The liberation of Raqqa by the fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), backed by the military power of the Global Coalition confronting the Islamic State group (IS), was never going to be easy. Continue reading
The regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria has made dispossession and depopulation potent weapons. The regime’s war effort is a series of encirclements, sieges and surrenders.
As loyalist forces overcome enclaves of opposition, non-combatants are encouraged or induced to flee. Those who remain after defenders capitulated face movement of another kind: They are bussed cross-country to areas outside the regime’s control. Continue reading
Turkey’s recent referendum was contentious, its process fraught with problems. Many have suggested that it was illegitimate, but this is less important than the result. That result is significant. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey claimed victory in a constitutional referendum on the question of awarding him sweeping new powers. Continue reading
The city of Raqqa and its inhabitants have suffered enormously over the past half-decade. Most obviously, they have languished under the rule of the Islamic State group. Continue reading
Much is made of the foreign fighters who flock to join the ‘caliphate’ Islamic State (IS) claims to have established in Iraq and Syria.
Although many foreign fighters are from Middle Eastern and North African countries, the international focus is on those from prosperous Western nations. These people are many things: a clear and present threat to national security, something of a rebuke to the societies from which they came, and also an important puzzle. Continue reading