Security


Obama: diplomacy with Iran has restrained nuclear program

US President Barack Obama says that since the start of the nuclear talks with Iran, it is "probably the first year-and-a-half in which Iran has not advanced its nuclear program in the last decade."
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 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on December 22

Critics condemn AKP's tough police overhaul proposals

For some, the AKP-drafted internal security legislation is needed to preserve Turkey's public order; for others it is a chaos package that will allow arbitrary action by the state.
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Metin Turcan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on December 19

Can Israel, Palestine exist in one space?

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Dan Goldenblatt, co-CEO of the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information, presents his vision of two states in one space, arguing that this proposed solution could be accepted by both the Israeli right and the Palestinians.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on December 19

Jabhat al-Nusra deals Syrian regime major blow in Idlib

Jabhat al-Nusra’s seizure of the two camps of al-Hamidiyya and Wadi al-Daif in Idlib province from the Syrian army’s control is an important victory for the al-Qaeda branch, as it continues to consolidate its control over Idlib.
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Mustafa al-Haj for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on December 19

Hamas scores diplomatic victory in Europe

Senior Hamas officials run a department in Gaza whose sole mission is to have the movement removed from terror lists.
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 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on December 19

Syrian authorities halt ferries to Turkey

It’s become even harder for Syrians to flee the war-ravaged country after Syrian authorities stopped the ferry service between Tartus and the Turkish port city of Mersin.
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 An Al-Monitor Correspondent in Syria for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on December 19

Why won't Hamas label Islamic State as terrorists?

Hamas officials say the word “terrorism” is a politicized Western term and there is no international consensus, which is why it won’t label the Islamic State a terrorist group.
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 Asmaa al-Ghoul for Al-Monitor on December 19

Sisi amends traffic laws to curb fatal road accidents

Dangerous drivers face harsher sanctions with amendments to Egypt's traffic law in light of increasing road accidents.
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 Muhammad Ghamrawy for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on December 21

Why should Iran accept US presence in Afghanistan?

Iran has an interest in keeping a military presence in Afghanistan to keep its enemy the Taliban in check, and should drop its rhetoric against US troops being stationed there for much of the same objectives.
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 Alex Vatanka for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on December 19

Is an Algerian uprising near?

Some believe that recent Algerian protests of unfair wealth distribution could spawn a violent uprising.
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Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on December 18

Iraqis wage new battle for freedoms

A controversial draft law that curbs freedoms of expression and assembly has been resubmitted to the Iraqi parliament, sparking a wave of criticism from activists and civil society organizations.
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 Shukur Khilkhal for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on December 18

Israel exiles nonviolent Palestinian activists

Five Palestinian community activists in Jerusalem were surprised to learn they had been temporarily exiled from their city by Israeli authorities without being provided a reason.
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 Charlie Hoyle for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on December 18

Egypt universities outsource security

Falcon Group International, a private contractor, is responsible for security in 12 Egyptian universities, but its presence has sparked controversy among students and administrators alike.
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 Amr Abdelatty for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on December 18

Are Israeli voters worried more about security or the economy?

Some Israeli left-wing politicians have hinted lately that the reported attack on Syria well serves Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud Party ahead of the elections, shifting public focus away from an economic agenda back to security threats.
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 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on December 18

As Yemen changes, Russia's position stays the same

While Yemen has undergone upheaval, Russia has remained focused on containing Sunni Islamic extremism.
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 Paul J. Saunders for Al-Monitor on December 17

Who keeps bombing the French Cultural Center in Gaza?

The French Cultural Center in Gaza has been targeted twice in two months, raising suspicions about who is behind the attacks, since the center is located near Hamas security headquarters and the unity government's Interior Ministry.
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 Asmaa al-Ghoul for Al-Monitor on December 17

Expanding defense budgets feed fears of Middle East arms race

A new report on arms-producing companies offers insight into the Middle East, where military experts say the armament race is likely to continue at an increasing pace.
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Metin Turcan for Al-Monitor on December 17

Hamas asks Iran for money, weapons

A senior Hamas delegation visited Tehran last week to ask Iran to resume its financial and military aid to the beleaguered Palestinian Islamist movement.
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 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on December 17

After Damascus talks, Moscow pressures Syria

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov’s Dec. 10-11 visit to Damascus and increased contact with Turkey signal a shift in Russian-Syrian relations as Moscow looks for a political solution.
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 An Al-Monitor Correspondent in Lebanon for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse on December 17

Sanctions, sabotage, science delay Iran's missile program

Experts say Iran’s missile program should not be an impediment to a comprehensive nuclear deal, but that Iran should be encouraged to keep its pledges not to build long-range ballistic missiles.
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 Barbara Slavin for Al-Monitor on December 17

How foreign imams radicalized Syria's war

When eastern Aleppo fell to rebel factions, radical preachers from abroad quickly moved in and began proselytizing extremist views to the local population, raising fears that such effects may linger for years to come.
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Edward Dark for Al-Monitor on December 17

Baghdad struggles in its role as mediator

The Iraqi government is still struggling to present itself as a neutral intermediary between the various sectarian and regional forces, while the United States has started talks with Sunni parties on security cooperation.
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 Mushreq Abbas for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on December 17

Hamas official confirms Qassam rocket tests

Hamas' testing of Qassam rockets points to the movement's failure to draw the right conclusions or lessons from its last confrontation with Israel.
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 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on December 17

De Mistura: Aleppo freeze could be applied elsewhere

In an interview with Al-Hayat, UN envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura speaks about his efforts to reach a "freeze" agreement in Aleppo, and says that such a plan would not be a precursor for a division of the country.
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Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on December 17

PA all talk, no action on Abu Ein’s death

The PA’s tough statements in the aftermath of Ziad Abu Ein’s death appear nothing more than hot air, as it has refused to follow through with its threats to cut security coordination with Israel or accelerate steps to join international conventions.
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 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on December 16

Iran warned Australia about Sydney attacker

Sydney hostage-taker Man Haron Monis had long been wanted by Iran for fraud.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on December 16

Mothers of missing Syrians look for answers

Thousands of Syrians remain missing, either abducted by armed groups or held in government prisons, leaving their anguished families distraught.
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Khaled Atallah for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on December 16

Jabhat al-Nusra, IS clash in Daraa

As Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State continue to openly clash in many areas of Syria, the fate of the two groups in the Western Qalamoun is uncertain. If they come to blows, Daraa and western Qalamoun risk becoming engulfed.
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Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on December 16

IS threat led to closure of Western embassies in Egypt

The Islamic State has sent Egyptian members back to Egypt to plan attacks against foreign interests in the country, prompting the United Kingdom and Canada to close their embassies.
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 An Al-Monitor correspondent in Sinai for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on December 16

Shiites, Sunnis unite to denounce and condemn extremists

The recent surge of Islamist extremists movements has had a positive effect in uniting Shiite and Sunni clerics, from Tehran to Cairo, to denounce the waves of intolerance and radicalism.
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 Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor on December 15

Middle East dictators feed sectarianism

To assess why the Arab world is increasingly torn apart by violence in the name of sectarian identity and solidarity, we must focus on the abysmal strategies of patron-client dictatorships and economic inequality.
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 Madawi Al-Rasheed for Al-Monitor on December 15

Egypt's June 30 coalition loses support

Hamdeen Sabahi, a former presidential candidate, is leading a movement to boycott the final stages of the June 30 coalition talks to finalize a road map for Egypt in light of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s newest policies and the acquittal of former President Hosni Mubarak.
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 Walaa Hussein for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on December 15

Meshaal: Hamas' West Bank resistance will continue

Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal told Al-Monitor in an interview that Hamas will continue to develop resistance in the West Bank against the Israeli occupation.
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 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on December 15

Israeli strike targets Lebanon-bound weapons in Syria

A confidential diplomatic source has revealed to Al-Monitor that the recent Israeli strikes in Syria targeted weapons originating from Moscow and destined for Lebanon.
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 An Al-Monitor Correspondent in Beirut for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse on December 16

LGBT community finds Damascus more open

With the war still raging, it's hard for the morality police to focus on the LGBT community in Damascus.
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Mustafa al-Haj for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on December 15

Europe ramps up push for peace

Israel's indifference to a generous financial, economic and defense package offered by the European Union, combined with the failure of the US peace initiative, have persuaded the Europeans to change the rules of the game and seek a proactive peace.
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 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on December 15

Another Turkish witch hunt begins

In Turkey, one alleged crime always leads to a larger conspiracy theory, demonizing and punishing a large group of people.
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 Mustafa Akyol for Al-Monitor on December 15

Lebanese prime minister speaks out

Salam Tamam sits down with Al-Hayat newspaper in Paris to discuss Lebanese security, Arsal, the kidnaped security personnel and the next president of Lebanon.
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Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on December 15

Iran’s Rouhani eyes leading role in anti-terror campaign

A conference in Iran aims to position the country as the leading fighter against terrorism in the region instead of foreign troops.
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 Maysam Bizar for Al-Monitor on December 12

Erdogan defends Brotherhood's Qaradawi after arrest warrant

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan slammed Egypt for requesting an arrest warrant from Interpol for Youssef al-Qaradawi, the ideological leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.
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 Tulin Daloglu for Al-Monitor on December 12

Turkey hits back at US over torture report

While Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu expressed his hope that the United States “will not repeat such inhuman treatment,” Turkey's alleged cooperation with the CIA over rendition of Islamic terror suspects is conveniently overlooked.
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 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on December 12

Armed groups are gathering in eastern Qalamoun

Armed groups are fleeing the Syrian army-controlled areas and assembling in the east of Qalamoun, which was once part of their supply route.
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Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on December 12

Energy deals may make Turkey irreversibly reliant on Moscow

Despite the celebratory sentiment in Ankara after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit, Turkey’s energy dependence on Russia is bound to further increase with nuclear power plant projects.
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 Zülfikar Doğan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on December 12

Egypt looks to roll back Islamist militias in Libya

The Egyptian government is closely coordinating with the elected parliament and government in Libya to win back control of Benghazi and Tripoli.
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 Ayah Aman for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on December 12

Rajoub: Abu Ein's death will spark uprising, not violence

Senior Fatah officials blame Israel for the death of Palestinian Cabinet Minister Ziad Abu Ein, as does Jibril Rajoub, who says that in spite of the death of a “man of peace,” the nonviolent uprising will continue, while Israel fears escalation.
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 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on December 11

Iran's role in Yemen draws Israel and Saudi Arabia closer

The Houthi takeover of the Yemen port city, the tribe's strong ties to Iran and its latest contacts with Palestine Islamic Jihad have both Israel and Saudi Arabia worried.
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 Ephraim Sneh for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on December 12

Death of Ziad Abu Ein could work to Abbas’ advantage

The death of Palestinian Minister Ziad Abu Ein could aid in taking the spotlight off President Mahmoud Abbas' recent problems and also reinforce use of nonviolent resistance, which he supports, as a strategy for ending the occupation.
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 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on December 11

Besieged Aleppo residents turn to farming

Residents in the rebel-held part of Aleppo are planting vegetables and raising animals in preparation for the impending regime siege.
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 Mohammed al-Khatieb for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on December 11

Will Turkey, EU relations improve after Mogherini visit?

If Turkey is so isolated, why all the high-level visits to Ankara in the last month?
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 Cengiz Çandar for Al-Monitor on December 11

Russian DFM talks Syrian issue with Hezbollah

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov met with a wide range of Lebanese leaders during a visit to Beirut and told everyone what they wanted to hear.
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 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on December 11

Jumblatt: no solution in Syria with Assad in power

Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt talked about the Syrian war and the Lebanese soldiers abducted by Jabhat al-Nusra in an interview with Al-Monitor.
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 Ali Hashem for Al-Monitor on December 10

Arab parties push for unity ahead of Israeli elections

As the Knesset prepares to debate proposed laws that would significantly damage political activity by the Palestinian parties, Arab members weigh their options while debating ways to increase their collective power in parliament.
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 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor on December 10

Ain al-Hilweh refuge for militants, fugitives

Ain al-Hilweh, the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon, is a safe haven for fugitives and militants, while the Lebanese state is moving to extend its mandate over the Sidon area and improve the security situation.
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 Esperance Ghanem for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse on December 11

Egypt passes new law on 'terrorist' entities

Egypt has passed a new law defining individuals and entities to be deemed terrorist, prompting fears that many human rights activists and civil society organizations with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood will be targeted.
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 Ahmed Fouad for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on December 10

Russia steps up its Middle East policy

Russia has recently increased its diplomatic efforts in the Middle East on a variety of fronts, ranging from Arab-Israeli peace to trade with Lebanon and military cooperation with Sudan.
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 Vitaly Naumkin for Al-Monitor on December 11

Israel-Hezbollah deterrence game continues

The reported airstrike against a convoy on its way from Lebanon to Syria has not yet sparked a strong reaction by Hezbollah against Israel, probably because its patron Iran is still negotiating a nuclear deal.
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 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on December 9

Fatah official: Israel, Hamas in direct talks

A Fatah official has confirmed claims by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas about Israel and Hamas holding direct talks, claiming that the two sides are engaged in security cooperation.
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 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on December 9

Israeli strikes on Syria hit Iranian weapons destined for Hezbollah

Syrian military sources tell Al-Monitor that Israeli warplanes struck storage depots with Iranian weapons that were to be sent to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
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Khaled Atallah for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on December 9

Baghdad-Erbil deal silent on KRG's surplus oil

Questions remain over what the Kurdistan Regional Government is to do with the quantity of oil it is not exporting under Baghdad’s supervision.
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 Mohammed A. Salih for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on December 9

Syrian fighter's story one of tragedy, greed

In search of money and power, one young Syrian man considered signing up with the army, then joined a rebel faction and later the Islamic State, but was ultimately rewarded with death.
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Edward Dark for Al-Monitor on December 9

Syrian army regains control of Deir ez-Zor airport

An overview of the most recent developments on the ground in Syria, including the regime securing Deir ez-Zor Airport in the east, the emergence of a large tunnel in a Damascus suburb that leads into the besieged neighborhood of Ghouta and the latest IS movements near the capital.
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Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on December 9

What happened at anti-IS coalition meeting?

A diplomatic source participating in the gathering of the international coalition against the Islamic State told Al-Monitor that Turkey sought to undermine its regional rivals for its own interests.
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 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on December 9

US official claims gains in curtailing IS oil smuggling

Energy and Iraq experts question US assertions of success in closing longstanding smuggling routes used by Islamic militants to send oil and other products from Iraq and Syria to Turkey and Jordan.
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 Barbara Slavin for Al-Monitor on December 8

Hamas in Turkey on alert after Israeli complaint

Hamas officials in Turkey are taking precautions after Israel’s complaint to NATO against Ankara for hosting the Palestinian Islamist group, fearing that Israel might resume assassinating its leaders abroad.
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 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on December 8

Is the Islamic ‘state’ doomed to failure?

By building an economy that is based on oil and a society confined by severe and repressive laws, the economic and social foundations of the so-called Islamic State are doomed to crumple.
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Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on December 8

US must encourage Israeli voters to seek end to conflict

While Israeli voters prepare for elections, US President Barack Obama should not echo former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's unconditional support for Israel: He should instead show voters the price of their leaders' refusal to negotiate with the Palestinians.
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 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on December 8

Jordan sends message with arrests of MB leaders

The arrest of one of the most senior Muslim Brotherhood leaders in Jordan has plunged its relations with the ruling regime into a crisis which threatens to escalate.
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Osama Al Sharif for Al-Monitor on December 8

UN envoy balances rival factions in risky Libyan talks

UN envoy to Libya Bernardino Leon is set to steer a new round of talks between rival factions in Libya, neither of which he reportedly considers legitimate.
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 Mustafa Fetouri for Al-Monitor on December 8

Kerry calls Iran airstrikes on Islamic State 'positive'

Iran takes action against the Islamic State in Iraq; Obama administration cautious on Turkish buffer zone proposal; Turkey’s border under scrutiny; Russia’s diplomatic surge; Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman says "courageous" peace plan offers "painful concessions."
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 Al-Monitor Week in Review on December 7

Turkey not expected to revise Syria policy

Analysts predict Ankara will continue to refuse active involvement against the Islamic State and retain its current policy until Washington spells out its plans for Syria’s future.
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 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on December 5

Militants wipe away parts of Lebanon-Syria border

The porous border between Lebanon and Syria allows the free movement of militants and weapons in some areas.
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Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on December 5

Gaza writers receive death threats from IS

A statement purporting to come from the Islamic State in Gaza listed 18 writers and poets who it says the radical group will kill if they do not cease insulting Islam in their work.
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 Hana Salah for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on December 5

Oil deal a sign of hope between Baghdad, Erbil

An oil agreement signed by the Iraqi and Kurdish governments over the management of oil proceeds could be a new step in the normalization of relations between them.
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 Mushreq Abbas for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on December 5

Israeli fly-over coincides with attack on Lebanese army

A day after the Lebanese army was ambushed in Baalbek on Dec. 2, Israeli aircraft violated Lebanese airspace in the same area, raising questions about a possible cooperation between Israel and Syrians on the border with Lebanon.
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 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on December 8

Land grab in Turkey's southeast threatens return of minorities

Armed and determined Kurdish tribes seize hundreds of acres of land owned by Christians and Yazidis in southeastern Turkey.
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 Susanne Güsten for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on December 5

Who is paying for America's plan to train and equip Syrian rebels?

