Showing posts with label Arab World. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Arab World. Show all posts

30 April 2017

On the Mosul Front, a Brutal Battle Against ISIS and Time


… Every day, for weeks, the battle to take western Mosul from the Islamic State has looked like this: a block-by-block crawl as casualties mount.

The militants are contesting every move by the counterterrorism forces, and they are making full use of the hundreds of thousands of civilians still trapped in their strongholds.

“If the city was empty of civilians, we could have been done with our mission a long time ago,” said Lt. Gen. Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi, a senior commander with the counterterrorism service.

The plight of civilians appears to be worsening by the day, adding to commanders’ urgency to find some edge against the Islamic State here.

The Iraqis do not have the luxury of conducting a siege: Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has told his generals that dragging out the Mosul operation, now in its seventh month, would work only to the advantage of the Islamic State, which many in the West call ISIS or ISIL, but the Iraqis call Daesh.

This was not the mission that American military commanders envisioned for the counterterrorism service when they established it after the United States invasion in 2003. The force’s original mission was to conduct lightning raids against terrorists and insurgents…

29 April 2017

Reform Eludes Iraq's Oil Sector


After just over 10 years of debate, amendment and repeated rejection in Parliament, Iraq's landmark oil bill is no closer to passing. The Cabinet first introduced the draft law in February 2007 to revamp and jump-start the country's crucial oil and gas sector after the fall of longtime leader Saddam Hussein. And though the intervening decade has done little to address the underlying factors that paralyzed Baghdad's attempt at reforming the energy industry, that hasn't stopped the country's leaders from trying. Since taking office in August, for instance, Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luaibi has steered Iraq's energy policy in a more pragmatic direction. The legislature will soon debate the latest iteration of a bill to reinstate a national oil company to oversee the country's smaller, regional firms, and al-Luaibi recently announced that Baghdad is exploring new contract models for foreign investors. Leaders such as Shiite National Alliance head Ammar al-Hakim, meanwhile, have proposed various plans to reconcile Iraq's different stakeholders to end the country's political gridlock. Even so, the differences between and within Iraq's Sunni Arab, Shiite Arab and Kurdish communities will continue to undermine progress in the oil and gas sector, particularly with elections looming on the horizon.
 
Mapping Iraq's Discord

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a map is just as valuable in assessing the challenges facing the Iraqi government. The country's oil production, which even at today's depressed oil prices generates roughly 30 percent of its gross domestic product, is concentrated in just a handful of areas. In southern Iraq, the predominantly Shiite province of Basra alone accounts for roughly two-thirds of the country's oil production; were it a country, Basra would be among the world's top 10 oil producers. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq, along with the nearby disputed territories under Kurdish control, produces another 13 percent of the country's oil. And the Sunni-majority regions in central and western Iraq produce little oil to speak of.

How to Fight ISIS Online Why the Islamic State Is Winning on Social Media

Audrey Alexander

From Twitter to Telegram, Islamic State (ISIS) [1] sympathizers continue to set up camp on social media platforms [2] around the world. While some of the outlets are far-reaching and transparent, others are insular and protected. The range of platforms, the diffusion of sympathizers, and the sheer volume of content make it difficult for governments and private companies to contain the online ISIS threat [3]. To begin doing so, it is necessary to understand the external factors that have shaped ISIS’s communications strategy.

On a strategic level, ISIS is winning the war on social media [4] with effective branding, information distribution, and agenda-setting. For example, in the wake of violent attacks, it has become commonplace for counterterrorism analysts to search for press releases claiming affiliation by Amaq News Agency. In an analysis of the ISIS manual [5], Media Operative, You Are a Mujahid, Too, the terrorism researcher Charlie Winter argues that the organization’s marketing approach allow ISIS to “forcibly inject itself into the global collective consciousness.” But the group is fundamentally dependent on platforms it cannot control, which leaves it vulnerable to changing regulations and security measures. For example, in August 2015, U.S. authorities arrested Jaelyn Young and Muhammad Dakhlalla [6], after the couple disclosed their plans to travel to ISIS-controlled territory to undercover agents on multiple social media platforms, including Twitter. In Syria, a targeted strike reportedly killed Junaid Hussein [7] after the British recruiter and hacker left an Internet cafe in Raqqa, ISIS’ de facto capital. 

