On Thursday, March 21, President Trump introduced yet another sea change to U.S. policy towards the Arab-Israeli conflict—this time by tweet. “After 52 years,” Trump wrote, “it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s [s]overeignty over the Golan Heights.”
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While the conflict has subsided in most areas of Syria after nearly eight years of war, violence has escalated in the northwestern part of the country. The Idlib region is the last remaining area held by anti-regime forces and part of a demilitarized zone created in an agreement between Russia and Turkey in September 2018.
On Feb. 12, Germany’s investigative police force arrested two former high-ranking members of the Syrian General Intelligence Directorate (GID) allegedly involved in crimes against humanity. The German Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof, BGH) had issued arrest warrants for 56-year-old Anwar R. and 42-year-old Eyad A. on Feb.
The announcement that the United States will withdraw its remaining troops from Syria has clear implications for many players with interests at stake in the ongoing civil war. Attention has focused on what the U.S. withdrawal will mean for the Kurds, and whether Turkey will be less restrained, or how Iran and Russia might try to project influence farther east in rebel-held territories retaken from the Islamic State. Noticeably absent from these analyses has been how the withdrawal would affect another great power with vested interests in the Middle East—China.
On Dec. 19, 2018, President Trump unexpectedly announced that U.S. would withdraw its troops from Syria. To date, the U.S. has deployed around 2,000 troops to Syria, many of them Special Forces members and trainers, for the sake of combating the Islamic State.
As new U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen prepares to assume his position on January 7, it is an opportune time to revisit the Syrian constitutional drafting effort and its role within the larger Syrian peace process. The constitutional committee was a central goal of Pedersen’s predecessor, Staffan de Mistura, who announced his resignation as the U.N.’s Syria Envoy in October.
Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on Order from Chaos.
“We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency,” the president tweeted to explain his sudden decision to withdraw the several thousand U.S. troops stationed in Syria within 30 days. Trump’s decision has a few potential positives, but overall the decision is a poor one—made far worse by the lack of a process and preparation.
Here is the Winter 2018 Supplement for Bradley & Goldsmith, Foreign Relations Law: Cases and Materials (6th ed. 2017). These materials cover, among many other things, the Supreme Court’s decision in Trump v. Hawaii (the “travel ban” case), which is excerpted with questions; the Supreme Court’s decision in Jesner v.
After more than seven and a half years of death and destruction, there is a sense that the Syrian war is coming to an end.
For counterterrorism officials, one of the most difficult counterterrorism challenges is identifying the next global struggle that, like the Syrian civil war, will energize the world’s Muslims and lead tens of thousands of foreigners to join the fray.