The tenuous deal surely is welcome news for the Trump administration, which has struggled to define a set of objectives in Syria and seemed to have little leverage to stop the looming Idlib offensive. The U.S. for years has waged a bombing campaign against the Islamic State in Syria, but the administration stopped short of … More Can Turkey and Russia Create a Buffer Zone in Idlib?
What can be done to stop the looming Idlib assault, and what — realistically — is the best outcome the Trump administration can hope for? “There’s always been overlapping or unclear objectives. There’s never been an unambiguous strategy. Unlike the Russians, as we know, who have always had one clear strategy: the preservation of the … More Limited U.S. Policy Options in Syria [Interview]
The United States has little leverage in Syria and very few policy options. Russia is the strongest external actor in Syria and Russian influence will likely prevail. Since 2015, Putin has deployed military force in support of the Syrian government. The United States and Russia have supported opposite sides in the Syrian war, and there … More Expectations for Trump’s Meeting with Putin in Helsinki
Despite their alliance, Russia has never had much influence over Syria’s policies. Published in the Washington Post. All eyes are on Russia as President Trump prepares to meet with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki next week. But the real geopolitical focus of the meeting might well be a few thousand miles away in Syria. Last week, national … More Russia and the U.S. have Common Interests in Syria. But it may not Matter
Published in the Washington Post. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claims that Syrian and Russian warplanes killed more than 500 civilians, including 121 children, in Eastern Ghouta from Feb. 18 through Sunday. Moscow denies direct involvement, despite having deployed military forces in support of the Syrian government since 2015. This weekend, after initial resistance, … More Why Russia will Prevail in Syria
The US does not have a coherent strategy in Syria. At times Washington has advocated different agendas such as humanitarian relief, Assad’s resignation, and the defeat of Islamic State. Russia, on the other hand, has always had a clear and consistent strategy: defending its ally, Assad. In 2015, Russia deployed military force in support of the government which … More Why Russia will Prevail in Syria [Interview]
In case you missed this week’s important stories from the Middle East and beyond. Israel Jonathan Tepperman’s bold essay in The Atlantic argues that while Israel is in a position of strength, it should control its own destiny with the Palestinians. Although bilateral negotiations have failed to achieve a political settlement, Israeli unilateral actions in … More Weekend Thinking: Israel, China and Russia