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Expectations low as Erdogan arrives in DC

Expectations low as Erdogan arrives in DC

( Al-Monitor )- Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrives in Washington today to hold what promises to be a bumpy meeting with his American counterpart Donald Trump. The pair are expected to meet at the White House May 16 and much of the discussion will likely focus on a controversial US...

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Trump is getting closer to collusion with Russia in Syria

Trump is getting closer to collusion with Russia in Syria

By Josh Rogin ( Washington Post )- President Trump’s Wednesday meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the White House was not primarily about sanctions or Crimea or even Russian interference in the 2016 election. According to Trump, the U.S. government now looks favorably...

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The new cold war in Syria

The new cold war in Syria

By Hussain Nadim ( The Express Tribune )- If it was truly about Syria or defeating the ISIS, the mess that we see in the region today would have been solved relatively easier. The unfolding of recent events, including the US strategic bombing to ‘save’ human lives, is a classic Cold War...

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The scramble for eastern Syria: A new Great Game

The scramble for eastern Syria: A new Great Game

( Middle East Eye )- After the Syrian regime’s recapture of Aleppo in December 2016 and the consequential pushing and cornering of major rebel forces into Idlib, the tide of the Syrian civil war was decisively turned in favour of the government. Ever since, it has mainly sought to...

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This Yemeni city risks becoming the next Aleppo. Will America be complicit?

This Yemeni city risks becoming the next Aleppo. Will America be complicit?

( The Guardian )- My life in Yemen is dominated by fear. As director of the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies, and one of the few remaining independent voices in Yemen, I have been detained, seen colleagues assassinated, and buried friends killed by Saudi airstrikes. Now, half of my country...

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Is Turkey trying to disrupt Raqqa operation?

Is Turkey trying to disrupt Raqqa operation?

( Al-Monitor )- Turkey appears to be hoping that its bombing this week of Sinjar in Iraq and Rojava in northern Syria will enable it to intervene in those countries on a larger scale. Since Turkey launched Operation Euphrates Shield in Syria in August 2016, attacks against organizations...

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One Country’s War Changed the World

One Country’s War Changed the World

( New York Times )- The world seems awash in chaos and uncertainty, perhaps more so than at any point since the end of the Cold War. Authoritarian-leaning leaders are on the rise, and liberal democracy itself seems under siege. The post-World War II order is fraying as fighting spills across...

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Chemical Weapons Aren’t the Real Problem in Syria

Chemical Weapons Aren’t the Real Problem in Syria

( Foreign Policy )- In 2012, President Barack Obama warned that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons was a “red line” that would “change [the] calculus” of U.S. policy toward the Syrian civil war. A year later, faced with evidence that Assad had used sarin gas...

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Trump's Syria strategy slowly emerges out of the smoke

Trump's Syria strategy slowly emerges out of the smoke

( The New Arab )- Though still evolving, President Donald Trump's plans for Syria have come into clearer view since he ordered cruise missiles fired on a Syrian air base to punish Assad for a chemical weapons attack. The strategy breaks down into three basic phases: defeating the Islamic State...

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Could Asma al-Assad be stripped of her British citizenship?

Could Asma al-Assad be stripped of her British citizenship?

( The Guardian )- Is Asma al-Assad a war criminal? Is she a threat to British national security? These are the questions the home secretary will consider if she gives any attention to the call by the Liberal Democrat’s foreign affairs spokesman Tom Brake that she withdraw the Syrian...

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Inside the Arab mind: Questions on Syria and beyond

Inside the Arab mind: Questions on Syria and beyond

( The New Arab )- Over the past two centuries, Arabs have asked themselves an endless stream of questions. The appropriate role of Islam in politics; the dialectic relationship between tradition and modernity; the pros and cons of liberalism and socialism; the meaning and purpose of a true...

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Assad’s departure still non-starter for Putin

Assad’s departure still non-starter for Putin

( Al-Monitor )- Maxim Suchkov writes that following the visit of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Moscow this week, “the departure of President Bashar al-Assad was and remains a non-starter for Russia. What neither Lavrov nor Putin would probably say to Tillerson, but do expect him to...

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Regime change in Syria? That would be a mistake

Regime change in Syria? That would be a mistake

( The Guardian )- The US military strike against the Shayrat military base, in response to a brutal chemical weapons attack on civilians in the rebel-held area of Khan Sheikhoun, has the Twitterverse and media fulminating over the idea of US-led regime change in Syria. Now to be fair, no one...

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Trump’s unpredictability demands European steadiness

Trump’s unpredictability demands European steadiness

( The Guardian )- Rex Tillerson’s plane touched down in Moscow on Tuesday amid a smoky haze caused by a fire at a nearby rubbish dump. More than one observer found the metaphor irresistible. The US approach to Syria – the term “policy” would dignify it with a coherence it does not...

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Why Trump’s missiles are shaking Putin’s home front

Why Trump’s missiles are shaking Putin’s home front

( The Guardian )- Many reasons were advanced for Donald Trump’s decision to order last week’s strike on a Syrian airfield. In addition to the justifications he gave – the US national interest, the need to demonstrate that the use of chemical weapons had a cost, the emotional response to...

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Is Iraq poised for large-scale military involvement in Syria?

Is Iraq poised for large-scale military involvement in Syria?

( Al-Monitor )- With the Islamic State (IS) nearly defeated in Iraq, Baghdad and Damascus have remarkably stepped up security and military cooperation. On March 29, the Iraqi Federal Intelligence and Investigation Agency announced that, through coordination between the two countries, the Syrian...

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Here’s how German courts are planning to prosecute Syrian war crimes

Here’s how German courts are planning to prosecute Syrian war crimes

( The Washington Post )- Today’s news from Syria, where an apparent chemical weapons attack has taken the lives of dozens of civilians (including children), reminds us once again of the desperate need for justice for those who have suffered atrocities in that country’s civil war. Yet there...

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Russia, US and military intervention in Syria: what next after missile strikes?

Russia, US and military intervention in Syria: what next after missile strikes?

( The Guardian )- Is regime change in Syria back on the US agenda? For most of Syria’s six-year civil war the US has been pushing for the departure of Bashar al-Assad, even if former president Barack Obama was unwilling to use military options to remove him. Donald Trump had conspicuously...

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Driver kills nine, injures 16 plowing van onto Toronto sidewalk: police      Salah: Roma rescue, to Liverpool revival      Rebels kill 23 troops in northeast Homs      Senior Houthi official killed in coalition air raid last week: Houthi report      Syria security chief refuses to appear in Lebanon court      Dozens killed in regime assault on Yarmouk camp: monitor      PYD allows 50 displaced families to return back home in Hasaka      Daesh threatens Iraq polling stations ahead of vote