A new non-Arab important actor may soon appear on the Middle East map after the Islamic State (IS) group is driven out of the Iraqi city of Mosul. The separation of the Kurdish Autonomous Region from Iraq increasingly appears to be a matter of when, not if. A move known to be coming for such a long time is expected to take place this year with the United Nations oversight making it legitimate.
President Trump says he has no plans to enter Syria, despite ordering airstrikes on a Syrian military base last week. «We’re not going into Syria», Trump told Maria Bartiromo during an exclusive interview on FOX Business. «But when I see people using horrible, horrible chemical weapons… and see these beautiful kids that are dead in their father's arms, or you see kids gasping for life … when you see that, I immediately called General Mattis».
“Stay on the path”, our companions remind us every few minutes as we pick our way along streets made nearly impassible by piles of rubble, tangled wire, chunks of metal and indeterminate mountains of debris, all of it swimming in the mud of intermittent downpours. “And don’t step through any doorways. And don’t go into any houses.”
The Islamic State is likely to be forced out of Mosul and Raqqa. Yet many of the conditions that led to its emergence in the first place still remain. Military force is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for defeating ISIS. However, the proposal that we partition Iraq along sectarian lines will not solve the problem. It is a dangerous idea that is brought up every time we face an ethnic civil war in the Middle East. Joe Biden endorsed it in 2006 . If pursued, it will make Iraq’s problems worse, allow Iran’s influence to grow in Baghdad and exacerbate regional tensions. It is time that we discarded it once and for all.
Iraqi Kurdistan has asked Russia for military and humanitarian aid. The request was made by Falah Mustafa Bakir, the head of the foreign department of Kurdistan’s Regional Government (KRG), after his visit to Moscow on November 1 to hold talks with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister and Special Presidential Representative for the Middle East and North Africa Mikhail Bogdanov...
Turkish jets pounded US-backed Syrian Kurdish-led forces during the early hours of Oct. 20 in an apparent attempt to prevent them from establishing a long-coveted corridor to link up territories under their control in northern Syria. The Turkish attacks follow sustained threats from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to take further action against the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which are closely linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
The bizarrely intertwined events of the Syrian conflict are suddenly playing out in a less than logical manner, but in fact this big reversal for the Kurds - who make up about 10% of Syria’s population - is no surprise. Although they’ve not lost a single battle and have made real gains in their fight against the Islamic State (IS), they have suddenly found themselves forced to abandon the vast swaths of the territory they had liberated east of the Euphrates...
Turkey could make «radical decisions» and suspend all of its agreements with the European Union, warned Yigit Bulut, an advisor on economy to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. «Let them continue to apply double standards, let them continue not keeping promises made to Turkish citizens», he said, «But they should know that Turkey will make very radical decisions very soon as long as they maintain their attitude»...
While Turkey and the EU were reaching their agreement, the Turkish army and security forces were dramatically ramping up their activity in the country’s southeast...
Russia’s decision to greatly reduce its military presence in Syria, coming as it did with little warning, has left the world struggling for explanations. Russia is to maintain a military presence at its naval base in Tartous and at the Khmeymim airbase. In fact Russia is “withdrawing without withdrawing”.