The Mullahs' Losing Game by Amir Taheri •
U.S. Officials: Iran Is Secretly Moving Missiles Into Iraq
By Seth J. Frantzman, The Jerusalem Post: “Iraq is suffering from protests, ISIS threats and the need to find a new prime minister after Adel Abdul Mahdi resigned earlier this week, and Iran wants to exploit the power vacuum in Iraq."
THE ISLAMIC STATE PENETRATES PAKISTAN, IRAQI P.M. RESIGNS & WOLFOWITZ COMMENTS ON US ALIGNMENT IN NEAR EAST
As protests in Iran become more frequent, Iran's top leaders and security forces fear that popular unrest threatens the future of the Islamic Republic. In a new National Interest op-ed, Michael Rubin analyzes the protests of 1999, 2001, 2009, and 2017 and concludes that a regime crackdown may lead to a civil war. The result? A military dictatorship that eliminates the enforcement of Islamic law. Continue here.
As anti-government protests in Iran escalate, AEI’s Danielle Pletka took to Twitter to ask colleagues and close observers whether the regime is at risk. Experts provided their feedback, detailing events on the ground, the nature of Iran’s police state, the risks a collapsing economy poses to the system of the Islamic Republic, and the stakes for the United States and, ultimately, for the people of Iran. View the responses here.
Two months after the US abandoned its allies in Syria, Paul Wolfowitz in The New York Times reflected on alternative ways to limit American involvement in the still-critical region of the Middle East. Wolfowitz discusses the success of the Gulf War, in which America's mission to protect the Kurds was a model for low-cost and low-risk intervention, as a prototype for President Donald Trump's future operations in Syria. Finish here.
The second battle of Fallujah: 15 years later
(Marine Corps Times) The dust and grime were finally starting to settle as the sun set in Iraq.
Netanyahu’s rival accelerates campaign for party leadership
Gideon Saar wants to replace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: He’s more hawkish than Netanyahu; he campaigns for a new status quo with the ultra-Orthodox; and he stresses the importance of engaging Israel’s Arab citizens in dialogue.
Israeli opposition leader rejects defense pact with US
The leader of Israel's main opposition Blue and White party on Monday opposed the prospect of a mutual defense pact with the United States, warning it would endanger the Israeli army's freedom of action and break with decades of defense policy. “Blue and White under my leadership will not support an international agreement that will limit Israel’s actions and the IDF’s [Israel Defense Forces] ability to protect the country from the threats it faces,” Benny Gantz tweeted. The remarks come after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he briefly broached the subject with US President Donald Trump ahead of the September elections.
How Palestinian Leaders Sabotage Palestinians' Interests by Khaled Abu Toameh •
Israel Will Only Attain Peace through Victory by Nave Dromi
November 24, 2019
Liberman, Lapid miscalculate about Likud rebellion
Both Yisrael Beitenu leader Avigdor Liberman and Blue and White co-leader Yair Lapid mistakenly assumed that some Likud members would break ranks and join a Gantz-led unity coalition.
Israel Comes Down With the American Disease
Editorial of The New York Sun | November 23, 2019
Netanyahu at war with legal system
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu might be standing now with his back against the wall, but he still succeeds in keeping his supporters on his side.
Avigdor Liberman drives Israeli politics crazy
Yisrael Beitenu leader Avigdor Liberman had promised that he would not accept any other solution than a "liberal unity government," and so far, he has kept every last letter of that promise, even if driving all politicians crazy.
Why Liberman ends alliance with ultra-Orthodox
After he prevented the formation of a right, ultra-Orthodox government following the April and September elections, Yisrael Beitenu leader Avigdor Liberman has sharpened his statements toward the ultra-Orthodox.
ISLAM: THE RISING NATION STATE IN THE MIDDLE EAST & INDIA'S TRIANGULATION AGAINST IRAN REMAINS RIYADH
"So long as Iran dominates the Middle East, a new Baghdadi will rise," Tzvi Kahn, The Hill
Jennifer Cafarella and Jason Zhou write: The U.S. is pursuing the wrong diplomatic goal. American policymakers are biased toward viewing a cessation of hostilities as the most important sign of diplomatic progress in Syria and thus overlook opportunities to shape Syria’s long-term trajectory. The U.S. must widen its aperture for what diplomacy in Syria can and must achieve. The U.S. should set as its overarching goal keeping space open for political competition within Syria and reinvigorating and relegitimizing a stale and discredited diplomatic process. – Institute for the Study of War
Neil Hauer writes: It is of course impossible to predict the future here, but it seems very likely that Moscow has finally bitten off more than it can chew in its Syria ceasefire-keeping operations. Separating regime and rebel soldiers, or even patrolling an inactive Turkish-Kurdish frontline is one thing; pacifying an active war zone and preventing the outbreak of a full-blown insurgency is another. […]Whatever comes next, it is certain that Russia’s military police have their work cut out for them in north Syria. – Middle East Institute
"Uranium Particles Found in Iran: Why it Matters," Andrea Stricker and Tzvi Kahn, FDD Policy Brief
JPost’s Seth J. Frantzman: Syria is an increasingly dangerous chessboard for Iran in the Middle East
A new public report, Iran’s Military Power, produced by the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency, details how the 40-year-old Islamic regime boosts its relatively weak conventional forces with “a hybrid approach to warfare” that relies on missiles, naval forces, and proxies to threaten its neighbors. – Washington Examiner
Iran is building space capabilities that could be a launching pad to developing intercontinental ballistic missiles and has made progress in its efforts to disrupt GPS and communication satellites, according to a new report from the Defense Intelligence Agency. – C4ISRNET
Seth J. Frantzman writes: Now Iran must decide its next step in Syria. The role of its IRGC Quds Force has been key to supporting the Assad regime while also benefiting on the side. But Iran understands that its role is entangled with the regime and also with Russia. Its presence must not undermine either of these two. In addition, the Syrian regime and Russians are focused more on the north today, while there are questions about what the US is doing in the east. […]Towards that end, it has invested in new missiles, drones and other technology which it has transferred to Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. While those transfers have made Iran’s role in Syria even more dangerous, any seasoned chess player knows that pieces spread too thinly across the chessboard may result in checkmate. – Jerusalem Post
John Dunford writes: Russia also likely intends to deploy new air defense systems to Qamishli, allowing it to constrain further the freedom of movement of the U.S. in Eastern Syria. Meanwhile, the U.S. expanded its ground patrol routes to villages west of Qamishli. The U.S. will thus likely come into closer contact with the growing number of pro-regime forces – including Russians – based in and around Qamishli. – Institute for the Study of War
Earl Anthony Wayne and Christopher D. Kolenda write: The U.S. approach needs to test credibility and build trust via a step-by-step process, and, if successful, work toward reductions in violence and toward Afghan political negotiations. Efforts may best advance by initially pursuing simple measures that do not require large concessions and building from there. These could include coordinated statements of peace principles, shared disaster hotlines, joint civilian casualty investigations, etc. If the Taliban fail to partake in such steps, then the futility of additional efforts will be clear. – The Hill
INDIA AND THE US HOLD HANDS WHILE RUSSIA TAKES LIBYA & WHY IMRAN KHAN'S TIME WITH PAKISTAN IS FINISHED
Congress Moves to Sanction Russians for Mercenary Surge in Libya
By Jack Detsch, Al-Monitor: " Congress is preparing bipartisan sanctions on Russian mercenaries and other suspected human rights violators in Libya, Al-Monitor has learned, as the Donald Trump administration looks to use the recent entry of Moscow-linked paramilitaries into the conflict to reinvigorate a long-dormant American strategy in the war-torn country."
