As the world powers are busy carving up Syria’s new boundaries in Geneva and Sochi, a countless number of new lives and their future is not taken on priority.
Levant & Mesopotamia
There is little doubt that the super-power in the Syrian situation is Russia, and that – despite recent US efforts to bolster the UN’s Geneva peace-seeking initiative – the final settlement, whenever it comes about, will provide Russian President Vladimir Putin with the major political advantages in the region that he is seeking.
A little noticed subtext to furious protests across the Middle East and North Africa against US President Donald J. Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is simmering anger at Arab governments.
President Trump’s announcement on December 6th that, “It is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” and that he is “directing the State Department to begin preparation to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” will hurt both Israeli and U.S. strategic interests. Two critical problems: It damages Israel and U.S. interests by seriously irritating the Arab world, and it gives Iran, the Hezbollah, and Russia the opportunity to exploit this anger and the divisions.
Kurdistan Conflict and Crisis Research Center (KCCRC), a partner of Mashreq Politics & Culture Journal hosted Ahmed Haji Rasheed, Iraqi MP and Head of Parliament financial Committee on 8th November 2017. Below you will find the transcript and a summary of an interview with Mr Haji Rasheed and the most important questions and answers, as it was prepared by the MPC Journal’s partner KCCRC.
According to media reports, the Trump Administration is exploring options to maintain an American military presence on the ground in northern Syria after the expulsion of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
There may be a silver but risky lining for Kurdish nationalists in their devastating loss of Kirkuk and other cities on the periphery of their semi-autonomous region as they lick their wounds and vent anger over deep-seated internal divisions that facilitated the Iranian-backed Iraqi blitzkrieg. Mounting popular anger coupled with US Congressional fury could, however, position the Kurds as a key player in potential US efforts to roll back Iranian influence in Iraq and counter the Islamic republic as part of President Donald J. Trump’s tougher approach towards the Islamic republic.
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.
The wealth of cultural sites strewn throughout present day Syria and Iraq bear ample witness to the fact that this area was once revered as the cradle of civilisation – sadly, many of these sites have fallen victim to war, violence and looting.