Iran Appears to Prepare for New Offensive in Syria

Iranian military official Qassem Suleimani is in the Syrian city of a Latakia, perhaps in advance of an anticipated new Iranian offensive in Syria. A delegation of Iranian legislators, led by the chairman of the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, also arrived in Damascus. The new Iranian offensive will target ...

GettyImages-483715776
GettyImages-483715776

Iranian military official Qassem Suleimani is in the Syrian city of a Latakia, perhaps in advance of an anticipated new Iranian offensive in Syria. A delegation of Iranian legislators, led by the chairman of the Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, also arrived in Damascus. The new Iranian offensive will target rebel positions in and around the city of Aleppo, officials told Reuters. Iran has suffered several senior losses in Syria recently: The Iranian press reports that two brigade commanders in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps were killed recently in Syria, and last week the commander of Iran’s Quds Force in Syria was killed in Aleppo. Iran’s deputy foreign minister said yesterday that his government is working with Russia on drafting a peace plan for Syria.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula Detains Journalists for Protest

Three journalists and an NGO worker were detained by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) for participating in a protest in the AQAP-occupied city of Mukalla, Yemen. More than 500 people protested AQAP’s treatment of the city’s residents at the rally, which was organized online by activists. Since seizing the city earlier this year, AQAP has implemented gender segregation in public places, banned music at weddings, and punished crimes with floggings and public executions.

Iranian military official Qassem Suleimani is in the Syrian city of a Latakia, perhaps in advance of an anticipated new Iranian offensive in Syria. A delegation of Iranian legislators, led by the chairman of the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, also arrived in Damascus. The new Iranian offensive will target rebel positions in and around the city of Aleppo, officials told Reuters. Iran has suffered several senior losses in Syria recently: The Iranian press reports that two brigade commanders in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps were killed recently in Syria, and last week the commander of Iran’s Quds Force in Syria was killed in Aleppo. Iran’s deputy foreign minister said yesterday that his government is working with Russia on drafting a peace plan for Syria.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula Detains Journalists for Protest

Three journalists and an NGO worker were detained by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) for participating in a protest in the AQAP-occupied city of Mukalla, Yemen. More than 500 people protested AQAP’s treatment of the city’s residents at the rally, which was organized online by activists. Since seizing the city earlier this year, AQAP has implemented gender segregation in public places, banned music at weddings, and punished crimes with floggings and public executions.

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Headlines

  • The U.S. State Department said that it would raise the issue of Iran’s recent missile test at the U.N. Security Council, noting that it was an apparent violation of a Security Council resolution.

 

  • The United States and Russia will hold a third round of military talks to try to find an arrangement for avoiding conflict in the skies over Syria after U.S. and Russian planes came within visual range on Saturday.

 

  • The Islamic State confirmed that its second-in-command, Abu Mutaz Qurashi, also known as Fadhil Ahmad al-Hayali, was killed by a U.S. airstrike in Iraq on August 21; the United States reported Qurashi’s death at the time.

 

  • Human Rights Watch called on the United Arab Emirates to investigate several instances of torturing detained foreign citizens, including people from the United States, Canada, and Libya; HRW has recorded statements from individuals interrogated about being connected to the Muslim Brotherhood.

 

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry defended the decision to not include U.S. prisoners held by Iran in recent nuclear negotiations, saying that “it was the right thing to do because it could have complicated both significantly and perhaps have resulted in nothing happening on either.”

Arguments and Analysis

Abbas vs. Hamas” (Grant Rumley, Foreign Affairs)

“Historically, an intifada occurs when the Palestinian leadership openly endorses and coordinates widespread resistance, as the local committees (and later the Palestine Liberation Organization) did during the first intifada of the late 1980s and early 1990s and as Abbas’ predecessor, Yasir Arafat, did during the second intifada of the last decade. Abbas’ rise marked the end of the second uprising, as he worked to rein in the terror cells of his own Fatah movement and of its rival, Hamas, in the West Bank. As he made clear in a meeting of senior officials last Tuesday, the Palestinians will use ‘peaceful means and nothing else’ in their conflict with Israel. That doesn’t mean Abbas isn’t preparing for a fight; it just means his fight isn’t with the Israelis. It is, instead, with Hamas. In the West Bank, it is Hamas that is looking to provoke further instability and anti-Abbas sentiment. As Abbas’ Palestinian Authority has sought to diffuse tensions with Israel, Hamas has openly incited public protests and terror attacks across the West Bank in the hopes that further unrest will push an already vulnerable Abbas out of power.”

 

Tunisia must seize the Nobel moment” (Sarah Yerkes, Markaz)

“Civil society actors in Tunisia must capitalize on the confidence boost produced by the Nobel award and the concomitant international attention the prize has brought to the civil society environment in Tunisia. Civil society has a record of success, as exemplified by the Quartet and, more recently, by efforts to ensure that the state of emergency imposed following the terror attack in Sousse was lifted in a timely manner. But civil society also faces many challenges, most clearly demonstrated in the failed efforts to stymie the country’s anti-terrorism law, passed overwhelmingly by parliament in July despite vociferous opposition by prominent NGOs. The government’s (and society’s) anxiety in the wake of the two large-scale terror attacks — at the Bardo Museum in March and a resort in Sousse in June — has created an environment in which civil society is often at odds with the government. Crackdowns on peaceful protests and forced closures of NGOs prove the precarious position of civil society today. The Nobel award presents some lessons and opportunities that could assist civil society in creating an atmosphere more conducive to its goals.”

-J. Dana Stuster

GEORGE OURFALIAN/AFP/Getty Images

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