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"Assad is in a position of strength heading into the talks.

How does Saudi Arabia undermine its own position by escalating the conflict with Iran and working to bring Qatar forcefully into compliance? While Saudi Arabia, through its security relationship with the United States, derives many military advantages over Iran, much of Saudi Arabia’s political strength in the region comes from the kingdom’s strong position within the Arab world. But the Arab order has become particularly fragile due to the corrosiveness of the civil wars in Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yeme

What is incubating in Syria right now within the Sunni opposition to President Bashar al-Assad is a metaphor for how divisions between Arab countries pose a greater threat to Saudi Arabia than the challenge from Iran. In contrast to the disciplined, tightly consolidated, Iran-led Shia coalition supporting the Syrian government, the Sunni opposition is highly fragmented. Hundreds of different opposition groups, ranging from jihadist militant groups like the al Qaeda’s Syria affiliate, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham

“All the conditions are in place for the final stage of defeating Isis in ,” said Lt Gen Alexander Lapin, standing amid heavy security outside the building of a former Isis sharia court, adorned with the extremist group’s black-and-white logo. “I can promise you that no Isis terrorist will ever set foot in this town again.”The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimates that the Assad government currently controls 48% of Syrian territory, indicating that even after the final defeat

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