Defense bill writers were told other nations will foot the bill.
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 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on December 4

Islamic State reaps profits from organ trafficking

The militant group relies on diverse forms of extortion to fund its operations in both Syria and Iraq.
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Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on December 5

Hamas wants to extend unity government but with conditions

Hamas wants changes for the unity government as its six-month term has come to an end, criticizing President Mahmoud Abbas for failing to address Gaza’s woes.
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 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on December 4

IRGC denies negotiations are source of Iran's security

The head of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps believes that the country's nuclear negotiators derived their strength directly from Iran's military and defensive abilities.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on December 4

Iran refuses regional talks with US

In an interview with As-Safir, the adviser of Iran's parliament speaker on International Affairs, Hossein Sheikholeslam, talked about the nuclear negotiations and relations with the United States.
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Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on December 4

Anti-IS coalition's 'train-and-equip' program not enough

The problem with the US-led coalition's "train-and-equip" program is not finding committed soldiers willing to fight but rather finding dedicated, capable leaders to command them.
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Metin Turcan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on December 4

IS leader's 'captured wife' may not be who she says she is

While Saja al-Dulaimi might not be the wife of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Lebanese authorities hope her capture will help free army soldiers being held by jihadists.
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 Ali Hashem for Al-Monitor on December 3

IS threat imminent in Daraa

The Islamic State is approaching dangerously close to Daraa, prompting the MOC Operations Center to announce that this city is a red line and it will not allow any breach.
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Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on December 3

Iran denies cooperating with US on IS strikes

Iranian officials have not confirmed whether Iran has conducted airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq but continue to officially reject cooperation with the US-led coalition.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on December 3

US sanctions expert to leave as Iran talks extended

State Department Iran sanctions official Richard Nephew is among the US officials expected to leave as Iran talks are extended, but Wendy Sherman will stay on as the lead US Iran negotiator.
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 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on December 3

Saudi Arabia forced to rethink ideology in fight against IS

While Saudi Arabia and the Islamic State (IS) are both based on pan-Islamic ideology, the former feels threatened by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's efforts to create a multi-ethnic military force where local culture, language and ethnicity are submerged in one Islamic identity and polity.
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 Madawi Al-Rasheed for Al-Monitor on December 3

Lebanon's bittersweet expertise in prosthetics helps amputees

As a result of past conflicts in Lebanon, organizations and government ministries have created a prosthetics sector that continues to advance and using its knowledge to assist not only Lebanese, but also Syrian refugee victims of war and those with congenital disabilities.
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 Melissa Tabeek for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse on December 3

Gaza war leaves students with ruined classrooms

Israel shelled dozens of schools during the recent Gaza war, destroying and damaging classrooms and leaving many students to study in impossible conditions.
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 Rasha Abou Jalal for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on December 3

Israel's unexploded ordnance endangers Jordan Valley residents

The Israeli army leaves behind unexploded devices and mines each time it conducts military drills in the Jordan Valley, and prevents local Palestinian forces from performing demining activities.
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 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on December 3

Who will liberate Mosul?

The liberation of Mosul is complicated by its ethnic, religious and ideological pluralism.
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 Mushreq Abbas for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on December 3

Congress demands allies crack down on IS foreign fighters

Lawmakers of both parties are threatening to tighten travel restrictions on countries that don't incarcerate returning fighters.
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 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on December 2

Is Islamic State finding refuge in Turkey?

Kurdish activists argue that the Islamic State militants have crossed from the Turkish border and attacked Kobani from the rear of the Mursitpinar border crossing.
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Translated from Radikal (Turkey) on December 2

Liberman outlines his regional peace plan

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman details his comprehensive regional proposal, including land and population swaps.
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 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on December 2

Addressing corruption just one part of Iraqi security

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's efforts to reform the security and military institutions are necessary to eliminate corruption but not enough to restore Iraq’s security.
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 Mustafa al-Kadhimi for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on December 2

Hariri gives green light to dialogue with Hezbollah

Saad Hariri has finally approved a dialogue with Hezbollah, based on several new developments on the internal and regional levels.
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Translated from Al-Nahar (Lebanon) on December 2

Khatib's Moscow visit raising questions

Many are wondering if Russia will again be at the heart of progress in finding a solution to Syria’s civil war after a visit to Moscow by Moaz al-Khatib, former leader of the Syrian opposition, was followed by a visit of the Syrian foreign minister to the Russian capital.
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Translated from Al-Nahar (Lebanon) on December 2

Exiled Iranian journalist recalls lost freedoms

In a new book, former New York Times correspondent Nazila Fathi intertwines her personal and professional experiences after the Iranian revolution, including the challenges of covering the Islamic Republic for two decades.
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 Barbara Slavin for Al-Monitor on December 1

Tensions rise between Egypt, Hamas

Tensions have surged between Egypt and Hamas following the deadly October attack in the Sinai Peninsula against Egyptian soldiers, which prompted an Egyptian media campaign against Hamas.
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 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on December 1

Israel: Turkey is insincere about mending fences

Several emissaries are trying to reconcile Turkey and Israel, but the latter feels that resetting relations requires a sincere change of approach: an end to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's declarations against Israel and to his support for Hamas terror.
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 Arad Nir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on December 1

In latest peace plans for Syria, Assad can stay

Peace proposals by Russia, the UN secretary-general's special envoy and a European think tank are making news.
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 Vitaly Naumkin for Al-Monitor on December 1

Turkey's Hamas 'bureau'

Hamas activist Salah al-Arouri, previously expelled from Israel, found refuge in Turkey, where he managed to create a militant alternative to the movement’s splintered leadership.
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 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on December 1

After joining IS, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis expands in Egypt

Terrorist group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis is developing its strategy and tactics after joining the Islamic State, and threatens to spread the violence to Egyptian cities outside Sinai.
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 An Al-Monitor correspondent in Sinai for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on December 1

Turkey's women expand role in military

The Turkish army is witnessing a rapid increase of females in its ranks.
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Metin Turcan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on December 1

Palestinians prepare push for UN resolution on statehood

The Arab League has agreed to submit a draft resolution calling for recognition of the state of Palestine as Palestinians gear up for a diplomatic showdown at the UN Security Council.
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 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on December 1

Sistani denies supporting Soleiman's involvement in Iraq

The office of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has denied allegations that he supports the Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani's presence and Iranian involvement in Iraq in the fight against the Islamic State.
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 Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor on December 2

Erdogan slams US on Syria again, days after Biden visit

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan calls US "impertinent" on Syria, says West likes seeing Muslim children die; Israel considers extension of Iran nuclear talks as better than a bad deal.
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 Al-Monitor Week in Review on November 30

Islamic State cell strikes Shiites in Saudi Arabia

A deadly attack by an Islamic State cell on Saudi Shiites has upped the ante in the jihadists' threat to the Saudi royal family as the guardians of Islam's most holy sites.
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 Bruce Riedel for Al-Monitor on November 28

Lebanese army makes strides in Tripoli

With its success in Tripoli, the Lebanese army is proving itself as the only military institution in the state able to confront terrorism.
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 Sami Nader for Al-Monitor on November 28

To promote wins against IS, Iran's Soleimani emerges

Quds Force Cmdr. Qasem Soleimani has been advising Iraqi Shiite militias with some success in the fight against the Islamic State.
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 Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor on November 28

Gaza's pregnant women suffer

With the high number of wounded individuals during the last Israeli offensive against Gaza, doctors were often unable to attend to pregnant women giving birth or experiencing complications before and after deliveries.
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 Rasha Abou Jalal for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on November 30

Egyptians struggle to return to Libya

Egyptian nationals would rather go to Libya for the chance to find work than live in poverty in their own country.
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 Aml Saleh for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on December 14

Houthis’ advance threatens Red Sea countries

Red Sea countries are sounding the alarm as to the possible Houthis takeover of Bab al-Mandeb strait, by issuing initiatives to preserve the security of these states.
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 Walaa Hussein for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on December 1

Russia balances relations with Israelis, Palestinians

Russia and Israel appear able to compartmentalize their differences, including their approaches to the Palestinian cause, while improving bilateral relations.
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 Paul J. Saunders for Al-Monitor on November 26

US tries to head off Israeli-Palestinian 'Al-Aqsa war'

While right-wing settlers and extremist Palestinians ponder a ''war of zealots,'' the Obama administration considers a tactical deal, including an Israeli settlement freeze in exchange for Palestinian security cooperation and no unilateral moves at the UN.
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 Uri Savir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on November 30

Israel satisfied with delay in Iran nuclear deal

Following months of meetings with European and US leaders and with intelligence experts, Israel is relieved by the fact that the talks with Iran were extended and that the negotiated deal draft was not signed yet.
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 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on November 28

Despite Netanyahu, PA continues security cooperation with Israel

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Adnan al-Damiri, the Palestinian Authority security services spokesman, claims that the Israeli leadership chooses to ignore the tight security cooperation in the West Bank for political reasons.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on November 26

Amid war, Damascenes promote cycling with mass bike ride

The war did not stop local activists in Damascus from organizing a public bike ride aimed at raising awareness about the benefits of cycling as an alternative means of transportation.
Read more»

Mustafa al-Haj for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on November 26

Despite Jerusalem unrest, West Bank remains quiet

The Palestinian Authority’s grip on the West Bank, in coordination with Israel, is preventing any opportunity for the unrest to spread.
Read more»

 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on November 26

Iran, Saudi Arabia find common ground in Yemen

Despite fears of increasing Riyadh-Tehran rivalry, Yemen's unity government serves the interests of both Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Read more»

 Alex Vatanka for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on November 26

Hezbollah arrives in Iraq

As the battle against the Islamic State evolves, experienced members of Hezbollah arrive in Iraq to provide guidance and training.
Read more»

 Ali Hashem for Al-Monitor on November 25

Insecurity strengthens Israeli right

A poll after the attack on the Har Nof synagogue and an academic study indicate that when Israelis feel threatened, it plays into the hands of the right-wing parties, at the moment benefiting first and foremost the Likud Party.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on November 26

Israel views extension of Iran talks as lesser of two evils

Israel's attitude, favoring no nuclear agreement with Iran over a bad one, resulted in it being denied any direct influence on this phase of the negotiations, even if some of its worries are legitimate and shared by the US Congress.
Read more»

 Michael Herzog for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on November 25

Ankara, Baghdad turn over new leaf in relationship

Prospects for political, economic and security cooperation between Ankara, Baghdad and Erbil look much better today despite issues that have to be ironed out.
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on November 25

Syrian link suspected in Chechen murder in Ankara

The 2013 murder of a prominent ethnic Chechen in Ankara may have been a retribution for his opposition to Chechen involvement in the jihadist war in Syria.
Read more»

 Sibel Utku Bila for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on November 25

Israel violates terms of Gaza cease-fire

Israel is still not abiding by the terms of the cease-fire deal that ended the Gaza war in August, and still harasses and fires at Palestinian farmers and fishermen.
Read more»

 Mohammed Othman for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on November 25

Israel's home demolitions fail to deter violence

Local and international human rights groups have criticized Israel’s policy of demolishing Palestinian homes as a war crime and collective punishment.
Read more»

 Ylenia Gostoli for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on November 25

Sisi's deportation law creates controversy

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has issued another controversial law to repatriate non-Egyptians accused of committing crimes, drawing criticism that it might expand the president’s privileges over the judiciary power.
Read more»

 Ahmed Fouad for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on November 25

Sanctions talk heats up after second extension to Iran talks

Lawmakers are making the case for a new round of sanctions in a Republican-controlled Congress.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on November 24

'Progress made' but deadline extended in Iran nuclear talks

With the self-imposed Nov. 24 deadline for a comprehensive Iran nuclear accord pushed seven months, analysts recognize important progress made in talks but worry that further delay could increase risk in relations between Iran and the West.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on November 24

Baghdadi vs. Zawahri: battle for global jihad

Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahri and Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi are engaged in a battle for the hearts and minds of Islamic militants worldwide.
Read more»

 Bruce Riedel for Al-Monitor on November 24

As Syrian army closes in, Douma residents turn against rebels

Douma’s residents protested against Jaish al-Islam for monopolizing food supplies to the Damascene suburb, while Syrian government forces edge closer to retaking the rebel stronghold.
Read more»

Khaled Atallah for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on November 24

Turkish government, military at odds over Gulenists

Turkey’s military is back in the headlines, but this time as an “injured party,” defending itself against allegations of Gulenist soldiers in its ranks.
Read more»

A Correspondent in Turkey for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on November 24

Under US pressure, Turkey focuses on relations with Baghdad

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu signaled Turkey's intentions of switching diplomatic tracks during his Baghdad visit.
Read more»

 Zülfikar Doğan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on November 24

Israeli mayor responds to racism charge

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Ashkelon Mayor Itamar Shimoni argues that the decision to halt work by Arab Israeli construction workers in his city was intended only to allay tensions, saying, "I believe that Arab Israelis are part of us."
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on November 24

Russia's Middle East policy after the G-20 summit

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, ever skeptical of US intentions, elaborates on Russia's policies in the Middle East — and risks alienating the West.
Read more»

 Vitaly Naumkin for Al-Monitor on November 24

Jailed Palestinian leader calls for armed resistance

Jailed Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti published a letter in the Palestinian news media calling for a “comprehensive resistance and the gun” against the Israeli occupation.
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on November 24

Freedom Square offers refuge for Basra residents

Basra residents are finding respite in Hurriyah Square, where they can sit and talk freely without militias imposing their strict Islamic rules.
Read more»

 Omar al-Jaffal for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on November 24

Momentum builds to uncertain conclusion at Iran talks

Diplomats scramble to make progress in the Iran nuclear talks on the eve of the Nov. 24 deadline; a Chinese diplomat is due to join the Vienna talks as a last-minute addition.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on November 23

How rumors hurt the Palestinian cause

Publishing rumors about the death of a Palestinian bus driver is damaging the credibility of the Palestinian press, delegitimizing the legitimate claims of the Palestinian people and fanning the flames of hatred.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on November 24

Will Egypt-Qatar rapprochement harm MB?

A possible Egyptian-Qatari rapprochement will affect the Muslim Brotherhood, which will lose an ally that could have mediated between it and the Egyptian regime.
Read more»

Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on November 21

Will terror attacks revive issue of splitting Jerusalem?

The Israeli right has long accused the left of intending to divide Jerusalem in a future agreement with the Palestinians, but with continuing unrest in the city the ruling right wing must also face the possibility of a separation.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on November 21

Are US regional interests best served working with Iran?

In an interview with Al-Hayat, Mohammad Marandi, the dean of the faculty of world studies at the University of Tehran, is asked about the relations between Iran and the United States, against the backdrop of the recent nuclear negotiations.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on November 21

Congress weighs arming Iraqi Kurds

Key leaders of both parties are championing legislation to directly support Erbil in its fight against the Islamic State.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on November 20

Kerry: driving toward 'outline' of final Iran nuclear accord

US Secretary of State John Kerry said the Iran nuclear talks were headed for "the outline of an agreement" before the Nov. 24 deadline for a final deal.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on November 20

Israeli security defends Abbas

Israeli security apparatus agrees with the political echelon that Mahmoud Abbas incites the Palestinian street over Temple Mount, but argues that Abbas maintains security cooperation with Israel and condemns terror attacks.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on November 20

Turkish military support to Afghanistan rises

While most countries are downsizing their military assistance to Afghanistan, Turkey is offering more military support and training.
Read more»

Metin Turcan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on November 20

Islamic State in Sinai poses threat to Hamas

Despite Hamas denials, Islamic State cells exist in the Gaza Strip, and its declaration of a state in the Sinai may accelerate its expansion as Hamas’ grip on Gaza loosens.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on November 20

Could Israel’s policies pave way for an intifada?

