As far as Kurdish affairs are concerned, the world’s attention is currently focused on the independence referendum held on September 25, 2017 by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in north-eastern Iraq and that, despite considerable international pressure, there was a 92 percent vote in favour, on a 72 percent turnout. Little attention has been paid to the fact that just three days earlier, another historic Kurdish election took place in neighbouring Syria.
Author Archive: Neville Teller
António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres became Secretary-General of the United Nations on January 1, 2017. Once Portugal’s prime minister, he was UN High Commissioner for Refugees from 2005. For ten years he headed the world’s largest humanitarian organization during a period when unprecedented numbers of people fled their homes to seek safety or a better life elsewhere. He used his time in office to achieve fundamental organizational reform, cutting staff and administrative costs, while expanding the organization’s emergency response capacity during the worst displacement crisis since the Second World War.
If freedom of religious belief is a fundamental human right, then surely no people is more deserving of universal sympathy and support than the persecuted Yazidis. With a long history behind them of victimization and oppression under Ottoman rule – more than 70 genocidal massacres are on record – in recent years their maltreatment has, if anything, intensified.
Devastated after years of conflict, Syria remains a huge battlefield, the scene of at least six separate military clashes.
From early on in his bid for the presidency Donald Trump was intrigued by the possibility of brokering a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. On the campaign trail back in February 2016 he declared “I will give it one hell of a shot. I would say if you can do that deal, you can do any deal.” Later, as he earmarked his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to lead the peace-making effort, he said: “I would love to be the one who made peace with Israel and the Palestinians. That would be such a great achievement.” There is little doubt that…
Once upon a time, many thousands of years ago, a proud and independent nation lived and thrived in its own land in the heart of the Middle East. Down through the ages, although subject to many foreign invasions, this ethnically distinct people refused to be integrated with their various conquerors, but retained their individual culture. At the start of the First World War, their country was a small part of the Ottoman Empire. In shaping the future Middle East after the war the Allied powers, and in particular the United Kingdom, promised to act as guarantors of this people’s freedom….
Hands up if you know anything about IEMed, the Barcelona Process or UfM. And full marks if you can identify that IEMed stands for the European Institute of the Mediterranean, the Barcelona Process is shorthand for the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (Euromed), and UfM betokens the Union for the Mediterranean.
Ambiguities and vacillations surround many aspects of the Trump administration’s policies or lack of them, both domestic and foreign, but one element seems clear. President Donald Trump appears determined to pursue an Israeli-Palestinian accommodation, within the context of a wider US-led anti-Islamist, anti-Iran, cooperative effort involving “moderate” Middle East states including Israel. The signs that something’s afoot seem to be proliferating
When news of the latest inter-Arab feud broke on 5 June 2017, it was not the first time that Qatar’s neighbours in the Gulf had lost patience with that stand-alone kingdom. Back in January 2014 underlying tensions, brewing for years, suddenly surfaced, and Gulf states tried to induce Qatar to sign an agreement undertaking not to support extremist groups, not to interfere in the affairs of other Gulf states, and to cooperate on regional issues.
Broad goals such as “America First” and “Make America Great Again” set the tone of President Donald Trump’s administration, but viable domestic policy objectives are hard to discern. The Muslim travel ban, the Mexican wall and the healthcare reforms were challenged from the first, and as yet are not being fully implemented. Whether withdrawing from the Paris climate change treaty yields the US positive results only time will tell.