Eye on ISIS Weekly Update

Isis in Action

No relevant developments.

Western Response

This week the UN Libya Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) selected a new transitional executive authority which was publicly accepted by Libya’s key stakeholders and the international community.

On 2 February, UN published its Panel of Experts report on Sudan which included details of the UAE’s involvement with the Libya National Army (LNA) and Darfuri rebel groups in Libya. According to the report, UAE military officers established direct relations with the main Darfurian movements in Libya, regularly meeting the movements’ commanders in Benghazi.

On 4 February, according to Agence France-Presse, the UN Security Council (UNSC) instructed UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to deploy international monitors in Libya. The UNSC requested that an advance team is sent to the country, and that a report is provided within 45 days on a proposal to amend the mandate of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL). The advance team is expected to comprise around 30 individuals.

Ethiopia-Sudan Border Dispute Raises Stakes for Security in the Horn

The crisis in Ethiopia’s Tigray region continues to demand international attention and action to remove barriers to the delivery of desperately needed humanitarian assistance; in a volatile and strategically important region, there is no more urgent priority. Yet at the same time, the international community must find the bandwidth and will to prevent tensions on the Ethiopia-Sudan border from escalating, threatening to make an already difficult situation far worse.

Assad says Syria Open to Peace Talks Once She Retrieves its Occupied Territories

In an interview with a Russian media outlet, President Assad has said that Syria will not enter peace negotiations with Israel, unless it returns occupied lands writes SANA.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said during an interview aired on Thursday that regaining occupied Syrian territories is the major precondition for peace negotiations with Israel.

Assad made the remarks during an interview with Russia’s Rossiya Segodnya news agency.

Syria can establish normal relations with Israel “only when we regain our land,” he stressed.

However, “we have seen no Israeli official who is ready to move one step forward towards peace,” the Syrian president said.

Eye On ISIS In Libya

Isis in Action

No relevant developments.

Western Response

This week was marked by movements from the UN to form a Libyan monitoring group for deployment to central Libya to safeguard the 5+5 ceasefire arrangements, along with attempts to reinvigorate the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF).

On 29 December, the Turkish Ministry of Defence announced that it had begun a six-week programme in which it would provide underwater warfare training to the Government of National Accord’s (GNA’s) naval forces.

Eye On ISIS In Libya

ISIS In Action

No relevant developments.

Western Response

On 25 November, the United States unilaterally blacklisted the Kaniyat militia, freezing its assets and prohibiting Americans from doing business with the militia or its leadership through the Congressional legislation known as the Global Magnitsky Act. The move came in response to alleged human rights violations by the militia and its leader, Mohammed al-Kani, and followed a move by Russia the previous week to block the United Nations Security Council (UNSC)’s Sanctions Committee from imposing sanctions on the group.

Russia Analytical Report, Nov. 2-9, 2020

This Week’s Highlights

While European officials hope U.S. President-elect Joe Biden will soften America’s tone with traditional allies, senior Western officials in the U.S. capital are braced for an abrasive change when it comes to U.S.-Russia relations, the Financial Times reports. “We expect a massive toughening of the stance towards Russia,” a high-ranking Western diplomat in Washington told the Financial Times. “There is a hatred for Russia amongst [Biden’s team] that is really amazing. It’s not just rational; it’s also very emotional.”

Between the Coalition, ISIS, and Assad: Courting the Tribes of Deir ez-Zor


Regaining the tribal loyalty lost in the first years of the Syrian Revolution was an inevitable step in the regime’s eastern offensives. During the first half of the war, managing the weakened and fractured tribes, particularly in Deir ez-Zor, seemed to be a low priority. However, the rise of ISIS in central Syria in 2014 proved an opportunity for Damascus, eliminating “third way” options and forcing tribesmen to choose between Bashar al-Assad and ISIS. This led to the first large movement of opposition tribal factions back to Assad’s camp. By the time Damascus launched its 2017 central Syria campaign, the regime’s intelligence agencies had successfully re-integrated significant portions of tribes from Homs, Raqqa, and Deir ez-Zor, forming loyalist militias under the command of long-loyal tribal leaders.

Global Migration Is Not Abating. Neither Is the Backlash Against It

The Migrant Crisis of 2015 has abated, but European nativist and populist parties continue to attempt to stoke the popular backlash against immigrants to fuel their rise.

Italy’s Matteo Salvini, the golden boy of Europe’s anti-immigrant populists, even rode the issue into government last year, before marginalizing himself with a bid to force early elections and, more recently, misplaying the politics of the COVID-19 crisis.

Fleshing Out the Libya Ceasefire Agreement

Though overdue, the 23 October Libya ceasefire deal is worthy of applause. With help from the UN and their foreign backers, the warring parties should now close the loopholes in the agreement’s text, lest rival interpretations derail movement toward peace.