28 April 2017

USIP’s Work on the ISIS Threat


As a U.S.-led international coalition helps local forces recapture most of the territory once seized by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the two countries face underlying conflicts and sectarian tensions that continue to fuel cycles of violence and extremism. At the same time, as many as 31,000 foreign fighters—from 86 countries on five continents—have traveled to Iraq and Syria to join ISIS and other extremist organizations, and some are heading home. Meanwhile, ISIS has gained a foothold in Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, and elsewhere. Cementing military gains and curbing extremist violence requires long-term stabilization based on political settlements, social reconciliation, and improved governance. 
USIP's Work 

The U.S. Institute of Peace has operated on the ground in Iraq since 2003 and in Afghanistan since 2002, as well as in Libya, Nigeria, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen. As a small, agile institution, USIP works with local leaders and the U.S. government, including the military, to stabilize areas devastated by ISIS, end cycles of revenge, and address the root causes of radicalization, including corrupt and abusive governance. USIP has had impact in: 

Sustaining the Peace. USIP and its local partners provide advice and training to strengthen the ability of community and national leaders to resolve their own conflicts without violence. 
In Iraq, teams of mediators have facilitated, with cooperation from officials in Baghdad, starting in 2007 during an earlier insurgency in Mahmoudiyah, and more recently in Bartella, Tikrit, Yathrib, and Hawija. A 2015 agreement in Tikrit allowed more than 300,000 people to return to their homes, and the mediation methods developed are being applied elsewhere, including near Mosul. 

27 April 2017

*** Has AQAP Traded Terrorism for Protection?

By Scott Stewart

As I've often said before, some of the most interesting stories to come across my desk are those from abroad that the U.S. mainstream media has failed to pick up. A recent article by Norwegian news outlet Verdens Gang (VG) only reminded me of that fact when it reported it had been in contact with an unidentified member of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The piece, written by Erlend Ofte Arntsen, raised some interesting points — not least of which was the suggestion that the Yemeni al Qaeda franchise has set aside its mission of conducting attacks in the West.

26 April 2017

After ISIL: The Conflict Following the War

by Brandon Whitehead

The Middle East has long been a breeding ground for insurgencies and terrorist organizations alike. Groups and organizations spanning from the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda, Lebanese Hezbollah, Taliban, and nearly an infinite list of splinter organizations have had disputes over everything from religion to territory for years and will likely continue to do so. Most recently, the Islamic State of Iraq in the Levant (ISIL), also known as the Islamic State in Syria (ISIS) or the Arabic acronym of Da’ish), has burst on scene and made lasting impacts on Iraq, Syria, and throughout the greater Levant.

In June 2014, ISIL seemingly came out of nowhere and has now grown to become a major force in the Middle East, more specifically in Iraq and Syria. The organization became especially prominent following its lightning-swift military advance over northern Iraq, where it encountered an abysmally low level of government resistance (Terrill 2014). With that being said, ISIL’s hold on the region has recently been on the decline with territorial losses mounting in key areas along the Euphrates River Valley, the Tigris River Valley, and Northern Syria, with current operations threatening their capitals in both Raqqah and Mosul. Up to this point in time, the predominance of research and analysis has been carried out to figure out how to degrade and ultimately defeat the Islamic State. Governments of the 50+ Coalition nations from around the world that are participating in Operation INHERENT RESOLVE have seemingly put an infinite amount of time, money, and effort in the overall strategy of how to beat ISIL…which is, if you follow the news, still a plan very much so in the works.

