and his willingness to gas his own people, any long-term solution will require understanding the role of the rogue states that enable and support him. more...

6th April 2018 – The Weekly Standard

Trump and Syria

Thomas Joscelyn

The White House declared on April 4 that the "military mission to eradicate ISIS in Syria is coming to a rapid end, with ISIS being almost completely destroyed." While the United States is "committed to eliminating the small ISIS presence in Syria that our forces have not already eradicated," the Trump administration already has an eye on "future plans," which will rely heavily on other countries "to work toward peace and ensure that ISIS never reemerges." more...

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