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In Depth

Bringing Turkey’s Border Strategy Into Focus

Beirut Center For Middle East Studies — Source: Stratfor Analysis Summary Satellite images taken at the Turkey-Syria border corroborate what Stratfor predicted weeks ago: that Turkey, now partnered with the United States, will strike at Islamic State-controlled territory adjacent to the Turkish border. The Turks reportedly began to reinforce their southern border …

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How Iran should approach the GCC

By Saeid Jafari for Al-Monitor — Two years ago, Hassan Rouhani was elected president on his promise of constructive engagement with the world, including Iran’s Arab neighbors. After winning the vote, Rouhani told an Al Jazeera reporter, “Our priority is improving our relationship with our neighbors. The states of the Persian Gulf are not …

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The Geopolitics of the Syrian Civil War

THE LEVANT NEWS – By Reva Bhalla for STRATFOR — Editor’s Note: With the war in Syria showing no signs of abating, we republish our Jan. 21, 2014, weekly explaining the complex geopolitics of the conflict. International diplomats will gather Jan. 22 in the Swiss town of Montreux to hammer out …

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Quantum Geopolitics

Quantum Geopolitics THE LEVANT NEWS — By Reva Bhalla for Stratfor —  Forecasting the shape the world will take in several years or decades is an audacious undertaking. There are no images to observe or precise data points to anchor us. We can only create a picture, and a fuzzy one …

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Just what is Turkey up to?

THE LEVANT NEWS – by Graham E. Fuller — Turkish policies towards the Middle East have been in wild oscillation over the past many weeks, even months. Ankara has now finally and begrudgingly initiated military action against ISIS in cooperation with the US. But it has also initiated air attacks …

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Regional Peace After the Iran Deal

BY Frederic Wehrey, Richard Sokolsky FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS — THE LEVANT NEWS — SUMMARY Now that a nuclear deal has been reached, the United States and its GCC allies need to focus on constructive engagement with Iran and a new and more inclusive Gulf security architecture. Well before the ink …

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Yemen War Continues From Aden to Sanaa

By Abayomi Azikiwe for Global Research — THE LEVANT NEWS — United Nations peace plan stalled amid escalation in ground offensive by U.S.-backed forces Reports are streaming out of Yemen saying that the anti-Ansurallah (Houthis) forces have initiated an offensive in the strategic southern port city of Aden. Fighters allied …

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Why Did the Middle East Fail?

 by Ambika  Vishwanath for The Leadership Review — The Middle East, in 2015, saw two important and transformative elections. In early March, Israel re-elected a right wing government that ran on a platform that was even more conservative than it had ever been. Whether we agree with the outcome is not important, …

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U.S. and Iran Reach Historic Nuclear Deal

The agreement, swapping sanctions relief for new limits on Tehran’s nuclear program, came after Washington bowed to Iranian demands to lift a U.N. arms embargo. BY DAN DE LUCE, COLUM LYNCH FOR FOREIGN POLICY — Iran and six world powers agreed to a historic deal Tuesday that will impose limits …

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Reversals in Vienna throw deal into doubt

by Ali Hashem for Al-Monitor — Beirut Center for Middle East Studies– As journalists were preparing July 9 for the possible good news that a nuclear deal had been reached, three foreign ministers turned the situation upside down. “The last 100 meters of the marathon are the hardest,” said French …

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Defeating ISIS by Talking to It?

THE LEVANT NEWS – by Graham E. Fuller — I can’t believe that I’ve been outflanked on the Progressive Left by Fareed Zakaria! Hints of negotiation with ISIS! http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-talking-to-terrorists-is-the-only-way-to-defeat-them/2015/07/09/c94a83c8-266f-11e5-aae2-6c4f59b050aa_story.html I’ve got a lot of respect for Zakaria—he generally works within the outer limits of the establishment envelope—just enough to nudge along …

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“Jihadi” Activity In Social Media

  by Dr Marcin Styszynski* THE LEVANT NEWS EXCLUSIVE –Jihadist propaganda became more sophisticated and it is very different between the years 2001 and 2011 when Al-Qaeda organization celebrated triumphs after the September 11thattacks.Jihadist media campaign focused on manifestos presented by leaders such as Osama bin laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri or Musab …

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Why China’s Stock Markets Matter

Source: Stratfor Analysis Beijing will continue to intervene where possible to prop up markets and market sentiment. A collapse of the stock market would likely increase deposits in ordinary bank accounts. This would compel Beijing to rely more heavily on banks to fuel growth and pressure China to accelerate financial liberalization efforts as …

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The Greek Vote and the EU Miscalculation

By George Friedman for STRATFOR– In a result that should surprise no one, the Greeks voted to reject European demands for additional austerity measures as the price for providing funds to allow Greek banks to operate. There are three reasons this should have been no surprise. First, the ruling Coalition …

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The Political Foundations of Religious Tolerance

by Dr. Haytham Mouzahem* – The Arab Muslim world struggles today with sectarian and ideological conflicts which affect the stability and progress of the region’s states and count loss in human lives and economic devastation among their consequences. Sectarian conflicts are not exclusive to the Muslim world; the Christian West …

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The Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS: The Difference in Discourse

The Levant News : by Mohammad Abu al-Rob – Source: Almesbar.net — There is a fundamental difference between the Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS. It stems from the fact that ISIS presents a uniformly radical agenda, internally consistent and uncompromising, whereas the Brotherhood adjusts its discourse for expediency’s sake in accordance with …

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Gay Marriage and Western Muslims

