Astana talks: A turning point for Syria and the region?

The snowy city of Astana has, this week, played host to the latest round of talks aimed at bringing an end to the constant human suffering that has characterised the Syrian conflict. Delegations from the Syrian regime and various armed opposition groups gathered in the Kazakhstani city for two days of negotiations, brokered by a … Continue reading Astana talks: A turning point for Syria and the region?

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Pulling out the pin: Drawing Hezbollah out of Syria

January, 2014. Assad's fall from power is inevitable. His army is haemorrhaging combat power through defections, demoralisation and tactical defeats. The coalition of nationalists and Islamists are cutting a path to Damascus like a scimitar through flesh. Six months later and Assad is not only still in power, but he is regaining territory from the rebels. Something … Continue reading Pulling out the pin: Drawing Hezbollah out of Syria

Saudi Arabia and Iran: Playing with Fire in Petroland

“Aren’t the Saudis your friends?” the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, once asked President Obama. “It’s complicated”, Obama replied. At present the House of Saud has adopted a zero-sum perspective in its relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Kingdom has positioned itself on a path of perpetual antagonism with Tehran and the chances … Continue reading Saudi Arabia and Iran: Playing with Fire in Petroland

Fire in the Desert: Nimr al-Nimr and the Future of Saudi Arabia

The death of one man in Saudi Arabia last Saturday has poured petrol on the sectarian fire currently engulfing the Middle East. The Saudi Interior Ministry announced last weekend that it had executed 47 people on charges of terrorism and incitement. Among them was Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a prominent Shia cleric from the restive Eastern … Continue reading Fire in the Desert: Nimr al-Nimr and the Future of Saudi Arabia