Home / In Depth (page 10)

In Depth

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 …

Read More »

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 …

Read More »

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 …

Read More »

Can Turkey Survive Erdoğan?

by Graham E. Fuller Source: grahamefuller.com– On 7 June Turkey’s democratic system will be deeply tested in a fateful parliamentary election; at stake is preservation of rule of law and liberal democracy against an increasingly authoritarian-minded President. Bottom line: if President Erdoğan’s AKP party is able to win big, the …

Read More »

Hamas struggling with emerging Islamist parties

Author: Hana Salah – Translator: Pascale el-Khoury for AL-MONITOR — Gaza Strip — Tensions are ongoing between the Hamas movement and the Salafist Ansar al-Dawla movement, which in February publicly declared its support for the Islamic State (IS), to which Hamas is opposed and which in turn does not look …

Read More »

Iran and al Qaeda: More Enemies Than Allies

BY Barbara Slavin FOR AL-MONITOR — Newly released correspondence from Osama bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan contradicts U.S. assertions that al-Qaeda has a close relationship with Iran. According to a U.S. analysis of letters found in the Abbottabad compound when U.S. Special Forces killed bin Laden a year ago, “the …

Read More »

Iran’s new strategy in Syria

By Ali Hashem for Al-MONITOR — For the past four years, the Islamic Republic of Iran has been involved thoroughly in the developments taking place in Syria. The Iranian role reached its peak with the decision to defend the Syrian regime with all possible means, defining the war taking place …

Read More »

Saudi Arabia—This is Leadership?

By Graham E. Fuller Source: grahamefuller.com — President Obama has good reason to try to reassure GCC leaders this week at Camp David that America has not abandoned them; they represent an important economic force. But they cannot, as constituted, represent a positive force for leadership in the region. The …

Read More »

The Shiite Religious Authority of Najaf

By Dr. Haytham Mouzahem — The hawza (seminary) in Najaf, which consists of religious schools where Shiite clerics are trained, was founded by the most prominent Shiite religious scholar, Sheikh Muhammad al-Tusi, in 1028 — even though some tend to believe that the hawza was established in Najaf decades before …

Read More »

The Shias in Lebanon: A Short History

THE LEVANT NEWS EXCLUSIVE – By Dr. Haytham Mouzahem* — The Shias of Lebanon gained global reputation in the early 1980s of the 20th century with the emergence of Hezbollah and its military operations against the Israeli occupation in Lebanon. Hence; their destiny came to be synonymous with that of …

Read More »

Stability’s a Good Thing, Isn’t It?

by Graham E. Fuller Source: grahamefuller.com — Who doesn’t want stability? If there is anything feared by virtually all humans, it is living in anarchy, chaos, lawlessness. When you can’t even go out to buy a loaf of bread without risking your life. When times are troubled political leaders naturally …

Read More »

EDGE OF EVIL

 Story by Justin Salhani Published on Jan 16, 2015 Source: latterlymagazine.com — RAS BAALBEK, Lebanon –Tucked away in the rocky hills that divide Lebanon and Syria, a gunman ordered Makhoul Mrad out of his truck.Despite his age — getting up toward 70 — and his infirm heart, Mrad was a quarry worker and regularly made …

Read More »

The Islamic State Hostages The World Mostly Ignored

BY JUSTIN SALHANI FOR THINKPROGRESS.ORG — Ten months ago, the Islamic State and the al-Qaeda affiliated Nusra Front kidnapped around 30 Lebanese police and military men. Since then eight men have been released and four have been executed – either beheaded or with a gunshot to the back of the head. …

Read More »

The Global Crisis of Refugees—The Ultimate Security Issue

by Graham E. Fuller – Source: grahamefuller.com — The latest heart-wrenching images of desperate refugees fleeing across the Mediterranean for life and livelihood have finally sparked broader EU awareness of a shared problem. But it’s not just about the EU; it’s a global problem, sharing familiar and common symptoms. The …

Read More »

The Terror Strategist: Secret Files Reveal the Structure of ISIS

By Christoph Reuter for Spiegel.de — An Iraqi officer planned Islamic State’s takeover in Syria and SPIEGEL has been given exclusive access to his papers. They portray an organization that, while seemingly driven by religious fanaticism, is actually coldly calculating. Aloof. Polite. Cajoling. Extremely attentive. Restrained. Dishonest. Inscrutable. Malicious. The …

Read More »

Catastrophe in Yemen

By THE NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL BOARD– Saudi Arabia’s military intervention in Yemen’s civil war was always a risky gamble. Now there’s evidence showing just how damaging four weeks of airstrikes have been: more than 1,000 civilians killed, more than 4,000 wounded, and 150,000 displaced. Meanwhile, the fighting and a …

Read More »

Has Yemen reshaped the Middle East geopolitical map?

by Graham E. Fuller Source: grahamefuller.com — Does anybody remember the old Cold War geopolitical concept of the “Northern Tier states?” They consisted of three countries—Turkey, Iran and Pakistan (sometimes Afghanistan) that lay along the southern border of the Soviet Union; they were perceived in the West as a potential …

Read More »

Pentagon Map Hides ISIS Gains

By Tim Mack for the Daily Beast– The U.S. military presented evidence that it was beating back the so-called Islamic State but it doesn’t even count coalition setbacks. The Defense Department released a map last week showing territory where it is has pushed ISIS back, claiming that the terrorist group …

Read More »

Mohammad Javad Zarif: A Message From Iran

  By MOHAMMAD JAVAD ZARIFAPRIL for THE NEW YORK TIMES — TEHRAN — WE made important progress in Switzerland earlier this month. With the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany, we agreed on parameters to remove any doubt about the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s …

Read More »

After nuclear deal, what’s next for Iran?