THE LEVANT NEWS — By Graham E. Fuller – Source: grahamefuller.com–  Human sexuality has always been a deeply controversial social issue in all societies. So is religion. Put them together and you have a powerful emotional brew. The US Supreme Court ruling this week legalizing gay marriage poses a new challenge …

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Beyond the Greek Impasse

THE LEVANT NEWS — By George Friedman for STRATFOR.COM —  The Greek situation — having perhaps outlived the term “crisis,” now that it has taken so long to unfold — appears to have finally reached its terminal point. This is, of course, an illusion: It has been at its terminal point for …

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Yazidi Iraqi Woman’s ISIS Captivity Story

THE LEVANT NEWS — By Joanna Paraszczuk – Source: Radio Free Europe —    ”We stayed on our feet while they looked for the ones who were pretty, those with a nice body, or pretty eyes, or pretty hair, or a pretty face. They would take them, rape them, and …

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The Major Difference Between the Shi’a and the Sunni

All the Muslims agree that Allah is One, Muhammad (S) is His last Prophet, the Qur’an is His last Book for mankind, and that one day Allah will resurrect all human beings, and they will be questioned about their beliefs and actions. There are, however, disagreements between the two schools …

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The Jihadist Trap of Here and Now

By Scott Stewart for STRATFOR — In recent weeks, I have found myself spending a lot of time thinking about the jihadist strategy of al Qaeda and how it compares to that of the Islamic State. Earlier this month, I wrote about the possibility that the al Qaeda brand of …

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Will Turkey Now Change its Foreign Policies?

by Graham E. Fuller – Source: grahamefuller.com — It was welcome news that Turkish President Erdoğan was dramatically foiled in his bid to win a majority in Turkey’s recent parliamentary elections. Those election were in essence a referendum on Erdoğan himself and his ambitions to create a super-presidency in which …

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Internet warfare and manipulation of facts according to ISIS

THE LEVANT EXCLUSIVE – By Dr Marcin Styszynski* — The Islamic State (ISIS) refers to media and Internet campaign targeting the organization and intensify its negative image among other insurgents and followers, including rival Islamist groups. The organization deals with different misunderstands and manipulations appearing in the Internet and social …

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The Al-Qaeda Brotherhood

By Tariq Aziza for Al-Hayat – Source: Now — Al-Jazeera’s recent interview with the founder and leader of Al-Qaeda’s Syrian branch, Jabhat al-Nusra for the People of al-Sham, has provoked negative responses from many Syrians and many people who follow events in Syria. Some have asked what the channel hoped …

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Dangers of a Declining Global Power

By Graham E. Fuller* – Source: grahamefuller.com — Much has been written about the dangers and challenges posed by China as a rising global power. Indeed, historians speak of generic tensions between rising powers and status quo powers that have often led to war. But instability takes at least two …

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Lebanon must ready for U.S.-Iran detente

By Basem Shabb for The Daily Star — A nuclear accord between Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, plus Germany, is almost certain. In this context, of particular importance will be an agreement reached between Tehran and Washington. The Obama administration has embarked on …

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Tartus, the Mother of Martyrs

Source: Stratfor Analysis — Editor’s Note:This first-hand account was written by a Stratfor correspondent in the Middle East. Tartus is Syria’s second largest port city, overshadowed only by Latakia. Located on the country’s coastal plain, both sit within the Alawite minority’s geographic core. Originally known as the “Nusayris,” the Alawites became …

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Assad is turning his ISIS problems into opportunities

Source: Now Lebanon — Syrian President Bashar Assad is trying to turn his problems into opportunities by helping ISIS (Daesh; ISIL) choose what’s in his own best interests and allowing ISIS easier access to some areas than to others. “Reports indicate that the regime is making air-strikes in support of ISIL‘s …

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ISIS growing in numbers, money

By Ash Gallagher for AL-MONITOR — The Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attacks against Shiites in Qatif and Damman, Saudi Arabia, on May 22 and 29, respectively. To date, some 35 armed militant groups are thought to have pledged allegiance to IS around the world, including Ansar al-Sharia …

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Does Iran Control Iraq?

By Graham E. Fuller – Source: grahamefuller.com– Saudi, Israeli and US neoconservative voices warn us tirelessly that Iran’s imperial sway has now come to dominate the governments of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and now Yemen, and still threatens Bahrain. Analytically speaking such views are not just exaggerated, but misleading and dangerous, …

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ISIS Reach The European Border

THE LEVANT EXCLUSIVE — By Dr Marcin Styszynski The tragic terrorist attack on Bardo National Museum in Tunis on 18 march 2015 finally defined the Islamic State (IS) influences in north Africa and strengthened the position of its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in the region. The organization claimed responsibility for …

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Hezbollah Is ‘Stronger Than Ever’

BY NOUR SAMAHA – Source: FOREIGN POLICY — QALAMOUN MOUNTAINS, Syria — Along the vast mountain range that marks the Lebanon-Syria border, Hezbollah fighters point out recently captured al-Nusra Front training sites and military positions, and describe how they’ve been able to clear the area of the jihadis. They pick …

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Why Saudi Arabia is vulnerable to ISIS

By Bruce Riedel for AL-MONITOR –The Islamic State (IS) is targeting the Sunni-Shiite sectarian divide in Saudi Arabia to create discord and undermine the royal family’s rule. The kingdom is vulnerable to sectarian strife given the family’s intimate connections to the Wahhabi Sunni clerical establishment, years of suppression of Shiite …

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