Aaron Stein

  • Turkish Policy in Syria: Divining Intent and Options for the United States

    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.

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  • Stein Quoted in AFP on Turkey Threatening Syria's Kurds


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  • How Will the Outcome of the Midterms Affect Trump's Policy Options?

    Democrats captured the House of Representatives while Republicans strengthened their Senate majority in the US midterm elections on November 6.

    We asked our analysts what they believe are the policy implications of this outcome. Here’s what they had to say*:

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  • Stein In Foreign Policy: U.S.-Turkish Ties May Be Cut for Good in Syria


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  • In Istanbul, Geopolitical Maneuvering But No Progress

    A summit held in Istanbul on Saturday failed to produce any breakthroughs in the core disagreements over the Syrian conflict. It did however have notable geopolitical implications that affect each of the four attendees Russia, Germany, and France, and Turkey – two of whom are new to an effort created to manage Russia and Turkish interests in Syria. Significantly, the United States took no part in the meeting despite the presence of two major European allies and NATO partner, Turkey.

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  • Stein Quoted in Al Monitor on Turkey’s Attack on Kurdish Militants


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  • War Games in Syria: A Lesson in Futility

    In the final, climactic scene of the 1983 film “War Games,” Matthew Broderick (David) and Ally Sheedy (Jennifer) watch as John Wood (Professor Falken) manages to get his computer program, Joshua, to play itself in a game of thermonuclear war. The stakes are high: Joshua had been hacked and was running a simulation of a nuclear showdown with Soviet Russia that risked actual missile launch. To prevent an unintended global thermonuclear war, Joshua learns after playing tic-tac-toe and then simulating different launch sequences over and over again that some games have no winner. There is no winning move in either tic-tac-toe or global thermonuclear war therefore, the only winning move is not to play. 

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  • Stein Quoted in Vox on Turkey's Anger at Saudi Arabia Over Khashoggi Murder


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  • Murder in Istanbul and the Turkish Saudi Rivalry

    On October 2, 2018, Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi national living in self-exile in the United States, walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. That was the last time he was seen alive. The reason for Jamal’s visit to the consulate is familiar to foreigners who marry Turkish nationals. To set-a-date for one’s wedding, the Turkish government requires a document certifying that you are not already married. Ultimately, it was Jamal’s fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, that alerted Turkish authorities about the disappearance, touching off a gruesome and tragic story, rooted in Saudi incompetence and Turkish opportunism to try and take advantage of global outrage over the reported death of a popular figure.

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  • Stein Quoted in The Atlantic on Turkey Treatment of Khashoggi Affairs


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