Latest in Syria

Middle East Ticker

Civilian Casualties Mount in U.S. Fight against Islamic State, U.S. Forces Launch Surprise Attack Near Mosul, and Mubarak Released after Years in Detention

Did changes to U.S. rules of engagement allow a deadly strike in Mosul? Is there an endgame for the upcoming battle for Raqqa? And the release of the biggest autocrat to fall in the Arab Spring is a symbolic defeat.

Middle East Ticker

Israeli Strike in Syria Meets Unusual Opposition, Iraqi Prime Minister Meets with Trump, and Morocco Reshuffles Its Prime Minister

The Syrian military actually shot back at Israeli jets, the Iraqi prime minister thinks U.S. support will increase, and Morocco tries to form a government five months after elections.

Middle East Ticker

U.S. Deploys More Troops to Syria, Trump Loosens Rules for Counterterrorism Operations, and Turkey Feuds with Europe ahead of Referendum

The United States is preparing for the Raqqa offensive and what will come after, U.S. troops have a green light to take more risks in Yemen and Somalia, and Erdogan is rallying his base with a diplomatic spat with Germany and the Netherlands.

Syria

Putin in Syria, 2017

Now that he has established a firm foothold in Syria following 18 months of direct military intervention, Russia’s strongman, Vladimir Putin, has to politically safeguard his gains in order to ensure their long-term consolidation and present the world with a fait accompli.

Middle East Ticker

Brouhaha over Israeli Settlement Resolution, Two Libyans Hijack Plane to Flee Conflict, and Syrian War in Lull

The Israeli government is mad about a reiteration of decades of policy, two Libyans are facing terrorism charges in Malta for hijacking a plane to seek asylum, and Russia mourns a military plane crash while pivoting toward peace talks in Syria.

Annals of the Trump Administration

Annals of the Trump Administration #7 (Prequel Edition): Shaping the War Obama Will Leave to Trump

With less than two months to go before it hands over power to the Trump administration, the Obama administration is continuing to fine-tune the legal, policy, and institutional architectures that guide its approach to the ongoing conflict with al Qaeda.  Under that heading, I want to flag some important recent developments.

1. AUMF expansion: al Shabaab is now a full-fledged "associated force" 

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