Israel’s systematic marginalization of Palestinian residents in Jerusalem and its separation of them from the Palestinian Authority are recreating the ingredients for an uprising.
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on November 20

Hopes for reconciliation in Aleppo

In the battle-scarred city of Aleppo, a glimmer of hope is present as talk of reconciliation emerges.
Read more»

Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on November 20

'Conflict freeze' desperately needed in Aleppo

Residents of Aleppo are losing patience with the hardships the war has brought and want an end to the conflict that has ruined their city and their lives.
Read more»

Edward Dark for Al-Monitor on November 20

Jaish al-Islam mimics Islamic State practices

Zahran Alloush and his fighters in the Army of Islam are continuing to fight regime forces in Douma, with the ultimate goal of creating a caliphate.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Nahar (Lebanon) on November 20

Following synagogue attack, Netanyahu, Abbas must meet

With the latest wave of suicide attacks in Jerusalem, Israel faces a security situation that cannot be solved by building fences like the separation wall.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on November 19

Davutoglu's wishful thinking

Remarks by Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu that US President Barack Obama is coming around to Ankara’s position on Syria are not supported by statements from Washington.
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on November 19

Islamic State pledge in Sinai raises stakes for Egypt

Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis’ decision to declare allegiance to the Islamic State undercuts President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s efforts to reassure the Egyptian public that his government is winning the war on terror in the Sinai Peninsula.
Read more»

 An Al-Monitor correspondent in Sinai for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on November 19

EU ministers discuss jihadist travel to Syria, border security

While the G6 meeting of interior ministers on Nov. 6 focused on jihadists traveling from Europe to Syria via Turkey, the European Parliament is considering putting in place more stringent security checks and travel restrictions.
Read more»

Arzu Cakir Morin for Al-Monitor on November 19

Security expert: Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis 'gasping for breath'

As Egyptian terrorist group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis swore allegiance to the Islamic State, several Egyptian security experts dismissed its significance, citing strong gains by the army against the Sinai-based group.
Read more»

 Rami Galal for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on November 19

Yemen's Houthis proxy, not ally for Iran

Although they form part of the regional alliance with Iran, Yemen's Houthis and Hezbollah in Lebanon differ in political contexts and behavior.
Read more»

 Farea al-Muslimi for Al-Monitor on November 19

Jews, Arabs use religion as tool to escalate conflict

The murders at the Bnei Torah Kehillat Yaakov synagogue in Jerusalem are yet another sign of both sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict adding religious elements to the territorial dispute.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on November 19

The Islamic State is here to stay

Unlike al-Qaeda, the Islamic State has been able to institutionalize jihad, thus guaranteeing its survival.
Read more»

 Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor on November 20

Jerusalem terror attack shatters brief remission

This morning's terror attack on a synagogue in Jerusalem indicates that the latest measures of lifting age restrictions for Muslim prayers at the Temple Mount failed at preventing further escalation.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on November 18

Military's role broadens in 'New Turkey'

Since taking his seat as Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has thrown himself into the role of commander-in-chief and drawn the armed forces closer into the political realm and manipulated security concerns to serve his agenda.
Read more»

A Correspondent in Turkey for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on November 18

Watching Kobani

The writer gives a personal account of his trip on Nov. 15-16 to Suruc, across from Kobani on the Turkish side of the border, and relates how locals believe that the Kobani battle may bring an end to the Islamic State in military terms.
Read more»

 Cengiz Çandar for Al-Monitor on November 18

Why IS is stronger in Syria than in Iraq

Experts anticipate that fighting the Islamic State will be easier in Iraq than in Syria because of the coordination between the airstrikes of the international coalition and the Iraqi troops’ ground offensive.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Nahar (Lebanon) on November 18

After attacks in Jerusalem, fears grow of religious war

Palestinians believe Israel is threatening to ignite a religious war between Palestinian Muslims and Israeli Jews, taking advantage of the unrest in the Arab and Islamic world.
Read more»

 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on November 18

Syrian army retakes al-Shaer gas field

The Syrian army's recapture of a gas field from the Islamic State represented a strategic and symbolic victory, securing the country's electricity supply and protecting central Syria from further attacks.
Read more»

Khaled Atallah for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on November 18

Iraq's Arbaeen pilgrims walk new, safer path

A new road is being built to make it easier for Shiite pilgrims to walk to Iraq's holy city of Karbala, where they commemorate the death of Imam Hussein Bin Ali.
Read more»

 Wassim Bassem for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on November 18

How a German doctor became a PKK hero

"Dr. Medya," a physician from Hamburg, talks about her more than 20 years in the Kurdistan Workers Party in a rare interview.
Read more»

 Amberin Zaman for Al-Monitor on November 17

Kerry finds a way to Temple Mount compromise

In Amman, US Secretary of State John Kerry achieved a compromise on Muslim Temple Mount prayers, showing that a firm US stance must be taken to resolve the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on November 17

Daraa province slowly falls into Syrian rebel hands

A string of victories by Syrian rebels in the country’s south has taken the Syrian army by surprise, with the Daraa governorate almost completely in the hands of rebel groups.
Read more»

Mustafa al-Haj for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on November 17

IS tries to lure Washington into confrontation

In the Islamic State’s killing of an American aid worker and 15 Syrian soldiers, the organization seems to be provoking the West for a ground intervention in Syria and Iraq, as a means to garner more support.
Read more»

Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on November 17

Khamenei says world relies on Iran’s armed forces

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has encouraged young officers to "elevate Iran’s military organization" by taking advantage of the country’s scientific abilities, as "the world counts on" Iran's military.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on November 17

Hamas instigates further West Bank unrest

Hamas is seeking to take advantage of the latest acts of violence against Israelis in the occupied territories, but is hindered by tight security measures by Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on November 17

'Ghost' soldiers haunt Iraqi army

Corruption in Iraq has spread to the army, as ghost soldiers share their wages with officials who cover for the latter’s absence from work.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Zeed for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on November 17

Harvard researcher harassed after speaking out against AKP

Turkish expatriates criticizing members of government online and in other public forums are being attacked in campaigns apparently intended to silence them.
Read more»

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on November 17

Druze, Muslims clash over ties with Israel

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Abu Snan Local Council head Nuhad Mishlav refers to the clashes last week between Druze and Muslim youth, saying, "The entire Arab leadership in Israel is mobilized to resolve the crisis and return to coexistence."
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on November 17

Germany deals with IS at home

Since many German residents and nationals have traveled to join IS in Syria, there is a growing sense of fear of Islamic extremism in the country.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on November 17

Saudi Arabia reiterates full support for Libya

As the UN is preparing to add Ansar al-Sharia on the list of terrorist organizations, Saudi Arabia has expressed its full support for the stability and security of Libya.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on November 17

Tense calm continues at Al-Aqsa

After weeks of violence and protests, Israel has eased entry restrictions to Al-Aqsa Mosque to de-escalate the tensions there.
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on November 17

Congress prepares for final Iran push

A look at the Middle East issues Congress will be addressing the week of Nov. 17.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on November 16

Iran official: US proposals in Oman 'back to zero'

The head of Iran's parliamentary nuclear committee said that an eight-page proposal by the United States takes the nuclear talks "back to zero."
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on November 16

Will Turkey stick with Chinese missile defense deal?

Turkey’s final choice for its anti-missile system will offer important clues whether the country will turn to the West or the East.
Read more»

A Correspondent in Turkey for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on November 16

Iran nuclear deal could be key to resolving region’s conflicts

Iran has signaled a willingness to engage in Iraq and Syria.
Read more»

 Al-Monitor Week in Review on November 16

Europeans work Congress on Iran

The so-called E3 nations of France, United Kingdom and Germany have ramped up their outreach to Congress as the Nov. 24 deadline for a nuclear deal grows closer.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on November 14

IS plays on tribal marginalization in Iraq

Support for the Islamic State stems from its ability to tap into Sunni disenfranchisement.
Read more»

Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on November 16

Russia, Turkey inch toward improved relations

Relations between Moscow and Ankara, though tense at times, appear to be tentatively improving.
Read more»

 Paul J. Saunders for Al-Monitor on November 14

Druze leaders debate Jumblatt's approach to Syria

As Walid Jumblatt calls for a neutral stance toward the Syrian conflict, recent incidents have prompted others in the Druze community to articulate their own opinions.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Nahar (Lebanon) on November 16

Iran takes steps to reduce economic risk of falling oil prices

Despite media reports to the contrary, Iran's government has reduced its economic vulnerability to falling oil prices.
Read more»

 Bijan Khajehpour for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on November 14

Attack on US sailors highlights state of US-Turkish ties

US officials condemn the Istanbul attack on three US sailors as "ugly and disturbing," and say it is “a great discredit upon the Turks and the Turkish reputation for hospitality.”
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on November 14

A new wave of terrorist attacks hits Egypt

As a wave of terrorist attacks hits Egypt in locations across the country, questions are being asked as to whether the government's current tactics are working.
Read more»

Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on November 14

Baghdadi welcomes new pledges of IS allegiance

In his speech yesterday, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi denied rumors about his death and vowed to fight the Western and Arab alliance as new groups in different countries pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.
Read more»

Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on November 14

Can Islamic State keep control of Mosul?

The wide Sunni sympathy for the Islamic State in Mosul cracked less than two months into its occupation, and residents are increasingly horrified by rampant arrests and executions.
Read more»

 Mushreq Abbas for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on November 14

Development plan needed for peace in Yemen

The Gulf Initiative has failed to bring peace to Yemen, prompting the need for a new initiative that is more realistic and includes a long-term economic and development plan.
Read more»

 Farea al-Muslimi for Al-Monitor on November 14

Hagel: Taking out Assad won't put IS 'back in the box'

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel shot down reports that the Obama administration is considering a change of targets in its fight against the Islamic State.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on November 13

Sidon: another Lebanese flashpoint

Following incidents in Tripoli and Arsal, members of a terrorist cell in Sidon, the capital of the Lebanese south, were arrested by the Lebanese army, thus foiling another attempt to escalate the security situation.
Read more»

 Esperance Ghanem for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse on November 13

Three US sailors roughed up in Istanbul

Members of the Youth Association of Turkey roughed up three US sailors, reflecting once again the uneasy nature of the US-Turkey relationship.
Read more»

 Tulin Daloglu for Al-Monitor on November 13

Libya's south on edge of chaos

While the world's attention is focused on disputes in coastal Libya, the tribal-controlled south is unstable, and a collapse of order would have consequences for the whole region.
Read more»

 Alexander Roeskestad for Al-Monitor on November 13

Iran news site profiles head of Iraq’s Badr Organization

Conservative Iranian website Mashregh News has run a glowing profile of the Iraqi Badr Organization's leader, Hadi al-Amiri.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on November 13

Syrian authorities arrest opposition leader

Louay Hussein, leader of the opposition Building the Syrian State movement, has been arrested Nov. 12 by regime forces on the Syrian-Lebanese border.
Read more»

Mustafa al-Haj for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on November 13

Israel investigates B'Tselem claims on shooting Palestinians

In an interview with Al-Monitor, B'Tselem Director Hagai El-Ad defends the organization's unequivocal, yet unpopular stance against Israeli policies: ''The moral image of the state is important for many Israelis and not just for B’Tselem activists.''
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on November 13

Israeli security officials view Abbas as key to stability

Despite the latest terror attacks in the Etzion settlement and at the center of Tel Aviv, Israeli security sources say that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is committed to security cooperation with Israel and will work to defuse tension.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on November 13

Sistani welcomes Iraqi politicians

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani's welcoming of the Iraqi president and prime minister is not a sign that he is backtracking on steering clear of politics, but that he wants the political arena to succeed in implementing reforms, thereby protecting Iraq's religious and cultural diversity.
Read more»

 Mustafa al-Kadhimi for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on November 13

Elements for third Palestinian intifada present

The elements that helped trigger the first and second intifadas are present today, raising the possibility of a third Palestinian uprising.
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on November 13

Jabhat al-Nusra eyes Idlib for Islamic emirate

After routing Syrian rebels from Idlib, Jabhat al-Nusra hopes to create an Islamic emirate to rival the Islamic State’s caliphate.
Read more»

 An Al-Monitor Correspondent in Syria for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on November 13

Why France should worry about its jihadist hopefuls

France, which has more citizens fighting with Islamic militants in Syria and Iraq than any other EU country, imposes travel restrictions on jihadist hopefuls and tries to "de-radicalize" Muslim girls seeking to join the Islamic State.
Read more»

 Sophie Claudet for Al-Monitor on November 12

For Israelis, Bibi no longer means security

Unlike the late Prime Minister Sharon, who initiated the Gaza disengagement precisely when his status as Mr. Security was at stake, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won't seek a diplomatic initiative even after the same security failure.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on November 12

Jerusalem, a sanctuary for all

The conflict over the Temple Mount, or Noble Sanctuary, is over walls both literal and figurative — and until these separating walls come down, peace in the Middle East will remain just a dream.
Read more»

 Prince Hassan bin Talal for Al-Monitor on November 12

The EU and the threat of European jihadists

Reports indicate that over 1,000 EU citizens have traveled to join the fighting in Syria. Meanwhile, EU security agencies and lawmakers are trying to balance between protection and freedom as they look for legislation to arm agencies in their fight against EU jihadists.
Read more»

Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on November 12

Kuwaiti cartoonist battles IS death threats, US bigots

Naif al-Mutawa, creator of comic book series "THE 99," spoke with Al-Monitor about the recent death threat by the Islamic State and how US President Barack Obama's enemies became his.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on November 12

Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis joins Islamic State

The terrorist group operating in Sinai, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, surprised many by pledging allegiance to the Islamic State, and some say that this came as a result of a call for help by the latter.
Read more»

Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on November 13

Armenians dig out their Ottoman land deeds

Armenians might count on Ottoman title deeds, preserved and passed down to generations for 100 years, to claim their abandoned properties next year.
Read more»

 Tulay Cetingulec for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on November 12

PKK military leader warns of possible coup and civil war

In a recent interview, Union of Kurdish Communities leader Cemal Bayik made it clear that Turkey and the Kurdistan Workers Party’s negotiating positions have changed.
Read more»

Translated from Radikal (Turkey) on November 12

Breakthrough still eludes Iranian nuclear talks

The P5+1 talks with Iran will resume on Nov. 18 in Vienna ahead of the Nov. 24 deadline.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on November 11

Are the Palestinian assaults on Israelis lone wolf attacks?

Palestinians largely support the latest spate of attacks on Israelis, which they see as retaliation for Israel’s attempted desecration of Al-Asqa Mosque and the occupation.
Read more»

 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on November 12

De Mistura's focus on 'Aleppo First'

Staffan de Mistura’s plan to implement “frozen zones” and a cease-fire in Aleppo seem to have resonated with President Bashar Al-Assad; this plan, however, depends on the full implementation of UN resolutions 2170 and 2178.
Read more»

Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on November 11

No chance Turkey will be 'kicked out of NATO'

Turkey’s importance for the alliance remains despite differences while a former ambassador says NATO has no rules for “kicking anyone out.”
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on November 11

Iraqi Shiites join Sunnis to fight Islamic State

The Islamic State aimed to create a Shiite-Sunni conflict to impose its control, but Iraqi Sunnis have instead turned to help from Shiites to get rid of the extremist group.
Read more»

 Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor on November 11

Is Algeria's dialogue initiative for Libya still viable?

Algeria had announced a dialogue initiative bringing together Libya’s rival factions to be held in October, but the month passed without a meeting being held.
Read more»

 Omar Shabbi for Al-Monitor on November 11

How Hamas uses Temple Mount

Hamas leaders have been calling on West Bank Palestinians to attack Israel in efforts to provoke a religious war against Israel, as they depict a situation where the Israeli right wing is about to take over the Temple Mount.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on November 11

Obama wants $165 million for Syrian rebels

The US president’s $5.6 billion emergency war-fighting request includes a plan to shore up the Syrian opposition.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on November 10

Egypt’s Islamists try to distance themselves from IS

As Egypt’s Islamist groups fail to take a common stance on domestic politics, they agree at least that the Islamic State is giving political Islam, as a movement, a bad reputation.
Read more»

 Reham Mokbel for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on November 10

Hamas, Fatah trade accusations over Gaza bombings

Fatah has accused Hamas of being behind a series of bombings targeting Fatah leaders in Gaza, while Hamas has accused former Fatah strongman Mohammed Dahlan of perpetrating the attacks.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on November 10

Syria faces decisive battles in north, south

Rebels are making gains in the south while government forces are closing on Aleppo city, and the outcomes of these battles may determine how final negotiations proceed.
Read more»

Edward Dark for Al-Monitor on November 10

Peretz's Cabinet resignation hastens Israeli elections

The resignation of Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz accelerated two low-intensity processes: the disintegration of the government and the consolidation of center-left forces, with the objective of creating an anti-Netanyahu bloc.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on November 10

Turks increasingly sympathetic to Islamic State

The Islamic State's declaration of a caliphate has generated conflicting views in Turkey.
Read more»

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on November 10

The problem with Turkey's PKK peace process

Solving the Kurdish problem is crucial as many see it as the "mother of all problems in Turkey."
Read more»

Translated from Haber Turk (Turkey) on November 10

Police shooting of Arab Israeli youth could ignite Israel

The police shooting of a young Arab resident of Kafr Kana proves that 14 years after the killing of protesters in the October 2000 riot police still discriminate against Arab citizens and treat them like enemies.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on November 10

Staffan de Mistura's Aleppo plan

UN envoy Staffan de Mistura has laid out a plan for a freeze to the conflict in Aleppo and is now meeting with both sides to negotiate a deal. This could be the basis for further negotiations; however, bloody developments in other areas show the distance that still must be traveled.
Read more»

Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on November 10

Smuggling costs Tunisia hundreds of millions of dollars

Smuggling in Tunisia has become one of its largest industries, as huge amounts of gasoline, cigarettes and weapons are crossing the borders in trucks.
Read more»

Translated from Business News (Tunisia) on November 10

Jordan king fends off critics of IS war, holds firm on Al-Aqsa

Jordan’s King Abdullah is facing increased domestic criticism, primarily from Islamists, over his handling of Israel’s incursions into Al-Aqsa Mosque and the US-led war on the Islamic State.
Read more»

Osama Al Sharif for Al-Monitor on November 10

Libyan dialogue out of reach after parliament dismissed

The prospects of a dialogue to bring Libya’s two rival parliaments together have faded after a Tripoli court ruled the elected parliament in Tobruk unconstitutional.
Read more»

 Mustafa Fetouri for Al-Monitor on November 10

Iraqi army crippled by flaws

Since its establishment, the Iraqi army has been directed inward, playing a domestic role rather than protecting the country from foreign forces.
Read more»

 Shukur Khilkhal for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on November 10

'Rosewater' shows courage of humor in Iran’s prisons

Jon Stewart’s directorial debut tells the story of journalist Maziar Bahari who was imprisoned in Iran during the 2009 protests.
Read more»

Walker J. Gunning for Al-Monitor on November 9

Congress lays groundwork for stepped-up US presence in Iraq

A look at the Middle East issues Congress will be addressing the week of Nov. 10.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on November 9

Turkey's border security problem

Political factors are not the only cause of Turkey’s border security vulnerability.
Read more»

A Correspondent in Turkey for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on November 9

UN envoy seeks cease-fire, end to 'carnage' in Aleppo

Edward Dark writes from Aleppo that arming the Syrian opposition will prolong the war; Iran and Russia dig in on President Bashar al-Assad.
Read more»

 Al-Monitor Week in Review on November 9

Water wars endanger Middle East environment

Future generations will have to pay the price of the environmental damage of airstrikes in the Middle East.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on November 9

