Israel, Syria, Iran, Turkey

Jonathan Spyer: Israel, Syria, Iran. 'The title is hyperbolic and not mine,' cautions Jonathan in a social media post, but it is true that Israel and Iran are headed for a direct confrontation, with Syria being the battlefield. The Iranian regime seeks to form a land bridge through Syria (which scarcely exists as a state today) in order to attack Israel directly. (They currently do this through proxy militias like Hezbollah.) The rise of Daesh (Islamic State) temporarily put these plans on hold, but with that distraction soon to be out of the way ("the period of Arab unrest in 2010, during which Islamist and Salafi forces, seemed briefly ascendant, is now a spent force," writes Spyer) the situation resembles the pre-2010 picture - but now with the additional factor of a strong Russian presence.

Al-Monitor: Putin, Erdogan pleased after Ankara meeting. Al-Monitor's Yekaterina Chulkovskaya writes that the Russian and Turkish leaders seemed satisfied with the outcome of last week's meeting in Ankara. Significantly, other participants in the meeting included Russian leaders representing the Energy Ministry, Gazprom, and Rosatom. While it's not clear whether all the issues announced ahead of time on the agenda were discussed (Russian S-400s, for example), it did stress energy cooperation, Syria policy - and the recent Kurdish independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan.