What Middle Easterners Really Think about the Israel-Palestinian Conflict

Feb. 15 2019

Yesterday, Benjamin Netanyahu appeared at a conference in Warsaw alongside representatives of several Arab states—a clear sign of the improving relations between Israel and its former enemies. But do Arab citizens approve of their governments’ increasing cooperation with Jerusalem? David Pollock shows, based on a extensive polling data, that a surprising number do. In the same discussion, the pollsters Nader Said and Tamar Hermann comment on, respectively, Palestinian and Israeli public opinion. Said notes that a majority of Palestinians in Gaza oppose the March of Return riots, while nearly half of those in the West Bank oppose terrorist attacks on Israelis. For Hermann, the big news is the collapse of the Israeli left. (Video, 91 minutes. Written summaries are available at the link below.)

 

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Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Israel & Zionism, Israel-Arab relations, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Middle East, Palestinian public opinion

The Syrian Civil War May Be Coming to an End, but Three New Wars Are Rising There

March 26 2019

With both Islamic State and the major insurgent forces largely defeated, Syria now stands divided into three parts. Some 60 percent of the country, in the west and south, is in the hands of Bashar al-Assad and his allies. Another 30 percent, in the northeast, is in the hands of the mostly Kurdish, and American-backed, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The final 10 percent, in the northwest, is held by Sunni jihadists, some affiliated with al-Qaeda, under Turkish protection. But, writes Jonathan Spyer, the situation is far from stable. Kurds, likely linked to the SDF, have been waging an insurgency in the Turkish areas, and that’s only one of the problems:

The U.S.- and SDF-controlled area east of the Euphrates is also witnessing the stirrings of internal insurgency directed from outside. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, “236 [SDF] fighters, civilians, oil workers, and officials” have been killed since August 2018 in incidents unrelated to the frontline conflict against Islamic State. . . . The SDF blames Turkey for these actions, and for earlier killings such as that of a prominent local Kurdish official. . . . There are other plausible suspects within Syria, however, including the Assad regime (or its Iranian allies) or Islamic State, all of which are enemies of the U.S.-supported Kurds.

The area controlled by the regime is by far the most secure of Syria’s three separate regions. [But, for instance, in] the restive Daraa province in the southwest, [there has been] a renewed small-scale insurgency against the Assad regime. . . .

As Islamic State’s caliphate disappears from Syria’s map, the country is settling into a twilight reality of de-facto division, in which a variety of low-burning insurgencies continue to claim lives. Open warfare in Syria is largely over. Peace, however, will remain a distant hope.

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More about: ISIS, Kurds, Politics & Current Affairs, Syrian civil war, Turkey