• Russia’s involvement in Syria

    In 1957, the Soviet Union’s ally Egypt intervened in Syria’s messy politics. It didn’t go well. Why does Putin think this time will be different? – The Foreign Policy

  • The New York Times, way late to the party, says we should help the Kurds fight ISIS.

    Problem is, the peshmerga has already retaken the Kurdish areas and they have no interest in helping GOI capture Arab areas.

    More than a year after the so-called Islamic State overran Mosul and threatened Baghdad, the United States still can’t rely on the Iraqi Army to defeat the jihadist forces. If President Obama wants to break the… – The New York Times

  • The evolution of Islamic terrorism

    In the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S., the threat of militant Islamic terrorism — rooted in the Middle East and South Asia — has taken center stage. While these extremely violent religious extremists represent a minority view, their threat is real. As pointed out by RAND’s Bruce Hoffman, in 1980 two out of 64 groups were categorized as largely… – FRONTLINE

  • Zaslon, Russian para-military unit hits the ground in Syria

    It is behind a paywall, alas, but I just wanted to note that Bearing Down: Russia to defend core Syrian government areas, a composite article on the Russians in Syria (me on the Russian side of things, Jonathan Spyer of the Rubin Center on the Syrian dimension) has come out in Jane’s Intelligence Review. There’s a short extract here, and some of the interested satellite photography has also made it into the general press. – In Moscow’s Shadows

[Featured image: Pesh Merga fighters have pushed back the Islamic State. Training and equipping them properly could relieve pressure on the Iraqi government. Credit Reuters]