Monthly Archives: January 2018

Iraq’s Alliances Uncertain Ahead of Elections

As Iraq begins recovering from its war against the Islamic State (ISIS), attention is shifting towards the country’s legislative elections, scheduled for May, and the possible political alliances that could emerge ahead of the vote. Continue reading


Turkey’s Afrin Offensive Is Not About the Islamic State

Last week, forces allied to Turkey began an operation intended to wrest control of Afrin from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

This attack, comprising Turkish forces and allied Syrian rebel groups, had been hinted at extensively. It follows other recent Turkish operations inside Syria, including the Euphrates Shield campaign, in which Turkish forces and allied Free Syrian Army (FSA) units captured large amounts of territory from the Islamic State group (IS), and a Turkish-led move into Idlib last year. Continue reading

Rhetorical Questions

Whatever else he is, Command Sergeant Major John Wayne Troxell, the senior enlisted adviser to General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff, is at the very least appropriately named. The élan with which he recently wrote about the American campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS) would be worthy of the protagonist of any Hollywood Western. Continue reading


Iran-Backed Iraqi Militias Pose ‘Serious’ Threat to US Forces

When the Islamic State (ISIS) surged across Iraq in 2014, the Iraqi state and its army buckled. Iraqi forces retreated in disorder. Soldiers were killed outright; many were captured and subsequently executed. This presaged a national crisis. Continue reading


Fire and Fury, but Little Else

The biggest of the stories swirling about Donald Trump this week concerns, not a tweet (as is ordinary), but a book.

The president is famously unlettered, professing little time for reading; and others attest that Trump has little interest in any printed matter that does not contain his photograph. Continue reading


European Leaders’ Response to Iran Protests Is Weak and Disingenuous

World leaders can claim to have been taken by surprise by the protests which have erupted in Iran over the past few days.

After all, many European politicians and American analysts confidently declared, as recently as October, that American sanctions on the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and its foreign operations apparatus had united the Iranian people behind the nation’s theocratic government and its security state. Continue reading