The Classicist: Defending The Trump Doctrine
interview with Victor Davis Hanson via The Classicist
The president’s approach to foreign policy is unconventional — but might be the best approach for a changing global environment.
Russia is intervening in Libya. Should we care?
(RealClear Defense) The U.S. has abandoned its partners in the fight against ISIS, and the Russians are capitalizing on the void.
China’s lead in the AI war won’t last forever
(Bloomberg) Artificial intelligence will be very useful in controlling a police state. But a police state may not be very good at controlling artificial intelligence.
US, India bolster their military partnership in Tiger Triumph exercise
(Defense News) The U.S. and India are set to kick off this week a major joint military exercise: Tiger Triumph.
Caliph Incognito: The Ridicule Of Abu Ibrahim Al-Hashimi
by Cole Bunzel via Jihadica
The last week of October 2019 was an eventful one in the history of the Islamic State. On October 25, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, its leader and caliph, blew himself up during a U.S. special forces raid on his compound in Idlib Province, Syria. The next day, official spokesman Abu al-Hasan al-Muhajir, a potential successor to al-Baghdadi, was killed in a U.S. airstrike in nearby Aleppo Province. On October 31, the Islamic State confirmed the fatalities in an audio statement read by al-Muhajir’s replacement, Abu Hamza al-Qurashi, who went on to announce the appointment of a certain Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi as the new “commander of the believers and caliph of the Muslims.” The adjective Qurashi in their names denotes descent from the Prophet Muhammad’s tribe of Quraysh, one of the traditional qualifications of being caliph.
The Road to an Iranian Attack on Israel
By Prof. Eytan Gilboa, November 15, 2019
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Israeli political and military leaders have warned against the possibility of a major military confrontation with Iran, which wants to deter Israel from disrupting its attempts to build military bases in Syria and Iraq and to construct factories in which Hezbollah can convert its huge arsenal of rockets into accurate missiles. This threat is more acute in light of the American failure to respond to recent Iranian provocations in the Gulf. Israel should adopt an aggressive new strategic approach to meet this threat, in coordination with the US and in consultation with Russia.
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Bill Roggio, Long War Journal and FDD; in re: Taliban overruns district HQ in Zabul. Eleven districts in the province, three have come under Taliban control since July. Grinding down the Afghan forces. One of the biggest problems in the entire war is that no one’s telling us why we’re there. No explanation that we have an enemy committed to ending the Western way of life, and it starts in a [region like this]. Successor to al-Baghadi, the Emir of the Faithful (Amir al-Muminin): Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi. They still have a network and a robust media operation. “That both the group’s emir and spokesman have adopted al-Qurayshi in their jihadist names is significant, because it means they are claiming descent from the tribe of the Prophet Muhammad.”
The al Qaeda component in Afghanistan: remains a vital network for Taliban. Al Q provides expertise, training, and support; Talban give al Q safe haven, freedom of movement. As one succeeds in operations, so does the other. Al Qaeda will stay there irrespective of what the US does. There are thousands and thousands of al Q fighters n Afghanistan, and not leaving. A Saudi in Syria connected to al Q network put out a vid blaming al-Baghdadi for errors. Al Q helped birth ISIS in the first place. A key issue: al Q does not advertise what it’s doing in Afghanistan, stays under the Taliban banner, whereas ISIS advertises every little thing it does.
Iranian Protests Were Not about the Price of Gas by A.J. Caschetta
December 2, 2019
The real reason for the Iran hostage crisis, 40 years later
Michael Rubin | Washington Examiner
Perhaps it is time for liberals and European diplomats who lament the fact that US-Iran relations seemingly continue to deteriorate to stop blaming Washington. Instead, the fact that Iran not only attacked America’s embassy but also continues to occupy it suggests that its antipathy to international norms and the framework of diplomacy remains unreformed.
Danielle Pletka took to the pages of The Washington Post to analyze the protests occurring in Lebanon, Iraq, and Egypt. She argues that Western governments must demand that the region’s leaders answer to their own people before we face another wave of refugees, the next iteration of the Islamic State, and Baghdadi’s successor. Keep reading here.
Katherine Zimmerman explains that eliminating a leader of a Salafi-jihadi group does nothing to fill the gaps in security and governance that drive vulnerable communities into the arms of Salafi-jihadists. Instead, the US should shift to a civilian-led strategic approach that uses foreign assistance and soft power to strengthen communities at risk of Salafi-jihadi penetration.
Read more here.
Giselle Donnelly analyzes the dramatization of Trump’s announcement and contrasts it to President Barack Obama’s announcement of Osama bin Laden’s death. Rather than being a formal announcement of America’s success, Trump’s statements served as a stream-of-consciousness performance for the president’s commitment to a reduced presence in the Middle East.
Michael Rubin points out that while Iraqis have had enough, Iran’s proxies would rather kill than accept democratic will. For Iraqis, the current battle is about government accountability and fighting corruption. For the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, what is going on in Baghdad, Karbala, and Basra may be a dry run. Learn more here.
The Delusional One-State Solution by Matthew Mainen
The Jerusalem Post
November 4, 2019
November 4 marked the 40-year anniversary of the Iranian hostage crisis when a group of Iranian students seized the US Embassy in Tehran and held 52 Americans captive for 444 days. Four decades later, has the Islamic Republic of Iran changed its ways? This week, Danielle Pletka and Marc Thiessen sat down with AEI’s Kenneth Pollack to discuss exactly what happened on that day 40 years ago, how the hostage crisis set Iran on a course of enmity with the US, and whether President Trump's Iran approach differs from those of his predecessors. Listen here.
How Could the Turks Not Know Where Baghdadi Was Hiding? by Seth Frantzman
The Jerusalem Post
November 3, 2019
The Battle of Baghdadi
Clifford D. May — The Washington Times
The elimination of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is a battle won. But it is not, by any stretch of the imagination, the end of the “endless war.” Islamism, in all its fury and diversity, goes marching on. Five years ago, Mr. Baghdadi was proclaimed (by his followers) the caliph — successor to the Prophet Mohammed. Even Osama bin Laden was never so audacious. The Islamic State in Iraq, a splinter from al Qaeda, had been organized in 2006. Read More
Afghanistan on the Edge? Elections, Elites, and Ethnic Tensions by Andrew Watkins
AI and Irregular Warfare: An Evolution, Not a Revolution
Edit by Daniel Egel, Eric Robinson, Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Charles T. Cleveland, and Christopher (CJ) Oates
U.S. Deterrence in the Middle East is Collapsing
John Hannah — Foreign Policy
As welcome as was the U.S. raid that lead to the death of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi over the weekend, it can’t erase the damage done to U.S. interests in the Middle East over the past few months. Whatever explanations U.S. President Donald Trump and his supporters put forward to justify his impulsive decision to withdraw U.S. forces from northeastern Syria earlier this month, the searing images that followed told a far different tale. Read More
Syria: United States Seeks Strengthen Coalition Against ISIS. The United States on Monday said they want to increase the presence of coalition forces combating the Islamic State in northeastern Syria. “There was never an idea that we would abandon the mission of going after ISIS ... This is a major effort that is continuing,” a senior State Department official said. The announcement comes following a U.S. operation which killed ISIS leader al-Baghdadi over the weekend and amid the Turkish incursion into the region. The United States will convene a meeting with coalition leaders on November 14. Reuters
American commando raid to kill al-Baghdadi was launched from al-Asad airbase, rehearsals conducted in Erbil
(Military Times) The American commando raid that bagged Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was launched from the sprawling al-Asad airbase in Anbar province Iraq, according to a source on the ground with direct knowledge of the operation.
Kurdish informant provided key intel in operation that killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
(NBC News) Kurdish-led forces allied with the United States provided information — including used underwear for a DNA analysis — that was key to the operation that killed the Islamic State group's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Kurdish forces in Syria said Monday.
US Afghanistan peace envoy takes efforts to Pakistan
(The Associated Press) A U.S. peace envoy remained in Pakistan on Tuesday as part of efforts to find a negotiated end to Afghanistan’s 18 -year war, even though President Donald Trump has not expressed any interest in resuming talks with the Taliban.
Al-Baghdadi’s ‘number one replacement’ is dead, Trump says
(Military Times) U.S. troops have successfully taken down the top replacement for Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, according to President Donald Trump.
Egypt escalates campaign against Turkey's Erdogan
Egypt is working to mobilize Arab states and the United Nations against Turkey's president over his foreign policies and criticism of the Egyptian government.
Netanyahu and Gantz Need to Learn the Hebrew Word "Mamlachtiut"
By Dr. Asaf Romirowsky, October 28, 2019
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The Israeli notion of mamlachtiut does not translate well into English. Coming from the word mamlacha, or kingdom, the word suggests the quality of acting in a sovereign-like fashion. David Ben-Gurion used the term when he spoke of the Jews’ usage of military power while exercising caution with their political power. In Israeli history books, the term is conjured every time the nation faces a major juncture that requires individuals and factions to transcend partisan loyalties. Judging from their behavior in the recent elections, Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz both appear to be fuzzy on the meaning of the word.
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Arab coalition in Yemen repositioned under Saudi command
The Saudi-led coalition said Sunday its forces have repositioned in Yemen’s southern city of Aden to come under the command of Saudi Arabia. The redeployment comes as part of the coalition’s efforts to coordinate military and security operations. The move follows a power-sharing deal struck over the weekend between Yemen’s internationally recognized government and southern separatists backed by the United Arab Emirates.
German foreign minister heads to Cairo after stop in Libya
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is scheduled to meet today with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo. Maas’ visit to Cairo follows a brief stop Sunday in Libya, where Maas met with the head of the internationally recognized government, Fayez al-Sarraj. The two discussed Germany’s offer to host an international conference on the Libyan conflict. Eastern military commander Khalifa Hifter has been leading an offensive against the government in Tripoli since April.
Russia, Egypt kick off first air defense drills
Russia and Egypt launched their first air defense drills at the Egyptian air defense troops’ tactical training center on Saturday. The Russian Defense Ministry said the goal of the exercises is to share experience between the Russian and Egyptian military and ensure airspace security. The exercises will take place through Nov. 7 in Egypt with more than 100 Russian anti-aircraft gunners participating.
RUSSIA MOVES INTO NORTH AFRICA: ALGERIA GOES TO MOSCOW WHILE THE HOUSE OF SAUD TRIES TO CONSOLIDATE IN YEMEN
Putin's Policies Are Not New
By Emil Avdaliani, October 30, 2019
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: It has become fashionable to link Russian foreign policy moves of the past 20 years solely to President Vladimir Putin and his close associates. But what is viewed as innovative is in fact an intensification of much older policies that long preceded Putin’s rise to power.
Continue to full articl
Putin’s Middle East?
Exploring the implications of Russia’s increasing engagement in the region—and the American drawdown.
Clarity Amidst Chaos: The Implications of Trump's Syria Policy
By Dr. Alex Joffe, October 27, 2019
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The American withdrawal from Syria has produced chaotic results – but as with many aspects of President Trump’s presidency, it offers an opportunity to view realities with a new clarity. The nature of Turkey under Erdoğan, European weakness, and the unwillingness of America to support indecisive military missions have been revealed. These realities demand new approaches to European defense and to Middle Eastern engagement and disengagement.
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Algeria judges go on strike ahead of presidential elections
Algeria’s judges and prosecutors began an open-ended strike on Sunday demanding the independence of the judiciary after a major reshuffle that affected thousands. The Ministry of Justice carried out the changes earlier this month, in a move described by the National Magistrates' Syndicate as “a stranglehold by the executive over the power of the judiciary.” Meanwhile, protesters took to the streets Friday for the 36th week in a row to demand that Dec. 12 presidential elections be delayed until more of the ruling elite step down following President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's resignation in April.
