All posts filed under: Foreign Affairs

The Rise of ISIL: Threats and Opportunities

  How Did We Get Here? On September 10th, U.S. President Barack Obama delivered his much-anticipated address on the threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, and vaguely outlined an American strategy to “degrade and ultimately destroy” this frightening jihadist organization, which had recently beheaded two American journalists. Notwithstanding Obama’s reputation as a brilliant orator, this is surely the one speech that he never wanted to make, and that his dovish core constituency never wanted to hear. Scarcely five years after he swept into the White House on the heels of his predecessor’s disastrous War in Iraq, the President seemed poised to re-commit American armed forces to that troubled Middle Eastern country, and its even more volatile Syrian neighbour. Although originating as an obscure Sunni Muslim terrorist group that fought American forces and Iraqi Shi’a during that nation’s bloody civil war of 2006-07, ISIL first seized worldwide attention when its fighters swept across northern Iraq in early 2014, capturing predominantly Sunni Arab cities such as Mosul, Fallujah, Ramadi and Tikrit, along …

Turkey and Kurdistan: Reluctant Partners

  The widely accepted prediction by analysts and mainstream media that an independent Kurdistan will soon emerge, seldom addresses the range of implications that are yet to unfold in the region. The world is about to witness a shift in its geopolitical landscape, with very serious tremors that will be felt in all sectors – security, economy and politics. This is especially true for Turkey, which has had a difficult and often violent history with its own ethnic Kurdish population. In light of the further deterioration of stability in Iraq and the on going civil war in Syria, it will be prudent for Turkey to facilitate an open and continuous discussion with Kurds in Iraqi Kurdistan and within its own borders. It is too soon to tell what shape and form this new state of Kurdistan will take, regardless it is something to be kept under a watchful eye, particularly by observers and lawmakers in Turkey’s capital Ankara. The political situation continues to unfold and the moves made in the next twelve months will be …