Middle East

Expert Voices

Spree of cyberattacks highlights digital vulnerabilities in the Gulf

computer with colored lines beaming in and out
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

An increase in cyberattacks across the Persian Gulf has underscored the region's rising geopolitical tensions and cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

The big picture: Government agencies, critical infrastructure and flagship state-owned firms are the prime targets for these cyberattacks, many of which have been linked to Iran or its proxies. While Iran has long threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz during a military conflict, its asymmetric cyber warfare capabilities have become a key means to destabilize competitors and adversaries.

Expert Voices

Safe zone in northern Syria depends on U.S.-Turkey balancing act

soldiers on foot patrolling a town, with tanks in the background
U.S. and SDF forces on patrol in Al-Darbasiyah, in northeastern Syria. Photo: Delil Souleiman/AFP/Getty Images

The provisional agreement the U.S. and Turkey announced last week regarding security in northern Syria marks a positive step for the two NATO allies, whose priorities in the Syrian conflict have often diverged.

Why it matters: The proposed safe zone and guarantees to pull the U.S.–backed, Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces could help assuage Turkish concerns about a Kurdish insurgency while preserving the counter-ISIS campaign and critical stabilization efforts in northeastern Syria.