Turkish official: Syrian refugees are here to stay

Leading refugee expert Metin Corabatir says the Turkish government must come up with clearer legislation and policies to address the problem of Syrian refugees, and work much more closely with the international community and NGOs.
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on November 7

Israel risks losing support from US, Europe

The continued settlement policy of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu might drive the United States to reduce its diplomatic support of Israel, thus damaging its strategic security interests and ability to respond to security threats.
Read more»

 Uri Savir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on November 9

Temple Mount blindness: Bibi takes the nation for a ride

Ministers Tzipi Livni and Yair Lapid, who continue to hold to their Cabinet seats, are as much to blame as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the lack of diplomatic progress with the Palestinians and the risk of a third intifada.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on November 7

Syrian official: negotiations with US blocked by Saudi Arabia

A Syrian official spoke on the continued gains of the Syrian army, the failings of the international coalition and chances of talks between the opposing parties.
Read more»

 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on November 7

Sinai tribal leader backs Egypt's counterterrorism measures

In an interview, Issa al-Kharafeen, the leader of al-Rmeilat tribe in Rafah in the Sinai Peninsula, expresses his support for the Egyptian army in their efforts to stop terrorist attacks that are plaguing the Sinai region of Egypt.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Zaman (Iraq) on November 7

Another extension for Lebanon's parliament

As parliament decides to again extend its term, Western diplomats are starting to disengage from the issue in the hope that a new solution will present itself.
Read more»

Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on November 7

US general says anti-IS coalition focus remains on Iraq, not Syria

Gen. Lloyd Austin said US-led forces are already having a significant impact confronting the group that calls itself the Islamic State and are not focused for now on rolling back IS advances in Syria.
Read more»

 Barbara Slavin for Al-Monitor on November 6

Iran's Quds Force takes on IS in Iraq

With few groups willing to fight the Islamic State on the ground, the chief of the Quds Force of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, Qasem Solemani, has stepped up to the mission.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on November 6

Jabhat al-Nusra deflates hopes of Assad opponents

Following the Islamic State's advance, Jabhat al-Nusra has also moved to the Turkish border, routing moderate rebels and dashing the hopes of “train and equip” proponents eager for a renewed war on the Syrian regime.
Read more»

 Fehim Taştekin for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on November 6

The third intifada is here

Preventing Jews from ascending Temple Mount seems to be the only solution to avoid further conflict in Jerusalem and the risk of another "Al-Aqsa intifada."
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on November 6

Why arming rebels will fuel Syria's inferno

Arming Syria’s rebels is a dangerous move that will only result in prolonging the war and potentially empowering extremists.
Read more»

Edward Dark for Al-Monitor on November 6

Israel's Ayalon: GOP victories won't affect US foreign policy

In an interview with Al-Monitor, former Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon discusses the effects of the US midterm elections.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on November 6

Turkish boat disaster reveals new route for migrants

A boat disaster near Istanbul shows the emergence of a new smuggling route to take migrants via Turkey into the European Union.
Read more»

 Thomas Seibert for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on November 6

Tripoli battle foils IS expansion

The Lebanese army's victory in Tripoli trampled the Islamic State's plan to gather all terrorist cells in Lebanon under its umbrella, establish a caliphate and gain access to the Mediterranean.
Read more»

 Esperance Ghanem for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse on November 5

Memories of war haunt Gaza’s doctors

The doctors in the Gaza Strip who worked during the late war recall the pain they went through when dealing with the victims, and speak of the psychological scars they bear in the war's aftermath.
Read more»

 Rasha Abou Jalal for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on November 5

IS kills 500 members of Albu Nimr tribe

Iraq's Albu Nimr tribe has a history of fighting al-Qaeda in the country.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Nahar (Lebanon) on November 5

Turkey's secular brain drain

Frustrated by the government’s authoritarian and Islamist pressures, well-educated secular Turks are increasingly looking for opportunities to settle abroad.
Read more»

Translated from Radikal (Turkey) on November 5

Military presence increases in eastern Mediterranean

Regional crises and economic squabbles have led to a military buildup in the eastern Mediterranean that threatens to shift from feints and preparation to armed conflict as Russian and NATO forces further complicate the situation.
Read more»

Metin Turcan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on November 5

Anbar province calls for support to fight Islamic State

The government in Anbar province is voicing concern about the progress of the Islamic State in several cities, calling for a quick solution to prevent the province from falling to the militants.
Read more»

 Omar al-Jaffal for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on November 5

Islamic Front control staves off opposition infighting in Aleppo

Coordination among the disparate anti-regime forces is more effective in the Aleppo area thanks to control by the Islamic Front and the common threat of the Islamic State, though tension has risen because of rebel infighting in the bordering region.
Read more»

 Shelly Kittleson for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on November 4

Is Israel restricting UNRWA's reconstruction efforts in Gaza?

While UNRWA is assessing the houses damaged or destroyed during the Gaza war, some Hamas officials are accusing the international relief organization of working with Israel to the detriment of the Palestinian people.
Read more»

 Hana Salah for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on November 4

Islamic State tightens noose around Iraq, Syria

The Islamic State is tightening control over the regions it captured in Iraq in an attempt to consolidate its power.
Read more»

 Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor on November 5

Egypt's youth turn to Islamic State

The security restrictions imposed by the authorities in Egypt on its youth are pushing many to believe in the ideology of the Islamic State (IS) and become actively involved in IS cells in Egyptian society.
Read more»

 Ayah Aman for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on November 4

Erdogan attempts to re-brand IS

Turkey’s president begins using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State, in an apparent bid to spin-doctor Turkish public opinion.
Read more»

Translated from Milliyet (Turkey) on November 3

What does the PKK want?

The Kurdish political movement is zigzagging over what to do and how to do it when it comes to the solution process.
Read more»

Translated from Radikal (Turkey) on November 3

Turkey adds entry to book of enemies

Turkey’s National Security Policy Document — known as the "Red Book" and infamous for designating social groups as “internal enemies” — has been taken off the shelf again.
Read more»

 Mustafa Akyol for Al-Monitor on November 3

Splitting gendarmerie from Turkish army: reform or bad timing?

The Turkish public is divided over the government’s decision to attach the Gendarmerie Command to the Ministry of Interior.
Read more»

Metin Turcan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on November 3

Media wars hamper Qatari-Egypt relations

As Qatari and Egyptian media outlets engage in a bitter tug-of-war, diplomatic efforts continue at senior levels to tone down the rhetoric.
Read more»

 Walaa Hussein for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on November 3

Military intervention alone won't stop terrorism in Iraq

Despite the Baghdad government's string of failures in fighting the Islamic State (IS), Iraqi politicians, clergy, media and analysts have been busy trying to assert that Iraq does not need foreign troops on the ground to fight IS.
Read more»

 Mustafa al-Kadhimi for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on November 3

History shows current Jerusalem crisis not its last

The closing of Al-Aqsa Mosque by the Israelis seems to be in line with the objective of a radical Jewish group to build a third temple in Jerusalem and replace the Jordanian authority at the compound.
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on November 3

Raqqa refugees flock to Jordan

Residents from Raqqa and northern Syria are heading to Jordan's Azraq refugee camp, as the Islamic State continues to impose its rules.
Read more»

 Elisa Oddone for Al-Monitor on November 4

Will Egypt's buffer zone worsen Israel-Hamas friction?

Egypt's plan to clear a buffer zone on its Gaza-Sinai border will oblige Hamas to depend on the crossing points to Israel, a reality that might lead to another round of conflict.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on November 3

Sudanese Islamist leader speaks out on regional issues

A prominent Sudanese Islamist leader discusses regional and Sudanese-internal issues with As-Safir.
Read more»

Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on November 4

Life in Raqqa under IS

The faceless young Syrian behind the “Raqqa is being slaughtered silently” campaign and website tells Al-Monitor about life in the northern Syrian city of Raqqa, an Islamic State stronghold.
Read more»

 Ali Hashem for Al-Monitor on November 3

Rabin memorial reflects lack of left's leadership

The Israeli left has failed to produce any leader who could follow in the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's footsteps, leaving the political scene in the hands of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on November 3

Who is the 'typical' Tunisian jihadist?

Civil society groups say that the young, alienated Tunisian men who leave to wage jihad in Syria and Iraq are not necessarily poor or uneducated, and often come from middle-class homes and university backgrounds.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on November 3

Netanyahu government threatens Temple Mount

Members of Benjamin Netanyahu's government are using the Temple Mount for political purposes, advocating the return of the Jewish people to the holy site at the risk of damaging the fragile status quo.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on November 3

Abadi’s visit to Jordan focuses on fate of Anbar

During his first visit to an Arab capital, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi discussed with officials in Amman the possibility of forming a Sunni tribal force to thwart the actions of the Islamic State in the Anbar province.
Read more»

Osama Al Sharif for Al-Monitor on November 4

Rafah residents forced to leave their homes

In an exclusive report, Al-Monitor witnessed the evacuation of Palestinians from their homes in Rafah.
Read more»

 An Al-Monitor correspondent in Sinai for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on November 2

Islamic State intelligence network stifles resistance

Terrorist group reportedly uses Saddam-era intelligence officers and tactics; Syria’s Alawites seek accountability from government; Syrian army advances around Hama; Temple Mount as flash point; Egyptian campaign against terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula makes life harder for residents of the Gaza Strip.
Read more»

 Al-Monitor Week in Review on November 2

Kerry, Zarif to meet in Oman ahead of final push for Iran deal

US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and the EU's Catherine Ashton in Oman Nov. 9-10, ahead of the final push by Iran and the P5+1 to try to close an Iran nuclear deal in Vienna.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on October 31

Syria strengthens Turkish-French ties

French President Francois Hollande met with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in Paris on Oct. 31 to discuss the crisis in Syria.
Read more»

Arzu Cakir Morin for Al-Monitor on October 31

Turkish military angered by Ankara’s peshmerga move

The Turkish military is said to be riled and to have informed the government of its opposition to seeing Iraqi Kurdish fighters in Turkey.
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on October 31

War and peace of Jerusalem

Jerusalem could become the world capital of peace, hosted by both Israel and Palestine, if the United Nations moved some of its agencies to the city, as suggested by a Palestinian policymaker.
Read more»

 Uri Savir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on November 2

Could Jerusalem's youth revolt turn into an uprising?

Despite efforts by Israel and Palestinian Authority to ease tensions in Jerusalem, clashes between Palestinian youth and Israeli police may turn into a full-fledged uprising.
Read more»

 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on October 31

Iraqi weapons trade thrives

The weapons trade in Iraq has become widespread in light of the escalation of the war against the Islamic State, and an increasing number of Iraqis possess guns for personal use.
Read more»

 Wassim Bassem for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on October 31

Is Egyptian TV losing interest in politics?

There is a trend among Egyptian TV channels to avoid political topics. Is it a coincidence?
Read more»

Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on October 31

PA spokesman: 'Israel has an Islamic State-like government'

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Adnan al-Damiri, the Palestinian Authority security services' spokesman, reacts to the Israeli decision revoking his VIP border pass.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on October 31

Israeli MK: Israel must reaffirm sovereignty over Jerusalem

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Knesset member Orit Strock blames the government for not clarifying long ago its stance concerning control of the Temple Mount, saying that this indecisiveness permitted the attack on rightist activist Rabbi Yehuda Glick.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on October 30

Closures become norm for Rafah crossing

The closing of the Rafah crossing by Egypt following the terrorist attack in Sinai will worsen the humanitarian situation of Gaza residents, for whom the crossing is a lifeline to the outside world.
Read more»

 Mohammed Othman for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on October 30

Lebanon's Druze fear IS, Hezbollah

The Druze in Lebanon are preparing to defend themselves against a possible attack by the Islamic State, in light of their shaky trust in Hezbollah.
Read more»

 Mona Alami for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse on October 30

Bahrain wields judiciary against civil society

Bahraini authorities confiscate the right to political action and temporarily suspend the activity of the anti-regime “al-Wefaq Society.”
Read more»

Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on October 30

Palestinians will wait until January to seek UN recognition

Despite reports to the contrary, the Palestinian leadership will most likely wait until January before asking the UN Security Council to vote on Palestinian state recognition.
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on October 30

Is Syrian army heading for victory in Aleppo?

Following battles between Jabhat al-Nusra and the Syrian regime forces, the latter took control of Murak, which might open the road to Aleppo.
Read more»

Khaled Atallah for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on October 30

Europeans raise concerns with Hezbollah sanctions bill

European officials are worried about crippling Lebanon's economy even as Beirut's bankers say they're OK with the House-passed Hezbollah sanctions bill
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on October 30

How does Jabhat al-Nusra operate in Lebanon?

Islamist experts claim that Jabhat al-Nusra is a bigger threat to Lebanon than the Islamic State.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Nahar (Lebanon) on October 29

Sinai attack threatens Egypt-Hamas ties

Egypt has accused Hamas of being behind the latest attack in Sinai, but Hamas vehemently denied this, saying the security of Egypt is closely related to Gaza’s security.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on October 29

Iraq's Christian paramilitaries split in IS fight

The small area of Iraq’s Ninevah Plains not occupied by the Islamic State is home to two separate Assyrian Christian paramilitary forces.
Read more»

 Peter Henderson for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on October 30

Iraqi battle seen as key victory in Iran

The battle in Jurf al-Sakhar was portrayed by a number of conservative Iranian media outlets as key to forcing the Islamic State into retreat and eventually taking back Anbar province.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on October 29

Turkey finds out one is the loneliest number

The regional and global loneliness Ankara dragged itself into with its foreign policy since 2009 is becoming hazardous with the threat from the Islamic State.
Read more»

 Kadri Gursel for Al-Monitor on October 29

Is NATO membership shackling Turkey?

Pro-government Turkish analysts argue that NATO membership has become a shackle on Turkey, hampering the country’s ambitions to become a global actor.
Read more»

Metin Turcan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on October 29

Netanyahu's stalling strategy of Jerusalem constructions

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not hesitate to escalate the situation in East Jerusalem by announcing more construction plans, even if they are not enacted, thus assuring the stability of his right-wing coalition and avoiding talks with the Palestinians.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on October 29

Saudi prince blames Obama's Syria policy for IS' rise

Saudi Prince Turki Al-Faisal said the Islamic State wouldn't be a threat if the United States had armed Syrian rebels.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on October 28

Erdogan plays 'Arab card' in Kobani

Bent on not leaving Kobani to the Kurds, Turkish President Erdogan starts a debate on the city’s name, ready to give credence even to Arabization policies of the Syrian regime.
Read more»

 Fehim Taştekin for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on October 28

Erdogan confronts allies, rivals alike over Syria

Foreign policy experts say Erdogan may dream of leading the Sunni world but Ankara has painted itself into a corner by insisting on misguided policies.
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on October 28

How important is Kobani’s battle?

Some criticize media outlets for solely focusing on the Kobani battles but Kobani retains a symbolic importance for the Kurdish cause in Syria and in Turkey.
Read more»

Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on October 28

Militants target civil activists in Libya

Rebel militias have killed at least 35 prominent civil society figures and kidnapped countless others this year as part of a greater campaign of violence in the absence of any central police force in many parts of Libya.
Read more»

 Mat Nashed for Al-Monitor on October 29

Lebanese minister: We will not force Syrians to leave

While the Lebanese government has tightened its border procedures for admitting Syrian refugees, Minister of Social Affairs Rashid Derbas says the government will not force anyone to return.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Nahar (Lebanon) on October 28

IS uses intelligence to purge opponents

The Islamic State is unique in being a terrorist organization with its own intelligence apparatus that it uses to eliminate its opponents and increase its strength.
Read more»

 Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor on October 28

Endgame for Iran nuclear talks

As the Nov. 24 deadline approaches, Iranian and US nuclear negotiators are preparing for the final push.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on October 27

Lebanese army retakes Tripoli neighborhood

After a weekend of intense fighting in the old souk, Tripoli residents remain on edge, even though the Lebanese army has regained control for now.
Read more»

 Ashley Gallagher for Al-Monitor on October 27

Syrian youth worry about draft

Many Syrian youth are considering fleeing the country to avoid being forced to join the army as "backup" forces.
Read more»

Mustafa al-Haj for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on October 27

24 hours in Kobani

Twenty-four hours in Kobani from the perspective of a journalist.
Read more»

Translated from Milliyet (Turkey) on October 27

Fatah’s Revolutionary Council grapples with growing issues

At its last meeting, Fatah’s Revolutionary Council discussed relations with Hamas, negotiations with Israel and internal disputes with Mohammed Dahlan’s movement.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on October 27

Islamic State fears hang over Baghdad

The Islamic State’s advance toward Baghdad is causing stress and confusion among residents, though government forces are maintaining a tight grip on the capital.
Read more»

 Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor on October 27

The Taif Agreement’s 25th anniversary

Since the independence of Lebanon, national accords from the National Pact in 1943 through the Taif Agreement of 1989 have reflected the aspirations of the Lebanese people for their own constitutional framework of good governance and democracy.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Khaleej (U.A.E.) on October 28

Will European ambassadors return to Syria?

According to one Syrian official, European ambassadors might be returning to resume their functions in Syria, as the West has started to realize that the Syrian army is the only one able to fight terrorism.
Read more»

 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on October 27

Tunisia's costly battle against its militants

Tunisia, praised internationally for post-revolution stability, cracks down on militants with the public's support, especially since the assassination of secular opposition leaders Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi in 2013.
Read more»

 Tom Stevenson for Al-Monitor on October 27

Will Turkey’s Kurdish movement renounce violence?

