Syria

الجمهورية العربية السورية

Bashar al-Assad and the Devil's Gambit

Dominic Tierney, The Atlantic

A New Iraq and a New Middle East

Hillel Fradkin & Lewis Libby, RCWorld

The Arab Spring Proved Everyone Wrong

Michael J. Totten, World Affairs

Across the broad swath of territory it controls bridging Syria and Iraq, extremist militants from the group known as the Islamic State have proven to be highly organized administra...(full article)

Dictators playing the devil’s gambit can further this process of radicalization by targeting moderate groups for destruction, or provoking them into acts of terror. Assad cas...(full article)

The Islamic State is murderously hostile to all its neighbors: Turkey, Syria, Baghdad, KRG, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Iran. As the newly proclaimed caliphate, it regards their regim...(full article)

Shortly after the Arab Spring broke out at the tail end of 2010, two narratives took hold in the West. Optimists hailed a region-wide birth of democracy, as though the Middle East ...(full article)

For most of Islamic history the title of caliph has been disputed by a succession of Muslim leaders who were anxious to give sacral legitimacy to conquests already achieved – wha...(full article)

Most Recent Articles

New Jihadists Have Moved Past al-Qaeda - Margaret Coker, Wall St Journal

A new generation of Islamist extremists battle-hardened in Iraq and Syria sees the old guard of al Qaeda as too passive....

West Should Leave the Muslim World Alone - Simon Jenkins, The Guardian

The people of the Muslim world clearly need the west's humanitarian aid and sanctuary in distress. Britain must accept that there will be echoes of their conflicts in its domestic ...

Why ISIS' Rise Should Worry Americans - Michael Mukasey, NY Daily News

Restoring the caliphate has been on the list of things to do for Islamists virtually from the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1916. It was then that two European diplomats - Mark Syk...

Obama Caves to Conventional Wisdom on Syria - Fareed Zakaria, WaPo

The Obama administration’s decision to seek $500 million to train and fund elements of the Syrian opposition has been greeted with bipartisan support in Washington. The general c...

Why the Caliphate Will Devour Its Children - Philip Jenkins, Daily Beast

The pan-Islamic caliphate that Muslim extremists want to establish carries within it the seeds of its own destruction....

Saddam Hussein's Ghost - Michael Weiss, NOW Lebanon

IS moved into Syria from Iraq not long thereafter. Today, the militias Obama was referring to are asking for US airpower to defeat IS. And Obama’s administration has apparent...

Iran's ISIS Nightmare - Dina Esfandiary, The National Interest

Iran is stuck between a rock and a hard place on ISIS and Iraq. Taking responsibility for security in Iraq – or even significantly contributing to it – would be a huge undert...

Obama and the Syria Two-Step - Michael Doran, Brookings Institution

On the surface the president's new initiative looks impressive. After making his grand announcement in a major foreign policy speech, Obama turned to Congress with a request for $5...

Ancient Syrian Treasures Being Destroyed - Diana Darke, BBC News

Syria, graced with thousands of historic sites, is seeing its cultural heritage vandalised, looted and destroyed by war - but volunteers are doing what they can to document the dam...

Al-Baghdadi: The Terrorist Nation Builder - Jamie Dettmer, Daily Beast

In much the same way some Western officials and Maliki’s government underestimated al Baghdadi’s military capability in the run-up to his stunning jihadist blitz, so, too, they...

ISIS: It's Not Just About Iraq and Syria - John Ford, Daily Caller

In calling themselves the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, ISIS was marking out for itself a future territory whose western border would touch Egypt and whose eastern border woul...

The Post-Pax Americana World - Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal

Mr. Obama may imagine his red lines are still credible, but our enemies know otherwise. They get what the dwindling number of the president's courtiers—namely, Tom Friedman a...

Europe's Double Exposure - Ian Lesser, German Marshall Fund

Just as the crisis in Ukraine compels NATO and European Union leaders to focus on the resurgence of defence challenges to their east, developments to Europe's south raise very diff...

The Promise of Aleppo's Radicals - Matthieu Aikins, New York Times

ISIS is gone from Aleppo, having been forced out by local Syrian rebels in January. This military reversal, one of the group’s few, highlights the dilemma facing the West: Its be...

To Stop ISIS, Help Rebels We Abandoned - Mohammed Alaa Ghanem, NYP

President Obama recently dismissed as “fantasy” the idea that Syrian “farmers, dentists and folks who have never fought before” could defeat both Syria’s Assad regime a...

Friends and Enemies in Syria - Chicago Tribune

A Free Syrian Army sniper sits in a shooting position. Considered more moderate and secular than other rebel factions, the Free Syrian Army would be a part of an effort proposed by...

ISIS Could Regret Caliphate Declaration - Philip Jenkins, USA Today

After the prophet Mohammed died in 632, the Islamic community chose a caliph to lead the faithful. That institution lasted almost 1,300 years until it was abolished in 1924. Since ...

Mideast Power Struggles Exploit Ancient Rift - David Kirkpatrick, NYT

This island nation off the eastern coast of Saudi Arabia was the first place where Arab Spring demands for equal citizenship and democratic governance degenerated into a sectarian ...

Arabs Must Push Against the Islamic State - Hussein Ibish, The National

The new Caliph’s scandalous proclamation that “Syria does not belong to the Syrians and Iraq does not belong to the Iraqis” certainly ought to provide a basis for pitting nat...

How the White House Blew It on ISIS - Eli Lake, The Daily Beast

Team Obama was told, over and over, that the Iraqi army couldn’t stop a terror group that was ready to pounce. But Washington was a prisoner to its paradox of an Iraq policy....

