Report

U.S. and Israel Criticize Russian Escalation in Syria

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to discuss Russia’s apparent buildup of forces in Syria, saying. Russia’s action, Kerry said, “risks exacerbating and extending the conflict, and undermining our shared goal of fighting extremism if we do not also remain focused on finding a solution to the conflict in ...

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to discuss Russia’s apparent buildup of forces in Syria, saying. Russia’s action, Kerry said, “risks exacerbating and extending the conflict, and undermining our shared goal of fighting extremism if we do not also remain focused on finding a solution to the conflict in Syria via a genuine political transition.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also expressed concern about the potential for escalation. He will visit Moscow next week to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin to “present the threats against Israel that arise as a result of the increased flow of advanced weapons into the Syrian arena and the trickle of deadly weapons to Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations,” Israeli officials said.

Israel ‘Declaring War’ on Stone Throwers

Amid clashes at the al-Aqsa mosque and following an incident in which an Israeli citizen was killed by a Palestinian who threw a stone through a windshield, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that his government is “declaring war” on stone throwers. “We are changing the policy,” he said. “The current situation is unacceptable to us. We intend to give tools to the police and soldiers to act very aggressively against those who throw rocks and petrol-bombs.”

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Headlines

  • The Mexican embassy in Cairo has confirmed the identities of six more bodies in a military attack that mistook tourists for militants; eight Mexicans and four Egyptians are now believed to have died in the attack.

 

  • Yemeni Prime Minister Khaled Bahah, who fled the country with its president earlier this year, arrived with a government delegation in Aden, which is controlled by Saudi-led intervention forces.

 

  • At least 12 people are dead after a series of roadside bomb attacks and small-arms skirmishes between the Turkish military and Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) militants in Mardin and Siirt provinces.

 

  • The Saudi government sanctioned a major construction company after an investigation found it “in part responsible” for the collapse of a crane during a storm last week that killed more than 100 people.

 

  • The French parliament debated a government proposal to expand airstrikes against the Islamic State into Syria; France recently began reconnaissance flights over Syria and could begin participating in the coalition’s airstrikes there in coming days.

Arguments and Analysis

The Iran Agreement and What Comes Next” (Ilan Goldenberg, Elizabeth Rosenberg, Avner Golov, Nicholas A. Heras, Ellie Maruyama, and Axel Hellman, Center for a New American Security)

“Success will depend heavily on the policies the United States and its partners pursue in the aftermath of the agreement. Over the next 20–25 years, if implemented effectively, the agreement could succeed in permanently ending Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon. Alternatively, if implementation fails, the JCPOA could pave the way for an Iranian bomb in 15 years or sooner. The agreement could open up new channels of cooperation with a more moderate Iran and help stabilize the Middle East, or it could cause increased destabilizing competition between Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Israel. The agreement could strengthen non-proliferation norms across the globe or result in Middle Eastern states more aggressively pursuing domestic enrichment capabilities similar to that of Iran. Finally, the deal could better position the United States in a broader geopolitical competition with China and Russia, or it could lead to the Chinese and Russians taking advantage of the new channels open to Iran while the United States reaps few if any benefits.”

 

Turkey, the Kurds, and the Fight against the Islamic State” (Cale Salih, European Council on Foreign Relations)

“In this context, Europe faces a tricky balancing act. To combat IS in Syria, Europe needs Turkish partnership, given that Turkey shares a 900-kilometre border with Syria that has been the key crossing point for IS fighters travelling to and from Europe. So far, however, Ankara has been at best inconsistent in responding to European concerns. The YPG, on the other hand, has proven to be an effective “boots-on-the-ground” partner and complement to the anti-IS coalition’s airstrikes in northern Syria, albeit predominantly in Kurdish majority areas. An effective strategy in northern Syria will require the partnership and coordination of both of these actors, but the eruption of conflict between Turkey and the YPG’s sister group, the PKK, threatens a destructive new front between them.”

-J. Dana Stuster

Image via Airbus

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