Russia and Algeria discuss cooperation
Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted Algeria’s interim President Abdelkader Bensalah on Thursday on the sidelines of the Russia-Africa economic summit in Sochi. The two leaders discussed bilateral relations and ways to boost cooperation in the technical and military fields. The first-ever economic summit aims to boost economic relations and joint projects between Russia and African countries. Algeria is one of Russia’s leading partners on the African continent and signed a $7.5 billion arms deal with Moscow in 2006.
Turkey's Invasion of Syrian Kurdistan as Seen from Tehran
By Dr. Doron Itzchakov, October 25, 2019
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Though it prompted angry reactions from senior officials in Tehran, the Turkish attack on Syrian Kurdistan offers both pros and cons for the Islamic Republic – and the potential positives likely outweigh the negatives.
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Turkey's Nuisance Value
By Burak Bekdil, October 25, 2019
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Turkey’s value for the West is not about the good it can offer but the evil it might choose not to spread. In recent years western tolerance of Turkey has stemmed not from appreciation of its advanced democratic culture but from fears of the chaos it can unleash.
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Our Untenable Alliance with Turkey
By Victor Davis Hanson, National Review: "There are about 5,000 members of the U.S. military, mostly airmen, stationed at the huge, strategically located air base in Incirlik, Turkey, northwest of the Syrian border."
The Kurds are not angels
But among the many Muslim nations, America has had no better friend.
Putin conquered the Middle East. The US can get it back.
Hal Brands | Bloomberg Opinion
Seven Pillars: What Really Causes Instability in the Middle East?'
Michael Rubin and Brian Katulis | AEI Press
Putin is the New King of Syria by Jonathan Spyer
The Wall Street Journal
October 16, 2019
Trump’s Syria pullout, aiding Russia and Turkey, is when America stopped leading the world
Since the end of WWII, every other president understood that U.S. power and wealth can only be sustained by assuming great responsibility.
Lost in the Furor Over Syria: Alliances are a Means, not an End
by Doug Bandow and Christopher Preble
South Sudan’s fragile peace deal is faltering less than a month before the country’s president and armed opposition leader are meant to form a coalition government and begin the long recovery from a five-year civil war. […]The U.S. has said it will reevaluate its relationship with South Sudan if a new government isn’t formed next month. – Associated Press
Trump's Misguided Syria Policy
by Josef Joffe via The American Interest
History will judge Trump as harshly for his betrayal of the Kurds as it has the apostles of “peace in our time.”
The Invisible Hand of Military Merger: Organisational Culture in Kurdistan
By Verena Gruber, Defence-In-Depth: "When it comes to unifying formerly hostile armed forces, the autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq (KRI) provides an outstanding example."
10 reasons why Trump is wrong to support Turkey
Michael Rubin | The National Interest
As Islamic State prisoners go free and hundreds of thousands of Kurds, Christians, and Yazidis flee Turkey’s bombardment, how true are the assumptions driving Trump’s turn toward Turkey?
Going it alone: Saudi Arabia’s economic realities after attacks
Karen E. Young | Al-Monitor
South Sudan: Machar Seeks to Delay Unity Government. South Sudan’s main opposition leader, Riek Machar, is calling for a six-month delay in the formation of a unity government following the failure of the government to push a peace deal through. "It's not rocket science that the government in Juba lacks political will to implement the peace deal," Puok Both Buluang, Machar's spokesman, said. Al Jazeera
US hosts Nile dam talks at Egypt’s behest
The United States has invited the foreign ministers of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan in an effort to mediate a feud over a giant Ethiopian hydropower dam over the Nile River. Washington is hosting the talks at the behest of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who asked President Donald Trump to help mediate the dispute during a meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in September. Egypt fears that the dam will further exacerbate its already dire water shortage woes and has asked the World Bank to help mediate among the parties. World Bank Group President David Malpass is expected to attend Wednesday’s talks if all three parties participate (Egypt and Ethiopia have already confirmed their attendance).
The meeting will be hosted by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin rather than the State Department, for reasons that remain unclear. The US mediation comes as Russia has been playing an increasingly active role in Africa, hosting its first-ever Russia-Africa summit in Sochi last week. In an Oct. 3 statement, the White House said it supported the negotiations between the three countries to reach a “cooperative, sustainable and mutually beneficial agreement.”
Intra-Afghan dialogue belongs inside of Afghanistan, not Qatar, Russia, or China
Michael Rubin | Washington Examiner
One stated reason to retreat from Afghanistan is the cost of continued operations: easily $30 billion per year. But encouraging a dialogue in Afghanistan would cost little to nothing.
TNSR Policy Roundtable: The Future of South Asia by Myra MacDonald, Yelena Biberman, Michael Kugelman, Rohan Mukherjee, and Debak Das
The US Cannot Neglect Iraqi Kurdistan
by Seth Frantzman and Eric R. Mandel
September 27, 2019
THE LONG WAR & AFRICA: IRREGULAR WAR CONTINUES; MARTIN KRAMER REVEALS THE 7 BLACK SWANS FOR THE MIDDLE EAST
Embracing Special Operations Civil Affairs Support to the IIR
By Benjamin F. Ordiway, Small Wars Journal: “From an organizational perspective, SOF leadership should consider engaging embassies to rethink team employment so teams can best identify, assess, and potentially leverage critical physical and human infrastructure within the civil component to achieve operational and strategic effects."
by Charles Hill via The Caravan
Balance is one of the innate concepts of the human condition, vital but never entirely attainable. Aristotle concludes his Politics with the imperative in every society of seeking a balance between the male “Dorian” and female “Phrygian” modes – not necessarily gendered but a human necessity all the same. Balance in baseball is a goal; the American League’s long streak of victories over the National League in the All-Star Games is concerning to the keepers of the sport. And, most obviously, the balance-of-power doctrine in matters of war and diplomacy are as old as these arts themselves.
JORDAN: Saud Al-Sharafat writes: As Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood struggles to avoid continued fragmentation and domestic isolation, the groups are likely to hone their focus on external targets, such as the ‘Deal of the Century,’ in order to bolster domestic support. Even so, and despite some parliamentary willingness to engage, it appears increasingly unlikely that the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan will be able to return to the type of strength demonstrated just eight years ago during the Arab Spring. – Washington Institute
Irregular warfare remains the threat, despite a Marine Corps shift to the near-peer fight
(Marine Corps Times) As the Marine Corps and its sister services shift focus to near peer battles and the range of ways to meet that fight, some experts think they may be losing sight of ways in which other threats could emerge both separate from peers and from them through other means.