25 April 2017

*** Has AQAP Traded Terrorism For Protection?


As I've often said before, some of the most interesting stories to come across my desk are those from abroad that the U.S. mainstream media has failed to pick up. A recent article by Norwegian news outlet Verdens Gang (VG) only reminded me of that fact when it reported it had been in contact with an unidentified member of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The piece, written by Erlend Ofte Arntsen, raised some interesting points - not least of which was the suggestion that the Yemeni al Qaeda franchise has set aside its mission of conducting attacks in the West.

Above image: Al Qaeda has shifted most of its attention to strengthening and equipping its local branches and foreign partners, rather than carrying out spectacular attacks overseas. (MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Finding Dale

VG reporter Erlend Ofte Arntsen connected with the anonymous AQAP member through an intermediary at al-Masra newspaper, a publication that belongs to Ansar al-Sharia Yemen. AQAP has historically used the name "Ansar al-Sharia" in its local endeavors in an attempt to hide their links to al Qaeda and promote them as mainstream. Because of this, an al-Masra employee would be a logical channel through which to meet a person claiming to be an AQAP leader.

Fearing ISIS in the Shadows

Vera Mironova

The six-month Mosul operation will soon come to an end. Civilians and soldiers alike are eager to turn over a new page after years of ISIS control over the city. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that this will come to pass. The security problems that will follow are already visible in other Iraqi cities of Iraq, such as Falluja and Ramadi, which had been liberated from ISIS prior to the Mosul operation.

Last month, a high-level government meeting on the "post-ISIS situation" took place. But beneath the surface, even the idea of before and after, of a "post-ISIS moment" seems uncertain. This is because ISIS insurgencies and sleeper cells at various stages of activation exist across many areas that are now considered to have been liberated. If, in liberated East Mosul they are still mostly dormant, in Fallujah and Ramadi they are already active. Only last week there were clashes between ten ISIS militants dressed in police uniforms and Iraqi security forces in Tikrit, Iraqi security forces’ military bases were attacked in Hamrin and Sadyah, and ISIS insurgents were trying to take control of Amriat Faluja (a town near Falluja). And although efforts to ferret them out are ongoing, the Iraqi security forces’ record of success has been mixed at best.

OPEC’s Misleading Narrative About World Oil Supply

Leonardo Maugeri

At a time when energy market headlines focus mainly on OPEC cuts, observers may be forgiven for concluding that a supply crunch and higher prices are imminent. On the contrary, there is still too much oil in global markets. In this context, OPEC production cuts (which notably fall short of the original target envisaged by the organization) appear to serve mainly as a psychological support to oil prices.

Analyzing trends from my proprietary database of more than 1,200 global oilfields helped me to make a bold prediction in 2012 regarding a coming oil supply boom. In January, my similar field-by-field analysis indicated that world oil production capacity and actual production were still growing—while prospects for demand growth were not sufficiently high to absorb the excess supply. In particular, actual oil production (which includes crude oil and other liquids such as condensates, NGLs, and more according to the standard definition used by most statistics) was almost 99.5 million barrels per day (mbd)—leaving a voluntary and involuntary spare capacity (the result of local civil wars and other geopolitical factors) of more than 4 mbd.

24 April 2017

Contain, Degrade, and Defeat: A Defense Strategy for a Troubled Middle East


The decade and a half the United States has spent fighting the "long war" in the Middle East has yielded many tactical successes but left a lasting victory elusive. The inconclusive nature of these struggles has sapped support for the U.S. policy of shouldering the burden of providing security and stability in the region. Although many believe U.S. involvement in the region has resulted in more violence, disorder, and radicalization of local Arab populations, the current situation in the Middle East illustrates that inaction has been highly destabilizing.

In this new CSBA report, Eric Edelman and Whitney McNamara expand upon the histories, cultures, and foreign policies that have brought the United States to its current juncture in the Middle East. This is the last of four reports that provide detailed regional recommendations based upon the defense strategy outlined in Andrew F. Krepinevich's Preserving the Balance: A U.S. Eurasia Defense Strategy.

