2016 Year in Review

Al-Monitor's Year in Review highlights the events and trends that have shaped the Middle East in 2016.

A Free Syrian army fighter sits on a pick-up truck mounted with a weapon, as the supermoon partly covered by clouds is seen in the background, in the west of the rebel-held town of Dael, in Deraa Governorate, Syria November 14, 2016 (photo by Reuters/Alaa Al-Faqir).

2016-01-05 23:00:00

How the Saudi-Iranian crisis affects the region

As relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran reach their worst levels yet, the US, Russia and the EU work to avoid spillover to other countries.

2016-01-19 00:00:00

Why the world questions Turkey's stance on the Islamic State

Reasons are mounting to doubt Turkey's dedication to battling the Islamic State.

2016-01-19 23:00:00

Khamenei doubts US commitment to nuclear deal

As nuclear deal implementation begins, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warns that the United States may not live up to its obligations.

2016-02-01 00:00:00

How the Islamic State is seeping through the Syria-Turkey border

Despite new security measures, including walls, Islamic State traffic through the Turkey-Syria border has not stopped.

2016-02-02 12:00:00

Turkey nears military confrontation with Russia

Leading military analysts say Putin is trying to draw Ankara into a fight that could have disastrous results for Turkey.

2016-02-04 23:00:00

Russian air strike hits Aleppo schools

A firsthand account of an airstrike on an Aleppo school.

2016-02-05 00:00:00

Syrian regime's seizure of Sheikh Miskin could be tipping point in Syria

Aided by Russian air cover, the Syrian regime retook Sheikh Miskin and advanced on other fronts, likely affecting the Geneva III talks.

2016-02-09 12:00:00

Turks ponder whether Erdogan will invade Syria

The unhappy Turkish president has many factors to consider if he is contemplating military intervention in Syria.

2016-02-12 23:00:00

How to keep the Islamic State in check in Libya

The international community hopes the new Libya government can bring together militias in an coordinated effort against Islamic State fighters.

2016-02-16 22:00:00

Are latest war games just a face-saver for Riyadh?

Saudi Arabia's military exercises could have a very different purpose than deterring Iran, their official aim.

2016-02-16 23:00:00

Turkey ups the ante in Syria

Turkey's shelling of YPG positions in Syria is fueling animosity between Ankara and Moscow, as well as causing fresh tensions with the United States.

2016-02-19 00:00:00

Why the US really bombed Libya

Does the strike on a neighboring terrorist haven signal a new commitment to the Arab Spring’s golden child Tunisia?

2016-02-29 00:00:00

Libyan government amd parliament enter into standoff

Libya's Government of National Accord is yet to get a vote of confidence by the House of Representatives.

2016-02-29 12:00:00

How the nuclear deal's failings fuel anti-Western sentiment in Iran

In what Iranian officials see as the absence of implementation of the nuclear deal, the factors that could reignite anti-US sentiment appear to exist.

2016-03-01 05:00:00

TIMELINE: Key officials reflect on US policy in Syria

In this interactive timeline, US lawmakers and former administration officials open up about their failure to prevent disaster in Syria.

2016-03-01 23:00:00

Another Hamas-Fatah reconciliation agreement bites the dust

The latest meetings in Doha to promote the reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas may have failed due to Egypt.

2016-03-11 05:00:00

After seizing of Zaman newspaper, all Turkish media under threat

Not just a few newspapers like Zaman, but the entire Turkish media is under threat by the current regime in Turkey.

2016-03-17 20:00:00

Erdogan vows to punish thought crimes

By introducing the concept of "unarmed terrorists," Turkey’s president is resurrecting the old concept of "thought crime" that he used to oppose.

2016-03-28 04:00:00

How Syrian Kurdish self-rule plans to succeed

Syrian Kurds believe their proposed self-rule system will work in predominantly Kurdish-populated areas, but will face stiff opposition elsewhere.

2016-04-03 15:50:35

Front lines shift in northern Syria

FSA factions and Syrian Democratic Forces launch offensives indicating an imminent offensive against IS.

2016-04-11 04:00:00

April showers bring growing violence in southeast Turkey

Both the Turkish government and the Kurdistan Workers Party are feverishly preparing for expected heavy clashes in the spring.

2016-04-26 03:00:00

Saudis refine blueprint for a post-oil economy

Establishment of the Public Investment Fund to diversify Saudi Arabia's income sources must be coupled with a strategy to achieve the country's goals.

2016-05-05 00:00:00

Turkey finally gets serious about the Islamic State

The Islamic State seems determined to open a front in Turkey, militarizing its operations there and forcing Ankara to respond in kind.

2016-05-05 23:00:00

The Davutoglu era is over

He is destined to be remembered as the architect of Turkey’s unprecedented failures in foreign policy.

