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This section allows external contributors and HSC staff to post opinion pieces on relevant international issues.

Is an aversion to ‘boots on the ground’ limiting U.S. options in Syria?

The U.S. has been clear that it will not coordinate its operations against IS in Syria with the Assad regime. And most proponents of various strategies to address the Syrian situation stipulate that Assad must go. He isn't after all a highly imperfect force for stability, his actions in the last three-years have proven from the start to have very destructive and destabilizing effects. His pounding to rubble of Syria's cities has caused a giant refugee crisis in the region and burdened neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey.

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On Kurds and ‘safe zones’

While the United States administration has been successful in establishing a multinational coalition to fight the Islamic State (IS) it to date has yet to devise a clever strategy for doing so. Using its cutting edge technology to deliver the fight to an irregular Islamist group through bombing runs and cruise missile attacks clearly is no way to defeat IS. And the administration admits as much. The brunt of the fighting on the ground against IS is still being endured by the Kurds. And not just the Kurds of Northern Iraq, but the Kurds of Syria also.

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‘No fly’ and ‘no-drive’ zones to become a long-term reality in northeastern Syria?

The United States has expanded its operations against the Islamic State forces operating from northeastern Syria. They are leading a multinational coalition which is using air power to target installations of importance to that group. From the get go the Obama administration has been clear that these operations are not coordinated with the Assad regime in Damascus and has reiterated its adamance that they will never co-ordinate or cooperate with Mr. Assad given his crimes against the Syrian people.

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Guest Article: Our unstable Gulf guardians

The United States recently signed a $11 billion arms deal with the tiny Persian Gulf sheikdom, and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member, Qatar. The deal included twenty-five AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, Patriot air defence missile batteries and portable Javelin anti-tank missiles. It constitutes the biggest arms deal the United States has undertaken this year and comes after four-years of selling those GCC states billions and billions of dollars worth of arms and military technology.

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Guest Article: The Changing Landscape of Civilian and Military Collaboration in Conflict Prevention

Civilian and military actors have operated together in hostile environments for many years, delivering crucial work to save the lives of those caught in crises. Historically, militaries, NGOs and political actors have most frequently worked closely together in the field of humanitarian crises, with activities usually coordinated to deliver aid and assistance by over-arching national or international organisations taking the lead in planning.

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Guest Article: Partnering with Assad against ISIS would be a Faustian deal

Devotees of more realpolitik oriented foreign policy persuasions claim they aren't under any illusions about the brutality of the regime of Syria's Bashar al-Assad. Nevertheless in their worldview limited cooperation with him against a threat like Islamic State (IS) is necessitated by the dire and unsavoury circumstances which exist today in Syria. And since neither the United States nor the United Kingdom are likely to insert ground forces to combat IS forces in Syria a temporary alliance or coordination of operations with Damascus solely in order to fight IS is the best option to feasibly confront this threat.

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