US strategy in Syria: What you need to know

Sami Hamdi Insights

May 2018 US unsure over its role in Syria since the early days of conflict Haunted by Libya aftermath Unilateral action by Gulf states to support Syrian movements resulted in strengthened extremist entities Tentatively supported Free Syria Army, however concerns over its loose structure   Following Russian intervention and Assad resurgence, US sought to provide greater support for the Kurdish …

US will bomb Syria…to achieve what?

Sami Hamdi Middle East/North Africa

Donald Trump is beating the war drums over Syria following reports of Assad using chemical weapons. Frustrated at Assad’s resurgence, however limited, and Russia and Iran’s unwavering support for the regime that has dented Washington’s carefully constructed image as an uncontestable superpower, the US has been re-assessing its options in Syria for some time. Chronic indecision First, Obama wrestled with …

Ghouta: The tragic price of indecision

Sami Hamdi Middle East/North Africa

Haunted by Libya, Obama was reluctant to intervene directly. Wary of Islamism, Europe were keen to see the composition of the Syrian Opposition Council before committing any resources. Saudi Arabia and Qatar then engaged in an almighty feud over the Muslim Brotherhood that spilled over into the conflict while Erdogan wrangled over the breakdown of the peace talks brought about by the renewed vigour of the PKK and YPG in establishing a state brought about by the chaos in Syria.

Ghouta is but a symptom of a much deeper and complex disease that has plagued the Syria conflict from the outset.

Erdogan and Syria: Damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t

Sami Hamdi #TheOtherNarrative

Recently, there have been growing criticisms of Erdogan’s policy over Syria, with many accusing him of simply not doing enough. Yet, upon reflection of Turkey’s options in Syria, it begs the question as to what exactly Erdogan should do. Here is how many Turks imagine the considerations taking place in Ankara. Should Turkey: 1) Provide air strikes, clearing the way for …

Russian Ambassador killed in Ankara: The implications

Sami Hamdi Middle East/North Africa

In an extraordinary development, the Russian ambassador to Ankara, Andrei Karlov, has  been shot dead whilst giving a speech at an art gallery. The shooter is reported to have shouted “this is for Aleppo”. The shooting comes as tensions simmer between Turkey and Russia over events in Syria, with President Erdogan having to perform a tactical ‘retreat’ earlier this year …

Editorial: How we got to Aleppo

Sami Hamdi Middle East/North Africa, Opinion

The outpouring of emotion, the shock, the horror, the repeat of those eternal empty words of ‘never again’, has dominated my personal social media feed. In fact, I could be forgiven for assuming everyone in the world is heartbroken by what has taken place, but for the few comments here and there that suggest that, somewhere, the news of Aleppo …

Why have the Arabs been unable to unite over Syria?

Sami Hamdi Middle East/North Africa

You would be forgiven for thinking that the Syria crisis, with all that makes it one of the greatest tragedies of our time, could unite the Arab countries to come together as a united front to end the crisis. After all, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE and other regional powers have all declared that they will not accept a …

Why is it taking so long to solve the Syria crisis?

Sami Hamdi Middle East/North Africa

Millions of refugees, a whole host of rebel movements, constant ‘negotiations’ and regular flights to Geneva. And despite a universally recognised humanitarian crisis, the Syrian conflict appears no closer to a solution. Why? The answer is actually quite complex and requires apportioning the blame to a number of parties, including the opposition. Let’s begin there: The opposition The Syrian opposition …

Iran v Saudi Arabia: it’s politics

Abu Bakr Al Shamahi Middle East/North Africa, Saudi Arabia

There have been a lot of articles and amazingly fascinating fact boxes on the split between Shia and Sunni Muslims, written, I’m guessing, by people who don’t know their Karbala from their Kelloggs, in an attempt to explain the dispute between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Normally, when I read an article that says something along the lines of “the people …