2016-05-13 00:00:00

Despite Arab, US attacks, al-Qaeda still holding out in Yemen

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula withdrew from its base in Mukalla, but with 20 years of investment in Yemen, the group is unlikely to be defeated.

2016-05-16 23:00:00

Islamic State's Sinai branch changes strategy

The Egyptian military's crackdown on terrorist operations in the Sinai Peninsula forced the Islamic State's Wilayat Sinai to target civilians.

2016-05-26 00:00:00

US, Kurds will clear path toward Raqqa, with or without Turkey

Because of Turkey's objections to Kurdish involvement, operational plans against the Islamic State keep changing.

2016-05-31 23:00:00

Turkey faces multiple dilemmas in Syria

Ankara’s Kurdish phobia underlies its inability to come up with realistic strategies that will also serve its own long-term security interests.

2016-06-09 00:00:00

Russian, Syrian defense ministers arrive in Tehran for 'strategic meeting'

The defense ministers of Russia, Syria and Iran met in Tehran to discuss the latest regional developments and methods to "fight terrorism."

2016-06-15 18:00:00

Obama administration lays out $56 million plan for Libya

The United States is boosting its commitment to the new coalition government in Libya.

2016-06-24 00:00:00

How the next US president will manage the Iran nuclear deal

Sen. Chris Coons says it's critical to forge new relationships between US and Iranian officials to ensure smooth implementation of the nuclear deal.

2016-06-30 00:00:00

Turkey finally makes nice with Russia

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s apology appears to have broken the ice with Russia, but the relationship still needs time to thaw.

2016-06-30 12:00:00

What Istanbul airport attack means for Turkey's Syria policy

The Islamic State terrorist attack at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport needs closer analysis for its regional implications.

2016-07-01 23:59:59

Why Hamas resumed ties with Iran

Due to its financial crisis and need for military support, Hamas has resumed relations with Iran.

2016-07-06 15:00:00

How the nuclear deal has cooled Iran-US cyberwar

Once-threatening cyberattacks between the United States and Iran appear to have slowed since the countries reached a nuclear pact.

2016-07-12 00:00:00

One year later, Rouhani still selling nuclear deal to Iranians

Iranian officials are still urging patience in seeing the full results of the comprehensive nuclear deal.

2016-07-20 00:00:00

How Turkey's coup failed

The actions of Hakan Fidan, the director of the National Intelligence Organization, forced coup plotters to alter their plans, dooming their attempt.

2016-07-21 06:00:00

Turkish court documents reveal new details about IS operations

Official correspondence sent to courts in Diyarbakir has exposed aspects of the Islamic State's human resources, intelligence methods and logistics.

2016-07-28 04:00:00

Saudi Arabia reaches out to Israel

A retired Saudi general's visit to Israel shows Riyadh's willingness to explore normalization in return for advancing the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative.

2016-08-03 00:00:00

Rouhani echoes Khamenei's mistrust of US as nuclear deal grumbles persist

The Iranian leaders agree that had the nuclear deal been well implemented, Iran would be open to negotiation with the US on other issues.

2016-08-07 12:00:00

Saudi Arabia reaches moment of truth in Yemen

Saudi King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud has three options to choose from on Yemen, none of them good.

2016-08-12 08:00:00

How Islamic State is trying to lure Kurds to its ranks

The Islamic State released a video in which militants refer to prominent Kurdish leaders in a bid to recruit Kurds.

2016-08-14 16:00:00

Russia-Turkey rapprochement finds its limits

Russia and Turkey have made strides in improving their ties, but the relationship will need more than a successful summit to address its weaknesses.

2016-08-17 06:00:00

How Yemen plans to dry up Houthis' funding

Yemen is making major changes in its fiscal operations, hoping to get back revenue sources it says are being hijacked by Houthi rebels.

2016-08-18 22:00:00

Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units visit Beirut

A leader of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) talks to Al-Monitor about secret meetings between a Western delegation and PMU leadership.

2016-08-22 12:00:00

Ankara, Damascus see common Kurdish threat in Syria

Speculation about a deal between Turkey and the Syrian government has intensified after Syrian fighter jets bombed Kurdish targets in Hasakah.

2016-08-25 23:00:00

Turkey invades Syria

Many observers think Turkey's true goal in entering Syria is to prevent the Kurds from dominating northern Syria, not to fight the Islamic State.

2016-09-01 23:00:00

Syria's fate suspended in endless battle for Aleppo

The outcome of the battle for Aleppo will affect Geneva truce talks and the players in a wider Syria deal, which is why the fire continues to rage.

2016-09-12 00:00:00

Kurds become new target of Turkey’s post-coup purges

Ankara’s crackdown on the Gulen community is now moving in a new direction, targeting Kurds accused of collaborating with PKK militants.

2016-09-16 00:00:00

Post-coup purges deplete Turkey's military

New data shows that recent military purges by the Turkish government have adversely affected the combat strength of the Turkish Armed Forces.

2016 Year in Review

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