July 28, 2015

IMPLICATIONS FOR ISRAEL IN A TRANSFORMED MIDDLE EAST

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed a joint session of Congress on Tuesday, March 3, 2015. (Photo: http://www.house.gov/content/features/20150311)

The following transcript discusses the implications for Israel in light of the instability in the Middle East since the Arab Spring and Iran’s nuclear and hegemonial ambitions. It is part of a symposium entitled, “Regime Collapse and Sectarian War: Where is the Middle East Headed?” The symposium was held on March 15, 2015, to mark the launch of the newly named Rubin Center for International Affairs in honor of MERIA founder and former editor the late Prof. Barry Rubin.   Editor’s … [Read more...]

EUROPE AND THE CHANGING MIDDLE EAST

Migrants arriving on the Italian Island of Lampedusa in August 2007 (Photo: Sara Prestianni / noborder network - http://www.flickr.com/photos/noborder/2495544558/)

The following transcript addresses European domestic and foreign policy since the start of the Arab Spring and in light of Iran’s nuclear ambitions. It also discusses increasing antisemitism in Europe. It is part of a symposium entitled, “Regime Collapse and Sectarian War: Where is the Middle East Headed?” The symposium was held on March 15, 2015, to mark the launch of the newly named Rubin Center for International Affairs in honor of MERIA founder and former editor the late Prof. Barry … [Read more...]

THE IRANIAN NUCLEAR PROGRAM AND REGIONAL INSTABLITY

Amb. Dore Gold addresses the Iranian nuclear program and Iran's role in the ongoing Middle East turmoil, at a the launch of the newly named Rubin Center for International Affairs, March 15, 2015.

The following transcript addresses the Iranian nuclear program and the P5+1 negotiations as well as Iran’s role in the ongoing Middle East turmoil. It is part of a symposium entitled, “Regime Collapse and Sectarian War: Where is the Middle East Headed?” The symposium was held on March 15, 2015, to mark the launch of the newly named Rubin Center for International Affairs in honor of MERIA founder and former editor the late Prof. Barry Rubin.   Editor’s Note: Since the beginning of the … [Read more...]

ESTIMATES ON THE GLOBAL THREAT OF ISLAMIC STATE TERRORISM IN THE FACE OF THE 2015 PARIS AND COPENHAGEN ATTACKS

Tausch - MJ v19n1 - Map 1

This article estimates the probable conflict intensity in connection with Islamic State (IS, formerly known as ISIS and ISIL) terrorism. Based on Pew data, covering 2/5 of the global Muslim population, it is estimated that 17.38 percent of Muslims worldwide openly express terror sympathies (five terrorism support indicators used). Quantitative estimates on terror support rates for a number of additional countries are also provided, based on European Social Survey (ESS) data and their statistical … [Read more...]

HIZBALLAH, THE JIHAD IN SYRIA, AND COMMEMORATIONS IN LEBANON

Sign in Nabatiya, Lebanon, honoring Hizballah "martyrs" killed in Syria

This report--in part based on a two-week trip to Lebanon in April 2015--examines the role of Hizballah in the ongoing Syrian civil war, particularly its relation with the wider Shi’i jihadi militia efforts in support of the Assad regime. The article also examines “martyrdom” commemorations for Hizballah fighters killed in Syria, with a collection of tombstones and posters in a variety of locations throughout Lebanon examined in parallel with online evidence. HIZBALLAH AND THE SHI’I … [Read more...]

TRIBES WITH MICS: THE SUNNI-SHI’I BATTLE ON THE ARAB-LANGUAGE NEWS AIRWAVES

Al-Jazeera English newsroom

The decline of America’s influence in the Arab World has coincided with the rise of Iran’s and the collapse of Middle East’s old order. The result is a power vacuum manifesting itself in a series of regional proxy wars such as those in Syria and Yemen. Not only is a battle between the Gulf States and Iran taking place on the ground, but it is also being played out on the airwaves. Here, the primary role of Arabic language news stations is to win the propaganda war, and regardless of which … [Read more...]

THE ISLAMIC STATE VS. THE KURDISH YPG IN NORTHERN-CENTRAL SYRIA: AN EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT

YPG Kurds returning fire against ISIS

Following is an excerpt from an account of a reporting trip undertaken by the author to the Kobani enclave in northern Syria and to the Syria-Turkey border area in May 2014.  During the course of this trip, the author interviewed both YPG and IS fighters and visited frontline areas in which the two forces faced each other. The excerpt is part of a book project on the sectarian war in the northern Levant and in Iraq. ISIS was already by this stage acquiring a reputation that set it apart from … [Read more...]

THE PKK AND THE GUERRILLA TRADITION OF TURKEY’S KURDS

Protesters in Taksim Square, Turkey, hold Abdullah Ocalan posters, June 7, 2013.

Since 1984, the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) has been waging an insurgency against the Turkish authorities intermittently and with varying success. This article studies how this rural-type insurgency was staged, placing it within the context of a tradition of resistance to Turkish rule among Turkey’s Kurds. It highlights the development of a consistent guerrilla tradition among Turkey’s Kurds in the early twentieth century as well as how and why the party deviated from this … [Read more...]

ISIS CALIPHATE MEETS CHINA’S SILK ROAD ECONOMIC BELT

Map 1: ISIS Caliphate in Five Years’ Time

This report examines the clashing ambitions between ISIS and China. With ISIS’s declaration of a caliphate that encompasses China's Muslim Xinjiang, Chinese strategists will now consider how ISIS’s Eastward pivot will impact China’s own Westward march to create a Silk Road Economic Belt across Eurasia. While the Western U.S.-led coalition continues to be hamstrung by a lack of ground forces, the coveted "boots on the ground" could eventually come from the East--as China asserts its … [Read more...]

THE PARTICIPATION OF NORTH CAUCASIAN JIHADISTS IN THE SYRIAN CIVIL WAR AND ITS SECURITY IMPLICATIONS

Scene of trolleybus bombing in Volgograd, Russia, December 30, 2013, just weeks before the commencement of the 2014 Winter Olympics.

 This article examines the participation of North Caucasian fighters in the Syrian Civil War, including their motivations for joining the conflict, activities and recruitment, and their ties with jihadi networks. It also discusses the international and security implications, for Russia in particular, and the role of certain Gulf states as financers. It concludes that North Caucasians not only participate in combat but also contribute to recruitment efforts by drawing in volunteers from … [Read more...]