Analysis & Commentary


22nd September 2016 - Quoted by Jamie Dettmer - Voice of America

Turkey Exerts New Influence in Syria

Merve Tahiroglu

More than five years of relentless war have fragmented Syria like a jigsaw puzzle. The task of reassembling the pieces increasingly seems to rest not with Western policymakers, Gulf princes or Iranian ayatollahs but with Russia and now Turkey, some diplomatic observers say.

21st September 2016 - Tablet Magazine

Obama’s Syria Policy Striptease

Tony Badran

America’s settled policy of standing by while half a million Syrians have been killed, millions have become refugees, and large swaths of their country have been reduced to rubble is not a simple “mistake,” as critics like Nicholas D. Kristof and Roger Cohen have lately claimed.

20th September 2016 - The Long War Journal

State Department adds al Qaeda front group in Syria to terror designation list

Thomas Joscelyn

The State Department announced today that Jund al Aqsa, an al Qaeda front group in Syria, has been added to the US government’s list of specially designated global terrorist organizations. State notes that Jund al Aqsa “primarily operates in Idlib and Hama provinces” and was...

17th September 2016 - The Long War Journal

Israel prepares home front for next war with Hezbollah

David Daoud

The Israel Defense Forces announced Friday that its nationwide Home Front Drill will be held next week. The drill, dubbed “Standing Firm,” is intended to prepare Israel’s civilian home front for emergency situations, and will include extensive training for Israel’s future war with...

16th September 2016 - The Long War Journal

US military kills Islamic State’s ‘Minister of Information’

Bill Roggio

The US military announced today that it killed the Islamic State’s “Minister of Information” and central shura member in an airstrike near Raqqah, the jihadist group’s capital in Syria, ten days ago.

16th September 2016 - Interview with the Cipher Brief

Syrian Refugees: Ankara’s Trump Card Against Europe

Aykan Erdemir

In March of this year, Turkey came to an agreement with the European Union (EU) on Syrian migration. In return for $6 billion in aid assistance, visa-free travel for Turks within the EU, and a promise to restart Turkey’s E.U. accession talks, Turkey agreed to restrict the number of Syrian...

13th September 2016 - Foreign Policy

Russia’s Middle East Offensive

John Hannah

Even before Russian bombers launched strikes into Syria from an Iranian air base last month, it was clear that one of President Barack Obama’s more dubious foreign policy legacies would be the resurrection of Moscow’s great power status in the Middle East.

11th September 2016 - The Long War Journal

Fifteen years after the 9/11 attacks, al Qaeda fights on

Thomas Joscelyn

All appeared lost for Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda in December 2001. In the years leading up to the 9/11 hijackings, bin Laden believed that the US was a “paper tiger” and would retreat from the Muslim majority world if al Qaeda struck hard enough.

11th September 2016 - NY Daily News

A grim anniversary: 15 years after 9/11, the war against radical Islamist terrorism is not good

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross

Imagine it's 15 years ago, immediately after the 9/11 attacks. You are told that in September 2016, a couple of major counterterrorism victories would be just around the corner.

10th September 2016 - Quoted by Zack Beauchamp - Vox

Obama’s big deal to work with Russia on Syria, explained

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, Thomas Joscelyn

Late on Friday, the United States and Russia came to a massively important agreement: After months of seemingly failed negotiations, they agreed to a joint plan for ending the war in Syria.

8th September 2016 - Fox News

Happening Now

Tony Badran

FDD senior fellow Tony Badran discusses the US and Russia in Syria.

31st August 2016 - Quoted by Leela Jacinto - France 24

IS group’s voice of global jihad ‘killed’ in Syria

Thomas Joscelyn

Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the official spokesman for the Islamic State (IS) group who gained notoriety for his frequent calls for jihad, has been killed in the northern Syrian province of Aleppo, the militant group’s media outlet announced Tuesday.

30th August 2016 - Quoted by Clare Byrne - Agence France-Presse

Turkey’s operation in Syria fraught with risk: analysts

Aykan Erdemir

Turkey's week-old cross-border operation in Syria could become a drawn-out affair that stokes tensions with Washington if Ankara continues to take the fight to US-backed Kurdish fighters, analysts say.

30th August 2016 - New York Post

Team Obama’s appalling smugness on Syrian refugees

Jonathan Schanzer

State Department spokesman John Kirby sang the praises of President Obama’s Syria policy on Monday. And boy, was he tone deaf.

28th August 2016 - Foreign Affairs

Rebranding Terror

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, Thomas Joscelyn

On July 28, Abu Muhammad al-Julani, heretofore the emir of al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, delivered what seemed to be a major announcement. Although Julani lavished praise on both al Qaeda emir Ayman al-Zawahiri and his predecessor Osama bin Laden, he noted two apparent...

26th August 2016 - The Long War Journal

Zawahiri says jihadists should prepare for guerrilla war in Iraq

Thomas Joscelyn

As Sahab, al Qaeda’s propaganda arm, released the third episode of Ayman al Zawahiri’s “Brief Messages to a Victorious Ummah” series on Aug. 25. The latest installment is subtitled “Fear Allah in Iraq.”

26th August 2016 - Quoted by Kaitlin Lavinder - The Cipher Brief

Turkish Moves in Syria Show Policy Shift & Politicking

A fresh wave of Turkish tanks rolled into Syria yesterday, in an effort to both fight the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) and to keep Kurdish forces in check. Concerns about the Syrian YPG – a primarily Kurdish military force operating in northern Syria and viewed by Turkey as...

26th August 2016 - Quoted by Dave Clarke - AFP

Kurd advance angers Turkey, Washington’s impossible ally

Aykan Erdemir, Merve Tahiroglu

As Turkish troops ostensibly hunting Islamic State (IS) group fighters shelled a US-backed Kurdish militia inside Syria, analysts warned that Ankara's alliance with the West is at stake.

26th August 2016 - Quoted by Colin Clarke, Chad Serena - Reuters

Commentary: Why Syria’s war may be about to get even worse

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross

How important is a name to a terrorist group’s identity? When the militant organization Nusra Front announced recently that it was calling itself something else, analysts had good reason to be skeptical about whether the new label really did signal a genuine break from its parent...

25th August 2016 - Quoted by Howard LaFranchi - The Christian Science Monitor

Caught between two allies, US makes a clear choice

John Hannah

For much of the Syrian civil war the United States has been walking one particularly fine line. It’s the one between Turkey and the Syrian Kurds. For the US, Turkey is a problematic but crucial NATO ally and a bridge between Europe and the East.

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