Syria

Representatives from Turkey, Russia, Iran, and Syria join Geir Pedersen, the United Nations special envoy for Syria, at the Syrian Constitutional Committee meeting in Geneva on Oct. 29.

As Assad Gains Ground, New Syria Talks Offer Little Hope of Peace

Ahead of Erdogan’s visit to Washington, insiders are pessimistic that the Geneva talks will lead to a political solution for Syria.

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley hold a news conference at the Pentagon on Oct. 28.

The United States Can’t Have It All

The debacle over Syria shows that neither party understands the country’s real goals in the Middle East—or what it would take to achieve them.

A Syrian boy holds an AK-47 assault rifle

The Child Soldier Crisis: ‘Kids Are Cheap’

The Pentagon’s Middle East policy chief decries new recruitment of children in Syria and the Yemen civil war.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Erdogan Wants to Redraw the Middle East’s Ethnic Map

Turkey’s plans in Syria are part of a long and dark history of population transfer stretching back to the Ottoman era.

Members of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces attend a funeral in the northeastern Syrian city of Qamishli

Pentagon Defends Murky Mission in Syria Oil Fields

The key question is whether U.S. troops have legal authority to fire on Syrian, Russian, or Iranian forces.

Smoke rises from an Israeli army post blown away by army engineers near the town of Zarit on the Israeli-Lebanese border on May 16, 2000, as part of the preparation for an Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon.

Israel’s Occupation of Lebanon Failed. Turkey’s Invasion of Syria Probably Will, Too.

Safe zones rarely bring security benefits, and the Turkish incursion in northern Syria risks ending the same way as Israel’s disastrous occupation of southern Lebanon.

A Syrian soldier stands near a Syrian flag flying at a government forces' position in the village of Jubb Makhzoum, northwest of the northern town of Manbij, near the front line with forces from the Turkey-backed Euphrates Shield alliance on Jan. 12.

I Saw the Birth, and Bloody Death, of the Dream of Syrian Democracy

The Syrian revolution was started by patriots—and ended by international jihadis supported by the United States.

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis arrives for a speech at the Johns Hopkins University campus in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 19, 2018.

‘Allies and Partners Will Think Twice Before Taking America at Its Word’

In an interview, James Mattis’s onetime speechwriter criticizes Trump’s treatment of long-standing U.S. partners like the Syrian Kurds.

A convoy of U.S. armored vehicles in northeastern Syria on Nov. 3. (Delil Souleiman/AFP/Getty Images)

The Realists Are Wrong About Syria

Neither Trump nor the international relations experts who cheered his choice to withdraw U.S. troops have wrestled adequately with the costs of departure.

Turkish-backed Syrian fighters patrol the northern Syrian Kurdish town of Tal Abyad on the border with Turkey on Oct. 31.

The Kurds Are the Nation-State’s Latest Victims

The global order has been stuck with states since 1648. It’s time to move on.

Saudi Defense Ministry spokesman Turki bin Saleh al-Malki displays materials recovered from an attack targetting a Saudi Aramco facility during a press conference in Riyadh on Sept. 18.

U.S. Deterrence in the Middle East Is Collapsing

The withdrawal from Syria is part of a broader pattern of weakness, especially in response to Iran.

James Jeffrey, the U.S. special representative for Syria engagement (center); Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (right); former National Security Advisor John Bolton (left); and Joel Rayburn, the U.S. special envoy for Syria (bottom left).

How the Iran Hawks Botched Trump’s Syria Withdrawal

Beginning with special representative James Jeffrey, U.S. officials consistently misread the threat from Turkey.

A Russian military police armored personnel carrier drives past an equestrian statue of Bassel al-Assad, the late brother of President Bashar al-Assad, in the northeastern Syrian city of Qamishli on Oct. 24.

Russia Is the Only Winner in Syria

With Washington’s policy in chaos and Erdogan moving into Putin’s orbit, Moscow has come out on top.

A member of the Syrian pro-government forces carries an Islamic State flag as he stands on a street in Palmyra on March 27, 2016.

Baghdadi’s Martyrdom Bump

Killing the Islamic State leader will not kill his ideas.

Syrian youths walk past a billboard showing a picture of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus on July 9, 2018. The caption below reads in Arabic: "If the country's dust speaks, it will say Bashar al-Assad."

The Conditions That Created ISIS Still Exist

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s death won’t eliminate the threat of Islamist extremism so long as autocratic regimes continue to hold sway in the Middle East.

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