Levant & Mesopotamia

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Syria – Would Bashar Al – Assad Use Chemical Weapons Again?

On 26 June 2017, the White House released a statement indicating that the Syrians may be making preparations for another chemical weapons attack, specifically an air attack from Sha’yrat air base, the same base from which the April 4 chemical weapons attack in Khan Shaykhun (Idlib province) was launched. 

Dahlan

Gulf Crisis Opens Door to Power Shift in Palestine

With attention in the Middle East focussed on the Gulf crisis, the United Arab Emirates is elsewhere seeking to reshape the region in ways that could alter its power dynamics. The UAE’s latest effort concentrates on clipping the wings of Hamas and installing its own man in the Gaza Strip in a move that would likely strengthen cooperation with Israel, potentially facilitate an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, and take the Jewish state’s increasingly close ties to the Gulf state out of the shadows.

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FILE PHOTO: Kurdish Peshmerga forces celebrate Newroz Day, a festival marking spring and the new year, in Kirkuk

Systematic Oppression of Kurdish Society in Iraq between 1925 and 2003

“Various Iraqi governments employed brutal methods against the Kurds: Denial of Kurdish identity, de-Kurdification, oppression, the creation of security belts, transfer of population, and, in some cases, even ethnic cleansing.” Introduction For the greater part of the twentieth century, the Kurdish society of Iraq had been systematically oppressed by the Sunni Arab political leaders, who attempted to embed a homogenous Sunni Iraqi identity. This process of marginalization of the Kurdish identity started with the creation of the Iraqi state in 1921 and persisted until the overthrow of Saddam’s regime by US-led coalition forces in 2003. The main question here is: Why did…
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Referendum in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq: Right Choice?

The phenomenon of the Islamic State (ISIS) has deepened and worsened the instability and tensions among states in the Middle East. According to some political observers, the spread of ISIS in Syria and Iraq will transform the current political landscape of the Middle East. Today, the Kurds in both countries play a significant role all through this process. They have established strong relations with global powers so as to counter terrorism, while defending their position from ISIS attacks ever since their beginning in June 2015.

An Iraqi army uniform lies close to the Kukjali checkpoint, some 10km east of Mosul.

ISIS and Sectarian Authoritarianism in Iraq

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.

Hezbollah Lebanon

Hezbollah and the balance of power in Lebanon

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.

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