Turkey is On a Collision Course with the Syrian Regime and Its Backers

Last Thursday an attack struck Turkish positions near the Islamic State-held city of al-Bab in northern Syria, killing three soldiers and wounding 10. Centered between Turkish and rebel forces in the north, the Kurds in the east and west, and the Syrian regime forces in the south, al-Bab is the point of convergence for the […]

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Reconsidering Safe Zones in Syria

The situation in Syria remains bleak, with no end in sight to its five-year civil war. President Bashar Assad’s forces and their Russian and Iranian backers continue to lay waste to rebel-held territory, leaving the rebels with shrinking leverage to pressure the regime into a lasting political settlement. Meanwhile, the Islamic State (ISIS) holds key […]

Israel Bolsters Its Sinai Border Amid ISIS Threats

Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi released an audio message this weekend threatening Israel with a devastating attack. The message was Baghdadi’s most direct warning yet against the Jewish state, but one that will not have come as a surprise in Jerusalem. Israel deems the group’s branch in Egypt’s neighboring Sinai Peninsula its most effective […]

Putin’s S-400 Power-Play in Syria

Russia is upping the ante in the Eastern Mediterranean in response to the downing of its fighter jet by Turkish F-16s last week. Russian President Vladimir Putin has deployed S-400 air-defense missiles in Syria and expanded fighter escorts for bombing operations. While Moscow has predicated its intervention in Syria on supporting the Bashar al-Assad regime’s […]

Should the U.S. Continue to Use Incirlik?

Turkey’s cabinet announced July 29 that the United States and coalition members targeting the Islamic State (ISIS) would be permitted to fly combat missions from Incirlik air base in south Turkey. This U.S.-Turkish facility is well positioned near the Syrian front, and offers the coalition greater tactical flexibility. It could certainly help in the effort, as […]

The Folly of Turkey’s Syrian Buffer Zone Plan

Ankara raised the prospect last weekend of a military operation to create a buffer zone along its Syrian frontier. While Turkey is officially part of a 60-nation coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), this military initiative would instead be focused on a different threat: the Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (PYD) in Syria. […]

Defeating the Islamic State’s Suicide Drivers

The Pentagon announced last week that it will deliver 2,000 AT-4 anti-tank rockets to help Iraqi forces combat the Islamic State (IS), after the jihadist group seized Ramadi, the strategically important Anbar province capital. While not a sophisticated or expensive weapon, the AT-4 could prove a valuable addition to the arsenals of Iraqi ground forces […]

Washington’s Bad Military Bets in the Middle East

Last month, the Houthis took over Yemen, delivering a blow to Washington’s counterterrorism strategy, which held out Yemen as one of the few bright spots in an otherwise chaotic Middle East. Adding insult to injury, as Washington took steps to shutter its embassy earlier this month, the Houthis took all U.S. embassy vehicles parked at […]