Despite the growing importance of different regional theaters in which the United States must operate, it seems almost certain that the dual challenges of Iran's regional rise and the persistent threat of violent jihadists will continue to demand the time, attention, and resources of national security decision-makers. The Middle East presents an enormous set of difficulties for policymakers against a backdrop of long-lived conflict and turmoil that is likely to persist for a generation - or perhaps longer. The United States has historically been successful in accomplishing its strategic objectives in the region, and it can be again if it develops a clear strategy that aligns ways, means, and ends and builds up capable partners in the region to contain Iran's ambitions and defeat violent jihadists. Without such a strategy, both challenges will otherwise threaten the governments of America and its partners.

23 April 2017

** Osama bin Laden’s Secret Masturbation Fatwa

BY SIMON COTTEE

In January, the U.S. government released 49 new documents seized in 2011 from Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Among the items — the fourth and final batch of bin Laden documents made public since 2012 — is a letter addressed to a senior colleague in North Africa in which the now-deceased al Qaeda leader raises “a very special and top secret matter”:

It pertains to the problem of the brothers who are with you in their unfortunate celibacy and lack of availability of wives for them in the conditions that have been imposed on them. We pray to God to release them. I wrote to Shaykh/Doctor ((Ayman)), [al-Zawahiri], and I consulted with Shaykh ((Abu Yahya)) [al-Libbi].

Dr. Ayman has written us his opinion … As we see it, we have no objection to clarifying to the brothers that they may, in such conditions, masturbate, since this is an extreme case. The ancestors approved this for the community. They advised the young men at the time of the conquest to do so. It has also been prescribed by the legists when needed, and there is no doubt that the brothers are in a state of extreme need.

U.S. Strategy for al Qaeda and ISIS: It’s Groundhog Day

By James Dubik

The current situation in Syria reminds us again that we are failing in our post-9/11 wars. We have accomplished neither the strategic objectives set forth by the Bush administration nor those of the Obama administration. Both administrations have had notable successes and achieved periodic tactical and operational progress, but neither created sustained strategic success. The jury on the current administration is still out, but on the campaign trail the President suggested we can defeat ISIS with military force alone—bombing the *@#! out of them. To put it kindly, this approach misses the mark. America has led a concerted leadership decapitation campaign against both al Qaeda and ISIS for a decade and a half. Such a campaign is necessary, but not sufficient. How much longer will we take this approach before we learn that we are waking up to the same day over and over again?

We must reset our thinking. The first, and most important step, is to admit we have not understood the kind of war we’re in, and we’ve tried to make it something it is not. Then we must read our enemy’s documents and actions to see them as they are: Al Qaeda, ISIS, and their ilk are waging (and have been from the start) a global revolutionary (and therefore ideological) war, a form of insurgency which is initially local and regional but already has global implications. We have waged, with few exceptions, a counterterrorist war. Our first approach was expansive: going after the terrorists and the states that sponsored them. Our second approach, the one we’re still using, is minimalist and gradualist: a combination of precise targeting of key individuals and selected groups coupled with reliance on surrogate ground forces. Neither works because both approaches miscast the enemy. We are waging one kind of war; our enemies are waging another. As long as we stay in this mode, our failure is near guaranteed.

22 April 2017

The Crime-Terrorism Nexus


By Florence Gaub and Julia Lisiecka for European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS)

In the case of the so-called Islamic State (IS), Florence Gaub and Julia Lisiecka think the crime-terrorism nexus runs deep. Indeed, the organization recruits more former criminals, and funds itself more through petty – not organized – criminal activities than other groups. This tendency, however, also offers law enforcement officials an opportunity to pursue IS in a way that goes beyond the usual radicalization narrative. It does require zeroing in on hitherto neglected petty criminals, though.

That there is a link between terrorism and crime is common knowledge: terrorism itself is a crime, often funded by organised criminal activity. But in the case of Daesh, the link goes much further. The organisation recruits more former criminals, and funds itself more through petty – not organised – criminal activities than other groups. Yet this also offers law enforcement officials an opportunity to pursue it from another angle beyond the usual radicalization narrative. This requires a zeroing in on hitherto neglected petty criminals, however.