If Turkey’s Kurdish politicians want more understanding from Turkey, they can help themselves by opposing the violence of their comrades.
Read more»

 Mustafa Akyol for Al-Monitor on October 27

European women convert, join IS

European women have been converting to Islam and joining the Islamic State's ranks in Syria, after watching and hearing stories about jihad on social media platforms.
Read more»

 Brenda Stoter for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on October 29

Dane in Lebanon arrested for being alleged IS fighter

Araby Ibrahim, a Lebanese man holding a Danish passport, was arrested in Lebanon on suspicion of fighting alongside the Islamic State in Syria.
Read more»

 Ali Hashem for Al-Monitor on October 28

Al-Aqsa’s women resist

Palestinian women have taken it upon themselves to protect the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound from the trespasses of Israeli extremists.
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on October 27

What does Hezbollah mean by 'painful concessions' in Syria?

UN Syria envoy meets Hezbollah official; Erdogan sets back Turkey-Iran ties and points out US "mistake"; Israel seeks to suppress "silent intifada" in Jerusalem.
Read more»

 Al-Monitor Week in Review on October 26

Egyptians visit Washington to defend their 'revolution'

On a charm offensive to Washington, a group of influential Egyptians defended the ouster of Mohammed Morsi but got pushback on Egypt’s human rights record and decision to declare the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group.
Read more»

 Barbara Slavin for Al-Monitor on October 26

The unintended consequences of Iran's arms embargo

The UN arms embargo on Iran, an instrument of duress over the nuclear issue, does not reflect geopolitical realities and must be lifted — and soon, as the situation with IS grows ever more urgent.
Read more»

 Reza Nasri for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on October 28

Will Washington negotiate with al-Qaeda, IS someday?

Washington is negotiating with the Taliban, and given that al-Qaeda and the Islamic State have gained popularity in the Sunni street, they may one day be viewed as legitimate representatives, too.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Nahar (Lebanon) on October 26

Neglect, provocation feed East Jerusalem unrest

Coping with the growing violence requires more than increased policing in East Jerusalem, where discrimination and neglect deprive residents of infrastructure, education and services.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on October 24

Tensions over IS resurface in Turkish-US ties

Ankara opposes US-supplied weapons going to Syrian Kurds, but has no power to prevent it and has failed to convince Washington that Kobani is of no strategic value.
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on October 24

Iranian-Pakistani border incident reveals deeper problems

Skirmishes on the Iranian-Pakistani border are not new, but reveal deeper problems between two large countries that have not capitalized on potential opportunities to improve relations.
Read more»

 Alex Vatanka for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on October 24

Turkey keeps Syria on agenda in EU visit

Turkey and the United States have differing goals when it comes to supporting the Kurds in Kobani.
Read more»

Translated from Milliyet (Turkey) on October 24

AKP proposes 'German model' for Turkish police

Turkey's latest judicial reform package is an open-ended extension of law enforcement powers, indicating further erosion of the rule of law.
Read more»

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on October 24

Who's the emir of Qalamoun?

Several people have stepped forward and claimed that they are the emir of Qalamoun, and with all these different claims, confusion is beginning to spread.
Read more»

Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on October 24

Could Iraqi National Guard share fate of Sahwa forces?

The Iraqi parliament’s decision to establish a National Guard that would include all sects has been criticized by those who consider it an opportunity for terrorists to join the forces and further exacerbate the sectarian tensions in the country.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Zeed for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on October 24

US rules out ‘shutting down’ economy in Islamic State areas

The Treasury Department’s top counterterrorism official said Oct. 23 that the United States is reluctant to make life any harder for people living under IS rule.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on October 23

The battle to defund Islamic State

US-led efforts to reduce revenue streams to the Islamic State are hampered by the group's relationship with Syria and the refusal so far of Qatar and Kuwait to act against financiers targeted by the United States and the United Nations.
Read more»

 Barbara Slavin for Al-Monitor on October 23

Turkish government aims to restructure military police

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu introduced a new bill to put the gendarmerie under civilian control.
Read more»

 Tulin Daloglu for Al-Monitor on October 23

Islamic State sets sights on sea in Lebanon

The Islamic State has hopes of connecting with the sea, but to achieve this it must go through Lebanon, which will be a tough fight.
Read more»

 Esperance Ghanem for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse on October 23

Iranian-Turkish relations strained over Syrian agendas

Turkey's desired outcome in Syria would result in massively scaling back Iran's influence in the region, with Tehran losing its ally in Damascus, Hezbollah confined to Lebanon and Iraq threatened.
Read more»

 Ali Hashem for Al-Monitor on October 23

Jerusalem's 'silent intifada'

Following the latest Jerusalem terror attack in which a baby girl was killed, calls were being heard in Israel to quickly suppress the "silent intifada," even though one incident on Temple Mount might explode the region.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on October 23

Concerns rise in Lebanon as another soldier defects

A handful of soldiers have defected from the Lebanese army to join Jabhat al-Nusra, which has caused concern among the Lebanese that it might become a trend.
Read more»

 Sami Nader for Al-Monitor on October 23

Turkish navy sails through rough seas

Turkey is using its navy to display its global prowess, after the Sledgehammer trials saw many naval officers detained and forcibly retired.
Read more»

Metin Turcan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on October 23

Israeli Jewish, Arab authors collaborate on bilingual book

The ''two languages'' project, including a website and an anthology that was just published, was born out of the mutual curiosity of Jewish and Arab writers and editors about each other's literary scene, so unknown to either side.
Read more»

 Yuval Avivi for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on October 23

Iran, Saudi Arabia jockey for power in Yemen

Yemen has become a stage for the conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia on religious, economic, political and military levels.
Read more»

 Bader al-Rashed for Al-Monitor on October 23

Syria's Druze torn between Assad, extremists

The Druze community in the southern city of Suwayda, Syria, is stuck between supporting a regime that refuses to provide the locality with weapons and extremist organizations that threaten to attack it.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on October 23

Iraqi leaders on track for cooperation

The atmosphere of cooperation currently prevailing among the Iraqi presidency, government and parliament should turn into a long-term project leading Iraq toward a better future.
Read more»

 Mustafa al-Kadhimi for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on October 23

Israel accuses Turkey of aiding Hamas coup plan

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon accused Turkey of being indifferent to the preparations of Hamas' Istanbul office to attempt a coup against Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Read more»

 Tulin Daloglu for Al-Monitor on October 22

Ansar Allah vows to defeat al-Qaeda in Yemen

An Ansar Allah leader talked to As-Safir about internal and external forces leading a counterattack against the Houthis through al-Qaeda.
Read more»

Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on October 22

Turkey's Kurdish dilemma plays out in Kobani

Turkey has agreed to cooperate with the US-led anti-Islamic State coalition as a result of heavy international pressure, but there was no indication Ankara’s expectations would be met.
Read more»

Translated from Milliyet (Turkey) on October 22

The Islamic State's media warfare

The Islamic State’s strategy of warfare in Syria and Iraq seems to be based on ways to disseminate their ideas, mainly through online media.
Read more»

 Ali Hashem for Al-Monitor on October 22

UN envoy meets with Hezbollah to discuss Syria

Staffan de Mistura is the first UN special representative to the Syrian conflict to meet with Hezbollah officials to get the organization's assessment of the Syrian crisis.
Read more»

 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on October 22

What will happen after Sanaa's fall?

Many scenarios explain the fall of Sanaa to the hands of Houthis and the period that will follow in Yemen.
Read more»

 Maysaa Shuja al-Deen for Al-Monitor on October 22

Iraqi Kurdistan faces challenges in clearing land mines

The Iraq-Iran war and Saddam Hussein’s campaign against Kurds have left behind millions of square meters of contaminated land in Iraqi Kurdistan, and the latter has been trying to defuse the land mines that cause many deadly accidents each year.
Read more»

 Devin Morrow for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on October 22

Khamenei preaches Shiite-Sunni unity against Islamic State, US

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's Eid al-Ghadeer speech revealed his concern that the coalition against the Islamic State might give Sunnis and the United States the upper hand in the region.
Read more»

 Ali Afshari for Al-Monitor on October 22

Is Hezbollah preparing large assault on Israel?

If Iran succeeds in securing an agreement that enables it to preserve nuclear capabilities, it might decide to attack Israel through Hezbollah on the Lebanese and Syrian borders.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on October 21

Danes outraged by Turkey’s hostage deal with IS

Reports that the would-be assassin of a Danish anti-Islamic activist was released in exchange for Turkish hostages held by the Islamic State has infuriated Danes.
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 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on October 21

Airstrikes empty Turkish border town of foreign fighters

The US airstrikes in September and a recent Turkish crackdown on illegal border crossings have significantly changed the face of Reyhanli.
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 Shelly Kittleson for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on October 21

IS imposes new rules on education in Syria, Iraq

The Islamic State is leading a cultural revolution in Iraq and Syria, issuing new regulations to bring the educational system in line with Sharia and its Salafist ideology.
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 Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor on October 21

Gazans at risk as winter looms

Much of Gaza's water, power and sanitation infrastructure was damaged in the recent conflict, and repairs are taking time, which has left Gazans looking for alternatives to get through what could be a long, cold winter.
Read more»

 Rasha Abou Jalal for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on October 21

Deceased Egyptian political candidate was member of IS

A former policeman and candidate in Egypt’s parliamentary elections was reportedly killed in a suicide attack that he supposedly carried out in Iraq, thus raising concerns in Egypt about the Islamic State’s expansion.
Read more»

Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on October 21

Ankara struggles to maintain bearings in Kobani

The Turkish government has been compelled to change track under US pressure and the need to undo the international perception that Turkey supports the Islamic State.
Read more»

 Fehim Taştekin for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on October 21

Bishop: 90% of Orthodox Christians in Iraq displaced

Instability and conflict raging in Iraq have led to the displacement of as many as 90% of Orthodox Christians, according to the new bishop for the country.
Read more»

Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on October 21

Have the Kurds played their cards wrong on Kobani protests?

The members of the Wise People council sound contradictory when addressing the future of the peace talks.
Read more»

 Tulin Daloglu for Al-Monitor on October 20

Hamas, Israel prepare for new prisoner exchange deal

Signs are showing of a new prisoner/detainee swap between Israel and Hamas as part of the truce signed in Cairo.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on October 20

Lebanese army struggles for financing

Without a proper budget and new weapons procurement, the Lebanese army faces an uphill struggle in combating terrorism and securing the country. Why then have recent international donations not materialized?
Read more»

 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on October 20

Egypt's religious conversion controversy

With the alleged kidnappings of priests’ wives and forced conversions to Islam, Christian and Muslim leaders are renewing efforts to restore official counseling sessions for those wishing to change their religion.
Read more»

 Ahmed Fouad for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on October 21

Gulen community should return to civil society

The Gulen community should acknowledge that its strategy of building cadres within the state has backfired, jeopardizing the very realm of civil society this strategy intended to safeguard.
Read more»

 Mustafa Akyol for Al-Monitor on October 20

Lebanon's army latest victim of Syria spillover

The Lebanese army is facing its worst challenge since the end of the civil war in 1990, with many defectors threatening the military establishment's unity.
Read more»

 Ali Hashem for Al-Monitor on October 20

Erdogan angles to tag Gulenists as a national security threat

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants to include the Gulenist movement as a national security threat to Turkey.
Read more»

Metin Turcan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on October 20

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While the Libyan state remains too weak to confront and disarm the plethora of militias still present within it, IS has been able to gain a foothold in the eastern city of Derna.
Read more»

Translated from Réalités (Tunisia) on October 20

Gazans speak of severe hardship after war

Two Gazans, a housewife and university student, tell of their daily struggles to pick up the pieces after the last war shattered their lives.
Read more»

 Asmaa al-Ghoul on October 20

Iran media, activists criticize Turkey's Kobani stance

While Iranian authorities maintain strict red lines for national security issues, media reactions to Turkey's inaction in Kobani reveals Iran's tensions with Turkey over its Syria policy.
Read more»

 A Correspondent in Tehran for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on October 20

Nuclear deadline extension could lead to Iran's economic growth

A long-term temporary nuclear deal rather than a permanent one seems most likely between Iran and the six world powers.
Read more»

 A Correspondent in Tehran for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on October 20

IS threat unlikely to help US, Russia bridge divide

A common fear of the Islamic State does not appear to be enough for the United States and Russia to resolve their differences over Ukraine and other issues, despite positive signs from a meeting between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Paris.
Read more»

 Paul J. Saunders for Al-Monitor on October 20

Who will Turkey 'train and equip' in Syria?

Turkey reportedly to train mostly Turkmen force, primarily to oppose Bashar al-Assad, not Islamic State; Al-Monitor Syria Pulse correspondents report on fighting in Aleppo and Daraa; Why did Assad dismiss his top security official?
Read more»

 Al-Monitor Week in Review on October 19

Navy exercises bring Iran, China closer

The joint exercises between the Iranian and Chinese navies signals a step toward closer ties, as well as a possible future challenge to American naval dominance in the Persian Gulf.
Read more»

Mustafa Salama for Al-Monitor on October 19

Syrian war changes Turkish border towns

In Turkey's Hatay province, Islamic State militants have come to impact the daily lives of Turkish residents.
Read more»

 Tulin Daloglu for Al-Monitor on October 17

Italian navy to end search and rescue in Mediterranean

When the Italian navy began to halt its operations in international waters, people began to ask who would provide help to refugees making the dangerous crossing to Europe.
Read more»

Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on October 17

Israel eases restrictions on Gaza

Israel has started to provide facilities to the Gaza Strip, but many Palestinians see these efforts as a facade that changes little.
Read more»

 Hana Salah for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on October 17

Peshmerga head speaks of struggle against IS

In an interview with An-Nahar, Secretary-General of the Peshmerga Ministry Lt. Gen. Jabbar Yawar spoke of the struggles that peshmerga fighters have been facing in their fight against the Islamic State, and the challenges that lie ahead for them.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Nahar (Lebanon) on October 17

Turkey to train Syrian rebels, but at what cost?

As talks continue for the use of Turkish bases in airstrikes against the Islamic State, Ankara agrees to train Syrian rebels in a move that increases the risk of Turkey’s Pakistanization.
Read more»

 Fehim Taştekin for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on October 16

Turkey uses defense industry as political instrument

The Turkish government uses the defense industry to build its foreign relationships and to improve domestic standing.
Read more»

A Correspondent in Turkey for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on October 16

Donor pledges not enough to rehabilitate Gaza

The Palestinian Authority needs at least $15 billion to properly restore Gaza’s economy, while donors have only pledged $5.4 billion for interim reconstruction.
Read more»

 Omar Shaban for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on October 17

Is Anbar Islamic State's Achilles' heel?

The Islamic State’s control of Anbar province and the city of Fallujah is key to their survival, and if lost the group's demise would follow.
Read more»

 Mushreq Abbas for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on October 16

Kerry's three Israel-Palestinian options

The Obama administration objects to the Palestinian plan of turning to the UN for recognizing Palestine, thus hesitating between two options: a new outline based on former negotiations or a series of gestures and negotiations without a deadline.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on October 16

Has Israel accepted the Palestinian unity government?

Israel has allowed trucks with goods to enter Gaza, thus cooperating with the same Fatah-Hamas government it refused to recognize four months ago.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on October 16

Syrian regime takes advantage of coalition strikes

While the world focuses on the Islamic State, the Syrian army is making significant gains in Damascus and Aleppo.
Read more»

Edward Dark for Al-Monitor on October 16

US sees progress on Iran nuclear deal

As trilateral talks conclude in Vienna, the United States claims progress toward a nuclear deal with Iran but problems remain.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on October 15

Is anyone left in Kobani?

Ankara has sought to mislead the Turkish public that no civilians are trapped in Kobani as part of a strategy to undermine Kurdish self-rule in Syria and weaken the Kurds in settlement talks in Turkey.
Read more»

Translated from Radikal (Turkey) on October 15

Frenemies: the insincere alliance between US, Turkey

While Ankara and Washington maintain there's “no discrepancy” between Turkey and the United States over fighting the Islamic State, it's quite clear there's a huge chasm between them.
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 Cengiz Çandar for Al-Monitor on October 15

Erdogan’s blame game holding Turkey back

Given President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's constant blaming of the West, the Kurds and other targets of convenience, it's unlikely that the Turkish public can ever reach a broad consensus on how to solve Turkey's problems.
Read more»

 Tulin Daloglu for Al-Monitor on October 15

Syrian rebels eye capital after gains in south

Syrian rebels continue to make significant inroads in the country’s south as the Syrian government focuses on key battles in Damascus.
Read more»

Khaled Atallah for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on October 15

Houthi victories in Yemen make Saudi Arabia nervous

The rapid victories of the Shiite Houthi group in Yemen make Saudi Arabia worry that Iran is surrounding the kingdom.
Read more»

 Bruce Riedel for Al-Monitor on October 15

A portrait of Shirine, Kurdish female fighter

Like many young Kurdish women, Shirine could never imagine leaving university for the front line, but the war changed everything.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Nahar (Lebanon) on October 15

Zabadani back to the forefront of Syria war

Syrian armed groups are trying to open a supply route.
Read more»

Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on October 15

IS sent warning letters to Middle East embassies

Iran's deputy foreign minister has said that the Islamic State sent letters to embassies warning them not to attack the group and that the United States notified Iran and Syria that its coalition would not target Syrian bases.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on October 15

Common enemy brings Iran, Saudi Arabia closer

Relations between Saudi Arabia and the Shiite movements in Yemen, namely the Houthis, have fluctuated over the years but may turn into a Saudi-Iranian rapprochement as a common enemy threatens both sides.
Read more»

 Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor on October 15

Egypt initiates plan to ensure food security

Egypt plans to cultivate 4 million acres of strategic crops for its large population, but water scarcity and a lack of funds raise doubts about its feasibility.
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 Ayah Aman for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on October 16

Yemen’s Houthis draw the attention of Iraqis

The Houthis in Yemen recently made the Iraqi headlines, as some consider that there are measures to direct the media toward the support of Shiite parties outside Iraq after internal failures.
Read more»

 Omar al-Jaffal for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on October 16

Can Iran transparency overcome covert nuclear past?

