The coronavirus crisis in Syria has created political openings for Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
Ankara is pushing problematic policies as its president’s political survival is hitting up against economic imperatives.
In an interview, Harith Hasan and Kheder Khaddour discuss their recent paper on the Iraqi-Syrian border.
The new coronavirus is spreading into conflict-affected states. The pandemic and efforts to contain it are much more likely to aggravate and multiply conflicts than reduce or end them.
A regular survey of experts on matters relating to Middle Eastern and North African politics and security.
Since 2011, borderlands in the MENA region transformed into considerable sites of contested power by a plethora of actors.
The Iraqi-Syrian border near Qaim and Bukamal has become a magnet for conflict, as Iraqi and Syrian state actors compete with Iranian-backed nonstate militias for influence and power.
Russia faces opportunities and challenges as it seeks to restructure and reform the Syrian armed forces, which it sees as a key to concluding the civil war on terms favorable to the Assad regime, containing Iranian involvement, and winding down Russia’s combat role.
Russian-led military reform in Syria can deal with the twin challenges of weak sovereignty and Iranian influence by committing to developing Syrian military education, training a highly mobile force, and monitoring the political reconciliation process over the long term.
Even though the Syrian civil war is far from over, Russian advisers can use their experience modernizing Syrian forces from 2015 to prepare for an effective postwar force structure.