Author Archive

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

Council on Foreign Relations

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
Gayle Tzemach Lemmon is a regular contributor to Defense One. Lemmon is the author of Ashley's War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield and an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Ideas

The Mothers Who Fled the Turkish Incursion

Attacks by Turkish-backed forces shattered a hard-won pseudo-normalcy for Syrian women who had lived under ISIS.

Ideas

Syrian Women Helped Find Baghdadi, Beat ISIS, Will Face ‘Tough Time’ Ahead, Leader Says

'We will continue our resistance and our struggle,' says the head of the all-women’s YPJ, in a rare interview.

Threats

Top SDF Commander: Turkey Blocking Kurds’ Retreat; Urges Trump to ‘Stop This War’

“I am asking President Trump right now to fulfill his promise to us and stop this war,” Mazlum Abdi told Defense One by phone.

Ideas

The Syrian Democratic Forces Chief Just Called Me. Here’s What He Said.

“This is going to jeopardize all the achievements we've made with the coalition against ISIS,” said Mazlum Abdi.

Threats

ISIS Is Not Defeated. Pulling US Troops From Syria Would Jeopardize Everything

I just returned from my fifth trip to Northeast Syria in 18 months. If the US quits now, there are four winners: ISIS, Assad, Russia, and Iran.

Ideas

Women Rise as Raqqa Rebuilds Without the World’s Help

Local women and local security are reawakening the Syrian city, with few Americans in sight.

Ideas

Arab Women in Syria, Inspired by Kurdish Sisters, Join the Fight — and the Movement

"There is no difference between us and them, we are both women. What is really important now is women are having a role."

Ideas

Inside The World's Most Radical Experiment in Women’s Rights

The women’s movement in northern Syria is more like a women’s earthquake, in politics, governance, and the region's security.

Ideas

Four New Questions For Trump on Syria

The ISIS fight is nearly over, military leaders say. Is the United States ready to lead what happens next?

Threats

‘I Want to Finish This’: US Special Ops Leaders Urge Washington to Stick by the Syrian Kurds

Commanders inside Syria say rebels are doing all they hoped for — and are the best shot to break the region's cycle of terrorism.

Ideas

The Next Battle: State Department, US Military Divided Over Kurdish Fighters In Syria (And Russia)

Frustrated sources on the ground say the State Department is struggling to get behind the Syrian Kurds and the U.S. military would struggle to proceed without them. As for Russia, well...

Ideas

Calm Your Russia War Drums Over This ‘Deconfliction Line’

Yes, the fight is hotter. But we were told this was coming, US and Russian leaders are deconflicting aplenty, and nobody wants war.

Ideas

Mattis’s Afghanistan War Plan: Be Patient, Convince Everyone

Roll back the Taliban. Tackle ISIS. Win over Washington. Build Afghan forces. Seek support from the American public. Sound familiar?

Ideas

The Longest War Fades Even at NATO

Cameras focused on Trump, but war commanders in Afghanistan wanted more troops from NATO, not promises.

Ideas

And So It Begins: Trump, Syria, and The Lessons of Iraq

With recent 'warning shot' at Assad, the US is trying to avoid escalation in Syria, not stoke it, sources say.

Ideas

So Trump Is Arming Kurds...Then What?

Trump’s latest decision orders more US military intervention than Obama wanted. The more Americans and allies fight this war, the more they deserve a plan for the peace.

Ideas

How Will Trump Get Us From Tomahawks to the Peace Table?

Trump called for an end to Syrian bloodshed. Tillerson was unprepared in Moscow to say how. But all roads still lead through Geneva.

Ideas

‘It Was High Time’

The right move, if the wrong president, for Obama's internal critics who wanted air strikes in Syria for three years.

Ideas

The Marine Photo Scandal and the Cost of Indifference

Americans may finally be ready to confront the dehumanizing horrors facing women service members.

Ideas

Three Lingering Questions For Trump's New Plan to Fight ISIS

If Trump sends more American boots to Syria, who will fight alongside them, and — stiil — what comes next?