April 17, 2014

TURKEY’S TWISTS AND TURNS ON SYRIA

Syrian refugee center on the Turkish border 50 miles from Aleppo, Syria (August 2012).

PDF version available here Since 2008, Turkey has gone from supporting the Bashar al-Asad regime, to encouraging Asad to undertake democratic reforms, to shifting to a policy of regime change (RC)--a full 180-degree turn in less than three years. Given Turkey’s twists and turns, is it possible for Turkey to reverse course again, as Asad consolidates his victories on the ground, and effectively switch sides in the interest of reestablishing its economic links with Syria? This article … [Read more...]

FURTHER INSIGHT INTO GLOBAL AND ARAB MUSLIM OPINION STRUCTURES: STATISTICAL REFLECTIONS ON THE 2013 PEW REPORT “THE WORLD’S MUSLIMS”

Taliban religious police beating a woman in Kabul filmed by RAWA on August 26, 2001.

PDF version available here This article reevaluates the April 2013 PEW data on “The World’s Muslims” covering 23 countries and comprising at least 56.6 percent of the total global Muslim population. It presents population-weighted estimates of the 18 PEW indicators for the entire adult Muslim population in these 23 countries. The article also presents a UNDP type Index of Muslim Tolerance (Index of the emancipation of Muslim publics from authoritarian and Islamist thought … [Read more...]

THE ISSUE OF THE RECOGNITION OF THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE AS A POLITICAL PHENOMENON

2012 Brussels commemoration in front of the Memorial for the Armenian Genocide

PDF version available here This article focuses on the current perceptions of the Armenian genocide in the various countries involved, specifically within the EU, Armenia, and Turkey, in order to explore the political rationale behind the commitment of some states to recognize the historical events of 1915 as an act of genocide or the commitment of other states to refute this. A brief historical overview is followed by a discussion of internal EU perceptions of the essentiality of … [Read more...]

THE SHI’I CRESCENT’S PUSH FOR REGIONAL HEGEMONY AND THE SUNNI REACTION

Hassan Rouhani secured the presidency of Iran with 18 million votes, over 50% of the electorate, running on a campaign of “Hope and Wisdom”

PDF version available here In response to the September 11 attacks, the United States occupied Iraq. Baghdad effectively ended up in the hands of Iran, thus leading to the formation of the Shi’i Crescent. Riyadh has been leading the Sunni crusade to derail the march of Shi’ism. At the same time, to protect its nuclear facilities, Tehran has made Hizballah its Mediterranean defense line and Damascus its arms courier. The existence of an atomic bomb component in Iran’s nuclear … [Read more...]

GROWING ANTISEMITISM AND ANTI-JEWISH HATRED IN THE NETHERLANDS

The synagogue in the town of Veghel, Netherlands. The community in Veghel was a small mediene community, which reached its height around 1900. In the years following the community shrank to some 30 members, and was eventually completely destroyed during the Holocaust.

PDF version available here This article discusses increasing anti-Jewish hatred in the Netherlands, in particular due to the growing Muslim immigrant population there. Though the Dutch government has been traditionally friendly to Israel and there has been proportionately less antisemitism there compared to in other European countries, shocking slanders appear about Israel in the mainstream Dutch media and there has also been an academic boycott of Israel. In addition, Dutch politicians … [Read more...]

A LOOK AT INTERNATIONAL SURVEY DATA ABOUT ARAB OPINION

Women taking part in a pro-democracy sit in in Sitra, Bahrain (June 2011).

PDF version available here This article evaluates Arab public opinion with the “Arab Opinion Index” by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS) in Doha, Qatar. The Index covers 12 Arab countries with 85 percent of the population of the entire Arab world. The data was weighted by UNDP population figures in order to arrive at conclusions about the totality of opinions in the Arab states. There is indeed overwhelming support for democracy and change in the region, but, at … [Read more...]

THE RESURRECTION OF SYRIAN KURDISH POLITICS

Kurds showing their support for the PYD in Afrin, Syria during the conflict, August 2012.

PDF version available here This article examines the current political landscape of the Kurdish region in Syria, the role the Kurds have played in the ongoing Syrian civil war, and intra-Kurdish relations. For many years, the Kurds in Syria were subjected to discrimination at the hands of the Ba’th regime and were stripped of their basic rights.[1] During the 1960s and 1970s, some Syrian Kurds were deprived of citizenship, leaving them with no legal status in the country.[2] Although … [Read more...]

THE ISLAMIC STATE OF IRAQ AND AL-SHAM

Photo of a Jama’at Jund al-Sham fighter holding a flag of the group

PDF version available here This article examines the rise of the al-Qa’ida-aligned group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) since its announcement in April 2013 until September 2013. It focuses in particular on its military operations and its relations with other rebel groups. The article concludes by examining what the future holds for ISIS on the whole.   INTRODUCTION: THE IDEOLOGY   The group under consideration in this paper--like al-Qa’ida … [Read more...]

FRAGMENTED SYRIA: THE BALANCE OF FORCES AS OF LATE 2013

An FSA fighter engaged in a shootout in Aleppo, Syria (November 2012).

PDF version available here Syria today is divided de facto into three identifiable entities. These three entities are: first, the Asad regime itself, which has survived all attempts to divide it from within.  The second area is the zone controlled by the rebels.  In this area there is no central authority.  Rather, the territory is divided up into areas controlled by a variety of militias.  The third area consists of majority-Kurdish northeast Syria.  This area is under the control … [Read more...]

POLITICAL ISLAM IN MOROCCO: IS THERE AN “EXCEPTION MAROCAINE”?

Coat of Arms of Morocco

PDF version available here Contrary to other Arab countries, Morocco has not experienced an “Arab Spring.” Those who wish to see systemic change have not been able to get a degree of popular support and mobilization similar to that which brought an end to the dictatorships of Ben Ali in Tunisia, al-Qaddafi in Libya or Mubarak in Egypt. The regime has attributed their failure to the special link between the Moroccan monarchy and its people. However, this article argues that it was the … [Read more...]