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finds the Middle East at a singular moment in its history. It is hard to recall
a period when so many fundamental geopolitical shifts have
occurred just as societies, states and alliances in the
region were all starting to fall apart. Four disruptive
trends can be identified, any one of which would have sufficed to produce regional
instability in the not-too-distant past. Today, their combination creates a
formidable dynamic for armed conflict.
Events are moving fast in the Middle East. The hoped-for rapprochement between Russia and the U.S. that could bring an end to the war in Syria appears to have collapsed. Growing tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia could spark a war at any moment. But the most explosive issue for this region of minorities is the prospect of independence for Iraqi Kurdistan.
Dr. Samir Nassif
Catalonia and Kurdistan will soon hold referenda on independence. The international community has been less than supportive of these regions’ right to make such a decision. But the right to self-determination is fundamental. Moreover, keeping regions in a country where they do not want to remain can be harmful. On the other hand, using democratic systems to allow independence votes can make governments more efficient and populations more unified.
Prince Michael of Liechtenstein
Iraqi democracy has been
more or less written off by the West. Combating its political gridlock,
sectarianism and corruption will be harder than defeating Daesh. The best way
Baghdad can start solving these problems is to strike a deal to retake Mosul.
There is little doubt that Islamic State is here to stay as a headache in the Middle East. The only question is how serious a headache for local and foreign powers it will be by mid-2017. Even under the best-case scenario, its clandestine cells will remain active in eastern and northern Syria and in the Sunni areas of Iraq. ...
Professor Dr. Amatzia Baram