Syria’s Reality: A View from Amman

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Smoke rises in Raqqa, Syria.

With increasingly confusing statements and actions from the White House and the Pentagon on U.S. policy toward Syria, The Cipher Brief presented a live briefing from Amman, Jordan with Cipher Brief Expert and former CIA Chief of Middle East operations, Robert Richer during the 2018 Threat Conference.  Richer talked about the perspective of local actors and how U.S. statements and actions are being interpreted on the ground.  The briefing has been adapted for print below.

The biggest perception in the Middle East and specifically here in Jordan, is this inability to understand what U.S. policy is. That inability translates into concern for everything from instability to next steps to long-term commitments. Some of the recent pronouncements– i.e. whether the U.S. is going to withdraw troops, keep troops or keep troops in play–have gotten people in Jordan on edge. There are close to 100,000 refugees right across the border, looking for a place to go, and Jordan does not believe they can accept them at this point based on their population.

The Cipher Brief has become the most popular outlet for former intelligence officers; no media outlet is even a close second to The Cipher Brief in terms of the number of articles published by formers.” —Sept. 2018, Studies in Intelligence, Vol. 62

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