Coronavirus in the Middle East: A Review and Assessment
This paper reviews the responses of Middle Eastern countries to the spread of the coronavirus and highlights diplomatic and defense implications stemming from the situation. The assessment of JISS fellows is that the coronavirus crisis will not fundamentally change power dynamics in the region or alter the prevailing ambitions and policies of key countries.
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.
Israel Confirms Attacks on Iranian Targets in Syria
Israel Confirms Attacks on Iranian Targets in Syria.
Major General (res.) Yaakov Amidror :“If you want to make clear to the other side that you are determined to prevent something, either you escalate the operation, or you say in public I’m doing it, meaning I’m ready to take the risk”.
‘Israel will continue to react to military entrenchment by Iran’
'Israel will continue to react to military entrenchment by Iran'
Israel has carried out airstrikes on Iranian targets in the vicinity of the Syrian capital Damascus. The Israeli Defense Forces have confirmed the military operation in an tweet earlier this morning. Radio Sputnik discussed the development with Efraim Inbar, president of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies.
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.
A Fragile Russian-Turkish Cease-fire In Syria’s Idlib
A Fragile Russian-Turkish Cease-fire In Syria’s Idlib.
Dr. Hay Eytan Cohen Yanarocak of JISS: Turkey is eager to exclude Syria from negotiations because it does not recognize the government of al-Assad and does not want to grant it legitimacy by engaging in talks.
Poll: 91% of Israelis favor strikes on Iranian assets in Syria
Poll: 91% of Israelis favor strikes on Iranian assets in Syria.
Some 77% of respondents believe Israel must pursue hard-line policies to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions, Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies poll finds. It also finds 57% are pleased with how PM Netanyahu is handling the Iranian threat.
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 Logic of Israel’s Actions to Contain Iran in Syria and Lebanon
Israel’s opposition to Iranian entrenchment in Syria and Lebanon is twofold: To prevent Iran from building a beachhead against Israel through its proxies on Israel’s borders, and to impede development of Iran’s nuclear and long-range missile capabilities. Israel is absolutely determined and prepared to act forcefully against Iran, which could lead to a full-scale war. Israel must win this struggle against Iran, one way or another.
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.
Suspected Israeli strikes hit Iran-linked targets in Syria, escalating regional tensions
Suspected Israeli strikes hit Iran-linked targets in Syria, escalating regional tensions.
Dr. Jonathan Spyer of JISS: With Israel determined to prevent the “consolidation and entrenchment” of Iranian influence in Syria, “the chances of confrontation between Israel and Iran are quite significant.”
‘MISSION ACCOMPLISHED’ IN SYRIA WOULD BE BLESSING FOR ASSAD, TROUBLE FOR ISRAEL
'MISSION ACCOMPLISHED' IN SYRIA WOULD BE BLESSING FOR ASSAD, TROUBLE FOR ISRAEL.
Dr. J. Spyer: Jerusalem remains concerned that the US and its partners are turning a blind eye to Iran's attempts to entrench itself in the country.
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.
Syria: Where Chaos Theory Meets Murphy’s Law
Syria: Where Chaos Theory Meets Murphy’s Law. Dr. Jonathan Spyer: A whole series of other contests that have little to do with internal Syrian dynamics—but which are nonetheless taking place on Syrian soil—have now erupted. By Charles Bybelezer | The Media Line, February 20, 2018
Iran, Deeply Embedded in Syria, Expands ‘Axis of Resistance’
Iran, Deeply Embedded in Syria, Expands ‘Axis of Resistance’ Gen. Amidror: “Israel face not only quantities of Hezbollah missiles, but the threat to vulnerable strategic sites.” By Ben Hubbard, Isabel Kershner and Anne Barnard, The New York Times, Feb. 19, 2018