After Bailing Out Assad, the Russian Military Risks a Syria Quagmire
It has been well over one year, seven months since Russia’s military intervened in Syria’s civil war. From the get-go the Kremlin brushed aside claims that its campaign would lead to an Iraq or Afghanistan-like quagmire. Relying heavily on air power, Russia helped the Syrian regime to rebound from a... Read more
Saudi Arabia Can’t Win Its Own Battles
Saudi Arabia has relied heavily on air power since its campaign against the Houthis in Yemen began more than two years ago. The kingdom has also sought help from other countries for the ground war—because Saudi Arabia cannot win wars on its own. Saudi Arabia sought to substitute its lack of... Read more
Foreign Advisers Are Turning Kurdish Soldiers Into Professionals
As the threat from Islamic State gradually recedes in Iraq, the United States, along with leading members of the multinational coalition it assembled to defeat the militants, has presented a draft of a long-term plan to reform and professionalize Iraqi Kurdistan’s Peshmerga military forces. Over the course of the... Read more
Israel Will Try to Smash Hezbollah If There’s Another War
More than 10 years have passed since the last war between Israel and Hezbollah ended in a U.N.-brokered ceasefire. The 34-day conflict in July-August 2006 displaced a million Lebanese and half-a-million Israelis. Since then, Lebanon-based Hezbollah has amassed an enormous arsenal rockets and missiles, some capable of hitting anywhere inside... Read more
What Would Happen if Turkey Attacked U.S. Troops in Syria?
When Turkish warplanes bombed fighters from the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, in northeast Syria on the morning of April 25, embedded U.S. special forces were “uncomfortably close” to the targeted area, according to a YPG source cited by Al-Monitor. Specifically, U.S. troops were only a few miles away. “There was... Read more
Who Will Control Raqqa After Islamic State?
The Syrian Democratic Forces, a U.S.-backed coalition of Arab and Kurdish paramilitary fighters, are tightening the siege on Raqqa, Islamic State’s main city in Syria. The city is isolated and SDF forces are also on the offensive against the Islamic State in the nearby town of Tabqa—where U.S. helicopters... Read more
Turkey Is Quite Eager to Buy Russian Anti-Aircraft Missiles
Turkey is presently in the “final stage” of talks to purchase sophisticated long-range S-400 air defense missiles from Russia the country’s defense minister. Work on the S-400 has reached a final point. “But the final stage does not mean ‘let’s sign a deal tomorrow morning,’” Defense Minister Fikri Işik... Read more
Iraq and Syria Team Up to Take on Islamic State
Syrian warplanes carried out a series of strikes on Islamic State targets in Raqqa and along the Syrian-Iraqi frontier earlier in April 2017. Intelligence gathering from a Russian-Iranian-Iraqi and Syrian coalition enabled the aircraft to locate their targets. Formed in September 2015, this coalition has command centers in both... Read more
America’s Emerging ‘Little Sparta’ in the Middle East
During his years fighting for Kurdish autonomy from Baghdad in the 1960s and mid-1970s, Kurdish leader Mustafa Barzani was adamant that his people trust no power other than the United States. In the 1970s his Peshmerga guerrilla forces received covert support from the Americans, Israelis and Iran’s Shah in... Read more
The U.S. Military Expands Its Network of Syrian Airfields
A recent article in the Russian state-owned Sputnik Turkey outlet speculated that the airfield the United States built from scratch in the Syrian-Kurdish Kobani region could become a substitute for Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base. The assertion is likely correct—but only to an extent. The United States has never been able to... Read more

Paul Iddon

Contributing writer

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