New AFRICOM chief in Niger to assess security in volatile western Africa
(Stars & Stripes) U.S. Africa Command’s Gen. Stephen Townsend met with American troops in Niger on Thursday during a visit to assess security in the West Africa region, which is grappling to counter several Islamic militant groups.
Africa File is a biweekly analysis and assessment of the Salafi-jihadi movement in Africa and related security and political dynamics. Each edition begins "At a Glance” followed by country-specific updates. Read this week’s edition here!
The remnants of the Islamic State have returned to the group’s insurgent roots since the destruction of its land caliphate earlier this year, but it may be regrouping to make another land grab, the Pentagon says. The terrorist group has been operating in a “clandestine” fashion since losing the last of its territory in Iraq and Syria, said Chris Maier, director of the Pentagon’s Defeat-ISIS Task Force, in a Wednesday press briefing. – Washington Examiner
Are air defense systems ready to confront drone swarms?
(Defense News) The attack on Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq and Khurais oil facilities on Sept. 14 served as a reality check for countries struggling to define the level of the threat posed by drone swarms and low-altitude cruise missiles.
Tom Rogan writes: For all Zarif’s hyperbolic tendencies, the foreign minister is aligned with a more moderate faction under Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. He knows that there are only two ways for Iran to escape the catastrophic sanctions pressure it now faces: Either wait in hope that a Democrat defeats Trump in 2020 and rejoins the nuclear agreement, or agree to a new nuclear agreement with Trump on terms more favorable to U.S. interests. That’s why Rouhani was moving toward meeting Trump at next week’s United Nations General Assembly. – Washington Examiner
Michael Rubin writes: Military action against Iran seems increasingly likely as intelligence and forensic evidence collected in the wake of the attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil installations suggests Iranian responsibility. While diplomats, intelligence analysts, and politicians can debate the wisdom of military strikes, if the United States (or Saudi) government makes such a decision, what might be the primary targets? Here are five. – Washington Examiner
The Peace Fantasy
by Samuel Tadros via The Caravan
In the introduction to his book, Power, Faith and Fantasy, the Middle East historian turned diplomat turned Israeli politician, Michael Oren, reflected on the chosen title. These three themes had guided the American adventure in the region power or “the pursuit of American interests,” faith or “the impact of religion in the shaping of American attitudes and policies,” and finally fantasy, “the idea of the Middle East has always enchanted Americans.” To be fair to America, it was hardly unique in its fantasies. In his magnum opus, The Chatham House Version, Elie Kedourie had aptly diagnosed the British fantasy “all those episodes show successive and cumulative manifestations of illusion, misjudgment, and failure.” Nowhere has this been truer than in the Holy Land.
The Iran War: Danger Lurks In Inaction
By CONRAD BLACK, Special to the Sun | September 19, 2019
Saudi Arabia: U.S. Senators Urge an End to Saudi Nuclear Talks. Senators Ed Markey and Jeff Merkley, members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Energy Secretary Rick Perry urging the administration to discontinue recent talks with Saudi Arabia about nuclear power development. "Sharing nuclear technology with Saudi Arabia, especially without adequate safeguards, will give Riyadh the tools it needs to turn the crown prince's nuclear weapons vision into reality," the senators wrote in the letter. Perry told reporters on Tuesday at a nuclear power conference in Vienna the United States would only provide Saudi Arabia with nuclear power technology if it signed an agreement with a U.N. watchdog allowing for intrusive snap inspections. But Saudi Arabia has resisted agreeing to strict nonproliferation restrictions, known as the gold standard, that would block it from enriching uranium and reprocessing spent fuel, potential pathways to making a nuclear bomb. Reuters VOA News
Saudi Arabia and Iran Careen toward Conflict by Seth Frantzman
The Jerusalem Post
September 15, 2019
John Bolton would counsel against appeasement In response to Tehran’s latest attack on Saudi Arabia and threats against the U.S.
A Major Attack on Saudi Aramco Leaves the U.S. in a Difficult Spot
From Stratfor Worldview: “Given the facilities' geographic location, the Saudi air defense focus on Yemen, the angles of impact, the overflight reports over Kuwait and debris recovered from a failed cruise missile, it is quite likely that the attacks came from Iraqi or Iranian territory — or both."
Michael Eisenstadt writes: An effective U.S. gray zone strategy could help blunt Iran’s counter-pressure campaign, constrain its ability to engage in destabilizing regional activities, and dissuade it from eventually attempting a slow-motion nuclear breakout. Conversely, failure to pursue such a strategy could embolden Tehran on all of these fronts. More fundamentally, if the United States does not operate successfully in the gray zone against a third-tier power like Iran, this will raise questions about its ability to counter much more capable actors like Russia and China in the years to come. – Washington Institute
Tom Rogan writes: But short of Saudi military action, it makes sense for President Trump to pledge, as he did on Wednesday, to “substantially increase sanctions” on Tehran. Absent this new pain, Iran will see its attack as a stunning success: as proof that it can escalate against America’s international order without consequence and thus as a reason to risk more aggressive attacks in the future, including against America. – Washington Examiner
Ilan Berman writes: The stakes are exceptionally high. A cogent, hard-hitting response to the Saudi attacks could go a long way toward reassuring America’s Middle Eastern partners that it remains committed to repelling Iranian aggression and safeguarding their security. A lackluster U.S. reply, on the other hand, would inevitably result in a massive loss of confidence in the Trump administration among the countries of the region. That, in turn, raises the risks of a wider conflict, as the Saudis (and perhaps others) are prompted to take matters into their own hands. – The Hill
Anthony H. Cordesman writes: As Iran may well have already demonstrated, cruise missiles and UCAVs can also be used to counter or supplement economic warfare and deal with sanctions. They reinforce the fact that the ability to escalate in some military ways is not producing some new form of mutually assured destruction, but is integrating political, economic, and military warfare. Seen from a broader perspective, they are a warning that the only rules to future warfare are that there are no rules, and that the only fully predictable aspect of the future of warfare is that it will be at least as unpredictable as in the past. – Center for Strategic and International Studies
In a September 17, 2019 article titled ‘Rescue the World from the Persian Nazism,’ Ahmed Al-Jarallah, editor-in-chief of the Kuwaiti English-language daily Arab Times, wrote that the issue of confronting Iran is no longer just a matter of thwarting the Persian expansion project but a matter of countering a threat to global security. In this situation, he said, American and European notions of going back to the Barack Obama policy of rapprochement with Iran are no longer feasible; the world must act to ensure a steady supply of oil at reasonable prices, for a failure to do so will result in a global recession. – Middle East Media Research Institute
Iran's Attack On Saudi Arabia Reveals Our Foreign Policy Muddle
by Bruce Thornton via Front Page Magazine
We're stuck in fossilized paradigms while our enemies grow stronger.
