A turning point in modern Middle East geopolitics?
International | One analyst thinks the battle for Syria’s Idlib could mark the end of Western influence in the region
by Mindy Belz
Posted 1/12/18, 02:39 pm
SYRIA: Suppose the battle for Idlib turned out to be the turning point in modern Middle East geopolitics, with historians looking back on it as the moment Western powers ceased to have influence in the region and Russia and Iran took over? It’s not far-fetched, according to this analysis. It highlights how the United States is using Turkey as a (not-so-reliable) proxy while Russia and Bashar al Assad’s regime violate their own deescalation zone agreement, with disastrous results.
SAUDI ARABIA: On Friday evening, women head to soccer stadiums to attend sporting events for the first time.
IRAN: No tweets yet, but President Donald Trump is expected to sign another 90-day waiver on sanctions for the Iranian regime’s nuclear agreement compliance. He may look to other sanctions as a result of the crackdown on recent protests.
About 100 Iranian Christians face deportation back to Iran because the Trump administration hasn’t allowed them to enter the United States. The refugees traveled to Vienna a year ago for resettlement mostly in California under a special provision used for religious minorities. They’ve passed Homeland Security vetting, and it remains unclear why they’ve been held up.
LEBANON: Prime Minister Saad Hariri gave his first interview with a U.S. news organization since resuming his duties and didn’t say much, including about Hezbollah.
JAPAN: A stricken Iranian oil tanker has continued to explode as it drifts into Japanese waters, risking a toxic oil spill. U.S. Navy aircraft joined international rescue efforts—including Iranian teams, even though the two have sparred in other waters.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Officers fired tear gas on churchgoers in Kinshasa who gathered to mourn seven people killed two weeks ago in protests against President Joseph Kabila.
NIGERIA: A report from inside one of the villages in Kaduna state known for its rate of kidnappings.
WEEKEND READ: What to do with thousands of tiny embryos is just one feature in WORLD Magazine’s annual Roe v. Wade issue.
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Mindy wrote WORLD Magazine's first cover story in 1986 and went on to serve as international editor, editor, and now senior editor. She has covered wars in Syria, Afganistan, Africa, and the Balkans, and she recounts some of her experiences in They Say We Are Infidels: On the Run from ISIS with Persecuted Christians in the Middle East. Mindy resides with her husband, Nat, in Asheville, N.C. Follow her on Twitter @mcbelz.