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Middle East and North Africa

Syria: A New Way Ahead?

The commencement of air strikes against the assets of ISIS in Syria last month marked the opening of the US-led coalition’s second front against the extremist group. But behind the immediate campaign to counter the terror organisation, the question regarding what to do about the Assad regime – a government responsible for far more deaths than the toll inflicted by ISIS – looms large.

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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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Responding to terror-related kidnapping: a torn Western reaction

In the past month, two American journalists, James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and one British aid worker, David Haines, were beheaded by the Islamic State (IS), bringing to the public fore the question of kidnapping for ransom (KFR). Terror-related KFR is a worrying, growing and increasingly violent trend that raises a difficult dilemma to governments: should states, businesses and families comply with terrorist groups in order to save the lives of the kidnapped, or should these men be left behind in order to fight against terrorism? What remains certain is that the payment of ransom will continue to help financially and ideologically sustain terror groups.

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Israel-Turkey relations: Another casualty of the Gaza war?

Turkey was once one of Israel’s strongest allies in the region, though that, of course, does not necessarily mean much. Since 2010, however, and the much discussed, usually misunderstood and widely condemned Israeli action on the Mavi Marmara which saw 9 Turkish citizens killed, Turkey and Israel have not had diplomatic relations, despite a well-publicised apology and other efforts made.[1] With the latest escalation in Gaza between Israel and Hamas, diplomatic relations seem as far away as they ever have been.

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Turkey’s Neo-Ottomanism: Engaging The Pivitol Middle-Power

On August 10th, 2014, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of the Justice Party and Development Party (AK) made history by winning Turkey’s first-ever direct election for President[1]. The victory capped off a tumultuous third term as Prime Minister which saw Erdogan feud with the judiciary, accuse top military brass of treason, and preside over the violent suppression of peaceful protests[2].

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