Turkey Joins the Scramble for the Middle East

February 19, 2020

There was a time, not so long ago, when the idea of Turkish troops placing their boots on non-Turkish soil was almost unthinkable. Turkey might bomb Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) positions in Iraq, Turkish aircraft might skirmish occasionally with Greek counterparts, but no one got their boots...

Letters from a Kurd: A Conversation with Novelist Kae Bahar

November 24, 2018

In this guest edition of The Interview, Aras Ahmed Mhamad talks to Kurdish novelist Kae Bahar about his debut novel, “Letters From a Kurd.” Nizar Qabbani, a Syrian poet, once said: “Love in the Arab world is like a prisoner, and I want to set it free. I want to free the Arab soul, sense...

Independence is the Last Option for the Kurds

September 24, 2017

The Kurds are unlikely to back down unless they receive an alternative deal, but this is unlikely to come from Baghdad. The year was 1639. For the first time in their history, the Kurds of present-day Iran were separated from their brethren due to a treaty signed by the Ottoman and Safavid...

Signs of Hope in the Middle East? Don’t Hold Your Breath

September 18, 2017

The optimistic view may be that the Middle East is six years into an era of political, economic and social change. Optimists see hopeful signs that the Middle East may be exiting from a dark tunnel of violence, civil war, sectarian strife and debilitating regional rivalries. The Islamic State...

Kurdexit: More Trouble than it’s Worth?

September 11, 2017

A yes vote in the Kurdish independence referendum might bring more trouble to the region. When on June 7 Masoud Barzani, Kurdistan’s incumbent president, announced a referendum on independence from Iraq for September 25, a wave of internal backlashes followed, questioning Barzani’s...

A Kurdish State is Inevitable

February 02, 2015

Recent developments in Iraq make an independent Kurdistan seem all but inevitable. The leadership of all five major Kurdish political parties in the Kurdistan region of Iraq know, as democratically elected representatives, that the independence of Kurdistan is an uncompromisable demand and the...

Will Erdogan’s “New Turkey” Become a Reality?

January 20, 2015

Cometh the hour, cometh Erdogan — but there is much in 2015 that can still trip up the president’s plans for a new Turkey. The year ahead is one in which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is keen to consolidate the gains of 2014 by institutionalizing reforms he believes will create...

Obama: The War on Terror Continues

September 18, 2014

How different does the War on Terror look in 2014? In a speech on September 10 about his administration’s plans to deal with the recent advances of the Islamic State (IS), President Barack Obama was unequivocal about Washington’s aims: “e will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL...

Iraq’s Disintegration and the Future of Kurdistan

August 08, 2014

Iraq disintegrated long before the takeover of Mosul by the Islamic State. The capture of Mosul by Islamic State fighters and their allies on June 10 marked a historical moment for Iraqis, particularly Sunni Arabs and Kurds. The division of Iraq, which has now effectively transpired, had to...

The Iraq Crisis Explained

July 10, 2014

The antigovernment rebellion in Iraq has tapped into longstanding Sunni grievances against the Maliki government. Background Iraq is facing its biggest security crisis in recent history. Militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), in alliance with Iraqi Sunni insurgents, have...

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