Tag: Sunni

Qods Force leader Qassem Sulaimani expressed anxiety over an escalation of tension and possible war with the US. The general claimed Iran is doing its part to reduce conflict by pressuring allied Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr to impose a freeze on attacks on American forces by his Jaysh al-Mahdi (JAM) militia, and by stopping the flow of Iranian weapons to Iraq. (More…)

BEIRUT – The Syrian war has often been cast as a sectarian conflict between a Sunni majority population and a minority Shiite ruling elite. However, sectarianism is only one component of a multi-faceted conflict that is also partially driven by socio-economic grievances, according to Fabrice Balanche, a visiting fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institute. (More…)

BEIRUT – The same day that President Vladimir Putin declared victory over the so-called Islamic State, the militant group launched a surprise offensive against government forces in Deir Ezzor province, killing up to 31 pro-government fighters in the following three days. (More…)

In 2004, King Abdullah of Jordan warned that a “Shia Crescent” of Iranian-led movements and governments would begin to dominate the northern Middle East. His predictions were quickly echoed by regional leaders, from Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak to defensive Persian Gulf monarchs, and an American security establishment overly focused on Tehran’s influence in a number of regional capitals.  (More…)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been savage in his criticisms of the EU. “The European Union’s court, the European Court of Justice, my esteemed brothers,” Erdoğan exclaimed after an ECJ ruling in March allowing employers to ban the headscarf, “have started a Crusade against the Crescent.” (More…)

Like everyone else, you write under the cloud of Warsaw and in the expectation of the enemy forthwith dashing back on us in the West. But the last two months have made it much harder for him to do that soon, if at all: and I hope the month which will pass before you get this will have made it harder still. (More…)

Saudi Arabia finally executed Shi’ite cleric and political dissident Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr on Saturday. Regional tensions have escalated dramatically after Nimr’s death led to violent protests at the Saudi Embassy in Tehran, causing a diplomatic crisis. The question is why this happened now. (More…)

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the Naqshbandi Army (an alliance of Ba’athists-cum-Islamists) took Mosul this week, and has advanced on Kirkuk and Tikrit, the latter being Saddam Hussein’s birthplace. Their offensive, which has sent 500,000 people fleeing northern Iraq and been a fiscal windfall for the group after it robbed city banks, was coordinated with other militias, but ISIS is the leading player. (More…)

Last October, a Russian private military contractor, the Moran Security Group, shanghaied another PMC, the Slavonic Corps, by promising recruits $2,000-5,000 a month if they went to Syria to guard strategic facilities (military bases and power plants) to free up the regular Syrian Army guards for the front line. (More…)

For decades, there have been calls for a Protestant Reformation in the Muslim world. There’s something to it. Unfortunately, most press for a vaguely defined liberal secularism against an equally unclear Islamic backwardness. This can be particularly sinister when Muslims do it, since it contributes to a senseless dichotomy between secular elites and religious extremists that paralyzes the Islamic world. (More…)

There is a great deal of hysteria about al-Qaida militants taking over Fallujah. Is the organization resurgent in Iraq, or is the allegation unfounded? (More…)

I hit the snooze button on my alarm clock. It’s the day of my mid-term, and I am still exhausted from filling out graduate school applications. My eyes shoot open as a massive explosion slashes through the morning air, rattling my windows, echoing across the innumerable alleyways of the Old City.  (More…)