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Syria

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Monthly Archives: December 2019

America, Syria, and the Kurds

June 19, 2021 11:27 PM
Last month, President Trump announced plans to relocate American troops from the Northern Syrian/Southern Turkish border. Since the withdrawal, Turkey has launched several ground attacks on the border of northern Syria, which is part of the area known internationally as Kurdistan. The attacks are part of Turkey’s “Operation Peace Spring”, a military assault designed to “prevent the creation of terror corridor across [the Turkish] southern border,”[1][2] according to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. President Erdogan expressed his intention to “crush [the] heads”[3] of Kurdish militants in this attack. Many native Kurdish people on the border of Turkey and Syria are seeking refuge in nearby areas as the situation intensifies.
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Syrian Violence Spreads to Lebanon and Iraq

April 27, 2021 10:41 AM
The Syrian civil war has escalated significantly in recent days. As the Syrian regime forces have begun a campaign to take back the strategic city of Qusayr, Sunni jihadists, among them the Syrian al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra and al-Qaeda in Iraq, have begun operations against Shi’ites in Lebanon and Iraq. These terrorist activities could spark protracted civil wars in both Lebanon and Iraq along sectarian lines.
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Developments in the Syrian Crisis: The Rise of al-Qaeda and Retreat of the Regime

April 26, 2021 07:43 PM
The situation in Syria has been deteriorating rapidly in the past few weeks. New developments are of special concern for U.S. national security as we are getting a new view of Syria’s geopolitical reality. These developments include the rise in preeminence of al-Qaeda and its affiliates among the rebellion, concerns surrounding chemical weapons security, and recent regime activities that may indicate their short to mid-term goals.
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Hijacking a Rebellion: New Trends in al-Qaeda Tactics

April 26, 2021 06:50 PM
Events in the Middle East and North Africa in recent months indicate a major shift in strategy by al-Qaeda and its affiliates. While many officials mistake this shift as a sign of al-Qaeda’s looming defeat, it actually displays a rapidly growing danger to U.S. national security. Al-Qaeda’s new ability to capitalize on instability amid preexisting rebellions is quite disturbing, and is occurring in several locations. The place of most significance for al-Qaeda is Syria, but a look at their ongoing late-phase operation in Mali can offer some insights into future developments in Syria.
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Against Reductionism

April 22, 2021 06:58 PM
Recently there has been a deluge of calls for action to topple the Al-Assad regime in Syria in order to stop its bloody crackdown against the opposition movement. Many ideas have been thrown out into the open, the most prominent of which center around an air campaign, using a harsh set of sanctions against the regime, or arming the opposition with weapons capable of leveling the playing field. The loudest champions of these ideas by and large are generalizing the matter. Reducing the situation into black and white, election-friendly terms glosses over many of the grim realities in Syria. Looking at the main ideas listed above, we see that they are either unfeasible or the risks involved make them not only undesirable but also counterproductive.
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The Iran-Al Qaeda Connection

April 22, 2021 06:29 PM
This past week has seen Al-Qaeda rise after a period of weakening and transition. After losing a number of its leadership, most notably Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki, it was thought that the organization would be further crippled until it could no longer operate effectively. However its recent actions in Iraq, Somalia, and possibly even Syria demonstrate that Al-Qaeda is transitioning itself to regain a foothold in the Middle East. At the same time, Iran has been penalized by the U.S. Treasury for its support of Al-Qaeda. Furthermore, a district court in 2011 found Iran guilty of being linked to the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania by Al-Qaeda. Although it has long been known that Iran is the largest state-backer of terrorism, this link to Al-Qaeda is especially important to understand the Iranian regime’s attempt to gain dominance in the Middle East.
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Monthly Archives: February 2019

HTS threatens Syrian-Turkish-Russian agreements, U.S. alliances in Idlib

February 02, 2019 02:30 PM
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plan to stabilize Syria’s Idlib province against Hay’et Tahrir al-Sham’s (HTS) growing aggression and territorial expansion struggles to be implemented (Russia: Deal 2019; Russia, Turkey 2019). Turkey and Russia planned for a de-escalation zone in Syria’s Idlib, where aggression is prohibited, so Syrian displaced peoples are allowed to return home. However HTS filled the power vacuum in the absence of state aggression. HTS now attempts to penetrate Aleppo from the Idlib province, which threatens the demilitarization deal between Turkey and Russia (Karaspan 2018).
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Monthly Archives: October 2013

Syria Update October 2013

October 15, 2013 04:13 PM
Now that the possibility of a US missile strike in Syria has faded, US attention has been diverted to other matters in the Middle East, namely, negotiations with Iran. However, the diminished threat of intervention combined with a weak UN Security Council Resolution has led to a significant loss of US influence among the Syrian opposition. The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), one of two al-Qaeda branches operating in Syria, has capitalized on this influence vacuum by attempting to establish its dominance within rebel-held territory. In response to an ascendant ISIS and general frustration with US foreign policy, opposition fighting groups are beginning to form Islamic coalitions independent of the US-backed Syrian National Council. US policymakers will now have to deal with a stronger al-Qaeda presence and less capacity to bolster anti-regime forces.
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Syria Update August 2013: Part II

August 28, 2013 02:57 PM
The events in Syria in past weeks show that the civil war has transformed into a greater regional sectarian conflict. Because of the nuanced and complex nature of this conflict, a deeper look at many aspects is required for an adequate analysis. This analysis is the second of two parts. The first focused on al-Qaeda operations and Iranian influence in Syria; this second part focuses on the Balkanizing of the Syrian state, Kurdish autonomy, and the implications of potential US intervention in Syria after the large-scale use of chemical weapons.
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Syria Update August 2013: Part I

August 19, 2013 02:31 PM
Events in Syria over the last several weeks show signs of a looming regional sectarian conflict. This conflict is complicated and requires a deep understanding of many nuanced aspects. Therefore this analysis will be conducted in two parts: the first focusing on al-Qaeda’s operations and Iranian influence in Syria; the second focusing on Kurdish autonomy and the Balkanizing of the Syrian state.
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