In the dusty farms and villages of Sinjar, the interests of Iran and Turkey collide. Here in northern Iraq, Tehran is allying with non-state actors in order to further its own interests — this time with the controversial PKK group, which will bring it into conflict with Ankara.
The obstacles are daunting, but no law of nature dictates that Lebanon must remain last in line to make an honorable and complete peace with its neighbor to the south, one that secures the interests of the “Precarious Republic” and its citizens.
Thousands of Syrians have fought as mercenaries in Libya, Azerbaijan, and possibly elsewhere, on both Russia and Turkey’s behalf. Dozens have been killed, and hundreds have come back after their contractual deployments, but none return to the life they left behind.
Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif is, in a sense, more of a true believer than many in the Revolutionary Guard. He genuinely appears to be under the illusion that the ideals of the Islamic Republic still have popular support and that Iran should rely on them instead of brute force. Few in the IRGC seem to harbor such illusions.
Every generation of American diplomats has a figure who becomes the face of the era in foreign policy, a Dean Acheson, Henry Kissinger, or Richard Holbrooke. The years of pain and sorrow otherwise known as the Forever Wars may have found their own symbol in Brett McGurk.
What shocked me as I listened to al-Assad was his lack of hesitation in telling an American diplomat point-blank that the Shebaa Farms — the entire basis for Hezbollah’s claimed status as the “Lebanese Resistance” — was not Lebanese; it was Syrian.
The outbreak of the Syrian uprising caught Israel by surprise. Here a former negotiator considers how close Syria and Israel got to a peace deal before the revolution – and how, as the civil war unfolded, Israel’s thinking evolved on how to respond to the war next door.