Iran’s Struggle to Entrench Itself in Syria
Iran is continually expanding its military, economic and political presence in Syria. Bashar al-Assad’s February 25 visit to Iran was an important marker in these efforts. Assad met with Iranian Leader Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani, who labeled him the “hero of the Arab world.” The presence of Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani and
Syria’s Return to the Arab Fold
Arab countries are re-normalizing their relations with the Assad regime, seeking to balance the strong Iranian and Turkish influences in Syria and to achieve some degree of influence in a new Syrian political-strategic structure. This further cements a Russian-oriented strategic architecture in the region. In the long term, this could lead to tensions between conservative Arab states and Israel, if Israel targets the Syrian military and government in the campaign against Iran, or if Israel continues to promote diplomatic recognition of its Golan annexation.
Trump’s Withdrawal from Syria: Not Unexpected and a Victory for the “Astana Three”
The possibility that Iran and Turkey will be emboldened by the American decision, is worrisome. The main counter to that will be robust deterrence from Israel, whose maintenance may increase the likeliness of escalation in Syria and Lebanon, and even more resort to the restraining hand of Russia.
The Murder of Sheikh Bashir Faisal al-Huwaidi in Raqqa
The killing of prominent Arab tribal leader Sheikh Bashir Faisal al-Huwaidi has serious implications for the US and Kurdish administered part of Syria, in which Raqqa is located. That administration of Syria has many enemies and remains fragile.
Iran’s Lies – A Tool for Concealing its Policy Contradictions in Syria
Iran is hiding its efforts to establish a presence in Syria, for both internal and external reasons. This policy involves numerous internal contradictions and to avoid admitting to them, the IRGC and Hezbollah are conducting a propaganda campaign.
The Real Story behind the Repatriation of Syrian Refugees
Russia is actively promoting international involvement in the reconstruction of Syria as a humanitarian effort aimed at creating the conditions for refugees to return, but in practice this will reinforce the foundations of Assad’s rule and territorial control. The US is in no hurry to respond, but the Russian initiative will not remain unanswered.
The Future of Eastern Syria and the Israeli Interest
JISS fellow Dr. Jonathan Spyer travelled in late July to the SDF enclave in eastern Syria. He reports that maintenance of this enclave is critical to keeping a substantial physical obstacle to the Iranian goal of a contiguous corridor from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean.
Is southern Syria heading for ‘Lebanonization’?
The likely emergent picture in Syria, as in Lebanon, is the ongoing consolidation of another IRGC project, in the framework of a weakened and truncated Arab state, along with an ongoing Israeli effort to deter the masters of this project from acts of aggression.
Will Israel Once Again Turn its Back on Those Who Have Been on its Side?
Israel may soon face a dilemma. The "arrangement" with Russia as to the future of Syria may stave-off an Iranian presence but will pose an existential danger to the groups of rebels near the border – groups which have worked closely with the IDF to prevent direct friction with hostile elements on the line of contact. It is vital that the solutions to this challenge demonstrate to future partners that Israel does not turn its back on those who have assisted it facing a common threat.
The Arrest of Saleh Muslim: Escalation in Kurdish-Turkish Tensions
How the arrest of this Kurdish leader is handled will indicate the extent to which the Syrian Kurds’ central role in the fight against the Islamic State has accrued some broader political legitimacy for their leadership. This, in turn, has implications for the troubled relationship between the West and Turkey.