Author Archive: Rick Francona
According to media reports, the Trump Administration is exploring options to maintain an American military presence on the ground in northern Syria after the expulsion of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
The month-long Qatar crisis, precipitated by Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain, with their long list of sovereignty-violating demands tantamount to sheer bullying, is in fact a crisis of opportunity for Iran that will enhance Iran’s regional influence as this crisis drags on. This is, first and foremost, an inter-GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) crisis that spells long-term doom for GCC unity, which has been for decades a stable feature of GCC-Iran relations.
On 26 June 2017, the White House released a statement indicating that the Syrians may be making preparations for another chemical weapons attack, specifically an air attack from Sha’yrat air base, the same base from which the April 4 chemical weapons attack in Khan Shaykhun (Idlib province) was launched.
On Saturday, 06 May 2017 starts yet another effort to stop some of the carnage in Syria – the establishment of four what the Russians are calling “de-escalation” zones, a variation of no-fly zones.
As the Syrian Army consolidates its gains following its success in retaking the city of Aleppo, it is slowly turning its attention to Idlib Governorate, the next major stronghold of the various opposition groups. Idlib has become the new centre of the Syrian revolution.
While the current media coverage of the war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has shifted to the fighting in Syria, the major battle continues to be the Iraqi campaign to defeat the Islamist group in the city of Mosul. The Iraqi security forces – Army, Air Force, police, and special operations units, as well as several Iranian-backed Shi’a militias – have generally acquitted themselves well in the fighting. We all remember the Iraqi Army’s dismal performance against ISIS in June 2014, when the Army collapsed as the group stormed into northern Iraq from Syria and began…
In a remarkably under-reported series of events in northern Syria, the success of the joint Turkish – Free Syrian Army (FSA) Operation Euphrates Shield (Turkish: Fırat Kalkanı Harekâtı, Arabic dara’ al-furat) is now more uncertain than ever. The goal of the military campaign is to defeat the forces of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). FSA forces supported by Turkish air power, armour, artillery, intelligence and special forces were moving slowly but steadily on their way from the Turkish border towards what is regarded as ISIS’s centre of gravity – its self-proclaimed capital in the city of Al-Raqqah. Just…
In a demonstration of his political power, radical Shiite cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr engineered a huge demonstration on Saturday, April 30 inside Baghdad’s heavily fortified and defended “Green Zone” – officially the International Zone. Thousands of Al-Sadr’s followers moved blast walls and fences, pushed their way into the zone and entered several of the government buildings that constitute the seat of power of the Iraqi government.