Filling the void in Libya
Libya continues to fall apart. Daily life is in a downward spiral, militias run Tripoli like criminal cartels, and as rival governments in Tripolitania and Cyrenaica vie for control, the desert interior is up for grabs. UN mediation has failed to overcome these centrifugal forces, and hopes for U.S. involvement – perhaps the best chance for reunification – were dashed by the troop pullout from Syria. As outside powers circle for advantage, Russia is only too eager to fill the power vacuum.
2019 Global Outlook: The Fertile Crescent
The single most important development in the Middle East has been the end of Syria’s civil war, which was unequivocally won by the Baath regime. Even the hammer blows of a determined religious opposition could not destroy the post-World War I system that created Syria, Iraq and Jordan as Arab states. But with the announced U.S. withdrawal from Syria and the victory of the Assad regime and its Russian and Iranian sponsors, the way could be cleared for an explosive confrontation with Israel.
Looking for a way out in Libya
The recent outbreak of fighting in Libya’s capital shows who are the real masters of the country – the militias. The international community’s focus on the reconciling the feuding governments in Tobruk and Tripoli ignores how they have already been captured by local warlords. Until the grip of these armed groups is broken, holding national elections is an enormous gamble.
The many faces of ISIS
If we want to know what will happen to Islamic State (ISIS) after the death of its first “caliph” and the loss of Mosul and Raqqa, we must first understand what it is. There is not one ISIS, but at least four. Each will require different handling once the caliphate is shattered and scatters.
After Mosul and Raqqa, risks multiply
As the battle for Mosul concludes, the battle for Raqqa is entering its initial phase. From a military perspective, the fall of these twin bastions of Daesh was never in doubt. But tactical victories can only be turned into long-term strategic gains if a political process is put in place. Otherwise, we will see a “son of Daesh” and worse in Syria and Iraq.
Migrations of the third millennium, part 2: Jihadist offensive spurs African flight
Tension between the Mediterranean Sea’s northern and southern shores is nothing new. In fact, it is ancient, dating back well before 1830, when France colonised Algeria in an effort to suppress the piracy, slave trade and smuggling that had infested those waters for centuries, and also to satisfy commercial interests. Big business ...