Iranian QODS Archive
TLDRUpFront: A week out now’s a good time to review what’s happened in the aftermath of the strike against Soleimani. In this post I walk through how erroneous mental-models caused so many to miss Iran’s de-escalation signals, what those signals were, and leveraging what we now know to make a forecast of what may happen
TLDRUpFront: A quick backgrounder on General Soleimani, commander of Iranian’s special forces and cornerstone of Iranian foreign policy, killed by a US military strike last night outside the Baghdad Airport. Possessing once-in-a-generation capabilities crossing military strategy and diplomacy both across state and non-state actors. Removing him creates a question as hard to answer as asking
TLDRUpFront: In the last forty-eight hours three cities have officially changed hands in three different countries on opposite sides of the planet. The fall of Ar-Raqqah in Syria, liberation of Marawi in the Philippines and seizure of Kirkuk in Iraq are a Dickens menagerie representing the ghosts of ISIS past, ISIS present and post-ISIS future
TLDR Up Front: In two separate attacks, militants struck simultaneously at the Iranian parliament and the mausoleum of the Grand Ayatollah Khomeini. Downplaying the attacks by focusing on casualties or containment is a serious mistake. Iranian politics exist in a precariously balanced ‘suspended equilibrium’ between formal Constitutional titular offices and informal factions of relationships
TLDR Upfront: The encirclement of Aleppo by pro-Assad forces has been broken by an unheard of coordinated assault by two rebel coalitions. In response, Iran has sent elite paramilitary units from Iraq and Lebanon into the breach while Russia conducts a sustained air campaign on rebel positions. Once again an “all-in” four-way conflict between five
TLDR Up Front: The Syrian government remains holding the most gains in the Aleppo battle, but a counter-offensive by the Al-Nusrah front aims to undermine those gains southwest of the city, while ISIS continues to try and contain the Syrian government's advance east of Aleppo to Kuweyenes air force base.
TLDR Up Front: Although Aleppo has been the Sarajevo of Syria since 2012, it's forming into just such a battle as no less than six distinctly separate major forces converge onto the city from all sides. This is creating a "swirling" effect visible on the map as each group takes, loses and retakes ground. Except