Syria and Unwarranted Optimism

By Kamran Bokhari for Stratfor — Since Putin announced Russia’s withdrawal, diplomats and media have been unreasonably hopeful about the future of the Syrian civil war. Russia’s military drawdown from Syria soon after the ceasefire has created a strange sense of optimism in the media regarding peace talks. Any substantive negotiations are years away, at …

Iran’s windfall from nuclear deal cut in half by debts: U.S. official

THE LEVANT NEWS — Iran gained access to about $100 billion in frozen assets when an international nuclear agreement was implemented last month, but $50 billion of it already was tied up because of debts and other commitments, a U.S. official said on Thursday. Stephen Mull, the State Department’s lead coordinator for implementing the international …

Russia raises spectre of ‘world war’ if nations fail to negotiate over Syria

THE LEVANT NEWS — MUNICH: Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said all powers must sit at the negotiating table to forge an end to the war in Syria “instead of unleashing a new world war”. “The Americans and our Arab partners must think well: do they want a permanent war?” Medvedev told Germany’s Handelsblatt newspaper, …

Iranian Claims on Supporting Hamas are Lies: Abu Marzook

The Levant News — Mousa Mohammed Abu Marzook, a senior political member in the Palestinian Resistance Movement “Hamas”, had pounced on Iran regarding their proclamations of supporting Hamas, after cashing them in all as lies, especially those declarations on support being presented post 2009. Abu Marzook’s aversion was recorded over a leaked phone call which …