Author Archive:

Rick Francona

An acknowledged Middle East expert, dynamic speaker, author of Ally to Adversary - An Eyewitness Account of Iraq's Fall from Grace, former NBC and current CNN military analyst, retired intelligence officer Lt Col Rick Francona offers his thoughts and opinions on various Middle East topics.

34031493273_2f96f0b6d6_b

Crisis of Opportunity: Iran and the Case of Qatar

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.

3F10C81B00000578-0-image-a-30_1491645916422

Syria – Would Bashar Al – Assad Use Chemical Weapons Again?

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. 

Russian Air Force Sukhoi SU-25 attack aircraft

Idlib Governorate – Next Syrian Offensive

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.

Iraqi Prime Minister Al-‘Abadi in Washington – Some Realities

Iraqi Prime Minister Al-‘Abadi in Washington – Some Realities

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…
Read more

US Army Stryker Infantry Combat Vehicle in Northern Syria – © Photo: @AfarinMamosta/Twitter

Syria: Has Turkey Been Marginalised While the US Thrusts into the Fight?

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…
Read more

muqtada

Iraq: Muqtada Al-Sadr Flexes His Political Muscles

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.

Menu Title