Between Idealism and Realpolitik: Erdogan’s Quest for Palestine

The Gaza marches, Trump’s declaration on Jerusalem, and the American decision to accelerate moving the US embassy there give Turkey and Erdoğan a golden opportunity to play a central role regarding Palestinian affairs. Turkey’s position today enables it to strengthen its ties with both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas and bolster its claim to be an arbiter between them.  READ MORE

Will US Square the Turkish-Kurdish Conundrum in Northern Syria?

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

The Role of Iraq’s Shiite Militias in the 2018 Elections

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.


False Hopes? Political Inclusion in Rojava and Iraqi Kurdistan

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.