At this very moment across the world, analysts, journalists, policymakers and ordinary people are identifying sensitive military sites. They are doing so from their own homes and offices, thanks to an unintended consequence of the proliferation of wearable fitness technology. Continue reading
In some ways the Islamic State (ISIS) seemed to be a perfect enemy. Its initial success was so shocking, its modus operandi so brutal, that it focused minds across the world. The creation of a violent, theocratic statelet threatened not only the innocents within its areas of operation, but by implication every state. ISIS seemed a common enemy par excellence. Continue reading
Last week, forces allied to Turkey began an operation intended to wrest control of Afrin from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
This attack, comprising Turkish forces and allied Syrian rebel groups, had been hinted at extensively. It follows other recent Turkish operations inside Syria, including the Euphrates Shield campaign, in which Turkish forces and allied Free Syrian Army (FSA) units captured large amounts of territory from the Islamic State group (IS), and a Turkish-led move into Idlib last year. Continue reading
Syria’s civil conflict is not over, or even nearly over, but some of its participants are keen that this perception travels. They hope it becomes commonly-held. The regime of Bashar al-Assad and its Russian allies are busy pretending the war is winding down and that they have won. Assad himself met the Russian president Vladimir Putin in Sochi last month in the simulation of a victory lap. Continue reading
An earthquake of 7.3 magnitude struck Iraq and Iran on November 12. It began in the Iraqi area of Halabja but its tremors were felt across the Middle East and its effects were extensive. Continue reading
Iraq’s Kurds have voted overwhelmingly to become independent. More than 90 per cent of those who voted backed secession. This confident margin of victory does not translate into international confidence. The United States repeatedly attempted to dissuade the leaders of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) from having the referendum at all. Continue reading
There is no clear end to the Syrian war in sight.
Everything is in a state of motion. Nothing is fixed, and amid this confusion and volatility, much can still happen. Such ambiguity benefits foreign forces, many of whom feel it is in their power to change the shape of the war, or at least to pursue their narrow national interests within Syria. Continue reading