By Seyed Hossein Mousavian for AL-MONITOR — The historic political framework between Iran and the world powers April 2 in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Iran’s nuclear program — to be developed into a comprehensive agreement by the end of June — has indeed changed the entire landscape. After more than a decade of roller-coaster …

Read More »

Are ISIS’ Losses in Iraq Offset by Gains in Syria?

Source: Foreign Policy — ISIS has lost control over approximately 25 percent of the land it held in Iraq last summer, a new Pentagon assessment released on Monday concludes. Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren told reporters on April 13 that the militants are “no longer the dominant force” in about …

Read More »

Hidden Agendas in Yemen

By Graham E. Fuller Source: grahamefuller.com — The domestic crisis in Yemen, once quite containable, now bids to veer out of control as external players threaten to exacerbate an explosive situation. Apart from their rhetorical statements, what are the chief factors driving these players in this complex situation? Saudi Arabia: …

Read More »

Joint Arab force can’t agree on ‘terrorism

By Mustafa Bassiouni – Translator: Pascale Menassa – Source: AL-MONITOR – The national anthem “Al-Watan al-Akbar” [“The Greatest Homeland”] was playing in the background when the Arab [League] Summit announced its approval of forming a joint Arab military force. History shall definitely remember this as one of the most important …

Read More »

Qalamoun …The Boundaries of Worry

THE LEVANT EXCLUSIVE — By Safwan Dawood*- Translated by Hadi Nehme — Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah announced that his party will be in Syria “wherever it ought to be”, and a number of the party’s officials have repeatedly reiterated that Hezbollah militants have taken part in battles in Qalamoun. …

Read More »

A nuclear deal with Iran is the best option

By Fareed Zakaria for THE WASHINGTON POST — When making up their minds about the nuclear deal with Iran, people are properly focused on its details. But to figure out whether an agreement that limits and inspects Iran’s nuclear program is acceptable, one has to consider seriously the alternatives to …

Read More »

A Look At ISIS’ Exploiting Of Social Media

THE LEVANT EXCLUSIVE – By Dr. Haytham Mouzahem* — ISIS utilizes social media to promote its military and terrorist attacks in Syria and Iraq; where it set a complex strategic plan to use these platforms for the mentioned purpose. And with the outset of ISIS’ attack on Mosul and other …

Read More »

Options for the U.S. if Iran breaks a nuclear deal

By Bennett Ramberg for Reuters — The success of any nuclear framework agreement negotiated by Iran and the P5+1 (United States, Britain, Russia, Germany, France and China) this week ultimately will be determined not by the signing of a final accord in June but by Tehran’s fidelity to nonproliferation in …

Read More »

Arab nations created a joint military. Is that good or bad?

By Shibley Telhami for Reuters — The Arab League’s decision to establish a joint military force should be viewed, above all, as a major accomplishment for Saudi Arabian foreign policy — though Egypt’s president has also been advocating this. It comes with serious risks, however. It all starts with Riyadh. …

Read More »

Iran and The Strategic Interaction With The Crises

Exclusive – By Salam al Rabadi* — Iran can be regarded as a model of strategic planning whether it : in the internal planning level or in the nature of external strategic options for crisis management and response. It is clear that Iran adopts a vision based on the construction …

Read More »

The Middle Eastern Balance of Power Matures

Stratfor Geopolitical Weekly – By George Friedman — Last week, a coalition of predominantly Sunni Arab countries, primarily from the Arabian Peninsula and organized by Saudi Arabia, launched airstrikes in Yemen that have continued into this week. The airstrikes target Yemeni al-Houthis, a Shiite sect supported by Iran, and their …

Read More »

Les sources de financement de l’Etat islamique

Dr. Haytham Mouzahem – Source: Middle East Eye — De la vente de pétrole au trafic d’êtres humains, les nombreuses sources de revenus de l’Etat islamique indiquent que son budget annuel, qui s’élèverait à deux millions de dollars, n’est pas prêt de s’épuiser Cheikh Abu Saad al-Ansari, une personnalité religieuse éminente de …

Read More »

Does ISIS keep its same military strength?

THE LEVANT EXCLUSIVE — By: Jasim Muhammad* — Translated by Hadi Nehme — Investigations carried out by the NGO specialized in investigating military clashes, CAR, showed that ISIS seized most of the weapons it now owns, from previous ground clashes. This conclusion was drawn after experts from CAR visited northern …

Read More »

Yemen.. A Fourth Arab Country Melts Down

FILE – Yemen’s then Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi waves as he enters a polling center in 2012. There are conflicting reports about the whereabouts of Hadi, who is now Yemen’s president.  By Barbara Slavin for THE VOICE OF AMERICA — Reports on Wednesday that the president of Yemen has fled his …

Read More »