The Syria Project

The Syria Project

Syria

The Syrian Civil War began in March 2011. Years later, with hundreds of thousands dead, no end appears in sight. Multiple diplomatic conferences and ceasefire agreements have failed to achieve a resolution or anything more than a temporary lull in the fighting.

In its first two years, the conflict was a relatively straightforward contest between Bashar al-Assad’s regime and opposition forces under the banner of the Free Syrian Army. As the war continued, outside actors interested in either propping up or toppling the Syrian ruler entered the fray, transforming the country into a battlefield for larger international conflicts.

Hezbollah openly declared its military presence in 2013, intent on swinging the tide of battle in Assad’s favor. It was joined by a host of other Iranian proxy militias – Iraqis, Afghanis, Pakistanis and others – and then by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. A host of Sunni Islamist militias appeared in response, either splintering off from the FSA or coming from abroad.

The most important of these is Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra), an al-Qaeda affiliated group. The Islamic State, formerly confined to Iraq, entered Syria in 2014 and seized large swathes of territory, establishing its de facto capital in Raqqa and declaring war on both rebels and regime loyalists. Russia entered the fight in late 2015, assuring the momentum remained with the regime-led alliance.

Despite predictions of his downfall, the Syrian president has proved surprisingly resilient. The late 2016 conquest of Aleppo was a turning point that definitively swung the tide of battle in his favor. Regime gains, however, have come at huge cost: the Syrian Arab Army is shattered, and Assad’s Syria is a pariah in the Arab world. In the long run, Assad’s dependence on Iran and its proxy militias – which have declared their intent to permanently remain in the country – will serve to erode Syrian sovereignty, perhaps transforming Damascus into another puppet of Tehran.

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

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...

Analysis & Commentary

23rd April 2018 – Fox News

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

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

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

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

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...

From the Hill: