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

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

Policy Analysis

The Symbolism Behind The Latest U.S. Sanctions Against Hezbollah

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).

Interview

Quoted on Turkey’s reaction to the threat of US sanctions with military deployment near Syria

  • “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.

Interview

Quoted in the AP on #Iraq Premier’s decision to reign in Hashd al-Shaabi

  • 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.
Policy Analysis

A US-Turkish Agreement Remains a Challenge in Northeastern Syria

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.

Interview

Quoted in “Arab News” on the continuing escalation in Idlib despite cease-fire claims

  • 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.

Policy Analysis

On Lebanese-Israeli Border, US And Iran Are Negotiating

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.