Quoted in al-Jazeera English: Will the US confront Iran’s forces in Syria?

“What we are currently seeing is the most serious attempt by hawkish and conservative advisers to get the US directly involved in the Syrian war, an attempt that echoes Israeli concerns about US withdrawal plans from Syria,” said Joe Macaron of the Arab Center Washington, DC, further explaining that the aggressive position is not universally accepted.”Trump himself and the Pentagon are resisting this temptation, Israel will most probably continue in the foreseeable future to fight its own battles against Iran.” Click here to read the full article.


Quoted in the Arab Weekly: As hawks take centre stage in Washington, so does Iran’s challenge

“There is an obvious systemic shift in the US national security apparatus that will alter the dynamics of the Trump administration’s decision-making process on the Middle East,” said Joe Macaron, a fellow at the Arab Centre in Washington.

Macaron said he expected Defence Secretary James Mattis and Chief of Staff John Kelly, two former generals seen as supporters of a moderate approach, “to be balanced by the hawkish civilians” Pompeo and Bolton. “However, the verdict is out on how these bureaucratic changes will translate into policy making,” Macaron added via e-mail. “The Pentagon seems to have the upper hand for the foreseeable future.”

Macaron noted that Trump’s hard-line position on Iran was “in rhetoric only.” The administration’s main goal was to distance itself from the JCPOA without hurting US interests in the Middle East but it did not know how to go about that, he said.

“The United States has no strategy in the Middle East. There is neither appetite nor willingness to embark on new military adventures in the Middle East,” Macaron said.

Click here to read the full article.


Quoted in the Arab Weekly on US Strategy in Syria

Joe Macaron, a fellow at the Arab Centre in Washington, said the US strategy assumed that the war in Syria was almost over but “recent events proved otherwise.” There were “new doubts now about [US] commitment to Kurdish forces and a potential confrontation with Turkey in Syria,” Macaron wrote via e-mail. “At any rate, this US strategy lacked specifics and did not convey a clear game plan in Syria.”


Quoted in German newspaper General-Nnzeiger about Syria

Es ist unklar, wie die USA auf diese Konkurrenz reagieren werden. Außenminister Rex Tillerson stellte im Januar zwar ein Syrien-Programm seines Landes vor, doch dieses ist von den Ereignissen bereits wieder überholt. Washington gehe in der Tillerson-Strategie davon aus, dass der Krieg in Syrien zu Ende gehe, sagte Joe Macaron vom Arab Center in Washington unserer Zeitung: Doch der Krieg könnte noch lange dauern. Und es ist möglich, dass Syrien am Ende ganz zerrieben wird, in einzelne Einflusszonen zerfällt und auf Jahre hinaus ein Krisenherd bleibt


Quoted in The Arab Weekly on Pence’s Middle East trip after Trump’s Jerusalem move

“The US decision on Jerusalem gave Israeli officials a gift with no strings attached and put a nail in the coffin of the peace process,” Macaron said by e-mail. “There is nothing Pence can say or do during this trip to change that reality.”

“Pence’s fixation with Jerusa­lem from a biblical lens reflects a narrow-minded approach to US na­tional interests in the Middle East,” he wrote. “It is counterproductive to Washington’s objectives of rally­ing Arab countries against Iran and having US troops operate in a safe regional environment.”