Policy Analysis

Russia’s Gains in Syria Could Be a Blessing in Disguise

The Trump Administration’s decision to directly or indirectly facilitate the Turkish incursion into Syria left a vacuum in the area stretching along the Turkish-Syrian border, one that was partially filled by Moscow and Ankara. Once again, Russia has appeared to be the power broker in Syria with US influence continuing to wane; however, it remains to be seen how Russia might or might not benefit from these transformative changes in the Syrian conflict. Click here to read the policy analysis.

Op-Ed

What next for Lebanon after Hariri’s strategic exit?

Hariri’s resignation, far from resolving the crisis, has pushed the country further into political turmoil. In the short term, it is likely that Lebanon will face a political dead-end, until various forces weigh up their options. A quick resolution will largely depend on whether Hezbollah will remain in denial on the opposite side of a significant part of his own constituency or will show flexibility and ultimately recognise the new realities of the Lebanese uprising.  Click here to read my op-ed.

Policy Analysis

Trump Puts His Stamp on a Generational Shift at the Pentagon

In recent months, US President Donald Trump managed to put his own stamp on a generational shift at the Pentagon, with new leaders emerging to navigate war and peace decisions at a crucial time of political uncertainty in Washington. This comes as the Defense Department addresses the challenge of an increasingly emboldened Iranian regime under significant US economic pressure and a White House that continues to be inclined to withdraw from US engagement in the Middle East. Click here to read the full analysis.

Interview

Quoted in “Arab News” on the start of the US-Turkish joint patrols in Syria.

“Erdogan is criticizing the US administration and betting on his meeting with (US President Donald) Trump in New York this month to settle this issue, as both sides always aim to find a consensus rather than go to confrontation,” Macaron said. “Regardless of what might happen though, the safe zone is a temporary fix. These contentious issues they’re facing will remain pending moving forward”. Click here to read the full article.

Policy Analysis

Should the United States Include Israel in the Gulf Maritime Coalition?

While Israel might have the edge and enjoys Russian cover in Syria, it will be on its own and vulnerable in the Strait of Hormuz if it establishes a naval presence—the focus would turn to protecting the Israeli Navy instead of safeguarding international navigation. Moreover, Israel has no strategic and economic stake in the waterway’s stability, which it does not use for transporting its own energy imports. Instead, Israel could use this involvement as part of its ongoing efforts to deter Iran. It could also weaken Gulf leaders who are allies of the Trump Administration by leaving them with the option of either succumbing to Iranian threats or getting Israeli support. This scenario would surely not play well among their constituencies at home. Click here to read my full analysis.

Policy Analysis

Hamas Plans a Comeback to Damascus: US and Regional Implications

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