Signal: Russia’s Putin Hosts Syria’s Assad for Working Meeting on Future Syria at Peace

Impact on Issues and Uncertainties ? Degree of influence of Russia on Turkey compared with Turkey’s perception of threat related to a Kurdish polity on its southern flank (near future critical uncertainty) ? Finding a compromise on Hezbollah and Iran presence or withdrawal from a future peaceful Syria (near future critical uncertainty) ? Are the root causes that allowed the […]

Signals: China enters the Fray in the Middle East; Israel Unprecedented Interview; Saudi Arabia…

A new state of play is emerging in the Middle East, which redraws the regional web of influence, following the military victory over the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and the concurrent and related negotiations for the end of the war in Syria. At the global level, the current jockeying taking place in the Middle East and its result will also have consequences as it impacts perceptions of global players, as well as influence and thus capability. On 16 November, three major diplomatic events centred around Saudi Arabia and Iran’s influence and involving China and Israel took place which impacted this state of play.

Signals: Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Israel…

Impact on Issues and Uncertainties ? Unity of Arab States, willingness and capability to support Saudi Arabia, willingness and capability to counter growing Iranian influence, (critical uncertainties) ➚ (➃ conflict in Yemen) Saudi perception of Iranian expansion and resulting threat ➙ ? Lebanon destabilisation ➚  ? Hezbollah influence in Lebanon ➚➚ Iran actualization of the Shia crescent to the Mediterranean […]

Signal: Al Qaeda / Islamic State New Front In Western Egypt?

Impact on Issues and Uncertainties ➚ ➃  Reinforced jihadist front in Western Egypt ➚ ➃ Challenges to Egypt as it is squeezed between the Sinai and Western fronts ➚ ➄ Survival of the Islamic State ➚ ➄ Islamic State resurgence in the MENA region, notably Libya ➚ ➄ Strengthening of al-Qaeda in the MENA region ➚ ➄ Reinforced linkages with other jihadist groups and […]

The Paradox of U.S. Decline … and the Tensions with North Korea

This article stresses the paradoxical character of a U.S. decline, and addresses the impossibility for the U.S. to accept its demise as superpower. It applies this framework to the case of the 2017 tensions with North Korea, and deduces a possible future path for the U.S. course of action, as well as possible levers regarding […]

Signal: Still no Agreement – Iraqis Forces and Peshmergas

Impact on Issues and Uncertainties ➚ ? ➃  Short term – Willingness of Iraq to capitalize further on their military victory against the Kurds, notably capturing Kurdish oilfields (uncertainty) ➘ ? Medium to longer term – capacity of Iraq to govern legitimately over its multi-sectarian multi-ethnic population (critical uncertainty) ➚ ➃  /➄ Iraq strength and international support ➘ ➂ Legitimacy of Iraqi Kurdish political authorities and parties ➘ Prospects for Iraqi Kurds’ independence and even autonomy ➙ ➃  Iran’s influence in Iraq and in the region ➘ ➃  U.S. influence in the region ➘ Middle East American order (Other issues stable as regard to this signal only – a full assessment would need to consider events in Lebanon and Yemen) On 5 November 2017, the ongoing negotiations between […]

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Signals: Russia, Iran, Turkey – A Syrian Strategic Triangle

Impact on Issues and Uncertainties ? Degree of influence of Russia – and now possibly Iran – on Turkey compared with Turkey’s perception of threat related to a Kurdish polity on its southern flank (critical uncertainty) ➚➚ ➃ Turkey’s perception of threat ➚➚➚ ➃ to ➂ Survival of the Kurdish-led Federation of Northern Syria ➚➚ ➄ to ➂ Constructive peace for Syria ➘ ➃ to ➂ Middle […]

Signal: Russia to Support Deeper Involvement of Kurds in Post-War Syria

Impact on Issues and Uncertainties ? Degree of influence of Russia on Turkey compared with Turkey’s perception of threat related to a Kurdish polity on its southern flank (critical uncertainty) ➚➚ ➃ to ➂ Survival of the Kurdish-led Federation of Northern Syria ➚ ➃ Russia influence trial As the seventh round of Astana talks proceeds (30 Oct-31 Oct 2017), Russia’s envoy Alexander […]

Signals: Talks between Iraqi forces and Kurdish Peshmerga; President Barzani Steps Down; Iran…

Impact on Issues ➚ ? ➃  Short term – Willingness of Iraq to capitalize further on their military victory against the Kurds, notably capturing Kurdish oilfields (uncertainty) ? Medium to longer term – capacity of Iraq to govern legitimately over its multi-sectarian multi-ethnic population (critical uncertainty) ➚ ➃  /➄ Iraq strength and international support ➘➘➘ ➂ Legitimacy of Iraqi Kurdish […]

Signal: Turkish President Erdogan Declares Afrin as Possible Next Military Target

Impact on Issues ? ➄ Bashar al-Assad government decision regarding the further Turkish military actions regarding the Federation of Northern Syria and the Kurds (critical uncertainty) ? ➄ Iran position considering a Turkish military action in Syria against the Federation of Northern Syria and the Kurds (critical uncertainty) ➚➚➚ ➃  Turkey acting militarily against the Federation of Northern Syria in […]