The Old Game: Protection for Oil.

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MENAroundupMENA Roundup is a weekly publication containing insightful articles on politics in the Mid
 
December 13 · Issue #68 · 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

Some new stuff
You can read new articles from me in the current issues of zenith magazin, Blätter für deutsche und internationale Politik & this short interview with a White Helmets’ official regarding the situation in East-Ghouta (German).
Key developments
  • In northeastern Hama and southeastern Idlib, heavy clashes are ongoing between rebels and pro-regime forces. While pro-regime media outlets celebrate the arrival of the notorious Tiger Forces, rebels have already lost territory.  
  • It is not clear whether the redeployment of the Tiger Forces, one of the rare operational and mobile militias, has led to shortages of manpower and capacity in Deir ar-Zor where they have been deployed before, but ISIS was able to launch successful attacks near the border town of al-Bukamal. 
  • Trying to handle the desperate military situation in Idlib, Hama and Aleppo rebels formed a new operation room including Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, Ahrar al-Sham, Jaysh al-Ahrar and also Nour al-Din al-Zenki. Bleak prospects for the area: All those groups have a history (and presence..) of infighting + a joint operation room will give Russia the justification for its already stepped up air campaign.
  • Wladimir Putin surprisingly travelled to Syria where he welcomed President Assad at Russia’s Hmeimim Airbase. Many focussed on the way in which Russian officers humiliated Assad by holding him back but there is another important aspect to remember: For now, Assad has managed to position himself as the crucial hub in Syria’s powerplay.
  • Geneva: After 9 days of absence, the regime’s delegation has returned to Geneva. However, the talks are scheduled to end on Friday and so far no results can be expected. Neither has the regime an interest in following the UN’s 2254-political process nor is the opposition’s delegation representative for the various shotcallers in Syria.
Articles worth reading
Young scholar lived secret double life
Thousands of Russian private contractors fighting in Syria
Syrian Kurds move closer to Russia
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