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The Orton Report

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September 29, 2017

The Coalition Kills Three Islamic State Drone Developers

The international coalition against the Islamic State (IS) announced that it has killed “three senior and highly skilled ISIS officials” near Mayadeen in eastern Syria between 12 and 14 September.
An “ISIS drone developer”, Abu Salman, was killed in an airstrike …

Posted in The Orton Report
September 27, 2017

Iraqi Kurdistan’s Independence Referendum and the West’s Middle East Strategy

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) held a referendum on 25 September, and voted overwhelmingly—with nearly 93% in favour—for independence. The comparison with Brexit might have been overworked by all sides, but there was a familiarity: while the result itself was …

Posted in The Orton Report
September 22, 2017

Iran Raises the Stature of One of Its Shi’a Jihadist Militias: Harakat Hizballah al-Nujaba

Reuters has published a profile of Harakat Hizballah al-Nujaba (HHN), sometimes simply called Harakat al-Nujaba, a Shi’a militia made up of Iraqi citizens that is loyal to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamene’i and the revolutionary theocracy’s ideology of absolute wilayat …

Posted in The Orton Report
September 16, 2017

The Islamic State’s Fourth Attack in Britain in 2017

At 8:20 on 15 September 2017, a bomb detonated in a rear carriage of a tube train at Parsons Green station in London. The passengers on the packed, rush-hour train described a flash “fireball” that travelled down the train. Thirty …

Posted in The Orton Report
September 15, 2017

Fresh Wave of Repression in the Syrian Kurdish Areas

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an internationally-designated terrorist entity, currently controls about a fifth of Syria’s territory in the northeast, an area it calls “Rojava”. The PKK works, as I explained in a recent report for The Henry Jackson Society, …

Posted in The Orton Report
September 14, 2017

Russia Looks to Succeed Where the West Failed in Libya

Libya, which has been wracked by instability and violence since 2011, is re-emerging as a geopolitical hotspot. With opposing forces fighting for control of the war-torn country—the main two being the U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) and the Libyan …

Posted in Opinion Editorial, The Orton Report

Coalition Policy Risks Replacing the Islamic State with the Islamic Republic of Iran

By recent reports, one could easily come away with the impression that war and instability across the Fertile Crescent are winding down. Predictions about what comes next, always a risky enterprise in the Middle East, are at a point of …

Posted in Opinion Editorial, Spotlight, The Orton Report
September 12, 2017

The Islamic State’s Obituary for Abu Ayman al-Iraqi

In the ninetieth edition of its newsletter, al-Naba, released on 20 July 2017, the Islamic State (IS) published an obituary for one of its most senior operatives, Ali Aswad al-Jiburi, much better known as Abu Ayman al-Iraqi, who had been …

Posted in The Orton Report
September 9, 2017

Syria’s Regime Conducted the Khan Shaykhun Chemical Attack, United Nations Concludes

After the use of chemical weapons of mass destruction (CWMD) in the Syrian town of Khan Shaykhun in April, American and French intelligence publicly assessed that the perpetrator was the regime of Bashar al-Asad, and President Donald Trump acted swiftly …

Posted in The Orton Report
September 8, 2017

Coalition Kills Two Islamic State Weapons Engineers in Syria

The U.S.-led international coalition launched airstrikes into eastern Syria on 4 September 2017 that killed “two senior ISIS leaders” involved in “weapons engineering activities” and the external operations wing of the Islamic State (IS or ISIS), according to a statement …

Posted in The Orton Report
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