Syria and a New Kind of Terror Threat - London Evening Standard

More than 100 Muslim leaders, including 40 London imams, have urged British Muslims not to go to fight in Syria. These voices of moderation must be heeded....

Who Was Saddam Hussein? - Robert Kaplan, Stratfor

The current disintegration of Iraq makes me reflect on the nature of Saddam Hussein's rule. Beyond the American invasion in 2003, which was the proximate cause of Iraq's current in...

How Obama Lost the Middle East - Victor Davis Hanson, National Review

The more Obama campaigned in 2008 on a failed war in Iraq, a neglected war in Afghanistan, an ill-considered War on Terror, and an alienated Middle East, the more those talking poi...

Will America Switch Sides and Back Assad? - Josh Rogin, Daily Beast

There’s a battle raging inside the Obama administration about whether the United States ought to push away from its goal of toppling Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and into ...

America's New Allies: Russia, Iran, Syria? - Paul Saunders, TNI

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki must be pretty unhappy with the United States.  Facing an existential threat to his country and a political threat to his leader...

The Caliphate Fantasy - Khaled Diab, New York Times

The jihadist insurgent group ISIS, or as it now prefers to be called, the Islamic State, appears well on the road to achieving its stated goal: the restoration of the caliphate. Th...

The Real Red Line in the Middle East - David Rothkopf, Foreign Policy

If ISIS attacks Jordan, neither the United States nor Israel will be able to stay out of the fray....

ISIS 'Caliph' Must Be Desperate - Fred Kaplan, Slate

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, the militia that has overrun much of northern and western Iraq in recent days, may be on the brink of sputtering out. Exhibit A: Th...

Colonial Powers Did Not Set Mideast Ablaze - Roula Khalaf, Financial Times

To emphasise Sykes-Picot in the Middle East’s current predicament, is to miss the region’s real problem: the tragic failure of successive postcolonial governments to bu...

The Shady Syrian Oligarchs Keeping Assad Afloat - Ben Barthe, Le Monde

In Syria, it's business as usual. Despite the desolate landscape of destruction that loyalist troops leave behind and the sanctions imposed by Western countries, a few entrepreneu...

Obama's Belated Syria Aid Ploy - Boston Herald

Now that his inaction has caused the war to spill over into neighboring Iraq and continue to endanger and destabilize Jordan, the president has decided it’s time to send somethin...

The New Caliphate's War Against History - Ishaan Tharoor, Wash Post

For centuries, the Ottomans held sway over a vast, complex and diverse empire, home to many ethnicities and faiths. Despite the various injustices of its rule, it had a reputation ...

A Jihadist Foothold in the Middle East - Washington Post

THese are heady times for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). It controls a wide swath of territory across the two countries in its name and boasts on the Internet of oblit...

Arsonists & Firefighters in the Middle East - Thomas Friedman, NY Times

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki is an arsonist. The minute America left Iraq, he deliberately arrested Sunni leaders, deprived them of budgets and stopped paying the Sunn...

Define 'Moderation' President Obama - Rami Khouri, The Daily Star

U.S. President Barack Obama’s latest request to Congress to provide $500 million in equipment and training to “appropriately vetted” moderate Syrian opposition fo...

Will Syria's Terrorism Spread to the West? - Bloomberg View

Among the hazards posed by the spiraling chaos in Iraq and Syria is one waiting to occur when it ends: What happens when the thousands of foreign jihadists who have joined the figh...

The Mideast Map Europe Drew Is Unravelling - John Judis, New Republic

If you look at a map of the Middle East in 1917, you won’t find Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, or Palestine. Since the sixteenth century, that area was part of the Ottoman Empire ...

It's Not America's War - Fred Kaplan, Slate

Diplomacy is the key. Maliki’s disenfranchisement of Sunni Arabs sowed the fertile soil for ISIS exploitation. Re-enfranchising Sunnis will do more than any number of smart bombs...

Time to End Mideast Democracy Promotion - Greg Sheridan, Australian

In the Middle East now we need to work only to secure key Western interests. The broad internal politics of the countries involved, though profoundly unattractive, is not a core pa...

Let ISIS Play Out Its Role in History - David Andelman, USA Today

Iraq is at the beginning of the endgame of its existence that began more than a century ago, and there is little the United States can do about it. Joining the fight, as we seem ...

Assad's Path Back to Respectability - Joshua Keating, Slate

The major development in Iraq today is the Syrian military launching airstrikes within Iraq. The strikes were apparently not coordinated with the Iraqi government but Prime Ministe...

Predictable Petropolitics Behind Iraq Crisis - Robert Fisk, The Independent

Saudi Arabia’s claim to be the greatest oil producer in the world is no longer threatened by Shia Iraq’s output, nor the undiscovered reserves which might turn Iraq int...

Western Jihadis Portend Terror Strikes - David Francis, Fiscal Times

Kerry was referencing spillover in the Middle East. But his warning also applies to the United States and Europe. ISIS and other terrorist groups have been openly recruiting wester...

What Makes British Muslims Go to Syria? - Suraj Lakhani, Guardian

The Isis recruitment video that emerged on the internet last week featuring two men from Cardiff and another from Aberdeen has caught the media's attention across the UK. However,...

The Man Who Broke the Middle East - Elliott Abrams, Politico Magazine

The Middle East that Obama inherited in 2009 was largely at peace, for the surge in Iraq had beaten down the al Qaeda-linked groups. U.S. relations with traditional allies in the G...

Syria