January, 2017 Middle East

 Meeting in Astana

Author: Brandon Friedman

The meeting between Iran, Turkey, and Russia in Astana, Kazakhstan on January 23-24, in advance of the next round of U.N. sponsored Geneva III meetings,[1] has been characterized as a new anti-West axis meant to marginalize the U.S. in Syria and the region.[2] Yet Moscow’s reset with Ankara is not primarily directed at the West; rather, Russia is trying to reestablish itself as Syria’s ultimate arbiter. 

 Mosul Operation


By Mehmet Bildik

Before World War I , Britain had enjoyed almost a century of unparalleled peace and prosperity. Despite rapid advances of Germany, Great Britain remained the most technologically advanced nation on Earth. The scope of the Industrial Revolution and the greatest inventions of the age were making up pax-Britannica.

 Syria Game Change


By Jim Kavanagh

 "Information Clearing House" - "The Polemicist" - The recapture of Aleppo by the Syrian Arab Army and its allies marks a turning point not only in the conflict in Syria, but also in the dynamic of international conflict. For the first time since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the rolling imperial engine of regime change via American-led military intervention has been stopped in its tracks. 

Trump’s Mideast policy


AUTHOR, Uri Savir

In view of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s February visit to Washington and his meeting with US President Donald Trump, the US administration will soon be confronted with conflicting pressures: Israel on the one hand, and the Palestinians, the European Union and Egypt on the other.

Idlib

 SAMI MOUBAYED
Until a few years ago, Idlib was nothing but a sleepy and forgotten city in the Syrian northwest, famed for its agricultural fields and for a celebrated resistance leader it produced at the end of World War I, who staged a guerrilla war against colonial France in the 1920s.

Syria safe zone

Murat Yektin 

As soon as U.S. President Donald Trump said he was considering the formation of safe zones for Syrians trying to escape the six-year-old civil war, there was a reaction from Russia. 
Dimitry Peskov, the spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said the U.S. had not consulted with them on the project, adding that “probably all the consequences ought to be weighed up.”

Russian-Turkish-Iranian axis


By OFRA BENGIO
Russia has fulfilled a long-held dream of reaching the warm water of the Mediterranean and is casting itself as the hegemon in the region.
Sixty years have lapsed since the Baghdad Pact which grouped together Turkey, Iran, Iraq and the West in an alliance against the Soviet Union and the concomitant Communist danger.

 Trump-Putin safe zones


DEBKAfile DEBKA Weekly
Syria stands on the threshold of dramatic changes that will directly impact on the strategic and military situation along the Syrian borders with Israel and Jordan, DEBKAfile reports exclusively. They derive from a deal struck this week by US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin to establish US, Russian and Turkish security zones in Syria. 

Trump era

Smadar Perry

Analysis: So far, the new American president has made no effort to prove that he has a vision. He is a businessman who is out to sell the headline ‘America First.’ Whoever wants to make him offers on issues unrelated to the homeland should take a number, get in line and be ready to pull out their wallet.

Jerusalem


By Prof. Efraim Inbar
BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 398

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Making strategic choices requires distinguishing which issues are urgent and which are important. Right now, the securing of Jewish control over Jerusalem is both urgent and important. Jerusalem carries great symbolic and strategic value for Israel, and Israeli control of the city must be protected.

 Moscow Iran Syria ISIS


DEBKAfile Exclusive Report 

Although Vladimir Putin’s spokesman spoke reservedly Saturday, Jan. 21, about Donald Trump’s inauguration as US president the day before – It would be “an illusion” to expect Russian-US ties to be “free of disagreement” – Moscow’s actions in Syria were clearly designed to meet the new US president more than half way.

MUSLIM WORLD


BY ZVI MAZEL 
How will the new US administration impact the age-old Sunni-Shi’ite conflict? Sunnis make up 85% of the Muslim world, with Shi’ite a poor second at less than 15%. Nevertheless, Iran enjoys an advantage because it is the supreme Shi’ite religious and political authority, whereas in the Sunni world, every imam can issue his own fatwas – though there is no general obligation to follow them.

 After the Fall of Aleppo


by Jonathan Spyer, The Jerusalem Post
Bashar and Asmaa al-Assad are less stressed out these days.
The battle for Aleppo is over. The Assad regime and its Russian, Iranian and Shia paramilitary allies have achieved victory.

National security strategies


Sayed Ghoneim

During the previous decade, several Arab countries faced big challenges such as severe deterioration in economic conditions, education, health, etc. On the other hand, rates of inflation, unemployment, and corruption increased. The increase of ethnic and sectarian disputes, the gap between the ruling elite and the people, political and security constraints, and interference in the …

 Old- New

By Maj. Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror 

BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 395

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: President Barack Obama has eroded the US's superpower status and is leaving behind a far more dangerous world than the one he inherited. A Trump administration gives Israel reason to be optimistic, although it must bear in mind that he is a very shrewd businessman.

US & Russia  Palmyra

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report 

Some of the ambiguity and mystery surrounding the nature of President-elect Donald Trump’s relations with Russia’s Vladimir Putin may disperse after the new US president takes office Thursday, Jan. 20, because one of their first joint military actions is ready to go.

Turkey bogged down

By SARAH EL DEEB
BEIRUT (AP) — Nearly two months into the assault, Turkey has become bogged down in an unexpectedly bloody fight to retake the Islamic State group's last stronghold in northern Syria. It has been forced to pour in troops, take the lead in the battle from its Syrian allies and reach out to Russia for aerial support.

Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani


BY REUTERS
The death of former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani deprives Iran's reformers of a powerful ally, boosting anti-Western hardliners before a presidential election which will determine how open Tehran is to the world.

US Jerusalem

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report 

Exclusive to DEBKAfile: The appointment of Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, 35, as senior adviser in the future White House on Middle East affairs is part of a broader plan taking shape in the president-elect’s transition team for bringing forward a resolution of the Israel-Palestinian dispute. This plan has not yet jelled into concrete policy, but is still a set of ideas under consideration by the team’s insiders, in the light of Trump’s comments past and present.

Sinai, ISIS


DEBKAfile Exclusive Report 
Egyptian control of the vast Sinai Peninsula is slipping fast. After gaining virtual sway over the north and its main roads, Islamic State Caliphate terrorists are moving ahead with an ambitious plan to devour a broad stretch of land on the eastern flank of central Sinai, DEBKAfile’s military sources report.

 IRAN  MISSILES


BY REUTERS
The vote is a boost to Iran's military establishment - the regular army, the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and defense ministry.

DUBAI - Iranian lawmakers approved plans on Monday to expand military spending to five percent of the budget, including developing the country's long-range missile program which US President-elect Donald Trump has pledged to halt.