On Saturday, 06 May 2017 starts yet another effort to stop some of the carnage in Syria – the establishment of four what the Russians are calling “de-escalation” zones, a variation of no-fly zones.
Levant & Mesopotamia
Most of the states in the regions of West Asia and North Africa have failed in nation building processes. Failure of state systems and lack of national identity have led to catastrophic dilemmas in the region, one of which is the emergence of ISIS (Islamic State in Syria and Iraq). While similar dilemmas could re-emerge in the region, especially Iraq, it becomes vital to ask if there is a detectable pattern, in which terrorist groups like ISIS thrive.
Desperate Syrian refugees in Lebanon are having to sell their body organs to support themselves and their families, an investigation into organ trafficking revealed earlier this week.
Lebanon’s president, Michel Aoun, is a fervent Hezbollah supporter; Lebanon’s prime minister, Saad Hariri, most certainly is not. Hariri’s position is scarcely surprising, since he has every reason to believe that back in 2005 his father, Rafik, was brutally assassinated by Hezbollah operatives, acting on the orders of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad.
That the United States launched 59 missiles targeting an Assad military base in Syria after the chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun remains a chance for eradicating militants’ sphere of influence across Syria. In other words, decreasing Assad’s power on the ground increases an onset for a serious political solution for the Syrian conflict.
“Kill or be killed.” This is Bashar Assad’s bitter dichotomy. While the Assad regime has lost tens of thousands of soldiers, tens of thousands more have been forced to fight in the army alongside Assad’s foreign fighters and militias. Many others, however, choose to flee.
As the Syrian Army consolidates its gains following its success in retaking the city of Aleppo, it is slowly turning its attention to Idlib Governorate, the next major stronghold of the various opposition groups. Idlib has become the new centre of the Syrian revolution.
Having won the two times popular vote in 1991 and 2005 elections, the PUK is now becoming the third largest party in Kurdistan region. Lack of vision as well as dominance of personal interests at the expense of the party’s led to the emergence of the KDP as a decisive force. The PUK still has the potential to rise and become a key player in the game, but it requires a strong leadership and clear policies, two components the party is still missing. These missing components and intra-conflicts made the PUK adopt controversially inconsistent policies compared to its rival the KDP.
Six years into war in Syria have proven again and again that it is the worst man-made catastrophe in modern history. According to UN records, more than 400,000 people have died, more than one million injured, while over 10 million have been displaced, triggering a global refugee crisis in neighbouring countries and overseas.
The life cycle of many enterprises can best be described as a parabola – an arch-like curve, like an object thrown high in the air which falls back to earth. From a slow start they often gain considerable momentum, reach an apogee, and then decline. Is the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement following this pattern? Born in 2005, it grew rapidly in influence, penetrating university campuses across the free world, local governments, trade unions, churches, and even supermarkets and concert halls. It reached what seemed like a high point in 2015, a decade after it began. Since then…