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.

Interview

Quoted in the Arab Weekly on how Washington’s support to SDF in Syria is fueling US-Turkish tensions

  • It is unlikely that the Trump administration will concede a Turkish role in northern Syria similar to the US-Turkish agreement in Manbij.
  • Implementing a buffer zone between Kurdish fighters and Turkish forces along the Syrian-Turkish border largely depends on whether American and European officials agree on a deal to deploy joint forces to secure this buffer zone.

Click here to read the full article.

Interview

Quoted in AP on Pompeo’s visit to Beirut

“Washington should be careful not to push Lebanon to the brink, as Hezbollah would retaliate if its survival is at stake,” said Joe Macaron, a resident fellow at the Arab Center in Washington. “In the current status quo, the most effective way to restrain Hezbollah remains within the intricate parameters of the Lebanese political system,” he said. You can read the full article here.

Interview

Quoted by MEE on Iran’s foreign minister short-lived resignation

Joe Macaron, a fellow at the Arab Center Washington DC, said announcing a resignation on Instagram is “unconventional and unprecedented” for an Iranian official. “It seems… Zarif submitted his resignation letter and went on social media before either Rouhani and Khamenei [can] react to this resignation, which might mean that Zarif is locked in a fight with hardliners on what directions should the Iranian foreign policy take amidst growing US pressure on its economy,” Macaron told MEE via email. “We are yet to know the full story behind this resignation, but it seems to reflect heated debates in Tehran around the foreign policy challenges facing the Iranian regime.” Click here to read the full article.

Interview

Sanctions unlikely to affect Hezbollah

Quoted in the Daily Star on the impact of US sanctioning Iran on Hezbollah: “The U.S. is targeting the official economy in Iran, while Hezbollah benefits from transactions outside the official economies of both Lebanon and Iran” “The Trump administration is going after Hezbollah’s source of support, and if the Shiite group felt the Iranian regime’s survival is in question, it might act to increase the cost of U.S. diplomatic pressure on Iran”.

Interview

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.

Interview

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.

Interview

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.”