In 1998, Turkey and Syria Narrowly Avoided War
Sick and tired of Syria sheltering its arch-enemy the Kurdistan Workers Party, more commonly known by its acronym PKK, in 1998 Turkey threatened to invade. In the end, diplomacy prevented a potentially bloody war. On Oct. 4, 1998, a top Turkish commander declared that the two countries were in... Read more
Iran Almost Invaded Afghanistan in 1998
In late 1998 Iran readied its armed forces for an invasion of Afghanistan. Last-ditch diplomacy defused tensions and prevented a potentially destructive conflict. On Aug. 8, 1998, the Taliban, which then ruled around 90 percent of Afghanistan, seized the city of Mazar-e-Sharif. During the invasion, Taliban forces murdered 10... Read more
Invading Iran
Nov. 4, 1979, marked a turning point in the relationship between the United States and Iran. Less than a year after the Iranian Revolution deposed the last shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, militant students — acting on their own — occupied the American embassy, taking 52 Americans hostages.... Read more
To Equip Its New Armed Forces, Iraq Shopped Around
Iraq in the last decade has made major progress re-equipping its armed forces. It’s done so by carefully selecting arms from different sources, shrewdly factoring in cost and political considerations. The end result is a military with a surprising variety of weaponry. Under Saddam Hussein – when the Iraqi... Read more
Turkey’s Drones Target Kurdish Militants
Turkey in recent years has gone from being a buyer of drones to a producer of them. It has built and fielded a variety of unmanned aerial vehicles, including armed ones, in combat. As invariably is the case is with any new Turkish military equipment, Ankara’s drones flew their... Read more
Turkey Threatens U.S. Allies in Syria
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has once again threatened to launch further cross-border military operations targeting the United States’ Syrian Kurdish-led allies in the country’s northeast. “God willing, very soon … we will leave the terror nests east of the Euphrates in disarray,” Erdogan declared on Oct. 12, 2018,... Read more
Iran Lobs Ballistic Missiles at Iraq and Syria
On Sept. 8 and Oct. 1, 2018, Iran launched major missile strikes targeting its adversaries in both Iraqi Kurdistan and Syria in the most significant series of missile strikes the country has undertaken in almost two decades. The October strike targeted Islamic State militants near the eastern Syrian border... Read more
The Kurds Are All But Defenseless Against Air Attack
In late August 2018 a rumor circulated that U.S. military forces in Syria were acquiring radars for an air-defense system that, according to the Turkish press, help to establish a no-fly zone over the country’s Kurdish-majority northeast. The U.S. government has sought to downplay such speculation, dubbing it “a... Read more
A Russian Fleet Gathers Near Syria
In late August 2018 Russia launched a naval deployment in the western Mediterranean off the Syrian coast. It was Moscow’s biggest such deployment since the end of the Cold War. The naval moves came shortly after the Kremlin claimed the United States and its Western allies were plotting a... Read more
Iran’s Fighters Are Really, Really Old
Two incidents in late August 2018 involving Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force F-5F Tiger II fighter jets underscored the ongoing crisis in Iran’s air force. On Aug. 21, Iran unveiled what it described as a new, fourth-generation fighter jet. Iranian president Hassan Rouhani even sat in the plane’s cockpit... Read more

Paul Iddon

Contributing writer

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