Iran faces a challenge in addressing its past nuclear activities in light of the trilaterial negotiations and a "comprehensive solution."
Read more»

 Edward P. Levine for Al-Monitor on October 15

John Kerry: Iran deal not 'out of reach'

Speaking ahead of a trilateral meeting in Vienna, US Secretary of State John Kerry expressed hope for the nuclear deal.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on October 14

Animosity between US, Iran not conducive to nuclear resolution

The longstanding differences between the United States and Iran require resolution to reach a final nuclear deal by the Nov. 24 deadline.
Read more»

 Seyed Hossein Mousavian for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on October 14

Former Israeli defense minister says conflict looms with Hamas

In an interview with Al-Monitor, former Defense Minister Moshe Arens contends that Israeli politicians depict a false picture of deteriorating Israeli-US ties, especially in regard to Congress, saying that ''relations are very stable."
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on October 14

Israeli defense minister warns of 'bad Iranian deal'

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon warns of Iranian aspirations for regional hegemony, claiming that the West did not present tough enough negotiation stances: ''Current discussions would result in an agreement that isn’t a good one.''
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on October 14

YPG official: Airstrikes not enough to protect Kobani

In an interview with An-Nahar, an official from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units said that his people will fight till their last breath before allowing the Islamic State to take over Kobani.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Nahar (Lebanon) on October 14

Can Israel, Palestine exist as parallel states on same land?

Contrary to what politicians on both sides are willing to admit, the Israeli and Palestinian people can live together side by side, and might accept an idea of having two parallel, “overlapping” states established on the same land.
Read more»

 Arad Nir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on October 14

Heavy casualties in Qalamoun

Jabhat Al-Nusra fail to occupy several villages around the Qalamoun region in bloody battles that resemble the group's recent attack on Lebanon's Brital.
Read more»

Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on October 14

Exit interview: Former Turkish President Gul speaks out

Former Turkish President Abdullah Gul gives an extended interview to Al-Hayat, ranging from Turkey’s role in Syria to relations with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on October 14

Egyptian students behind bars as classes resume

Hundreds of Egyptian students remain in prison, with as many as a third of them randomly detained by authorities without evidence of participating in protests or supporting the Muslim Brotherhood.
Read more»

 Muhammad Ghamrawy for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on October 14

Assad dismisses security chief of powerful 'Branch 40'

The dismissal of Col. Hafez Makhlouf, head of Syria's internal security, may be a sign of reformist policies or even a change of leadership within the regime.
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 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on October 16

How to defeat Islamic State's war machine

The Islamic State has to be recognized as a lethal and effective war machine at the tactical level.
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Metin Turcan for Al-Monitor on October 14

Iranian peshmerga chief: Iran set ambushes for us

Khalid Azizi, secretary-general of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (KDPI), said Iranian forces ambushed Iranian peshmerga fighters, sparking a skirmish in September that resulted in casualties on both sides.
Read more»

 Vager Saadullah for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on October 14

Rebels in Aleppo stretched thin between regime, IS

Rebel supply lines to the city of Aleppo are at risk of being cut as the rebels simultaneously fight government forces and the Islamic State in Aleppo’s northern countryside.
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 Mohammed al-Khatieb for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on October 14

Battle for Syrian town could have wide regional repercussions

As the Islamic State continues to push into the majority Kurdish town of Kobani in northern Syria, broad regional battles start to surface and geopolitics looks like it will prevent international assistance beyond limited airstrikes by coalition forces.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on October 13

What it's like to fight for Hamas

Abu Abdel Rahman, a fighter with Hamas’ Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, still dreams of fighting against Israeli forces in the last Gaza war.
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 Asmaa al-Ghoul for Al-Monitor on October 16

Threat of Somalization haunts Yemen

The conflicting parties in Yemen are clinging to their demands, which may lead to the failure of the peace and partnership agreement signed by the Houthis.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on October 14

Iranians, Israelis could live with 'bad' nuclear deal

Though both the Israeli and the Iranian people seem to favor de-escalation and could live with a compromise, their leaders hold the real power over negotiations.
Read more»

 Meir Javedanfar for Al-Monitor on October 13

Hezbollah attack on Israeli patrol seen as border warning

Hezbollah has taken responsibility for an Oct. 7 attack on an Israeli patrol in the Shebaa Farms region, vowing future retaliation against Israeli aggression.
Read more»

 Ali Hashem for Al-Monitor on October 12

Rise of IS exacerbates Islamophobia in Europe

As IS horrors rage on in the Middle East, Muslims across Europe face increasing discrimination.
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Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on October 12

Erdogan's Syria policies spark riots in Kurdish cities

Turkey’s Syria policies spark massive protests in Kurdish cities, with at least 30 protesters killed; no relief for Syrians in Homs and Aleppo; Jabhat al-Nusra attacks Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Read more»

 Al-Monitor Week in Review on October 12

Sudan restates claim to disputed territory with Egypt

Sudan recently announced it was including the disputed Halayeb area as an electoral district for its elections in 2015, proving a setback to Egypt-Sudan relations that were gradually improving after Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s election as president.
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 Walaa Hussein for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on October 12

Hamas, IS share neither goal nor methods

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insists that Hamas and the Islamic State are fruits of the same tree, but there are significant ideological and methodological differences between the two groups.
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 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on October 13

Turkey slides into deeper isolation over Syria

Turkey’s Western allies are increasingly frustrated with its attempts to direct the US-led military coalition’s focus from the Islamic State to the Syrian regime, while Russia and Iran are openly opposing Turkey’s attempts to establish a buffer zone.
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 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on October 10

In battle against Kurds, is it AKP's policy to back IS?

Turkey is heading down a dangerous path toward violence, with the potential of a civil war and/or intercommunal fighting.
Read more»

 Cengiz Çandar for Al-Monitor on October 10

Iraqi women targeted for execution by IS

Women who are active within Iraqi communities are being targeted by the Islamic State, and subjected to terrible crimes including rape, kidnapping, sexual violence and executions.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on October 10

Iraq should use IS war to rebuild foreign relations

The war against the Islamic State provides Iraq with an opportunity to rebuild fractured relations with neighboring countries and others.
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 Mustafa al-Kadhimi for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on October 10

Ethnic dimension of Iraqi Assyrians often ignored

Iraqi Assyrians are often referred to simply as “Christians,” but there is an ancient, distinctive ethnic aspect to Assyrian groups that is overlooked, thus undermining their rights.
Read more»

 Maxim Edwards for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on October 10

Can P5+1 formula work for Israel, Palestinians?

While Palestinian officials partially welcome the idea of a P5+1 framework for multilateral negotiations, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's associates count on the Americans to nip this idea in the bud.
Read more»

 Uri Savir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on October 12

Lebanese politicians underestimate Islamic State

Following the attacks in the Lebanese towns of Arsal and Brital, many Lebanese are asking: When will the political powers wake up to the Islamic State threat and take decisive action?
Read more»

Translated from Al-Nahar (Lebanon) on October 9

Is Islamic State symptom of the Assad problem?

Turkey's policymakers need to take seriously the Islamic State's growing power, instead of dismissing the group as a "symptom" of Bashar al-Assad's regime.
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 Mustafa Akyol for Al-Monitor on October 9

Kurd vs. Kurd: internal clashes continue in Turkey

Islamist and nationalist Kurds in Turkey have recently engaged in violent clashes stemming from events in Syria, raising concerns about the future of the Kurdish movement.
Read more»

Metin Turcan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on October 9

Israel's budget favors defense over poverty

Israel's fronts are less threatened by real powers than ever before, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is increasing the defense budget over alleviating poverty and dealing with the cost of living and housing.
Read more»

 Daniel Ben Simon for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on October 10

Is Abbas one vote from Security Council majority?

Faced with a diplomatic stalemate unprecedented since the Oslo Accord, the Palestinians have given up on negotiating with Israel, opting instead to go to the UN Security Council, where they appear on the verge of securing a majority.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on October 9

Looking behind the Russia-Iran relationship

Despite the common perception of Russia as Iran's main backer outside the region, the two big regional players’ relations are shaped by long-term interests that can clash with immediate concerns and may complicate the battle against the Islamic State.
Read more»

 Maxim A. Suchkov for Al-Monitor on October 9

Turkish curfews attempt to manage rising street violence

Turkey’s Kurds pour their anger into the streets and the government declares a curfew in five predominantly Kurdish cities.
Read more»

 Tulin Daloglu for Al-Monitor on October 8

Nusra attacks on Lebanon attempt to 'change rules of game'

Attacks by Jabhat al-Nusra on Hezbollah-controlled positions inside Lebanon represent a troubling development for the Lebanese and possibly the regime in Damascus as well.
Read more»

 Ali Hashem for Al-Monitor on October 8

Sinai militants rise again

The jihadist group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis is adapting to its war with the Egyptian army and is regaining strength in the Sinai Peninsula.
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 An Al-Monitor correspondent in Sinai for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on October 8

How US airstrikes are affecting Moscow's Syria policy

A central goal of Russia's Syria policy is to relegitimize the Syrian regime in the eyes of the United States and its allies in the region, and oblige them to recognize it as an ally in the fight against extremism.
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 Vitaly Naumkin for Al-Monitor on October 8

Will arming peshmerga tip balance of power in Iraq?

Peshmerga forces have been battling the Islamic State (IS) with old, outdated weapons that are no match for the powerful arsenal that IS captured in Mosul and elsewhere.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on October 8

Iran op-ed asks Soleimani to defend Kobani

A conservative Iranian news site has published an op-ed asking Quds Force leader Qasem Soleimani to defend the Kurds of Kobani as Iranians in various cities protest to show support.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on October 8

How Turkey repeated US mistakes in Afghanistan

Turkey’s Syrian adventure, and its unintended midwifery to the Islamic State, hold major lessons for Turkish foreign policy.
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 Mustafa Akyol for Al-Monitor on October 8

Kurdish activist violence brings Kobani conflict to Turkish streets

By promoting violent activism, the Kurdistan Workers Party is pressuring the Turkish government, while restricting the state to responding with narratives instead of military measures.
Read more»

Metin Turcan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on October 8

Kobani is becoming Turkey's war

Turks are fighting on both sides of the Islamic State-YPG battle for Kobani, but increasing numbers of Kurdish fighters, including women, are coming from Turkey to join the battle.
Read more»

 Fehim Taştekin for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on October 8

Former US diplomat fosters US-Iran ties behind the scenes

William Luers has spent years pursuing a quiet “track 2” dialogue bringing American and Iranian officials and scholars together, some of whom have close ties to officials in the Rouhani administration.
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 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on October 7

Biden's apology won't spur Turkey to action in Syria

While Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seems satisfied with US Vice President Joe Biden's apology, Turkey remains a reluctant ally in the fight against the Islamic State.
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 Cengiz Çandar for Al-Monitor on October 7

Syrian regime ignores supporters' rising anger

Anger among pro-government supporters spilled into protests in Homs last week after two deadly suicide bombings, but the Syrian government remains indifferent to their complaints.
Read more»

Edward Dark for Al-Monitor on October 7

Turkey's leaders see Kobani as opportunity, not threat

The fall of Kobani would deal a severe blow to Kurdish independence hopes and bolster Turkey's political goals.
Read more»

 Amberin Zaman for Al-Monitor on October 7

Israel's war with the US

As Israel-US ties continue to deteriorate, Israel is dealing with two other fronts: the Lebanese border where an explosive device just wounded two soldiers, and the mysterious explosion at the Parchin nuclear plant in Iran.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on October 7

Sunni jihadists attack Hezbollah to prove themselves

The attack by Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra militants on Hezbollah positions in the western Bekaa in Lebanon was an attempt to open a new front and boost morale.
Read more»

Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on October 7

Assad, not Islamic State, in Ankara’s crosshairs

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is trying to convince Washington that the real enemy is the Syrian regime, but appears to be failing to do so as the US-led coalition keeps its focus on the Islamic State.
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on October 7

No exit for Iraq without decentralization

Iraq’s failure to abide by its constitution, which stipulates federalism with greater powers for provinces, is part of the reason why it is in turmoil today.
Read more»

 Mushreq Abbas for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on October 7

Turkey on alert for IS attacks

Turkish security has gone on alert following intelligence "from foreign sources" that cross-border military action would trigger revenge attacks in Turkey by the Islamic State.
Read more»

Translated from Milliyet (Turkey) on October 7

Egypt’s youth 'have had enough'

Though many of the youth leaders who participated in the 2011 revolution are in prison, youth-driven political campaigns will continue under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
Read more»

 Ahmed Fouad for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on October 7

Jihadists target Hezbollah strongholds in Lebanon’s Bekaa

Gunmen from the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra have exploited Eid al-Adha to attack Hezbollah in a new location in the center of Lebanon’s border with Syria.
Read more»

 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on October 7

Biden's apology hides the truth

US Vice President Joe Biden’s instant apology to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may be considered a technical obligation, but not a denial of the merits of what has been said.
Read more»

 Tulin Daloglu for Al-Monitor on October 6

Israel, Hezbollah recalibrate mutual deterrence

The deterrence established between Israel and Hezbollah over the past eight years along with Hezbollah joining the fight against IS might open the way to quiet understandings between Israel and Hezbollah.
Read more»

 Daniel Sobelman for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on October 6

Russia's role in the fight against IS

Russia's complicated role in Syria means that it supports defeating the Islamic State, but not by tipping the balance against the regime.
Read more»

 Paul J. Saunders for Al-Monitor on October 6

Can PKK transform military might into political power?

As regional developments open new military and political arenas to the PKK, it is unlikely that the Turkish peace process will end with the Kurds disarming.
Read more»

 Fehim Taştekin for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on October 6

Turkish military unhappy with parliament's lack of guidance

The approval of the motion for cross-border operations by the Turkish parliament raises more questions than it provides answers.
Read more»

Metin Turcan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on October 6

Ya'alon misses lessons of Yom Kippur War

The current Israeli administration, like that of former Prime Minister Golda Meir, prefers to trust in its military superiority and manage the conflict with the Palestinians instead of resolving it.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on October 6

Iran-Iraq War off-limits to historians in Iran

Many questions remain about the era of the Iran-Iraq War, which changed Iran's political and cultural landscape, but independent historians cannot yet research the subject to examine the government's official narrative and untold stories of the war.
Read more»

 A Correspondent in Tehran for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on October 6

Syrian army closes in on Douma after Adra victory

Syrian regime forces have scored an important victory by securing the strategic town of Adra in the Damascus countryside, increasing pressure on rebel strongholds in eastern Ghouta.
Read more»

Mustafa al-Haj for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on October 6

Is Islamic State luring US into sending ground troops?

The Islamic State believes that it can fight the “near enemy” and the “far enemy” on the same battlefield, and by taking cover and minimizing casualties, preserve its firepower to confront the ground forces it hopes to lure into the battle against it.
Read more»

Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on October 6

Egyptian FM: All extremist organizations should be eliminated

In an interview with Al-Hayat, Egyptian Foreign Minister discusses IS, Iran, Gaza and US-Egyptian relations.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on October 5

Erdogan's slow turnaround on foreign fighters in Syria

US Vice President Joe Biden says "our biggest problem is our allies" in combating foreign fighters; Aleppo battle lines so far unaffected by airstrikes; Israel considers threat from Islamic State.
Read more»

 Al-Monitor Week in Review on October 5

Kobani's Kurds feel abandoned by West

While the United States and the West turn a blind eye, the Kurdish population in Kobani accuses Turkey of supporting IS.
Read more»

Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on October 7

Despite Sisi's efforts, Muslim Brotherhood won't go away

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's visit to New York has changed many parameters in US-Egyptian relations, but support for the Muslim Brotherhood is not totally gone.
Read more»

Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on October 6

AKP base divided on Turkey's vote to join coalition

Pro-government commentators have raised questions over Turkey’s participation in a US-led coalition, while the latest polls show Turks are split on what their country's role should be in fighting the Islamic state.
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on October 3

Jordan's IS airstrike takes public by surprise

Jordan has joined the US-led alliance fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, stirring anger among Jordanians who know few details of the operation.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on October 3

Kobani becomes battle for Kurds' future

With the Islamic State siege of Kobani endangering the peace process and the cease-fire between the PKK and the Turkish state, Kurds could soon be facing a host of new challenges.
Read more»

Onur Burcak Belli for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on October 3

Ankara's cooperation in fight against IS tied to own agenda

Turkish leaders see short-term and long-term opportunities for their country as a result of the crisis involving the Islamic State.
Read more»

Translated from Milliyet (Turkey) on October 7

What is Turkey's battle plan for Tomb of Suleiman Shah?

