Levant & Mesopotamia

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.

Fatemiyoun Brigade, an Afghan Shia militia, in Palmyra in Dec. 2016 (Photo- Tasnim)

Nexus Between Waning Regime’s Power and Influence of Militants In Syria

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.

Members of Syria's government military police stand guard as men who were evacuated from the eastern districts of Aleppo are prepared to begin military service. (Reuters/Omar Sanadiki)

Compulsory Military Conscription in Syria Drives Many Males into Exile

“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.

Russian Air Force Sukhoi SU-25 attack aircraft

Idlib Governorate – Next Syrian Offensive

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.

Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) supporters at a party rally. Masoud Barzani, the party's leader and the President of Iraqi Kurdistan, is featured on a banner behind the supporters. © Ivor Prickett/PANOS / LUZ

Double Standard of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan

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.

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Syrian Children Remain World Leftovers

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. 

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Is BDS Winning?

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…
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Peshmerga Forces Between Unification and Division

As one of the oldest armed forces in Iraq, Peshmerga dates back to the early 20th century, although its paramilitary roots had arisen in the late 19th century. The Peshmerga forces initially formed among Kurdish tribes in northern Iraq and are now a part of the Iraqi defence system. However, among others political crises and lack of trust remain obstacles to the unification of Peshmerga forces. During much of the late 20th century, the Peshmerga used guerrilla tactics in their war against Iraqi forces. Some Peshmerga forces led by Mustafa Barzani, the previous leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), while others were…
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