MENASource|News, Analysis, Perspectives

MENASource
MenaSource logo

Follow MENASource:

TwitterRSS


On December 10, 2017, former Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory in the battle to liberate Iraqi territories from the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). The Iraqi Army, Special Forces, and Federal Police, supported by the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMFs) and the Peshmerga, fought for every inch of territory that was occupied by the terrorist group. Iraq was not alone in this fight. An international coalition, led by the United States, offered significant military help in the form of air support, logistics, and invaluable advisory assistance on the ground.

Read More

Hezbollah has been instrumental to Iran’s power play in the Middle East, and its behavior is often evocative of Iran’s priorities in Syria and Lebanon. As the United States ramps up sanctions against Tehran and the war winds down in Syria, Hezbollah has adapted by scaling back and shifting its role in regime areas while escalating its political rhetoric and activity in Lebanon. 

Read More

In a piece published last year, I examined the interaction of water and conflict in Yemen and Syria, two countries whose severe water shortages have enabled competing actors to wield this precious resource as a weapon in violent conflict to the detriment of millions of civilians.

Read More

With the high and ever-growing civilian death toll of Yemen’s civil war, the acute need for peace contrasts sharply with the sparse hopes of a peace process. After months of delays, the government and rebel forces announced on November 19 their intentions to temporarily freeze military operations and convene for negotiations in Sweden. The success of these talks will depend on whether the parties can effectively apply the lessons of past peace talks to structure a new peace process for Yemen.

Read More

Reports that the CIA has concluded Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi add weight and urgency to something recommended by this writer weeks ago: The United States should undertake a comprehensive, bottom-up national security review of the bilateral relationship with the Saudi Kingdom and its impact on American interests in the Middle East.  Such a review is long-overdue in any event.  The alleged murder of a resident of the United States by order of the de facto Saudi chief-of-state would seem to make it mandatory.  It should be mandatory. 

Read More

Turkey was once the main sponsor of the Syrian opposition’s effort to topple Bashar al Assad. However, beginning in late 2016, Turkish policy has shifted following the Russian defeat of Turkish backed proxies in Aleppo. This change in policy sparked a reassessment of Turkish strategy away from the overthrow of the regime and towards close cooperation with Russia and competition with the United States. Beginning in the summer of 2016, Ankara settled on the pursuit of four closely interrelated goals in Syria: blocking westward expansion of the American backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF); frustrating American military operations east of the Euphrates River; working through Russia to ensure that Syria remains a unitary state after the conflict ends; resettling displaced people in Turkish controlled territory in northern Syria.

Read More

An unmistakable sense of despair and gloom accompanies most news reports and literature on the state of affairs in Libya after 2011. The Arab Spring was meant to usher in a period of unprecedented change after decades of notoriously undemocratic leadership across the Middle East and North Africa. Yet, seven years later, there has been very little positive development in terms of transparency, accountability, and inclusivity in the Arab world. No Arab Spring country, however, has fared worse than Libya, whose revolt, ironically, was more of a NATO-supported war than a genuine home-grown revolution with protracted battles which have essentially torn the oil-rich North African nation to shreds.

Read More

The approaching conference on Libyan stabilization hosted by Italy—which will be held on November 12 and 13 in Palermo—will bring together the main Libyan leaders, with the purpose of defining their respective negotiation platforms in advance. Italy must not only navigate the components of Libya's heterogeneous and conflicting political landscape, but also host the most relevant regional and global actors.

Read More

Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi announced in September the official end to the alliance between Nidaa Tounes Ennahda that had been holding on since February 2015. Termed a “mut'ah”—a temporary marriage of traditional Shia origin—by Tunisia expert Dr. Monica Marks, it was a marriage of convenience between the two main parliamentary parties to preserve stability and to focus on counterterrorism, improving the economy, and government efficiency during the critical transitional period following the ousting of former President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011.

Read More

When Sudan’s government was bombing hospitals in one of its own states in 2011, Kareem was among the activists detailing the atrocities. His work tracking the counterinsurgency in South Kordofan made him a target for Sudan’s security services, and in December 2012 he was accosted by two men who sprayed him with a nerve agent that put him in the hospital.

Read More