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Showing posts from May 21, 2013

Syria: Outside Patronage and a New Offensive for the Regime Read more: Syria: Outside Patronage and a New Offensive for the Regime

Summary


The battle for the Syrian city of Al-Qusayr, which came under regime artillery fire May 19, is actually part of a larger battle for the highly coveted Homs governorate. As we noted in 2012, the battle has wide-reaching ramifications for the Syrian rebels since Al-Qusayr sits along a major transit point for rebel supplies and reinforcements coming in from Lebanon. But it is equally important to loyalist forces. If the Syrian regime loses control of the Orontes River Valley and its major road junctions, Damascus will be largely cut off from Aleppo and the Alawite-dominated coast, which would limit the regime's access to supply lines from port cities.

The regime's renewed offensive against Al-Qusayr was made possible by support from Iran, Russia and Hezbollah. However, geography will determine which side holds the advantage. In northern and eastern Syria, the regime remains on the defensive; in the core, the advantage clearly belongs to the loyalists. With the country squar…

Drones: Myths And Reality In Pakistan

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Nine years after the first U.S. drone strike in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in 2004, the U.S. refuses to officially acknowledge the CIA-run program, while Pakistan denies consenting to it. This secrecy undermines efforts to assess the program’s legality or its full impact on FATA’s population. It also diverts attention from a candid examination of the roots of militancy in the poorly governed tribal belt bordering southern and eastern Afghanistan and how best to address them. Drone strikes may disrupt FATA-based militant groups’ capacity to plan and execute cross-border attacks on NATO troops and to plot attacks against the U.S. homeland, but they cannot solve the fundamental problem. The ability of those groups to regroup, rearm and recruit will remain intact so long as they enjoy safe havens on Pakistani territory and efforts to incorporate FATA into the constitutional mainstream are stifled.

Since 2004, there have been a…