No Easy Victory in Mosul

No Easy Victory in Mosul
The battle to retake IS’ Iraqi stronghold will be protracted, and could signal the start of a new and different kind of war     By Abdel Bari Atwan   The battle to eject the Islamic State (IS) organization from its last Iraqi redoubt in western Mosul — waged by the Iraqi army with support from the Kurdish Peshmerga, the Popular Mobilization forces and US and British Special Forces — has moved into a new phase. It is likely to be the fiercest yet, resembling the battle for Berlin in the Second World War.   US warplanes have bombarded these areas intensively in preparation for the ground offensive, amid fierce resistance from the... المزيد
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The Turkish-Iranian War of Words

The Turkish-Iranian War of Words
It only took a telephone call from Donald Trump for ‘ungrateful’ Erdo ğ an to turn on his erstwhile Iranian partners     By Abdel Bari Atwan   We must take issue with the remarks made by the Iranian foreign minister in an interview with the daily  Iran  at the weekend.   Commenting on Turkey’s newly belligerent attitude towards his country, Mohammad Javad Zarif accused Ankara of having a ‘weak memory’ and being ‘ungrateful’.   But in our view, Turkey has a very strong memory indeed. As for ‘ingratitude,’ that is mere business-as-usual for President Recep Tayyip Erdo ğ... المزيد
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What’s the Plan for al-Raqqa?

What’s the Plan for al-Raqqa?
The US, Russia and Turkey don’t agree on who should take IS’ Syrian stronghold or what should happen afterwards     By Abdel Bari Atwan   The chiefs of staff of the Russian, American and Turkish armed forces held a surprise meeting in the resort of Antalya on Tuesday to draw up plans for the recapture of the Islamic State (IS) capital of al-Raqqa, as a new contingent of US troops was deployed in northeastern Syria and the Trump administration was reported to be planning to send more.   The thorniest problem discussed by the three army chiefs was the role to be played by the mainly Kurdish Syria Democratic Forces (SDF). The Turkish side... المزيد
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Erdoğan Makes More Enemies

Erdoğan Makes More Enemies
  Erdoğan Makes More Enemies     In his row with Europe, the Turkish president is replicating the behaviour that poisoned ties with most of his country’s     By Abdel Bari Atwan   Tensions have been rising sharply between Turkey and a number of European countries against the backdrop of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)’s insistence on campaigning in Europe for a ‘yes’ vote in the forthcoming constitutional referendum that would strengthen the powers of President President Recep Tayyip  Erdo ğ an .   The latest episode of this tension – which is rapidly assuming crisis... المزيد
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Letters from Saddam Ten years after his execution, even enemies of the former Iraqi leader concede that the country and region are worse off without him.

Letters from Saddam   Ten years after his execution, even enemies of the former Iraqi leader concede that the country and region are worse off without him.
By Abdel Bari Atwan   With the tenth anniversary of the hanging of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, the senior CIA intelligence analyst tasked with interrogating him after his capture by US forces has gone public about his experiences and impressions. In his book Debriefing The President, John Nixon writes that Saddam was among the most charismatic and complex individuals he ever met. He was often  “charming, nice, funny and polite”, but when provoked could be “rude, arrogant, narcissistic and mean-spirited.”   Whatever he thought of Saddam’s personality, the ex-inquisitor had no doubts at all on one point: if he had remained... المزيد
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Britain’s Undying Disgrace The UK’s shameless post-Brexit leaders think that by pandering to Netanyahu they can improve their standing with Trump

Britain’s Undying Disgrace The UK’s shameless post-Brexit leaders think that by pandering to Netanyahu they can improve their standing with Trump
By Abdel Bari Atwan   The Israeli government’s hostility to the international conference convened in Paris aimed at reviving the Middle East peace process does not mean that the gathering is of great benefit to the Palestinians or upholds their just demands to regain their rights.   It is due to the fact that the conference was set to demand an end to illegal Israeli settlement-building in the Occupied Territories and uphold the two-state solution – which the Israeli government has opposed, derided and acted to sabotage for the past twenty years, while exploiting the stupidity and wishful thinking of the Palestinian leadership to tie it into futile,... المزيد
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Trump and the Brotherhood The incoming US administration could be planning to designate the movement as ‘terrorist’. That would only strengthen the hardliners.

Trump and the Brotherhood   The incoming US administration could be planning to designate the movement as ‘terrorist’. That would only strengthen the hardliners.
By Abdel Bari Atwan   In 1978, a few weeks after Egyptian president Anwar Sadat signed the Camp David accords, I interviewed the then-leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Sheikh Omar al-Tilimsani. I tried my best to get him to issue a straightforward condemnation of the agreement and of Sadat’s prior visit to occupied Jerusalem. But he obfuscated, and avoided answering any of my questions on the matter.   Sensing my disappointment and dismay as a young journalist, he asked me to switch off my tape recorder and in a kindly, paternal tone said: ‘Son… I want to tell you two things. First, I will not say a word against Egypt and its regime while I am... المزيد
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Baghdadi Dies Again Nobody has been reported killed more often than the leader of the Islamic State (IS). But even if he were, it wouldn’t make that much difference.

Baghdadi Dies Again   Nobody has been reported killed more often than the leader of the Islamic State (IS). But even if he were, it wouldn’t make that much difference.
By Abdel Bari Atwan   Nobody has died as often — according to newspapers, agencies, television channels, and web outlets – as Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi. Scarcely a month goes by without reports circulating that the leader of the Islamic State (IS) group and self-styled    ‘Caliph’ has been killed or seriously injured in an airstrike by the 60-member coalition that has been busy bombing its twin capitals of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria.   On Sunday, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights run by Rami Abdurrahman, which is close to Western agencies as well as Syrian opposition groupings, reported that the IS is trying to find a... المزيد
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Murder in Ankara

Murder in Ankara
  If the Russian ambassador’s assassination was a protest against Turkey’s rapprochement with his country it is likely to back-fire By Abdel Bari Atwan     Monday’s assassination in Ankara of Russian Ambassador Andrey Karlov, and the way it was carried out, sums up the troubles facing Turkey and the region and could be a portent of things to come in the next few months.   The ambassador was shot eight times by an off-duty member of the Turkish security forces while preparing to give a speech at a cultural event. The killer repeatedly shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ and slogans proclaiming that he was acting to exact revenge for... المزيد
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Internationalizing the Yemen War As the tables turn against Saudi Arabia in the conflict, the Americans risk being increasingly dragged in, and the Russians could follow

Internationalizing the Yemen War   As the tables turn against Saudi Arabia in the conflict, the Americans risk being increasingly dragged in, and the Russians could follow
By Abdel Bari Atwan       One year and a half after the start of the Saudi-led ‘Decisive Storm’ aerial bombing campaign, the tables are turning in Yemen. The intended targets of the assault – the Houthi Ansarallah movement and the followers of former president Ali Abdallah Saleh – have moved on from their initial survival and acclimatization stage. They have gone into decidedly offensive and escalatory mode, attacking ‘hostile’ naval vessels in the Bab al-Mandeb Straight with land-to-sea missiles, and firing long-range rockets deep into Saudi territory at a military base in Taef more than 500-km away.   These actions say two... المزيد
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