From zero to hero

European criminals are one of Daesh’s main targets for recruitment. It is estimated that between 50- 80% of Europeans in Daesh have a criminal record – substantially higher than al-Qaeda, where the same statistic stands at around 25%. The German federal police, for instance, found that two-thirds of German Daesh fighters had criminal backgrounds, one-third of whom had previously been convicted (other estimates put the number of convicted at nearly 60%). The vast majority of these were repeat offenders: 98% had committed more than one crime, and more than half had committed three or more offenses (mostly acts of violence, as well as property crimes and drug-related felonies). In fact, on average, 7.6 crimes had been committed per person. According to Belgian sources, the criminal records of jihadists mostly consist of theft and assault, and usually begin with small-scale shoplifting.

Rolling Back the Islamic State

by Seth G. Jones, James Dobbins

Research Questions 

What are the Islamic State's ideology and objectives? 

What possible strategies and primary instruments of power should the United States and its allies employ against it? 

What specific steps should be taken to defeat and prevent the reemergence of the Islamic State in the countries where it controls territory and population, such as Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt, and Nigeria? 

What other steps should be taken around the globe to counter the Islamic State's capacity to recruit fighters, raise funds, orchestrate a propaganda campaign, and inspire and direct attacks? 

The Islamic State is a byproduct of the 2003 American intervention in Iraq and the subsequent American departure in 2011. At its peak in late 2014, the group held more than 100,000 square kilometers of territory with a population of nearly 12 million, mostly in Iraq and Syria. Beginning in 2015, the Islamic State began to lose territory as it faced increasingly effective resistance. Still, the Islamic State continues to conduct and inspire attacks around the world. This report assesses the threat the Islamic State poses to the United States and examines four possible strategies to counter the group: disengagement, containment, rollback "light" (with a reliance on local forces backed by U.S. special operations forces, Central Intelligence Agency and other intelligence assets, and airpower), and rollback "heavy" (adding the employment of American conventional forces in ground combat). The authors conclude that the United States should pursue a light rollback strategy. They also recommend additional steps, such as rebalancing counterterrorism efforts to address grievances, loosening restrictions on U.S. military operations, increasing U.S. military posture in Africa, and tightening restrictions in the Islamic State's internet access.

21 April 2017

** Life After Islamic State ‘They Taught Us How To Decapitate A Person’

By Katrin Kuntz

For over two years, Islamic State controlled the Iraqi city of Mosul, including its schools. Now that the U.S.-led coalition has pushed the Islamists out, the city’s teachers face a dilemma: How do you reshape the minds of children who were taught to fight and kill?
 (Text) and Andy Spyra (Photos) in Mosul, Iraq

On a morning in late March, 20 children are standing between bombed houses and burned-out cars in front of an elementary school on a street in eastern Mosul. When you ask them what they learned inside, they talk about killing. Their teacher was Islamic State (IS), which had a stronghold here. “Daesh, Daesh,” the children shout, using the Arabic pejorative for IS, with strong, excited voices, as if the sound concealed an unbelievable secret.

The children are between the ages of 6 and 13. Their backpacks are too large for their bodies, they wear sandals and their T-shirts have holes. Some ate eggs that morning, others didn’t. As the children wait for the gate to open, they call out and laugh. Their happiness is real, but if you look through it, you can see the war in their small, hardened faces.

IS conquered Mosul in June 2014. When it tried to create a state, it didn’t stop at acquiring land, people, a doctrine and a flag. It also pushed into every crevice of social life — it controlled the economy, administered justice and created lesson plans that fit its views. The goal of IS was to create a worldview, which also led it to take over Mosul’s schools.

