Levant & Mesopotamia

© REUTERS / Ahmed Jadallah

Government Formation in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq: Regulations, Scenarios and Potential Obstacles

Introduction In the Kurdistan region of Iraq (KRI) the process of government formation is not only conducted through legal regulations but also under the pressure of various political forces. Furthermore, the process must pass through numerous stages, negotiated agreements, political party rivalries and the filter of the regions dominant political actors. This impression comes from the experience gained from previous government formation processes in the region and is expected to be the same for any government formation processes going forward. Hence, the primary question of the article is: Why does the government formation process in the KRI involve avenues that…
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Where’s the Positive Thinking about Israel-Palestine?

Israel goes to the polls on Tuesday, 9 April.  Ahead of the general election, old political parties like Likud and Labor, and newly-formed ones like Israel Resilience and New Right, have been publishing their platforms – the policies on which they seek the support of voters.

Why the Iraqi City Basra Will Not Go Away - MPC Journal

Why the Iraqi City Basra Will Not Go Away

In late 2018, 100,000 people were hospitalized in Basra, Iraq over the period of a few weeks, inundating hospitals and creating a frenzy of media attention. They were poisoned by the city’s toxic water supply, which was pumped untreated after a heat wave knocked out the city’s water treatment facilities. Despite months of protests inside Basra to protest their unlivable conditions, little was accomplished: the city’s polluted water infrastructure remains under repaired and underserved even as its oil almost single-handedly funds the Iraqi state.

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Palestinian Politics in Turmoil

The struggle between Hamas and Fatah for the soul of the Palestinian people began almost from the moment that Hamas was created in 1987 as a radical off-shoot of the Muslim Brotherhood. 

aqis protest against unemployment and lack of public services in Baghdad, 27 July 2018. Picture by Ameer Al Mohammedaw/DPA/PA Images. All rights reserved.

Post-Sectarian Iraq Between Theory and Practice

Iraq arguably entered a new phase of ‘post-sectarianism’ since 2015. This was evident during the popular protests that began in the summer of 2015 and returned significantly in the summer of 2018 – when Iraqi political activism transformed from identity politics to being issue based. This showed that the protests are driven by frustration and demands for improving the poor public services and the high unemployment figures, rather than the usual politically led religious and ethnic differences. Specifically, the transition was motivated by the failure of the ethnic-sectarian political class in providing efficient public services, education, health care, security and…
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We Must Not Abandon the Kurds

One major factor behind President Trump’s decision to withdraw US special forces from Syria is the dominant position achieved by Russia, in alliance with Iran, in restoring the fortunes of Syria’s President Bashar al Assad.  Another seems to have been a telephone discussion with Turkey’s President Erdogan just before Christmas 2018.  The implications of this are worrying.

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A Palestinian Peace Option

On September 2, 2018, a delegation from Israel’s Peace Now organization travelled to Ramallah in the West Bank to discuss with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas prospects for settling the conflict. The statements that follow such meetings rarely contain anything of substance. This was an exception.

UN Security Council Meets On Jerusalem And Israeli-Palestinian Question

Trump’s Peace Plan – Hints but no Details

The world, fed hints but no details, ends 2018 with Trump’s “deal of the century” – his long-awaited Israel-Palestine peace plan – dangling tantalisingly before them. 

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Lebanon’s Sunni Tangle

As if the discovery of sophisticated Hezbollah tunnels penetrating into Israel and violating the UN truce terms was not enough of an embarrassment to the Lebanese government, the political situation is deadlocked as well.  Hezbollah is also at the centre of that débacle.  

An image grab taken from a propaganda video uploaded on June 11, 2014 by jihadist group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) allegedly shows ISIL militants gathering at an undisclosed location in Iraq's Nineveh province. (AFP Photo) © AFP

The New War: The Islamic State As a Case Study

The collapse of the bipolar international order of the Cold War period and the start of the unipolar international order under the United States has transformed the nature of military conflict around the world. After this transition, the majority of wars around the globe became civil conflicts confined within states rather than wars fought between nations. For example, in the period between 1991 and 2001, the world witnessed 57-armed conflicts. Of these 57, only three of them were between nation states with the rest being civil conflicts[1]. This phenomenon was a primary motivation for theorists of war and conflict to…
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