The Turkish army has devised plans to provide air and ground support to its soldiers guarding the Tomb of Suleiman Shah in Syria.
Read more»

Translated from Sabah (Turkey) on October 3

Theater returns to Aleppo amid war

Locals in rebel-held Aleppo defied air raids and artillery shells to see the first play to be held in the area since the Syrian uprising began.
Read more»

 Orwoa Kanawati for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on October 3

Kuwait targets opposition by revoking citizenship

Kuwaiti authorities have revoked the citizenship of a number of key opposition figures in recent months, raising concerns the move is part of a renewed effort to crackdown on dissent.
Read more»

 Mona Kareem for Al-Monitor on October 3

Supporters accuse Syrian regime of cooperating on airstrikes

The Syrian government’s supporters are divided in their views on the US-led strikes against the Islamic State in Syria, with many believing it violates Syria’s national sovereignty and humiliates the country.
Read more»

 An Al-Monitor Correspondent in Syria for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on October 3

Erbil, Baghdad strengthen ties in face of Islamic State

As the Islamic State continues its relentless campaign in Iraq and Syria, the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government are realizing the benefits of cooperation and compromise.
Read more»

 Mustafa al-Kadhimi for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on October 3

Turkey swapped 180 IS militants for 49 hostages

Details have emerged of a prisoner exchange previously mentioned by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Read more»

Translated from Taraf (Turkey) on October 2

Creativity needed to break Israeli-Palestinian logjam

The Palestinian leadership has given up on trying to convince the Israeli public of the need for peace, but what options does it have without resorting to violence?
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on October 2

IDF chief of staff speaks out on IS, Syria, Iran

Chief of Staff Benny Gantz does not exclude the possibility that in the future, Israel will have to deal with the Islamic State, saying, "If they would take us on, they would fail."
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on October 2

Israel should create 'Marshall Plan' for Gaza

Israel should seek a regional alliance — supported by the European Union, Russia, United Nations and United States — to enable the creation of a Palestinian state and peace between Israel and most neighboring countries, and form a strong axis to fight radical Islam.
Read more»

 Ami Ayalon for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on October 2

Israel braces for conflict as Yom Kippur, Eid al-Adha coincide

With this year's Yom Kippur and Eid al-Adha falling on the same day, Jewish and Arab leaders are pleading with the two sides not to repeat past clashes and allow each other to observe the holy day peacefully.
Read more»

 Daniel Ben Simon for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on October 2

Turks rumored to be joining the Islamic State

According to a new poll, an overwhelming majority of Turks are totally opposed to the Islamic State, yet some Turks are likely joining IS ranks.
Read more»

 Tulin Daloglu for Al-Monitor on October 1

Hama maintains its calm amid Syrian storm

Hama, a hotbed of opposition against the Syrian regime, has learned from its experience in the 1980s and stayed out of the armed rebellion, so far sparing the city the destruction witnessed elsewhere.
Read more»

Khaled Atallah for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on October 1

Turkish government plays with Kurdish fire

In its seeming criticism of the Islamic State, the Turkish government takes every opportunity to attack Kurdish political groups and undermine the peace process.
Read more»

Translated from Radikal (Turkey) on October 1

Salafist danger spawns pan-Shiite solidarity

Rising incitement against Shiites by Salafist forces has prompted solidarity among the various sects of Shiite Islam.
Read more»

 Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor on October 1

Lebanese women conquer abroad, suffer at home

Successful Lebanese women abroad are making international headlines, but Lebanese women at home continue to face legal and social discrimination, impeding them from similar success.
Read more»

 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on October 1

Abbas destroyed hopes of Israel's peace camp

Accusing Israel of "genocide" would not prompt the UN to grant President Mahmoud Abbas a Palestinian state on a silver platter, but it did destroy whatever was still left of the bridge between the two people.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on October 2

Netanyahu needs to do some soul-searching

In his UN speech, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's diplomatic horizon consisted of Israel and the Arab world starting a normalization process before resolving the conflict with the Palestinians, a concept that no Arab leader would ever consider.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on October 1

The struggle for Kobani

An As-Safir correspondent reports from the front lines of Ayn al-Arab (Kobani), where female and male Kurds of all ages are mobilizing to fight the Islamic State.
Read more»

Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on October 1

Fatwas issued to stop illegal migration from Gaza

The families of Palestinians who died in the Mediterranean trying to migrate from Gaza are hoping to find answers about the fate of their loved ones.
Read more»

 Hana Salah for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on October 2

Gaza landlords refuse to rent to 'targeted families'

Landlords and residents in the Gaza Strip are reluctant to live next to families who were targeted by Israel in the recent war, fearing they may also become targets in any future confrontation.
Read more»

 Asmaa al-Ghoul for Al-Monitor on October 1

Syrian rebels unhappy with coalition airstrikes

Rebels in northern Aleppo say the US-led airstrikes have made no difference on their front lines against the Islamic State, and they have yet to see an increase in arms supplies.
Read more»

 Mohammed al-Khatieb for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on October 1

Iranian UN delegate slams Netanyahu speech

Iran's UN delegation took the floor to criticize the address by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the UN General Assembly.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on September 30

Are Turkish troops trapped at Syrian tomb?

Turkish troops guarding the Tomb of Suleiman Shah, a Turkish enclave in Syria, are facing increased risks as Ankara refuses to evacuate them.
Read more»

A Correspondent in Turkey for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on September 30

High stakes for Erdogan in fight against IS

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan turns hawkish on the Islamic State, but he is aware that the stakes are high if Ankara joins the war against the group.
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on September 30

Iraqi prime minister criticized for halting strikes on cities

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has come under fire from some rival circles for a decision to halt indiscriminate strikes on cities, which were causing civilian casualties.
Read more»

 Mushreq Abbas for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on September 30

Netanyahu missteps on Hamas, Islamic State comparison

In his UN General Assembly speech, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu compared Hamas to the Islamic State, ignoring Israel's ongoing negotiations with Hamas in Cairo.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on September 30

Netanyahu's rhetoric brings same old message

For dozens of years, Benjamin Netanyahu has been delivering the same speech to the UN General Assembly — once it was the PLO, today it’s Hamas — and the Israeli center still insists on asking whether Netanyahu has changed.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on September 30

Bibi's UN speech misses again

At the UN General Assembly, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accomplished what he is best at: delivering speeches and identifying threats, without identifying opportunities or making any historic decisions — again.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on September 30

Algeria pushes for national dialogue in Libya

Algeria says it will endeavor to host a Libyan national dialogue this month, hoping to end the violence and rejecting calls for foreign military intervention.
Read more»

 Omar Shabbi for Al-Monitor on September 30

Lebanese prime minister talks peace, security, diplomacy

Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam speaks to Al-Hayat about Lebanese security, international diplomacy and the presidential elections, after attending the UN summit.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on September 30

Will Lebanon swap prisoners with IS, Jabhat al-Nusra?

The families of kidnapped Lebanese soldiers have been calling on the government to agree to a prisoner exchange to secure their relatives’ release, but a number of obstacles stand in the way.
Read more»

 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on September 30

Will IS find a foothold in Jordan?

The initial Salafist movement behind Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State rejects the two radical organizations, calling them deviant from traditional Salafist teaching.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on October 1

Iran's UN demand emerges as hitch in nuclear talks

Iran's demand for quick lifting of UN Security Council resolutions emerges as another thorny issue of dispute in nuclear negotiations underway with world powers.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on September 29

Will Turkey put 'boots on the ground' in Syria?

The Turkish parliament is expected to vote Oct. 2 on whether to authorize a government request to allow the Turkish military to be engaged in Iraq and Syria.
Read more»

 Tulin Daloglu for Al-Monitor on September 29

West Bank arrests won’t eliminate Hamas

The arrest campaigns against Hamas in the West Bank have resulted in a leadership vacuum, but nothing the Islamist movement cannot overcome.
Read more»

 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on September 29

Turkey's Syria plan

Turkey plans to cooperate with the anti-Islamic State coalition by establishing a no-fly zone and strengthening the opposition.
Read more»

Translated from Milliyet (Turkey) on September 29

Islamic State accused of using chlorine gas on Iraqi soldiers

Survivors of an Islamic State siege on an Iraqi army regiment in Anbar say the terrorist group used chlorine gas against them.
Read more»

 Omar al-Jaffal for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on October 5

Abbas makes last-ditch effort to win Palestinian independence

The approaching end of Mahmoud Abbas’ presidency has prompted him to push harder for Palestinian independence, hoping it will be his parting legacy.
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on September 29

How Saudi Arabia is distancing itself from Islamic State

While Saudi Arabia has confronted the Islamic State, the country has denied there is any connection between its state religion and the jihadist group.
Read more»

 Bader al-Rashed for Al-Monitor on September 29

FSA: No terror is comparable to Assad’s terror

As the United States strikes Islamic State (IS) targets in Syria, the Free Syrian Army says that it would support the international coalition so long as it protects civilians and targets the regime and Hezbollah as well as IS.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Nahar (Lebanon) on September 30

Syrians on both sides oppose US strikes

Local rebels and pro-regime supporters are both critical of the US-led strikes on the Islamic State for various reasons.
Read more»

Edward Dark for Al-Monitor on September 29

Jordan on high alert for possible IS retaliation

Jordanians are worried the Islamic State will conduct terror attacks in response to the kingdom’s participation in the US-led coalition that is targeting the group in Syria.
Read more»

Osama Al Sharif for Al-Monitor on September 29

Abbas' speech warning siren for Israel

The UN General Assembly speech by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reflects first and foremost the Palestinians' despair of any hope for peace with the current Israeli leadership.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on September 29

Salih Muslim calls for action to avoid Kobani 'slaughter'

Salih Muslim, the leader of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), criticizes in a dialogue with As-Safir the international silence concerning the slaughter of the Syrian Kurds and accuses the international coalition of favoring the Islamic State in its war against the Syrian Kurds.
Read more»

Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on September 29

US leverages Iran-Iraq-Syria axis against Islamic State

New alignment offers the potential for breakthrough in the battle against extremist groups; the Arab world has a pulse, not an illness.
Read more»

 Al-Monitor Week in Review on September 28

Diplomat: 'Limited progress' in Iran nuclear talks

A Western diplomat said some limited progress had been made in Iran nuclear talks in New York but significant gaps on core issues remain.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on September 26

Hezbollah squeezed out of Golan by Jabhat al-Nusra, Israel

The infiltration of Syrian militants into Lebanon threatens Hezbollah’s presence in the strategic Golan Heights.
Read more»

 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on September 26

Turkish-Egyptian ties are at a standstill

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tells the UN General Assembly that Ankara’s support for ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood will continue.
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on September 26

No names needed: Obama rebukes Erdogan

While Presidents Barack Obama and Recep Tayyip Erdogan remain sharply different in their values and interests, the US-Turkey relationship is as strong as ever — and much more wary.
Read more»

 Tulin Daloglu for Al-Monitor on September 26

Confusion persists over Turkey's position on IS

It is still unclear whether Turkey is now on board the anti-Islamic State coalition.
Read more»

 Cengiz Çandar for Al-Monitor on September 26

UN Security Council issues subtle warning to Turkey

A new UN resolution aiming to thwart the movement of Islamic State fighters across borders may pose a few problems for Turkey.
Read more»

Translated from Radikal (Turkey) on September 26

Desperate Gazans frustrated by Hamas-Fatah squabbles

The disputes between Hamas and Fatah over the reconstruction process in Gaza have infuriated Gazans who desperately need assistance.
Read more»

 Mohammed Othman for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on September 26

Islamic State flag burning ignites controversy in Lebanon

The burning of Islamic State (IS) flags in Lebanon has stirred controversy among the public and politicians, with some condemning the act, considering it an attack on religion, while others contend that IS has nothing to do with Islam.
Read more»

Nicolas Lupo for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse on September 29

Tunisia's president says IS, Syrian regime must go

In an interview with Al-Hayat, Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki said Tunisia does not meddle in the affairs of other countries, and that both the Syrian regime and the Islamic State should be removed.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on September 26

Kurdish politician proposes segregating Arabs, Kurds in Iraq

Mohsin Saadoun, an Iraqi member of parliament for the Kurdistan Democratic Party, believes Arabs and Kurds can no longer coexist in mixed villages after the Islamic State’s assault, which he says was supported by local Sunni Arabs.
Read more»

 Vager Saadullah for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on September 26

Fighting robs Iraqi farmers of harvest

The Islamic State attacks and defensive military operations have affected the agricultural sector in Iraq's Salahuddin province, where wheat production had been expected to reach 4.5 million tons this year.
Read more»

 Omar al-Jaffal for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on September 26

Exclusive: PKK commander threatens to resume war

In an exclusive interview, the Kurdistan Workers Party's (PKK) top military commander, Cemil Bayik, says that Turkey has sabotaged the peace process and the PKK is ready to resume open conflict.
Read more»

 Amberin Zaman for Al-Monitor on September 25

Moscow backs fight against IS … to an extent

Russia is expressing cautious solidarity with the United States in fighting the Islamic State, while continuing its unequivocal support of the Syrian government.
Read more»

 Vitaly Naumkin for Al-Monitor on September 25

Iraq’s president: Iran must be part of anti-IS coalition

Iraqi President Fouad Massoum said that he supports a conditional amnesty for prisoners, a key Sunni demand, and insists on Iran’s participation in the international alliance against the Islamic State.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on September 26

Syrian residents recount anti-IS attacks

Syrian activists are reporting both jihadist and civilian casualties to An-Nahar as US-led operations against the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra begin.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Nahar (Lebanon) on September 25

After jihadist arrests, Australian mufti rejects IS fatwa

Following the arrest of a number of suspected jihadists in Australia, the country's grand mufti, Ibrahim Abu Mohamed, calls for peace, unity and truth.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Nahar (Lebanon) on September 25

Syrian opposition member has little faith in airstrikes on IS

Haytham Manna, the general coordinator of the National Coordination Body for Democratic Change in Syria, believes that the continuing airstrikes in Syria are unlikely to succeed, for he argues that the true leadership is based in Iraq and strikes in Syria will only make the situation more tense.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Nahar (Lebanon) on September 25

Turks dislike Islamic State, but would leave fight to others

A recent survey by Metropoll, a prominent Turkish polling company, indicates that only 1.3% of Turks are sympathetic toward the Islamic State.
Read more»

 Mustafa Akyol for Al-Monitor on September 25

Turkey mulls security zone along Syria border

In the wake of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s commitment to contribute military help against the Islamic State, Turkey's deputy prime minister said that aid could take various forms.
Read more»

Translated from Milliyet (Turkey) on September 25

IS interrupts Kurdish peace process

The solution process to the Kurdish question in Turkey has been knocked off-course by ending a PKK cease-fire and the Islamic State turning regional balances upside down.
Read more»

Translated from Milliyet (Turkey) on September 25

Security ministries on hold in Iraq

Iraq's parliament has failed to vote on the candidates proposed by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi for the posts of interior and defense ministers, letting the country slip down a dangerous path.
Read more»

 Mustafa al-Kadhimi for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on September 25

Why is Abbas playing hardball with Hamas?

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has taken a tough stance toward Hamas since the Gaza war ended, in part in an effort to appease Egypt and some of the Gulf states vehemently opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on September 26

Islamic Jihad’s popularity grows after Gaza war

The public approval ratings of Islamic Jihad received a boost after the Gaza war, benefiting from the group's determination to stay out of the Hamas-Fatah feud.
Read more»

 Asmaa al-Ghoul for Al-Monitor on September 25

Rouhani: Syria airstrikes 'will only create tragedies'

Iran’s president said a nuclear agreement would open the prospect of more cooperation with the United States but criticized the American decision to give more support to Syrian rebels, warning that it could spawn more terrorism.
Read more»

 Barbara Slavin on September 24

Islamic State attacks test Kurdish-Syrian rebel alliance

The Islamic State’s offensive against the Kurdish stronghold of Kobani came only days after the People’s Protection Units formed an alliance with local Syrian rebel brigades to confront the terrorist group.
Read more»

 Mohammed al-Khatieb for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on September 24

Hamas weighs alternatives to Palestinian unity government

Hamas holds little faith in the newly established consensus government, accusing President Mahmoud Abbas of putting aside the needs of the people of Gaza.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on September 24

Egyptian visit to Ethiopian dam raises hopes for resolution

Egypt and Ethiopia are showing a willingness to resolve the dispute over the Renaissance Dam, but some fundamental concerns still remain.
Read more»

 Ayah Aman for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on September 24

Saudis, Iranians benefit from Houthi attack on Sanaa

Saudi Arabia and Iran appear to see the Houthis' assault against Sanaa to both their advantages in the fight against extremists in the region and resolving other issues.
Read more»

 Ali Hashem for Al-Monitor on September 24

Iran nuclear negotiators have no 'authority' to discuss IS

Iranian Gen. Massoud Jazayeri said that Iran's nuclear negotiators only have the authority to conduct talks on the nuclear issue, and not the Islamic State, with US officials.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on September 24

5 reasons why Turkey should join military coalition

With the hostages held by Islamic State (IS) free, it makes sense for Turkey to commit fully to the anti-IS coalition.
Read more»

Translated from Radikal (Turkey) on September 24

Syrian rebels' access blocked to key Damascus neighborhood

Syrian regime and opposition forces continue to clash in suburbs around Damascus, where the rebels are working in vain to reinforce the Jobar front.
Read more»

Mustafa al-Haj for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on September 24

Four reasons Hezbollah is concerned by Syrian militants

The continuing infiltration of Syrian fundamentalists and terrorists into the southeastern corner of Lebanon might lead to a clash with Israel, or to Sunni-Shiite strife in the already tense areas.
Read more»

 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on September 24

Erdogan says Turkey will join fight against Islamic State

Ankara is being forced to get off the fence and join allies against the growing threat from IS and similar groups.
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on September 24

What did Turkey give IS in exchange for hostages?