Leader of Tunisia’s Islamist party elected parliament speaker
Tunisia’s parliament elected Ennahda leader Rached Ghannouchi as its speaker on Wednesday, one month after the moderate Islamist party finished first in last month's elections. Ghannouchi secured 123 out of 217 for his bid following a deal with the Qalb Tounes (Heart of Tunisia) party of media mogul and defeated presidential candidate Nabil Karoui. Qalb Tounes parliamentarian Samira Chaouachi was elected first vice speaker of the parliament. Ennahda now has until Friday to name its candidate for prime minister.
Tunisian parties reject Islamist-led government
Tunisia’s main political parties on Thursday rejected a proposal to appoint a prime minister from the moderate Islamist party Ennahda, which finished first in the Oct. 6 parliamentary elections. The party won 52 out of 217 seats, well short of the required number to govern on its own. If Ennahda fails to form a Cabinet within two months, another party could be asked to try to form a government. Political deadlock risks undermining Tunisia’s efforts to improve the economy and fight terrorism.
Algeria court detains former culture minister on corruption charges
Algeria’s Supreme Court on Monday ordered the detention of former Minister of Culture Khalid Toumi on corruption charges. Toumi is accused of wasting public money and awarding illegal privileges. He joins a growing list of former officials and well-connected businessmen arrested in a crackdown on corruption following President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s resignation in April. Meanwhile, weekly anti-regime demonstrations continue, with Algerians demanding that the Dec. 12 presidential elections be delayed until more of the ruling elite steps down.
Algeria announces five candidates for presidential election
Algeria’s election authority over the weekend announced the final list of candidates running in the Dec. 12 presidential elections. Five candidates, including three close to former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, made the cut. Meanwhile, the weekly anti-regime demonstrations that brought Bouteflika down in April continue despite his resignation, with Algerians demanding that elections be delayed until more of the ruling elite steps down.
Algeria releases the final list of candidates running in the Dec. 12 presidential elections.
New Tunisian president replaces foreign and defense ministers
Tunisia’s President Kais Saied approved on Tuesday the dismissal of the country’s foreign and defense ministers, less than a week after taking his oath. Prime Minister Youssef Chahed appointed, after consultation with the president, Karim Jamoussi as foreign minister and Sabri Bachtobji as defense minister. The changes come as parliament prepares to hold coalition talks. The moderate Islamist party Ennahda came in first in the country’s Oct. 6 parliamentary elections, winning 52 out of 217 seats — although it is well short of the required number of seats needed to govern.
Tunisia's 'poker face' president sworn in
Tunisia's new president, whose stolid demeanor earned him the nickname "RoboCop," has vowed to combat corruption.
Tunisia swears in new president
Conservative jurist Kais Saied was sworn in as Tunisia’s new president on Wednesday after a landslide victory in this month’s election. In his oath of office before parliament, the 61-year-old vowed to fight corruption and shore up the freedoms gained in the years since the country's 2011 Arab Spring revolution. The Oct. 13 election marked a strong rebuke of Tunisia's political elites, with Saied and media mogul Nabil Karoui making it to the run-off by campaigning as outsiders.
Kais Saied faces a fractured political landscape in Tunisia after win
Conservative Kais Saeid has won a landslide victory in Tunisia’s second round of the presidential elections.
Conservative jurist declared winner of Tunisian presidential election
Tunisia’s electoral commission announced Monday that a preliminary count shows conservative jurist Kais Saied won Sunday’s presidential election with almost 73% of the vote. His opponent, media mogul Nabil Karoui, conceded defeat earlier on Monday. The electoral commission said turnout stood at 55%. The election marked a strong rebuke of Tunisia's political elites, with both candidates who made it to the run-off campaigning as outsiders.
MEI’s new book, Escaping the Conflict Trap: Toward Ending Civil Wars in the Middle East, co-edited by Salem and Harrison, is now available in paperback or for Kindle.
Tunisia: Presidential Candidate Released from Prison. Tunisian courts on Wednesday decided to release presidential candidate, Nabil Karoui, from prison. Karoui has been detained since August for allegations of money laundering and tax fraud, yet since managed to come in second in last month’s elections. The runoff is set to be held in four days. Africa News BBC Gulf News
Intel: Tunisia’s Islamic conservatives bounce back in parliamentary polls
Exit polls from Sunday's nationwide parliamentary elections suggest that the pro-Islamic Ennahda came in first, followed by the newly established Qalb Tounes, or Heart of Tunisia, led by jailed tycoon Nabil Karaoui, who will be in the Oct. 13 presidential runoff.
Moderate Islamist party claims victory in Tunisia parliamentary elections
Tunisia’s moderate Islamist party Ennahda won the most votes in Sunday’s parliamentary election, a party spokesman said, citing what he called preliminary results. Earlier on Sunday, jailed media magnate Nabil Karoui's Heart of Tunisia party also claimed victory. An exit poll by Sigma Conseil showed Ennahda in first place with 17.5% of votes and Heart of Tunisia in second place with 15.6%. Preliminary results will be announced on Oct. 10 and official results on Nov. 17.
Tunisia’s electoral commission rejects jailed candidate's call to delay vote
Tunisia’s electoral commission on Wednesday rejected calls to postpone the presidential elections. The second round is scheduled for Oct. 13. The commission “can neither advance nor postpone the date of the elections under the constitution,” commission head Nabil Baffoun said. A spokesman for imprisoned candidate Nabil Karoui had called for suspending the elections as long as he remains in prison. Karoui, who owns Nessma TV channel, was detained Aug. 23 on suspicion of tax evasion and money laundering. The media mogul came in second in Tunisia’s election last month, behind conservative jurist Kais Saied.
Algeria arrests former ruling party chief
Algeria on Thursday announced the arrest of the leader of the National Liberation Front, which has ruled Algeria since independence in 1962. Mohamed Djemai is accused of “destroying official files and documents.” Authorities are simultaneously cracking down on protesters demanding that more figures linked to the former regime of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika step down. Fodil Boumala, a prominent opposition activist and anti-government protester, was arrested Wednesday, fellow activists and a lawyer said on Thursday. Meanwhile, weekly street protests now face a clampdown after army chief of staff Ahmed Gaed Saleh issued orders this week to stop outside protesters from entering the capital.
