When the forces of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), an armed Islamist group which is a successor to the al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra, rolled into Afrin in northern Syria earlier this month, the primary reaction was one of confusion.
In time-honoured Washington fashion, the memoir of Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law, makes the case that its author was a pivotal, if hidden, force in American politics. Kushner has himself in the background of everything significant that occurred in the four years Trump was in power.
As soon as the president of the United States announced that his country had killed Ayman al-Zawahiri, a lively debate began about his, and al-Qaeda’s, real importance.
Zawahiri’s death had been announced before, with false news making the rounds in 2020. At the time, analysts said what they now debate: that Zawahiri was not much of a battlefield leader, and was largely ‘off-the-grid’ and disconnected from the commanders of al-Qaeda’s regional terrorist groups.
The negotiations on Iran’s nuclear programme are in disorder. Representatives of Iran, the permanent five members of the UN Security Council, and Germany are engaged in busy diplomacy, attempting to resurrect a deal to restrain Iran’s development of nuclear weapons.
For months, even years, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened that Turkey’s armed forces and their Syrian rebel allies will launch a new attack on areas currently controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
On 22 May, in broad daylight, a colonel in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) was killed near his home in Tehran. Hassan Sayyad Khodai was attacked by two men on a motorcycle. He was shot five times. His killers were not apprehended.