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Syria

On the Ground in Northern Syria

President Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from observation posts in northeastern Syria has paved the way for Turkey’s military offensive into areas inhabited by Syrian Kurds and other minority communities. In a little over two weeks, this region has gone from relative stability to a state of conflict, uncertainty and fragility. Since 2016 we have conducted hundreds of interviews with Syrians from all backgrounds, including current and former members of the Islamic State. We filmed and catalogued the rise of the Islamic State across the region and the caliphate’s subsequent demise.

Foreign Policy Essay

Jordanians See More to Worry About in Their Economy Than Syrian Refugees

Editor’s Note: Even as the Syrian war winds down, the millions of refugees it spawned show little sign of returning. Experts have long feared that these refugees will spread instability and, in poorer countries like Jordan, foster economic resentment. MIT’s Elizabeth Parker-Magyar finds that in Jordan such resentment is limited at best. The refugees remain welcome, and any economic resentment is directed at the government.

Daniel Byman

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Turkey

Erdoğan’s Tactical Gamble in Istanbul Proves a Strategic Mistake

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on Order from Chaos.

Following a repeat mayoral election in Istanbul on June 23, Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is not quite so strong anymore. If there is one thing worse than losing a close election, it must be losing the same election twice—and the second time with a much wider margin.

Turkey

The F-35 Dispute and Tensions in the U.S.-Turkey Relationship

The United States has taken several escalatory steps in recent months to suspend delivery of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey, currently scheduled for November 2019. On Feb. 15, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019 (§ 7046) restricted funding for the delivery of F-35s to Turkey absent a report on Turkey’s pending purchase of Russian S-400 missiles, due by November 2019.

Foreign Policy Essay

Russia Might Regret the U.S. Drawdown in Syria

Editor’s Note: The Syrian conflict, while hardly over, is diminishing. The Syrian people clearly lost, but who—other than the barbarous Assad regime—won? One candidate is Russia, whose military intervention helped save the regime and which has re-emerged as a power broker in the Middle East. Carol Saivetz of MIT, however, argues this may be a mixed blessing for Moscow. Although the regime has accomplished many things in Syria, these accomplishments have created new problems that will be tricky for Moscow to solve.

Daniel Byman

Foreign Policy Essay

Thinking Critically About “By, With, Through” in Syria, Iraq, and Beyond

Editor’s Note: In the years since 9/11, the United States has waged war around the globe. It has often done so, however, “by, with, and through” local partners. Despite the importance of this approach and its overall value to the United States, its risks and limits do not receive enough attention. Morgan Kaplan of the Buffett Institute at Northwestern asks several probing questions about U.S. efforts to work with partners and concludes that this approach should not be uncritically embraced.

Daniel Byman

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