Pressure is mounting on Saudi Arabia to pull out of Yemen. The Pentagon announced on Nov. 9 that it would stop aerial refueling of Saudi planes conducting operations in Yemen, ending assistance that began under President Obama in 2015, when Riyadh first began its bombing campaign.
Daniel Byman is foreign policy editor of Lawfare. He is a senior fellow at the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, where he focuses on counterterrorism and Middle East security. He is also a professor at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service.
Subscribe to this Lawfare contributor via RSS.
For counterterrorism officials, one of the most difficult counterterrorism challenges is identifying the next global struggle that, like the Syrian civil war, will energize the world’s Muslims and lead tens of thousands of foreigners to join the fray.
The power balance in Washington has shifted at least a little now that the Democrats have won the House. In addition to being able to pass legislation and shape the budget, Democrats now have the power to investigate, conduct hearings, and otherwise hold the executive branch accountable for the first time since the Senate flipped in 2014—and then, of course, a Democrat was in the White House.
For many Israelis, the embrace and policies of the Trump administration seem like an overwhelming win. President Trump has good relations with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, certainly as compared with President Barack Obama (the distaste was mutual). In addition, many of Trump’s senior officials vie with one another to maintain good relations with Jerusalem. Gone are the days when a U.S.
Israel was dealt a bad hand when it comes to regional security, and Syria is the latest—and trickiest—card in the deck. On the one hand, the weakness of the Bashar al-Assad regime diminishes a leader whose country has never reconciled its past conflicts and territorial disputes with Israel and often proved a remorseless foe. On the other hand, Iran and Hezbollah are exploiting Syria’s instability, and Israelis fear the country will become a new launching pad for Iranian influence and attacks—essentially, another Lebanon.
This month marks two anniversaries for Israel. Sept. 13 will mark two-and-a-half decades since American, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators signed the 1993 Oslo Accords, launching seven years of peace talks with the hope that, finally, Israelis and Palestinians would live together in harmony. Sept. 29, however, will be 18 years to the day the Oslo era came to a violent end with the outbreak of the second intifada.
Israel and the Lebanese Hezbollah spar regularly, and Hezbollah’s intervention in the Syrian civil war expanded their conflict’s front line. In the years since the war began in 2011, Israel has attacked Hezbollah weapons depots and forces in Syria, and Hezbollah boasts that it shot down an Israeli F-16 jet. A senior U.S.