Monthly Archives: November 2018

America Losing Ground to the Iran-Russia Axis

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on 27 November 2018

U.S. forces and members of the “Syrian Democratic Forces” (SDF) patrol Al-Darbasiya in northeastern Syria, 4 November 2018. (AFP)

Despite the change of rhetoric between US Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, the United States has continued to lose influence, political and military, in the Middle East to the Iran-Russia axis. Continue reading

Islamic State Newsletter Reiterates Group’s Tactics and Doctrine

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on 26 November 2018

Al-Naba 157

The Islamic State (IS) released the 157th edition of its newsletter, Al-Naba, on 22 November. The content was fairly standard, underlining IS’s ideology, particularly its belief that the current hardships are merely bumps on the road to a victory that has been pre-ordained by God. The bulk of the newsletter is devoted to the fierce insurgent campaign IS is waging in northern Iraq and parts of eastern Syria. Continue reading

State Department Sanctions Abd al-Nasir, a Mysterious Senior ISIS Official

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on 20 November 2018

Islamic State video from Wilayat al-Baraka, north of al-Jafra, October 2017

The United States State Department today sanctioned Haji Abd al-Nasir as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT), which covers “foreign persons who have committed, or pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism”. Abd al-Nasir is a senior official in the Islamic State (IS). Continue reading

America Sanctions the Iran-Russia Axis for Support to Assad and Terrorism

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on 20 November 2018

Visual representation of the Alchwiki Network (source: U.S. Treasury)

The United States Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned ten targets today, targeting an “international network through which the Iranian regime, working with Russian companies, provides millions of barrels of oil to” Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, and “[t]he Assad regime, in turn, facilitates the movement of hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars (USD) to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF),” the expeditionary wing of Tehran’s spy-terrorist apparatus, “for onward transfer to HAMAS and Hizballah.” Continue reading

Islamic State and Lone Wolves

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on 16 November 2018

Attack in Melbourne, Australia, 9 November 2018 (image source)

In the latest edition of its newsletter, the Islamic State (IS) explained how it had some of the terrorist attacks committed in its name around the world, where it had not had prior contact with the killers. Continue reading

America’s Search for Stability in Syria is Hostage to the Turkey-PKK War

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on 13 November 2018

Joint patrols begin around Manbij (image source)

The United States has taken steps Syria in recent months that suggest a shift towards reconciliation with Turkey. Even if this is so, however, there is still such a deep divide over strategic outlook that these steps could be easily reversed, opening a new round of uncertainty in northern Syria as 2018 draws to a close. Continue reading