Tag Archives: United States

How to End Syria’s Sieges

Heart-rending images come out of the Syrian war with such regularity that one would almost be forgiven for becoming inured to their horror. This is how global callousness sets in, and there are reasons for it.

But a series of photographs which were propagated last month challenged this collective emotional hardness. They documented the young life of Sahar Dofdaa, a terribly emaciated infant born in East Ghouta, which has been under siege by forces loyal to the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since 2012. Continue reading

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Defeating Daesh?

Despite the rhetoric, the campaign against the Islamic State group (IS) is not over. The international coalition is sounding almost triumphalist, giving developments a sunny gloss and frequently repeating claim that it is ‘defeating Daesh’.

This is true in a way, and success in one aspect – the protracted war which has pushed IS out of many cities and towns in Syria and Iraq – cannot be denied. Continue reading

Iraqi Kurds See Fortunes Reversed after Referendum

In less than a month the for­tunes of Iraqi Kurdistan, its leaders and inhabitants have reversed.

Iraqi Kurds voted over­whelmingly in favour of independence and optimism appeared to reign. The referendum, however, brought complications and immediate repercussions and illuminated systemic problems within the Kurdistan Regional Gov­ernment (KRG), including political and economic dysfunction and general social malaise. Continue reading

Without Isil to Unify against, There Is Little to Hold Iraq and Syria’s Factions Together

The battle for Raqqa has been declared won. The eastern Syrian city, once de facto capital of Isil’s self-proclaimed caliphate, has been captured by the primarily Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Continue reading

Kirkuk Has Already Exposed Trump’s Incoherent Iran Strategy

Just days ago, Donald Trump announced that the US Treasury would designate the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which comprises the defenders of the Iranian revolution, a terrorist organisation. Continue reading

Kurdistan’s Secession from Iraq Is Not a Done Deal

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

Officially Incompetent

Western politicians failed in their response to the Arab Spring. National leaders saw and saluted the emergence of pro-democracy protests in 2011, but they did little more. When they acted, as in Libya, Western leaders did too little and thought not at all about the future; when they did not act, in Syria most notably, they ushered in a state of affairs where war crimes go unpunished, and dictators engaged in mass murder need fear no redress. Continue reading