A Tactical Cooperation Between Al-Qaeda and the Iranians

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MENAroundupMENA Roundup is a weekly publication containing insightful articles on politics in the Mid
 
April 19 - Issue #34 - View online
MENAroundup

MENAroundup
MENA Roundup is a weekly publication containing insightful articles on politics in the Middle East, focussing on Syria and Iraq. lars@menaroundup.com

Key developments
  • The towns of Madaya and Zabadani, northwest of Damascus, have been besieged since summer 2015 with many residents starving to death. Meanwhile, Al-Fu’ah and Kafraya, Shiite towns north of Idlib city, have been besieged by rebels since early 2015. As a result of negotiations between Iranians and the rebel faction Ahrar al-Sham, the fate of both cities was tied. Finally, a deal was negotiated that intended to remove residents from the regime enclaves in the north and vice versa. 
  • Last Saturday, one of the first convoys with fighters and residents from the regime enclaves was hit by a truck bomb west of Aleppo, killing more than 120 people.
  • Who is responsible? No one claimed the attack so far. What is important to mention: 1. Dozens of rebels died in the attack, making a mainstream-rebel involvement unlikely 2. Following the bombing, the White Helmets civil defense organization worked side by side with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and people helped each other instead of escalating the situation further 3. The horrible incident does not seem to have damaged the evacuation deal as a whole.
  • Regarding the chemical weapons attacks: There are tons of indications but - as it is in the nature of things - no final prove for the Assad regime’s guilt. Investigations are ongoing and the indications increase, but what are the consequences? Russia continues publishing absurd claims, indicating that the whole attack was a fake and that Sarin has never been used. Meanwhile, the Russian air force escalated attacks with incendiary bombs while Assad’s message is loud and clear: “No one will help you, even when faced with chemical weapons”.
  • “Fun"fact: a single Tomahawk missile costs $1.59 million, according to the US Department of Defence’s annual budget. Multiply that number with 59 and you get around $94 million. Meanwhile, the UN aid programs lack funding. 
Articles worth reading
Marriage of Convenience: The Evolution of Iran and al-Qaeda’s Tactical Cooperation
Yemen's al-Qaida: Entered agreement with tribal leaders not to attack the West
Turkey’s “Turkey First” Syria Policy
Jaysh Usud al-Sharqiya: Exiles of the Euphrates
Why would Assad use sarin in Syria now?
Qatari royal family members used as leverage in Syrian population swap
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