December 22, 2014

THE POPULAR FRONT FOR THE LIBERATION OF PALESTINE-GENERAL COMMAND (PFLP-GC) AND THE SYRIAN CIVIL WAR

PFLP-GC Jihad Jibril Brigade

As the Asad regime’s most loyal Palestinian proxy, the PFLP-GC’s role in the conflict in Syria is of great importance. Currently, the group’s interests center on countering Syrian rebel forces in Syria and their allies in Lebanon. In this role, the PFLP-GC has suffered a number of significant losses, and for the first time in its existence is being pressed in all areas it operates. This article will focus on the Syrian Civil War’s effects on the PFLP-GC and what the future may hold for … [Read more...]

THE BATTLE FOR THE SOUL OF SHI’ISM

This piece will examine the strategies utilized by radicals within the Shi’i clerical realm, namely those who push wilayat al-faqih, the politicized Iranian conception of Shi’ism, on more traditionalist forms of Shi’i Islam. In addition, a look at efforts by those traditionalists to counter Iran’s and their allies’ tactics will be presented with an assessment on how these factors will affect the future of Shi’ism. “If two opposite theories are propagated one will be wrong.” - … [Read more...]

SYRIA’S 31 PERCENTERS: HOW BASHAR AL-ASAD BUILT MINORITY ALLIANCES AND COUNTERED MINORITY FOES

As the Syrian revolution against Bashar al-Asad’s rule enters its first year, Asad appears to have a good command over Syria’s large and fractious minority community. Three of the most prominent minority groups include the Christians, Druze, and Kurds. Asad’s control of these groups was not happenstance but the result of a number of hard- and soft-power moves executed by the regime. These calculations did not simply involve direct internal dealings with said minorities, but also outreach … [Read more...]

THE “INDEPENDENT SHI’A” OF LEBANON: WHAT WIKILEAKS TELLS US ABOUT AMERICAN EFFORTS TO FIND AN ALTERNATIVE TO HIZBALLAH

U.S. diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks have given a new insight into American policy in Lebanon, especially efforts to counter Hizballah. Hizballah’s willingness to use a combination of hard power through violence and coercion, combined with a softer touch via extensive patronage networks has given them unmatched control over the Shi’a community since the 2005 Cedar Revolution. Using these released cables, this study will focus on efforts, successes, and failures made by so-called … [Read more...]