Syria / Iraq / Lebanon

Syria: the view from Iraq

The government of Nouri al-Maliki has positioned itself as a firm supporter of Bashar al-Assad, notably out of fear that his defeat would empower similar Sunni opposition forces in Iraq. But Iraq’s Sunni actors and Kurds are using the crisis in Syria to assert their own ambitions.  

Syria: the view from the Gulf states

The Gulf states, particularly Saudi Arabia and Qatar, have been key to shaping the Syrian uprising. However, while their desire to dislodge Syria from the Iranian orbit has been central to their efforts, this does not account for the full complexity of their interests.  

Do democracies have the guts for diplomacy on Syria?

People used to ask whether democracies had the makeup for war. But when it comes to Syria, it seems that it is diplomacy rather than warfare that is most difficult for Western onlookers to digest.  

De-escalating the Syria conflict

A rare moment of opportunity has emerged to renew diplomatic efforts to resolve the Syria conflict. The priority now must be de-escalating the level of violence  and the reducing the threat of regional spill-over   

Lebanon: Locked into escalation?

The collapse of Lebanon’s government has thrust the country into a deepening political crisis. The war in Syria and recent actions by Hezbollah also suggest that internal conflict may return to Lebanon.  

Ten trends for 2013

2012 saw continuing crisis in the eurozone, growing Euroscepticism and populism in some corners of Europe, faltering transitions in Egypt and elsewhere, more violence in Syria, a new leadership in China, and both Putin II and Obama II. So what will 2013 hold?  

Seven takeaways from the Gaza ceasefire

Did Israel's “Operation Pillar of Defense” change the politics of the Middle East? Who are the winners and losers of the Gaza conflict – and what's next after the Israel-Hamas ceasefire?  

Israel: Living by the sword

What was the assessment that prompted Israel's operation in Gaza and what might that tell us about its intended outcome and trajectory? Of course the timing can be explained with the approaching elections in Israel. But that is only part of the story.   

Who is winning on human rights at the UN?

The gathering of world leaders at the United Nations this week will be punctuated by angry statements on the Syrian…

Multilateralism: Moscow rules?

With Russia due to play a central role in multilateral institutions over the next two years, its obstructionism over Syria does not bode well. However Europeans may find – to their benefit – that it is actually China that calls the shots on the international stage.