Russia Turns Trump’s Middle East Blunder to Its Advantage

Oct 23, 2019

The Americans call the five-day halt to Turkey’s military incursion into northern Syria a ceasefire, while the Turks prefer to call it a pause. The Kurds call the incursion something else. For them, and for American soldiers who fought with them in the war against the Islamic State (IS), as well...

It’s Time to Bury the Myth of Trump the Dealmaker
Oct 18, 2019

It's Time to Bury the Myth of Trump the Dealmaker

We May Be Better Off Without a Clear Definition of Terrorism
Jul 23, 2019

We May Be Better Off Without a Clear Definition of Terrorism

Turkey’s New Role in the Middle East Divides the Arab World
Jul 12, 2019

Turkey’s New Role in the Middle East Divides the Arab World

What Does Turkey’s Election Result Mean for Its Ruling Party?

What Does Turkey’s Election Result Mean for Its Ruling Party?

Apr 02, 2019

While the AKP's electoral base has been loyal to the party this time, there is no certainty this will happen again in the future. The results of the Turkish local elections appear to be quite clear as of now —  at least when it comes to the actual numbers emerging from the polling stations....

The Forever War in the Middle East Is Far from Over

The Forever War in the Middle East Is Far from Over

Jan 18, 2019

US involvement in Syria — hesitant, misguided, quixotic — has been benighted from the beginning. Donald Trump wants to pull US troops out of Syria as quickly as possible. Well, it’s Friday, so that’s what the president wants now. Tomorrow, who knows, maybe he’ll insist that Syria pay...

Why the US Is Still Losing Turkey

Why the US Is Still Losing Turkey

Jan 15, 2019

Reliably narrow definitions of national self-interest continue to drive Turkey and the US further apart. There’s one thing Turkey and the US can definitely agree on these days: Unreliability is now the bedrock of their relationship. It’s perhaps not surprising when the two powers are led by...

Syrian Kurds: The New Frontline in Confronting Iran and Turkey

Syrian Kurds: The New Frontline in Confronting Iran and Turkey

Jan 15, 2019

In the Middle East, frontlines and tactics may be shifting, but US and Gulf geopolitical goals have not. Donald Trump’s threat to “devastate” the Turkish economy if Ankara attacks Syrian Kurds serves his broader goal of letting regional forces fight for common goals, like countering...

The Future of the Astana Peace Process

The Future of the Astana Peace Process

Oct 04, 2018

The international community must side with Turkey in the face of a probable full-scale assault on Idlib in an attempt to prevent a humanitarian and diplomatic crisis. The Astana process, which aimed at formalizing security arrangements and de-escalating tension between Turkey, Russia and Iran,...

The Fall of the House of ISIS

The Fall of the House of ISIS

Oct 26, 2017

ISIS is on the decline, but the catastrophic political divisions in Iraq and Syria that gave rise to it are no closer to being mended. The Middle East today is enduring a replay of World War II, with the Islamic State in the role of Nazi Germany. Having seized much of Europe and parts of the...

Are New Middle Eastern Alliances Reshaping the Region?

Are New Middle Eastern Alliances Reshaping the Region?

Political spats and rifts in the Middle East could lead to proxy wars and potentially redraw demarcation lines for new states in parts of Iraq and Turkey. The Middle East is witnessing a total makeover that may change the rules of war, peace and stability not only in the region, but also the...

Kurdexit: More Trouble than it’s Worth?

Kurdexit: More Trouble than it's Worth?

Sep 11, 2017

A yes vote in the Kurdish independence referendum might bring more trouble to the region. When on June 7 Masoud Barzani, Kurdistan’s incumbent president, announced a referendum on independence from Iraq for September 25, a wave of internal backlashes followed, questioning Barzani’s...

Turkey: A Preview for 2017

Turkey: A Preview for 2017

Jan 18, 2017

Turkey has moved from hero to zero. It is now in the eye of the storm. The Middle East has no shortage of dysfunctional states. The fallout of the Arab Spring has left civil war in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya. Beyond them, states such as Egypt and Jordan teeter on the edge of chaos,...

How to Salvage US Interests in Syria

How to Salvage US Interests in Syria

Jan 17, 2017

Short of a full military victory by one side or the other, there is no prospect of Syria being stitched back together soon. When it started in 2011, the Syrian protest movement against the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria was entirely domestic and mostly peaceful. I was there and observed...

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