Tag Archives: Phillip Smyth

The Hezbollah Murders

Earlier this month, Lokman Slim, an activist and writer, was murdered in Lebanon. He was found in his car, shot five times. As an unprompted assassination of a nonviolent man, this act was formally deplored by many and greatly condemned. After Slim’s death was confirmed, there was an outpouring of anguish from beyond Lebanon. In life Slim was a witty critic of Hezbollah, a fixture of his country’s public sphere, and a source and a friend to many.

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Usbat al-Thairen: The New Iran-backed Militia on Iraq’s Block

On March 11, rockets struck Camp Taji in Iraq, which houses troops from several countries. Two US soldiers and one British reservist were killed. Continue reading

Coronavirus Tests Iran’s Limits

The spread of coronavirus around the world has been rapid and disruptive, but nowhere is the outbreak as uncontrolled and chaotic as it is in Iran.

Although Iran only confirmed its first cases on February 19, the virus has spread widely and infected people from every class of Iranian society. Continue reading

How Effective Are American Sanctions on Iraq’s Militia Leaders?

In Iraq’s cities, the streets are full of demonstrators, and the country is convulsed by the violence inflicted upon those who protest against its dysfunctional state.

The violence is attributed to the Iraqi state, to killers among the militias which dominate Iraqi national life, and to agents of Iranian influence, whose decades-long role in influencing Iraqi politics has been increasingly exposed in recent months, and clearly unpopular among Iraqis. Continue reading

Control and Violence in Atypical Iraq

The events surrounding the resignation of Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi were atypical. His country witnessed uncommon protests against not only the dysfunction of Iraq’s government and political life but also the stake Iran has in the running of the neighbouring nation. Continue reading

Leaked Documents Show Iran’s Influence over Iraq

It has long been known that Iran exerts significant power and possesses long reach in its neighbouring countries.

After the deposition of Saddam Hussein, and the subsequent withdrawal of the United States in 2011, Iran’s influence in Iraq became dominant. Continue reading

Iranian Proxies Remain Significant in Syria Amid Rising Tensions

As the drawn-out confrontation between the United States and Iran continues and becomes seemingly more intense, the thoughts of many have turned to war. Continue reading

Iraqi Militias in Syria Spur Iraqi Criticism

The story of Iraq’s militias is contentious. These forces were undoubtedly significant in the country’s recent fighting – against the Islamic State and against Kurdish forces after the Kurdistan region’s referendum on independence in 2017. Continue reading

Germany’s Attempted Extradition Sends Strong Message to Syria

When Germany announced last April that it was seeking the arrest of Jamil Hassan, head of Syria’s feared Air Force Intelligence Directorate, many dismissed it as a well-meaning piece of theatre. Continue reading

Israel Presses on with Strikes Against Iran’s Axis

What happens in and to Syria invariably affects Israel. The collapse of Syrian civil society created a humanitarian crisis and other pressures and the persistence of the regime of Bashar al-Assad, a central plank of the ‘axis of resistance’ against Israel, presents its own problems. Continue reading