Talking Syria and the Regional Conflict

June 12, 2015 at 1:11 AM



Eric Draitser appears on the CPR News with Don DeBar (June 10, 2015) to discuss the regional context of the war in Syria.  Draitser explains the various interests involved in the war, including the active participation of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Israel along with the Western powers led by the US.  He examines how, as a response to the active intervention of Turkey and others, reports have emerged in the last week of Iranian, Iraqi and Afghan militia involvement, noting that these developments transform Syria into a true regional conflict.

Did the War in Syria Just Become a Regional War?

June 11, 2015 at 3:42 PM


There are growing indications that the war in Syria has now entered a new and dangerous phase that threatens to engulf the entire Middle East in a broad regional war. The news that Iran has sent significant numbers of Iranian, Iraqi, and Afghan troops to take active part in defense of Syria has the potential to transform the conflict into one with global implications as Iran’s key regional rivals – Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Israel – continue to support jihadi factions in their war against the government of Bashar al-Assad.

The escalation of the conflict comes in the wake of significant victories for the Al Qaeda affiliated Nusra Front, the Islamic State, and other foreign-backed terror groups in and around the major Syrian city of Idlib. As Reuters reported, sources with knowledge of internal discussions in Damascus have confirmed that the Syrian government had acknowledged strategic losses and was prepared for a lengthy and costly summer defense campaign. While undoubtedly true, there are key elements left out of the narrative of “impending collapse” and Damascus being “overpowered” by the Islamic State.

Chief among the crucial points omitted from the majority of western media coverage is the vital support that Turkey has provided, and continues to provide, to jihadi groups in Syria’s northwest. And it is quite likely that it was the direct military intervention of Turkish troops that spurred Tehran to finally sign off on a direct intervention of their own, using a combination of Iranian military and Shia militias from regional allies. Aside from Turkey though, Iran sees in Saudi Arabia and Israel two countries that have also been demonstrably providing overt and covert support to the anti-Assad extremist groups in order to further their own agendas. In this way, it seem that the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khameini has finally abandoned the cautious approach in order to provide much needed support to his ally Assad, and to maintain the Shia alliance of Hezbollah-Syria-Iran.

While the war in Syria has been dominating headlines for more than four years now, it has clearly now reached a turning point. Only by combining an understanding of the situation on the ground with the reality of the politics and competing interests, can one discern both what is happening, and where this war is going.

Continue reading the article here

Saudi Arabia’s Political Dilemma in Yemen

June 10, 2015 at 5:42 PM

Eric Draitser of appears on Al Etejah (June 6, 2015) to discuss the latest developments in Yemen. Draitser explains the precariousness of Saudi Arabia’s political position as it wages a mostly ineffective bombing campaign and resists calls for peaceful dialogue. He notes the reality on the ground makes it very difficult for Riyadh to dictate the terms of peace, and so it pushes forward with more bloodshed.

Analyzing Obama’s Comments on Putin

June 10, 2015 at 4:37 PM

Eric Draitser of provides a short commentary on recent statements from US President Obama in which he argued that Putin is “destroying his nation’s economy to recreate the Soviet Union.” Draitser argues that, aside from the obvious hypocrisy of a US president accusing another leader of imperialism, there are both personal and political motivations for such comments. With Putin having outmaneuvered Obama on everything from Ukraine and Syria to economic sanctions and the alliance with China, Obama now lashes out at Putin on a personal level.

Counterpunch Radio – Ep. 6 (Kathy Kelly)

June 8, 2015 at 2:26 PM

CP Radio logo


Click here to listen to Counterpunch Radio – Ep. 6 (Kathy Kelly)

This week, CounterPunch Radio host Eric Draitser catches up with renowned peace activist Kathy Kelly to talk about civil disobedience, the reality of the prison-industrial complex, and Kathy’s experiences in Afghanistan. The conversation touches on many of the most pressing issues of war and peace in the 21st Century, including the insidious and indescribably brutal nature of drone warfare, and the impact of nearly 15 years of war and occupation on the young people of Afghanistan. Kathy paints a vivid picture for listeners of both utter despair and incredible resilience, providing a window into both the humanity and stark reality of life in that war torn country. Eric and Kathy also break down the moribund anti-war movement in the US while discussing ways that young people can still get involved in peace work. All this and more on Episode 6 of CounterPunch Radio.