I'd be remiss if I didn't add that this move - described by @charlie_savage as "#Trump's secret rules" - was praised by several then-#ISIS-focused USG officials now serving as #Biden appointees.

This isn't an entirely partisan issue.
@charlie_savage #pt: Speaking at @MiddleEastInst
in July '17, @brett_mcgurk (now in @JoeBiden's NSC) said #Trump had introduced "key changes... that've made key differences..."

- "We've adopted a campaign of annihilation... a surround, constrict & annihilate strategy."

@charlie_savage @MiddleEastInst @brett_mcgurk @JoeBiden #pt: There's little/no debate across the partisan divide about the costs associated with "collateral damage" in CT strikes - BUT there *is* an active bipartisan debate about where to draw the line of risk under certain conditions.

The scale of the D-#ISIS campaign drew that out.
@charlie_savage @MiddleEastInst @brett_mcgurk @JoeBiden #pt: The D-#ISIS campaign's reliance on "by-with-through" also necessitated a greater focus on supporting airpower -- as a recent @RANDCorporation study underlined -- as less capable ground forces (ISF, Pesh & #SDF) required far greater air & artillery support to move forward.
@charlie_savage @MiddleEastInst @brett_mcgurk @JoeBiden @RANDCorporation To clarify the thread above: the "#Trump secret rules" reported by @charlie_savage were tied to non-conventional theaters (i.e. not #Syria) -- by bringing in OIR, I was to make a broader point on the challenge of determining lines of risk in C21st CT campaigns writ-large.
@charlie_savage @MiddleEastInst @brett_mcgurk @JoeBiden @RANDCorporation It's been clear to me at least that the debate on risk associated with CT-linked airstrikes (incl. drones) has not necessarily been a partisan one -- it's a genuine tactical/strategic debate with *a lot* of different inputs and positions.

OIR went very aggressive in D & R hands.

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More from @Charles_Lister

21 Apr
BREAKING - reports of explosions heard near #Jerusalem, #Beersheeba, #Dimona & multiple other locations amid rocket sirens in #Israel.

Security sources say #IAJ jets have been “scrambled.”
#pt: Some sources say a rocket or missile may have been intercepted near #Dimona, #Israel.

Others say residences near the area shook during the explosion.
Security sources in #Israel seem unanimous that no rockets crossed from #Gaza, so all eyes on the #Syria border.

Claims of a Patriot interception would suggest a larger-than-normal projectile, so suspicion may fall onto #Iran#Dimona is home to #Israel’s nuclear facility.
Read 8 tweets
31 Mar
If you read between the lines, this means #Assad's economy was doing OK when #ISIS controlled the oil fields, but when the #SDF took them, the regime suffered.

That's quite an admission -- so perhaps the documented & sanctioned oil trade between #ISIS & #Assad really mattered!
Just in case the tweets are deleted, here they are...

More broadly, #Assad's regime lost control of almost all its oil in 2014 -- 3yrs before this 'game-changing' moment cited from 2017.

In truth, @joshua_landis
& George Saghir are making a political, not analytical statement.
@joshua_landis If you want to be analytical (& truthful), take a look at the evolution of #Syria's economy -- like this chart by @Karam__Shaar shows.

Now, does October 2017 look like a game-changing moment? No.

Does the start of #Lebanon's banking crisis? Irrefutably, yes.
Read 4 tweets
30 Mar
NEW -- Donors at #SyriaConf2021 have pledged a total of $6.4bn.

That's an enormous $3.6bn short of what the @UN needs to meet the increasing humanitarian needs in #Syria.
@UN A few more pledges for #Syria:

#EU: $657m
#Saudi: $560m
#Sweden: $97m
#Italy: $52m
#UAE: $30m

And a note on the $6.4bn total -- that's multi-year pledges. For 2021 alone, the figure is $4.2bn, less than half of what's needed.
Read 4 tweets
30 Mar
Very interesting -- ahead of the D-#ISIS Small Group meeting, @aawsat_News says the coalition is considering expanding policy to include combating #ISIS in areas controlled by the #Assad-#Russia-#Iran alliance, which it says has "failed" to defeat #ISIS.

@aawsat_News It's been clear for a long time that #ISIS's resurgence, particularly in #Syria's central 'Badiya' desert was (a) sustainable & (b) eventually going to spillover into @CJTFOIR/#SDF areas on the eastern side of the #Euphrates.

We can sit & watch, or act.

@aawsat_News @CJTFOIR The @aawsat_News report says the D-#ISIS Coalition is working on a public statement in which 2 areas of pro-#Assad control -- the (1) Badiya & (2) #Syria-#Iraq border region -- could become areas of [aerial] @CJTFOIR operation.

The border is critical for logistics, finance etc.
Read 8 tweets
29 Mar
It's a big day in the #Syria policy world, as #SyriaConf2021 kicks off in #Brussels & @SecBlinken chairs a UNSC session on humanitarian aid in #Syria.

BIG kudos to @ABlinken for taking this on & raising the vital aid issue onto the front-burner.
@SecBlinken @ABlinken NEW - As has so often been the case, when the international community convenes high-level #Syria events (#SyriaConf2021 & UNSC), #Russia's jets take to the sky & drop bombs.

Multiple airstrikes being reported in #Idlib right now.
@SecBlinken @ABlinken In 10mins, @SecBlinken will chair a UNSC session on humanitarian aid in #Syria.

Last week, Jeff Feltman & I wrote something for @politico calling for high-level diplomacy to sustain unhindered cross-border aid access. There's nothing more important now:

Read 21 tweets
26 Mar
With the #Biden administration settled in, there's a clear trend emerging in certain circles to swat away long-standing, complex foreign policy challenges -- and #Syria appears to be low-hanging fruit.

'#Syria doesn't matter,' some say... 'It was just never that important.'
It's good for there to be a debate -- & yes, 'great power competition' (#China, #Russia etc.) ought to be *the* priority.

BUT to shove #Syria aside as a minor inconvenience would be profoundly reckless, given the extraordinary costs it's inflicted on global stability since '11.
So far, arguments in favor of '#Syria doesn't matter' can be broken down into 2 camps:

(1) Those who ignore the profound past, current & future costs altogether - or worse - (2) those who astonishingly claim that #Assad, #Russia & #Iran can resolve the crisis & achieve stability
Read 16 tweets

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