Weekly Updates

Spotlight on Iran (July 8 – July 22, 2018)

Ahead of the summit between the American and Russian presidents in HelsinkiIranian officials continued to emphasize that Iran does not intend to withdraw its forces from Syria. Iran is closely monitoring the wave of protests that erupted in southern Iraq, during which protesters chanted against Iran and its meddling in internal Iraqi affairs. The Commander of the Qods Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Qasem Soleimani, was supposed to deliver a pre-recorded speech on July 16 to a Palestinian crowd at a conference in Gaza.

Spotlight on Global Jihad (July 12-18, 2018)

The Syrian army continues to record achievements in the campaign to take over the south of the country. This week, the Syrian army mounted an offensive against the rebel strongholds east and southeast of Quneitra. In addition to the fighting, diplomatic talks were held, including the issue of the presence of the Iranians and the Shiite forces handled by them (the Netanyahu-Putin meeting, the Trump-Putin meeting).

News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (July 11 – 17, 2018)

On July 14, 2018, there was a third round of escalation between the IDF and Hamas along the Gaza Strip border, worse than the previous rounds. In the wake of increasing Hamas violence during the "return marches," Israeli Air Force aircraft carried out three waves of aerial attacks on Hamas military targets. Hamas (and other terrorist organizations) launched about 200 rockets and mortar shells at Israel. In view of the worsening situation, Israel intensified its responses to arson terrorism. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed the IDF to ramp up its response to the squads launching incendiary kites and balloons. At this stage Israel's increased responses have apparently not deterred Hamas.

Spotlight on Global Jihad (July 5-11, 2018)

The Syrian army is recording achievements in the campaign for the takeover of southern Syria: These steps by the Syrian army were carried out as part of the Russian-mediated ceasefire agreement with the rebel organizations, which was achieved on July 6, 2018. The ceasefire agreement applies to the Daraa area and does not include the Syrian Golan Heights. The military and political moves currently taking place in southern Syria have long-term significance, because they reflect a process of shaping the nature of the borders of the Syrian state vis-à-vis Jordan and Israel

Spotlight on Iran (June 24 – July 8, 2018)

The campaign in Syria continues to exact a price from Iranian forces. As reports emerge about negotiations between the United States and Russia concerning Syria’s future and military operations intensify in the country, Tehran and Moscow continue to deliberate concerning developments in Syria. While negotiations concerning the establishment of a new government in Baghdad continue apace, the National Security Adviser of the Iraqi Prime Minister, Faleh Fayyad, visited Tehran and met senior Iranian officials. Internal public criticism of Tehran’s policy of investing beyond the country’s borders, and in particular the support for the Assad regime, Hezbollah and the Palestinians is growing in Iran, as Iranian citizens face a worsening economic crisis.

Spotlight on Global Jihad (June 28 – July 4, 2018)

The main event of this past week was the progress of the Syrian army in the eastern enclave of the rebel organizations (east and northeast of Daraa) with the support of the Russian and Syrian air forces. The Syrian army is supported by Iraqi Shiite militias handled by Iran, but their weight in the Syrian order of battle participating in the campaign appears to be insignificant. In the wake of the fighting, there is a mass exodus of an estimated 270,000 displaced persons (UN website, updated to July 2, 2018).

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