A delegation of Hamas leaders met on July 22 with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to enlist Tehran’s support in convincing the Syrian regime to reopen the Palestinian group’s Damascus office. Meanwhile, on the same day, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faysal al-Mokdad was receiving1 a delegation from the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) whose most prominent political party is the Hamas rival, Fatah. This split-screen between Iran and Syria shows how the controversial US peace initiative to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is benefiting Tehran and pushing the two main Palestinian factions into the arms of Damascus. The Hamas visit to Tehran was led by
While the latest American sanctions, imposed on July 9, continue a trend of US pressure on Hezbollah, they symbolize an imperfect realignment of interests between the Trump Administration’s Iran approach and Lebanese leaders’ aim to alter their country’s political dynamics. Lebanon has been mostly shielded from US-Iranian tensions over the nuclear deal, but there are questions about whether this is about to change. Click here to read my latest analysis on Lebanon. This analysis was also republished and/or featured in Lobe Log, L’Orient Le Jour (in French) and Lebanon24 (in Arabic).
- “Since Trump and his national security advisers are not talking in one voice on the S-400, Erdogan is trying to weigh in on this debate by highlighting the potential risks to US forces, however, this move might further antagonize the US against Ankara,”.
- “While Erdogan is trying to have leverage over the upcoming talks between the Turkish and American militaries regarding northern Syria, the unintended risk is provoking a confrontation with Kurdish forces, which might increase the cost of Turkish intervention in Syria at a critical time in Erdogan’s political future”.
Click here to read the full article.
- The Iranian regime’s objective remains to incorporate the (PMF) as an independent formation within the military structure, a la IRGC, to become an Iraqi Revolutionary Guard.
- Some in Washington and the Arab world are welcoming this Iraqi decree with jubilation but the fact is it will not be implemented without Iranian consent. It actually preserves and legitimizes Iranian influence on the long-term. Click here to read the full article.
US officials appear to be overselling a potential deal with Turkey on establishing a “safe zone” in northeastern Syria, one they hope could peel Ankara away from Moscow. However, this approach might accelerate the confrontation between Turkish and Kurdish forces in the absence of a clear American strategy in Syria and given the uncertainty in US-Turkish relations. Click here to read my latest analysis.
“The Monarchy’s challenges in past few years are existential and hit the core of the King’s traditional allies at home and abroad, making the country’s domestic woes even more intertwined with external challenges”.
Click here to read the full article in Spanish.
- Russia and Turkey have “irreconcilable interests in Idlib, however, they chose neither to fight if off nor to strike a deal since both scenarios have a detrimental impact on their bilateral relations”.
- The only way out of the Idlib quagmire is either the shortcut of an unwarranted military solution or the long-term arduous path of conflict resolution.
- Idlib and the S-400 delivery have become increasingly intertwined and caught up in the US-Russian tensions and Turkey’s attempt to play both sides.
- “Erdogan is approaching a critical moment next month where he might have to choose between coming under significant US pressure if he officially receives the S-400s and dealing with a Russian offensive in Idlib if the S-400 deal does not go through.
Click here to read the full article.
On May 13, while The New York Times reported that the White House was reviewing military plans to attack Iran, a plane carrying the State Department’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs David Satterfield quietly landed in Beirut on an unannounced trip. Heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran did not prevent the US official from rushing to seize a breakthrough as the Iran-backed Hezbollah finally endorsed the Lebanese government’s stance to enter direct negotiations to settle the border dispute with Israel. These negotiations are expected to begin in the coming weeks as the United States and Iran may explore direct talks for the first time since President Donald Trump took office in 2017. Click here to read my latest analysis.
As Amman prepares to weather the storm of the anticipated US peace initiative to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Jordan’s King Abdullah II is shifting his approach to domestic politics by realigning interests with the Muslim Brotherhood and clamping down on his critics. The country’s slow economic growth and persistent regional deadlock are constraining Jordan’s rentier state and the monarchy’s rule, as the kingdom continues to lose the support of its traditional allies. Click here to read my latest analysis.
As the showdown between Washington and Tehran escalates elsewhere in the Gulf, Iran is giving high priority to secure, control and re-open al-
Bukamal border crossing, the only Syrian-Iraqi border crossing under its control, to solidify its influence in the Levant and mitigate the impact of US sanctions. The question remains, however, whether Iran will pull off this move and how the Trump administration might react? Click here to read my latest for al-Monitor.