Deposed Tunisian president dies in Saudi exile
Former Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali died in exile Thursday, days after Tunisia held its second presidential elections since his ouster ushered in democratic governance. The 83-year-old had been living in Saudi Arabia since the 2011 popular uprising that began the Arab Spring. In the elections, the conservative law professor Kais Saied and the imprisoned media mogul Nabil Karoui have advanced to the second round of the presidential elections, marking a sharp rejection of the country’s political establishment. Read More
Tunisian presidential finalist remains in prison
A Tunisian court is refusing to release Nabil Karoui from prison even after he advanced to the second round of the presidential elections, his lawyer said Wednesday. The media mogul is under investigation in a money laundering probe. Karoui came in second in Sunday's election, behind conservative jurist Kais Saied. Read More
Political outsiders win first round in Tunisia’s presidential elections
Tunisia’s electoral commission announced Tuesday that conservative law professor Kais Saied and imprisoned media mogul Nabil Karoui will advance to the second round of the presidential elections, likely to be held next month. Saied, who ran as an independent, won 18.4% of the votes in Sunday’s election. Karoui, who is under investigation in a money laundering probe, took 15.6%. The results mark a sharp rejection of the country’s political establishment. Read More
Imposition of election date signals end to government patience
Algerians protested the decision to hold elections in December as their demands are left unmet and many activists and opposition members linger in jail.
What's next for Netanyahu?
Although Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a governing coalition, it doesn't mean he's out of the game just yet.
Netanyahu rival rejects latest proposal for unity government
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu extended Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz a new proposal to join a unity government on Thursday but was rebuffed as time runs out for the Israeli leader. The proposed government would have included Netanyahu’s Likud party and its allies on the religious right. Gantz dismissed the offer, saying Netanyahu “is not seeking unity but immunity” ahead of his possible indictment in three criminal cases. Netanyahu has until next Thursday, Oct. 24, to form a government before President Reuven Rivlin tasks Gantz to try to form a government. Gantz's party came in first in last month's Knesset elections, winning 33 seats to the Likud's 32.
Netanyahu, not Israel, needs unity government to survive
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is misleading the people when he claims that only a unity government would be apt to tackle the Iran threat.
Liberman’s secular campaign turns him into kingmaker
Many right and center-left voters liked what Yisrael Beitenu leader Avigdor Liberman offered them in the last election campaign: a secular unity government that would end religious coercion.
Israel swears in new Knesset without a government
Israel swears in a new Knesset today even as the country struggles to form a new government. Almost all of the members of the previous Knesset, which lasted just five months, will be returning, as only 17 of 120 lawmakers were freshly elected in September’s vote. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with former Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman this morning as Netanyahu tries to convince Liberman and his secular nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party to join him in a coalition government. The meeting was planned after unity government talks between Netanyahu's Likud and its main rival, the Blue and White party of Benny Gantz, ended without result.
Israel is quickly running out of time to form a new government and avoid an unprecedented third election within a year as the judicial noose tightens around Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The pre-indictment hearing in three graft cases against the Israeli leader resumes Sunday following two days of testimony this week. Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit has agreed to space out the four-day hearing over two weeks, fixing Yom Kippur, Oct. 9, as the deadline to wrap up the process. Netanyahu’s legal team has so far presented its arguments in the most serious case, in which the prime minister is accused of taking bribes from telecom tycoon Shaul Elovich. On Sunday and Monday, his lawyers will address allegations that Netanyahu accepted cigars, jewelry and other illegal gifts from businessmen as well as separate charges that he backed legislation benefiting Israeli press group Yedioth Aharonot in exchange for promises of favorable coverage.
Netanyahu himself did not attend last week’s hearing as his Likud party focused on advancing coalition talks. With talks with the Likud’s main rival, the centrist Blue and White party, at a standstill, Netanyahu has been courting the secular nationalist Yisrael Beitenu of former Defense Secretary Avigdor Liberman. Liberman’s party said on Wednesday that if Likud and Blue and White fail to reach a power-sharing agreement by Yom Kippur, it would present its own offer for a unity government. Liberman has so far declined to back either candidate for the mission of forming the next government, insisting that he would support only a secular unity government, without the ultra-Orthodox parties. It is now widely believed that Netanyahu will hand back to President Reuven Rivlin the mandate for forming a new government before the 28-day deadline expires and push for new elections.
Despite Political Uncertainty, Israel’s Security Posture Remains Strong
Jacob Nagel | Visiting Fellow
Intel: Why Israel’s president chose Netanyahu to form new government
A week after Israel’s legislative elections, President Reuven Rivlin has chosen Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to make a first attempt at forming a government, but a path to a majority coalition remains difficult.
Netanyahu juggles high-stakes politics and fraud charges
This coming week will prove crucial for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he tries to assemble a government while facing a likely indictment on fraud charges. The Israeli leader has been summoned by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit for a pre-indictment hearing on corruption charges starting Wednesday. The two-day hearing offers Netanyahu the chance to plead his case and to convince Mandelblit to cancel impending indictments against him, or at least reduce the charges. At the moment, Netanyahu is expected to be charged for fraud and breach of trust in two cases and of receiving bribes in a third one. Netanyahu remains defiant and asked that the proceedings be aired live so he can tell the public “my side,” but Mandelblit’s office turned him down.
Meanwhile, representatives of Netanyahu’s Likud and its main rival, the Blue and White party, continue negotiations on forming a national unity government following inconclusive elections earlier this month. The Blue and White party has rejected a proposal from President Reuven Rivlin for a power-sharing deal. Rivlin has also proposed amending the law to create the status of “interim prime minister” for Blue and White leader Benny Gantz in case Netanyahu is indicted. The party’s leadership reiterated in recent days its electoral commitment not to form a government with Netanyahu.
Nevertheless, the two parties are pursuing talks following Rivlin’s decision to give Netanyahu the first shot at trying to put a new government together. Netanyahu himself has acknowledged that in the current deadlocked situation, chances are slim for the establishment of a majority coalition. Talks will be suspended Sunday through Tuesday for the Jewish New Year, resuming on Wednesday. Netanyahu has 28 days to negotiate a majority coalition, but the president can accord him a two-week extension. After that, Rivlin may task another candidate with the mission. The political stalemate, however, could also force a third election in less than a year.
In Israel's Vote, Bibi Looms as the Key Issue
By BENNY AVNI, Special to the Sun | September 17, 2019
TEL AVIV -- Left or right? War or diplomacy? Socialism or free-market economy? Tuesday's election here is about none of these. It's about Bibi.
