Analysis & Commentary


15th June 2015 - The Long War Journal

Al Nusrah Front Attempts to Disavow Massacre of Druze Civilians

Thomas Joscelyn

The Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, has issued a statement disavowing the massacre of 20 Druze civilians in the province of Idlib last week. The murders have been denounced by other insurgents, thereby threatening to damage Al Nusrah’s well-cultivated image within...

12th June 2015 - Quoted by Adam Kredo - The Washington Free Beacon

U.S. Arms Sales to Lebanon Empowering Hezbollah, Iran

Tony Badran

Newly announced U.S. arms sales to Lebanon coincide with an Obama administration order to cut funding for an anti-Hezbollah Lebanese group, a move foreign policy insiders describe as empowering the Iranian backers of the terrorist group.

10th June 2015 - NOW Lebanon

Tehran’s Siamese Twins

Tony Badran

“[I]n the next few days, the world will be surprised by what we and the Syrian military leadership are currently preparing,” Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Qods Force, reportedly stated from Syria last week.

10th June 2015 - Quoted by Indira Lakshmanan

Mafia-Like Islamic State Taxes and Extorts Like a Drug Cartel

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, Juan Zarate

In the last year, a once-obscure extremist group has overrun some of Iraq’s major cities, seized control of oil wells, industries and banks and emerged as the world’s richest and most feared terrorist force.

9th June 2015 - Quoted by James Warren - The New York Daily News

Obama’s Incomplete ISIS Strategy is ‘Policy Failure’: Expert

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross

It was shockingly and depressingly candid. “We don’t have, yet, a compete strategy” to deal with ISIS, President Obama conceded Monday. “The details are not worked out.”

9th June 2015 - The Long War Journal

Iraqi Shiite Militia Commander Threatens to Attack US

Bill Roggio

The leader of a powerful Iraqi Shiite militia that is operating against the Islamic State has threatened to attack the US after members of allied militia were killed in a blast in Anbar province over the weekend. Shiite militias have claimed that the US killed the militiamen in an airstrike,...

9th June 2015 - Quoted by David Pugliese - Ottawa Citizen

Islamic State Makes Use of Captured U.S. Supplied TOW Missile Systems

In a new video released by the Islamic State, the jihadist group shows the capture of the ancient city of Palmyra, Syria…the video also shows at least one US-made BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missile being used against Syrian troops, the Long War Journal reports.

8th June 2015 - Quoted by Zack Beauchamp - Vox

Islamic Extremism, Explained

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, is nothing if not ambitious. In a speech last July, Baghadi promised his fighters much more than their already large empire in Iraq and Syria: "if you hold to [the Islamic State]," he said, "you will conquer Rome and own the world."

8th June 2015 - Syndicated

The John Batchelor Show

Bill Roggio, Thomas Joscelyn

FDD Senior Fellows Bill Roggio and Thomas Joscelyn comment on the conflicts in the Middle East.

8th June 2015 - Iran-e-Farda TV

Iran-e-Farda TV

Ali Alfoneh

FDD Senior Fellow Ali Alfoneh discusses the Islamic Republic of Iran's Syria policy.

8th June 2015 - The Long War Journal

Jihadist-led Coalition Continues to Make Gains in Idlib

Thomas Joscelyn

Jaysh al Fateh (“Army of Conquest”), a jihadist-led coalition of several groups, swept through several towns and villages in the Syrian province of Idlib in recent days. The coalition’s military successes began in March, when the alliance was announced and quickly overran Assad’s...

6th June 2015 - PJ Media

Who is IS?

Michael Ledeen

Who are they anyway? IS, the Islamic State, that is.

5th June 2015 - Quoted by Jacob Siegel - The Daily Beast

The Myth of Iran’s Military Mastermind

Tony Badran

He’s been called the “single most powerful operative in the Middle East today” and nicknamed “Supermani,” but is Qasem Suleimani, the suddenly omnipresent commander of Iran's expeditionary Quds Force, suddenly coming down to earth?

5th June 2015 - The Long War Journal

The Al Nusrah Front’s ‘Inherited Jihad’

Thomas Joscelyn

On Wednesday (June 3), Al Jazeera aired the second part of its interview with Abu Muhammad al Julani, who leads the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria. The interviewer, Ahmad Mansur, once again provided a friendly forum for Julani to portray his organization in a positive...

4th June 2015 - Quoted by Sean Savage - The Christian Post

As Syria’s Assad Suffers Civil War Setbacks, What’s the Best Outcome for Israel?

Tony Badran

With the Syrian civil war well into its fifth year, President Bashar al-Assad's government has outlasted many observers' predictions of his demise.

4th June 2015 - Quoted by Jennifer Rubin - The Washington Post

Syria: Too Little, Too Late

Jonathan Schanzer

The Post reports: The U.S. military is gradually expanding a new program to train and equip Syrian opposition fighters, but building a force that can effectively take on the Islamic State may take longer than expected, President Obama’s top military adviser said Wednesday.

4th June 2015 - Quoted by Natasha Bertrand, Michael B. Kelley - Business Insider

The Startlingly Simple Reason Obama Ignores Syria

Tony Badran

While the US embassy in Syria accuses Syrian President Bashar Assad of acting as an air force for the Islamic State, the Obama administration does not seem to be concerning itself with the Syrian regime.

4th June 2015 - Quoted by Ariel Ben Solomon - The Jerusalem Post

Nasrallah Tries Once More to Mobilize Base to Support Assad

Tony Badran

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah gave yet another speech on Wednesday in an effort to motivate Shi’ite supporters in Lebanon to help keep Syrian President Bashar Assad in power.

3rd June 2015 - Quoted by Jeff Seldin - Voice of America

Islamic State Undeterred by Mounting Body Count

Bill Roggio

The United States and other countries fighting to push back and ultimately destroy the group known as Islamic State are being forced to confront an unpleasant quandary: an enemy unafraid of death and seemingly undeterred by a mounting death toll.

3rd June 2015 - The Long War Journal

Islamic State Continues to Clash with Multiple Foes in Aleppo, Hasakah

Thomas Joscelyn

Four days after the Islamic State launched a sudden assault on towns and villages in Syria’s northern Aleppo province, the heavy fighting continues. Not only is the Islamic State battling a consortium of rebel groups and jihadists in Aleppo, the “caliphate” is attempting to push into...

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