The “great shakeout” taking place in the Middle East is a state shakeout by conservative states with conservative ideologies. Iran is not an outlier in this company. Certainly rivalry and competition are better than the wars, ethnic cleansing, flight, killing, rape, malnutrition and barbarism of the past five years.Read More »
A New Normal for Iraqi Kurds?
Taking advantage of the power vacuum left by the flight of the Iraqi security forces from Mosul and its environs, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has sent its peshmerga fighters into large swathes of northern Iraq, most notably Kirkuk and its oilfields. These gains have given the KRG new forms of leverage with Baghdad in negotiating Kurdish nationalist demands. They also have triggered expectations of Kurdish statehood among the Kurdish population of Iraq, a long-sought goal that could be bankrolled by large-scale, independent Kurdish oil exports.Read More »
The Great Syrian Risk Game
The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has asked his envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, to set a date for the Syrian peace conference — called Geneva II — in mid-December. The expectation of a November meeting has now slipped by. A quarter century ago, Mr. Brahimi was the envoy tasked to bring peace to the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990). …Read More »