Israel's politics nowadays seem almost as crazy as Britain's, but unlike the Mother of Parliaments, which can't sort out London's relationship with Brussels, the Knesset's biggest issue was merely to decide whether to keep or oust Benjamin Netanyahu -- the leader who this summer became the country's longest-serving prime minister. Its inability to settle that triggered a new election.
Netanyahu down but not out
Despite the disappointing numbers emerging from Israel's election, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is telling his supporters that he is not done yet and that he intends to fight.
Netanyahu calls for unity government amid electoral deadlock
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today called on his rival Benny Gantz of the Blue and White party to join him in a unity government to avoid a possible third vote in a row. Gantz, however, has previously refused to govern alongside Netanyahu, who is under investigation in three corruption probes. With nearly all votes counted in Tuesday's election, the Likud has won 31 Knesset seats while its rival Blue and White party has 33. A majority of 61 out of 120 seats are needed to form a government. The tight race leaves the secular nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party of former Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, who refuses to sit with Netanyahu's ultra-Orthodox allies, as the apparent kingmaker with eight seats. Meanwhile, the predominantly Arab Joint List, with 13 seats, has yet to decide whether to back Gantz.
Netanyahu's remarks come a day after he canceled his trip to the UN General Assembly after his Likud party and its allies failed to garner enough votes to form a government. Foreign Minister Israel Katz will address the world body in New York instead. Read More
Israeli parties deadlocked after Tuesday's vote
The electoral blocs centered around Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud and its rival Blue and White party both failed to reach a majority of 61 Knesset seats in Tuesday's do-over election, according to preliminary results. That leaves Avigdor Liberman's Yisrael Beitenu party as kingmaker with nine seats. Liberman, a former minister of defense, has called for a “national, liberal, broad” unity government including his party, the Likud and Blue and White while rejecting the participation of Netanyahu's ultra-Orthodox allies.
Addressing his supporters early his morning, Netanyahu did not concede defeat or claim victory but promised to seek the formation of a new "Zionist" government that excludes Arab parties. President Reuven Rivlin said Tuesday that he will press party leaders to quickly form a new government. Rivlin's office said that his nomination of a candidate to form the next government would be guided in part by the need to avoid a third election, after two votes in five months.
Israel's Election IronyGuess Who Could Emerge in a Pivotal Role?
Editorial of The New York Sun | September 17, 2019
Israel: Election Results Split. A day after their second dead-heat election in five months, Israelis awoke Wednesday with their two main parties jockeying for the support of the smaller factions they will need to form a governing coalition. Official election results released on Wednesday after 91 percent of the vote was counted show that neither of the party has a clear path to securing a majority in the Knesset. The negotiations after April’s election ended in stalemate. Haaretz The Washington Post
Israel-Palestine Peace Is Possible
by Daniel Kurtzer via The Caravan
Protracted conflicts are protracted for a reason. They involve deeply-held grievances; ethnic, religious or ideological animosities; territorial disputes; boundary issues; political power struggles; clashes over the distribution of wealth; and competing narratives; among other factors. Protracted conflicts are not static, but rather evolve over time. Conflict management and mitigation, a strategy for dealing with conflicts that appear impervious to resolution, miss the point; for these strategies often do not take into account evolving changes through which conflicts pass.
How To Think About Israeli-Palestinian Peace
by Dennis Ross via The Caravan
I have worked on trying to resolve or ameliorate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in formal and informal capacities since the 1980’s. Through two intifadas (uprisings) and the Oslo process, I have seen the conflict in its human terms and the toll it takes. There were certainly times in the 1990’s when it seemed to be possible to settle the conflict. Even after the Second Intifada, which imposed such a terrible price on both Israelis and Palestinians, I believed that the gaps between the two sides were bridgeable.
WHY DOES PAKISTAN FLIRT WITH ISRAEL; EMERGENT INDIGENOUS LEADERSHIP IN AFGHANISTAN, AL-QAEDA LEADERSHIP ISN'T HEALTHY ANYMORE & A LOOK AT THE MIDDLE EAST QUARTERLY
Taliban’s Prime Objectives:
U.S. Withdrawal, ‘Establishment of an Islamic Government’
By Bill Roggio, FDD's Long War Journal: “The Taliban reiterated that its prime objectives in negotiations with the U.S. is to get Coalition forces to withdrawal from Afghanistan and the “establishment of an Islamic government,” a thinly veiled reference to the return of the Taliban’s Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan."
It’s really hard to buy peace in Afghanistan
(Defense One) Western leaders looking to replace troops with targeted aid may find it counterproductive.
Ahmad Katawazai writes: It would be wise for the Taliban to engage into an intra-Afghan dialogue to orchestrate a workable broad-based government preserving the gains that have been made. As Ghani and Trump both pointed out, there can be no peace without a truce or ceasefire. Taliban should consider that as a precondition for the resumption of peace talks. – Washington Examiner
David Tafuri writes: President Trump and Democratic candidates should realize that exit from Afghanistan at all costs is too costly. Trump should pursue a deal to draw the Taliban into a political process and encourage them to cut ties with terrorist groups. A complete withdrawal of NATO forces can only be ordered when we are certain that Afghanistan will not revert back to a terrorist state without them. – The Hill
Pakistan Flirts with a Strong Israel by Efraim Inbar
September 7, 2019
The U.S.-Taliban Negotiations: A Deadly Qatari Trap by Yigal Carmon
The real risks of allowing terrorist safe havens
Hal Brands | Bloomberg
Do safe havens matter or not? The truth is that denying such sanctuaries is crucial to effective counterterrorism, so long as some key caveats and distinctions are kept in mind
Don’t Sign a Death Warrant for Afghan Democracy by Ioannis Koskinas
Stakes in Afghanistan Demand Transparency
Bradley Bowman | CMPP Senior Director
Bill Roggio | Senior Fellow and Editor of FDD's Long War Journal
Remembering why we are at war in Afghanistan
(Military Times) As we close in on two decades of war in Afghanistan and search for an end to the conflict, perhaps we ought first to go back to its origins and recognize a fundamental truth.
Alternative Futures: Assessment of the Afghanistan Bureau 2001-2021
By Michael Barr, Divergent Options: "This assessment paper provides an alternative history and therefore an alternative future to U.S. actions in Afghanistan following the 9/11 attacks. This paper is written from the point of view of a staff officer providing an overview of U.S. efforts in Afghanistan from 2001-2021 to an incoming political appointee in the Department of Defense."