Idlib’s population has dramatically increased, reaching 3 million in the past two years, including hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people who have nowhere to escape. UN officials also appealed to Turkey to open its borders to refugees if a full-blown regime attack were to take place. READ MORE
US-Turkey tensions over northern Syria are likely to endure unless two critical Turkish demands are met: (1) the United States gives a green light for a Turkish-controlled buffer zone in the eastern Euphrates, and (2) the Pentagon retrieves its arms and military equipment from the YPG. While the first demand may garner Washington’s approval with some reservations, the latter is unlikely. READ MORE
Shia militias banded together under the banner of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) are key participants in Iraq’s upcoming national and provincial elections. This policy brief provides an analysis of these various PMF factions and their electoral platforms.
The main takeaways are:
• Multiple Shiite parties are competing to benefit from the PMF’s reputation in Iraq’s upcoming elections, hoping to translate field victories into political
• While Washington remains optimistic about Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi offering effective leadership, the premier appears to be stuck between Muqtada al-Sadr and Hadi al-Amiri, two main Shiite leaders whose popularity is on the rise.
• U.S. policy makers should actively support Iraq’s efforts to establish an integrated, nonsectarian national army and support Iraqi state institutions to lessen the chances of Iraq splitting apart.
The Syrian civil war drastically changed the future prospects of Kurds in both Syria and Iraq. This brief examines the challenges that prevent a politically inclusive culture in Syrian Kurdistan—popularly known as Rojava—and Iraqi Kurdistan.
This brief and research paper are part of a project on pluralism and inclusion in the Middle East after the Arab Spring. The project is generously supported by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
READ THE POLICY BRIEF AND FULL REPORT HERE
Interview on Turkey’s decision to open an embassy in East Jerusalem. WATCH here