Turkey admitted to an exchange with the Islamic State for their hostages, but speculation remains on what Turkey promised Liwa al-Tawhid in return.
Read more»

Metin Turcan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on September 24

How Israel spies on Sinai

Israel recruits Egyptian smugglers in the Sinai Peninsula to perform various missions for Israeli intelligence.
Read more»

 An Al-Monitor correspondent in Sinai for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on September 23

After nuclear negotiations, what’s next for Iran’s economy?

A nuclear deal with the West would mean a huge boost to sanctions-hobbled Iran, especially its petrochemical sector.
Read more»

 Bijan Khajehpour for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on September 23

Rouhani expresses optimism over nuclear deal at UNGA

In his first public appearance at this year’s UN General Assembly, the Iranian president suggested that a nuclear deal would transform US-Iran relations but said that failure to reach agreement by the deadline did not mean that the two countries would automatically revert to the hostility of the past.
Read more»

 Barbara Slavin for Al-Monitor on September 23

Peshmerga look to restore image after defeats

Peshmerga forces are slowly but steadily regaining lost territory to the Islamic State, after initial defeats this summer sent shock waves through Iraqi Kurdistan.
Read more»

 Mohammed A. Salih for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on September 23

Is there a moderate Syrian opposition?

By labeling certain groups within the opposition as "moderates" versus "extremists," the United States is making these groups more vulnerable to attacks from the regime and from the Islamic State, and more susceptible to extremism.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on September 23

PYD leader holds Turkey responsible for fate of Kobani

Salih Muslim, leader of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), says Turkey is not allowing reinforcements from the PKK across its borders.
Read more»

Translated from Milliyet (Turkey) on September 23

Turkey’s IS predicament with US, Kurds

While Turkey dithered about joining the anti-Islamic State coalition, PKK military chief Murat Karayilan said the Kurdish peace process was over, derailed by Ankara's dealings with IS.
Read more»

 Cengiz Çandar for Al-Monitor on September 23

IS makes plans to fend off attacks on Mosul

The Islamic State focuses on preparations to fight off expected attacks to Mosul by identifying secondary locations for headquarters, storing weapons in mosques and planting booby-traps.
Read more»

 Mushreq Abbas for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on September 23

Lebanon concerned about spillover from US-led airstrikes on IS

During the Paris Conference, the Lebanese delegation expressed its concerns that the US-led airstrikes on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria will have repercussions for Lebanon — concerns that foreign ministers tried to alleviate.
Read more»

 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on September 23

Iranian conservative says the US needs Iran

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Iranian conservative Amir Mohebian discussed why he believes Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is pessimistic about the nuclear negotiations, how US policy in the Middle East has benefited Iran and how the United States is now in a position where it needs Iran to deal with regional issues.
Read more»

 Behdad Bordbar for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on September 23

How will Turkey react to stream of Kurdish refugees?

Turkey has reportedly received over 130,000 refugees since the Islamic State attacked the northern Syrian town of Kobani.
Read more»

 Tulin Daloglu for Al-Monitor on September 22

US, Iran woo rival Kurdish factions in battle against IS

While US airstrikes against the Islamic State have mostly benefited areas controlled by Kurdistan Democratic Party forces, Iran has reportedly provided materiel and advisers to the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.
Read more»

 Shelly Kittleson for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on September 22

Houthis take Sanaa but refrain from coup

Following the Houthis' quick advance on Sanaa, the movement signed a national partnership agreement.
Read more»

Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on September 22

Turkey's new Internet law contradicts its EU ambitions

New Turkish legislation on the Internet stands in stark contrast with the democratic norms of the European Union.
Read more»

 Emre Kizilkaya for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on September 22

Israel prepares for cyberwars

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu established a new espionage organization devoted entirely to cyberwarfare, to prepare Israel for future conflicts.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on September 22

Egypt's border with Libya, Sudan ripe for Islamic State expansion

Egypt’s border regions with Libya and Sudan lack government control, and are perfect ground for would-be jihadists to conduct smuggling and build up their strength.
Read more»

 Mahmoud Salem for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on September 22

Politician asks Turkey to do more for Syrian Kurds

While Turkey has agreed to open its border to Kurds fleeing the Islamic State, a prominent Kurdish politician in Turkey is asking for more.
Read more»

Translated from Radikal (Turkey) on September 22

Western media wakes up to Turkey's IS links

Recent reports of Turkey's ties to IS have not come as a surprise to many Turkey-based reporters.
Read more»

Translated from Taraf (Turkey) on September 22

If talks fail, Hamas says it will not return to war

There is little hope a breakthrough will be achieved in the upcoming talks in Cairo between Hamas and Israel, but Hamas officials say they are unlikely to resume armed conflict at this stage.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on September 22

Tunisia’s borders open ground for smuggling

A lack of border control by Tunisian authorities has resulted in a boom in black market operations along its borders, posing a potential security threat to the country.
Read more»

 Mat Nashed for Al-Monitor on September 22

How much of US Middle East policy does Moscow understand?

Poor understanding of US and Russian policies has caused commentators to overlook that some of Moscow's and Washington's disagreements over the Middle East are strategic and tactical, but their ends the same.
Read more»

 Paul J. Saunders for Al-Monitor on September 22

The truth about Turkey and Islamic State oil

While oil sales by the Islamic State across the Turkish border are a real problem, the Turkish government does not condone it.
Read more»

 Mustafa Akyol for Al-Monitor on September 22

How and why were 46 Turkish hostages freed?

Turkey wonders what brought about the freeing of the hostages taken at its Mosul Consulate and why they obtained their liberty now.
Read more»

Metin Turcan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on September 21

Do Syrians support US airstrikes in Syria?

Syrians worry about US airstrikes; Iran could be bridge to Syria in international coalition against the Islamic State (IS); Syrian Revolutionary Forces reject report of pact with IS; Syrian Kurds lose ground to IS; Iran claims leadership in battle against IS terrorists.
Read more»

 Al-Monitor Week in Review on September 21

Russia, Iran challenge Kerry’s plan for anti-IS unity at UN

The two countries slammed the US and Sunni states for trying to cut out Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on September 19

Fears in Lebanon rise over Western plans to defeat IS

Lebanese officials are concerned that a Western-led offensive against the Islamic State will not succeed in destroying the organization but simply move it closer to Lebanon’s border, and ultimately into the country itself.
Read more»

 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on September 22

Can Turkey set up buffer zone inside Syria?

The idea of a buffer zone on the Syrian side of the border has been revived again, but faces serious feasibility questions.
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on September 19

Tribal leader refuses Arab, foreign intervention in Libya

Ezz El-Arab Abu al-Qasim, member of the Supreme Council for the Libyan Tribes, talks to Azzaman about the role of the tribes in the fight against militias, while rejecting any foreign intervention in Libya’s domestic affairs.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Zaman (Iraq) on September 19

Iraq’s minorities demand weapons, training

Following the advances made by the Islamic State in Iraqi areas with large minority populations, there are widespread calls for arms and international protection.
Read more»

 Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor on September 19

More than 3,000 Gazan children wounded in war

Many of the Palestinian wounded have had their limbs amputated and face struggles as the Gaza Strip rebuilds.
Read more»

 Mohammed Othman for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on September 19

Syrian rebels deny truce deal with Islamic State

The Syrian Revolutionary Front has rejected media reports that it signed a nonaggression pact with the Islamic State, but there are efforts being made in south Damascus to reach a local truce.
Read more»

 Mohammed al-Khatieb for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on September 19

Israelis wary of biometric ID cards

According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, there has been a sharp drop in the percentage of Israelis who have chosen to apply for biometric ID cards: “The citizens of Israel are familiar with the database and knowingly opt out.”
Read more»

Translated from Calcalist (Israel) on September 19

Escaping Gaza, hundreds of Palestinians drown

Details are emerging concerning the migrant boat that sank this week near Malta's shores, loaded with Palestinian children and families who tried to escape misery in Gaza for a new life in Europe.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on September 19

IS threat prompts effort to boost Middle East arms deliveries

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., wants to step up military aid to Jordan.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on September 18

PKK leader accuses Turkey of supporting IS, Jabhat al-Nusra

The head of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party Leadership Committee Jamal Bayek accuses Turkey of helping the Islamic State, and criticizes talks about putting the PKK and terrorism in the same basket.
Read more»

Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on September 18

Smugglers threw asylum seekers into Mediterranean

One of the few survivors of the ship that was deliberately sunk off Malta by smugglers, drowning up to 500 people, recounts her story.
Read more»

 Tom Rollins for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on September 18

Lebanon's Islamic Group faces harsh criticism

The Islamic Group in Lebanon is facing criticism from internal and external figures, who contend that it is not adopting a clear political position toward the events in the region.
Read more»

Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on September 18

Hamas denies Qatar is pushing it to leave

Hamas officials have strenuously denied news reports that Qatar might extend its decision to expel Muslim Brotherhood leaders to include Hamas leaders residing in Doha.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on September 18

Gaza farmers want guarantees Israel won’t destroy their lands

Farmers in Gaza are fed up with replanting their battered lands only for Israel to destroy them, and want negotiators in Egypt to guarantee their security.
Read more»

 Hana Salah for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on September 18

Is Syrian army US' best option against IS?

Too many uncertainties about "moderate" Syrian rebels make them the least effective option for confronting the Islamic State, leaving the Syrian regime the only realistic alternative.
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Edward Dark for Al-Monitor on September 18

Diverse career path for US negotiator

“Love what you do,” Wendy Sherman, the United States' Iran negotiator, urged students at a ceremony to honor her diplomatic achievements.
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 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on September 18

House votes to arm Syrian rebels with eye toward Assad

Regime change in Syria remains the endgame for measure's earliest supporters.
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 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on September 17

With $550M in agricultural losses, Gazans going hungry

Israel’s destruction of Gaza’s agricultural sector has resulted in a drop in food supplied to local markets, inflating prices that are out of reach for the impoverished population.
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 Rasha Abou Jalal for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on September 17

The myth of Sisi’s Sinai proposal

A report that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi proposed giving part of Sinai to the Palestinians stirred controversy among Egyptians, Palestinians and Israelis.
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 Nervana Mahmoud for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on September 17

Political rifts threaten Iraq's anti-IS coalition

While a coalition of the willing is being formed to tackle the Islamic State (IS), international and local political divisions still threaten to tear it apart, leaving IS the only winner.
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 Mustafa al-Kadhimi for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on September 17

Is Israel most important strategic US ally in the region?

US President Barack Obama might follow in the footsteps of Presidents George H. W. and George W. Bush by forcing diplomatic concessions on Israel.
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 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on September 17

'Fundamental fallacy' in Obama's plan to arm Syrian rebels?

Lawmakers of both parties expressed disbelief that the rebels will stick to the role the United States wants to carve out for them.
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 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on September 16

US public diplomacy attempts to confront Islamic State

Richard Stengel, the latest US official tasked with trying to improve the US image abroad, concedes that trying to rebut those who believe the US created the Islamic State sometimes provokes the feeling that "you are beating your head against a wall."
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 Barbara Slavin for Al-Monitor on September 16

Europe needs to coordinate its anti-jihadist measures

Israeli security experts warn that the Schengen Area — which allows Europeans to move freely around the continent — makes it easy for jihadists returning home from Syria or Iraq to move around and plan attacks.
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 Arad Nir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on September 16

Iraq's unified 'National Guard' may be impossible

Iraq's prime minister has proposed the formation of a National Guard that would unify the ranks of Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish forces.
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 Mushreq Abbas for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on September 16

Israel must prepare for third Lebanon war

Israel must prepare for an eventual third Lebanon war, where it will be confronted with much stronger and more organized forces, perhaps equivalent in equipment to other Arab armies, capable of penetrating Israeli territory.
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 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on September 16

Clashes escalate around Damascus

Syrian rebels took al-Dukhaniyya last week in a bid to open supply routes to the front line in Jobar.
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Mustafa al-Haj for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on September 16

Fight against IS helps PKK gain global legitimacy

Western officials say that given the Islamic State threat, it is only a matter of time before their governments initiate formal ties with the Kurdistan Workers Party and the Democratic Union Party, despite objections from Turkey.
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 Amberin Zaman for Al-Monitor on September 16

US strikes in Syria won’t turn locals against Islamic State

Contrary to widespread belief, the Islamic State has largely succeeded in winning hearts and minds in the areas it rules by providing services and order.
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Edward Dark for Al-Monitor on September 16

Israel's IT industry faces worker shortage

The Israeli IT industry is suffering from a shortage of employees and companies must think outside of the box, change their attitudes and open up to recruiting Arab applicants.
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Translated from Calcalist (Israel) on September 16

Why can't Turkey explain its foreign policy?

Turkey's hesitation to act against groups such as the Islamic State makes others wonder whether it has an ideological foreign policy.
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 Tulin Daloglu for Al-Monitor on September 15

Obama needs peace in Syria to defeat IS

Syria’s internal opposition says defeating the Islamic State is impossible without finding a solution to Syria’s civil war.
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Khaled Atallah for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on September 15

Are military contractors heading back to Iraq?

Private military contractors may be enlisted in large numbers to Iraq to fight the Islamic State.
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Metin Turcan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on September 15

Residents brace for US airstrikes against Raqqa

Raqqa's residents are divided in their views on the announced US military operations against the Islamic State.
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Translated from Al-Nahar (Lebanon) on September 15

Deputy: Qatar's expulsion of Brotherhood won't impact Hamas

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Hamas deputy leader Mousa Abu Marzouk said the provisions of the cease-fire deal with Israel were the most Hamas could achieve from the war, but he also indicated that it expects to obtain more of its demands in upcoming negotiations.
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 Asmaa al-Ghoul for Al-Monitor on September 15

Khamenei: Iran rejected US offer to cooperate against IS

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said that despite statements by US officials, it was Iran who had rejected cooperation with the United States against the Islamic State group.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on September 15

Egyptian citizens reluctant to leave Libya

While thousands of Egyptians laborers have been forced to leave Libya because of the security situation, many Egyptians chose to remain in Tripoli for economic reasons
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Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on September 15

Jordanians divided over anti-IS coalition

Jordan’s decision to join the US-led coalition to fight the Islamic State has sparked a heated internal debate over the role the kingdom should play in the alliance.
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Osama Al Sharif for Al-Monitor on September 15

Jewish extremists try to change status quo at Al-Aqsa

The visit by extreme-right Israeli politician Moshe Feiglin to Al-Aqsa Mosque is yet another example of empowered Jewish extremists seeking to change current agreements over Islam’s third-holiest shrine.
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 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on September 15

With Temple Mount as flashpoint, violence rises in Jerusalem

In the midst of increasing violence and harassment against Arabs in Jerusalem and tensions over the Temple Mount, the Jerusalem Municipality announced encouraging news about two building plans in East Jerusalem Arab neighborhoods.
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 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on September 15

Number of Iraqi orphans, widows rising with conflict

Recent military operations in Iraq against the Islamic State have led to a spike in the number of orphans and widows.
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 Omar al-Jaffal for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on September 17

Turkish villages smuggle IS oil through makeshift pipelines

In the village of Hacipasa, almost every house is connected to an illegal oil pipeline smuggling IS oil into Turkey.
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 Fehim Taştekin for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on September 15

Notes from Erdogan-Obama meeting revealed

There is a wide gap between the notes used to prepare the official statement about the recent meeting of the US and Turkish presidents and the statement itself.
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Translated from Radikal (Turkey) on September 15

Iran has mixed feelings about cooperating with US against IS

Iran wants to eliminate the Islamic State, but worries that working in conjunction with the US to do so could endanger Iran's ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
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 Ali Hashem for Al-Monitor on September 14

Turkey abstains on US coalition against Islamic State

Turkey’s caveat on the Islamic State; Russia’s Syria cards; Iran on outside of US coalition; the US turnaround on the Syrian opposition; Al-Monitor’s first long-form piece.
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 Al-Monitor Week in Review on September 14

Dozens killed in Tripoli suburb under siege

A coalition of Libyan militias has imposed a siege on a suburb of Tripoli controlled by the Warshefana tribe.
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 Tom Stevenson for Al-Monitor on September 14

Congress may finally vote to arm Syrian rebels

A look at the Middle East issues Congress will be addressing the week of Sept. 15.
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 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on September 12

Will the international coalition be enough to eradicate IS?

The announcement of an international coalition to fight the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq raised many reactions, as some countries believe a partnership with the Syrian regime is necessary to the success of a military strike against terrorism.
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Translated from Al-Nahar (Lebanon) on September 12

Turkey rows against the tide

Ideological assumptions based on Islamist and Sunni sympathies, as well as a series of bad judgments, leave Turkey with diminished influence in a region where it once hoped to play a leadership role.
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 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on September 12

Turkey moving from reluctant partner to embarrassed ally

Ankara is finding it increasingly difficult to define its position in the fight between its NATO allies and the Islamic State.
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 Cengiz Çandar for Al-Monitor on September 12

Hamas frustrated by Israel’s flouting of cease-fire deal

Key terms in the cease-fire agreement with Israel have not been implemented, raising Palestinians' frustrations.
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 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on September 12

Number of centrifuges should not prevent nuclear deal

Previous attempts at a nuclear deal between Iran and West fell apart over the number of centrifuges; will it happen again?
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Farshad Kashani for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on September 12

Israel skeptical about US strategy on IS

While the US finds a new interlocutor in Israel's opposition leader, the Israeli security establishment is not reassured by President Barack Obama's latest speech, since it fears that much like Hamas, the Islamic State cannot be defeated by airstrikes alone.
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 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on September 11

Obama speech evokes mixed reactions in Middle East

Countries and factions across the region have widely varying reactions to the president's strategy.
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 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on September 11