** The United States, Syria and Russia A strategy toward the Middle East requires more than short-term tactical moves.

By George Friedman 

Last week’s American attack on a Syrian air base raises three important questions. First, what is the U.S. strategy in the Middle East? Second, what is the U.S. strategy toward Russia? Finally, what is the Russian strategy in general? The three strategies intersect, but at this moment none of them are apparent. Therefore, it is useful to try to understand each of them individually and then consider how they all fit together.

Let me begin with an obvious political point. Candidates for president say one thing during their campaigns and then behave differently when elected. We have seen this play out many times. Thomas Jefferson entered into a deal to buy the Louisiana Territory before getting congressional authorization, thereby supporting the dictator Napoleon, and Franklin D. Roosevelt promised to stay out of war during the 1940 election while secretly making plans to enter the war. U.S. presidents have a long tradition of not keeping their election pledges. Part of it is cynicism, part of it is that the reality of being president compels shifts in behavior. Only those wanting to be shocked will be shocked that President Donald Trump’s actions differ from his campaign promises.

Syrian residents of Khan Sheikhun hold placards and pictures on April 7, 2017 during a protest condemning a suspected chemical weapons attack on their town earlier this week that killed at least 86 people, among them 30 children, and left hundreds suffering symptoms including convulsions, vomiting or foaming at the mouth. OMAR HAJ KADOUR/AFP/Getty Images

20 April 2017

World War II Had Many Spies, But None That Matched This Pathan


He helped Bose who was seeking help from Germany and Japan to free India escape from the country via Kabul, and that was all even Bose knew of this man, who in reality was betraying Bose to the British.

Bhagat Ram Talwar, the only quintuple spy of World War II, whose spymaster Peter Fleming gave him the code name Silver, was spying for Britain, Italy, Germany, Japan and the USSR, all at the same time without any of them having a whiff of it. While the best of spies with all their skill stayed put in one city, this deceptive Pathan shuttled between Kabul and India, 24 times, that too on foot.

Mihir Bose’s The Indian Spy, the true story of the most remarkable secret agents of the World War II, recounts all of the life of this mastermind, who managed to deceive almost everybody, yet remain unscathed.

Some of the characters one comes across in the excerpt below which talks of how Talwar took the Nazi’s for a ride are, Uttam Chand , Talwars’ former jail mate in Peshawar who had moved to and set up a shop in Kabul and helped him hide Bose by hosting him in his own house, and Carl Rudolf Rasmuss, a member of the German Diplomatic Club and former German Trade Commissioner in Calcutta.

Here is an excerpt:

During Silver’s absence from Kabul, Uttam Chand had become more involved with the foreign powers there. Rasmuss had asked his help in getting hold of gold sovereigns—Shankar Das, the Indian merchant helping the Italians, could not obtain enough—to pay bribes to Afghan officials and also the tribal leaders, and soon Uttam Chand was buying some 2,000 gold sovereigns 1 as well as Indian currency for the Germans from various brokers in Kabul. He also took to visiting the Russian Minister telling him more about Bose and Silver, passing on various titbits of information about how the Japanese were trying to bribe Afghan officials, and how the Kirti party was not happy about Silver maintaining relations with the Axis powers.

19 April 2017

Pakistani Taliban Emir Calls for Unity, Jihad, and Global Caliphate

By Bill Roggio

Mullah Fazlullah, the emir of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan (TTP), said that his group’s ultimate goal is “to implement the law of Allah on the Earth” and called on Muslims to unite and wage jihad to achieve that end. Fazlullah, one of the most extreme commanders in a group filled with extremists, also said that attempts made by Pakistan’s military intelligence service to break up the TTP have largely failed and his group has reorganized following a tumultuous period.

Fazlullah made the statements in a video released yesterday by Umar Media, the propaganda arm of the TTP. Umar Media also provided an English language transcript of Fazlullah’s speech. He outlined the group’s primary goal in his opening statement.

“The aim of Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan [TTP] is to implement the law of Allah on the Earth of Allah. And this will be the result of our Jihad. For Islamic ideology we have to accord sacrifices. By the grace of Allah, those who believe that implementation and uprising of Shar’iah [Islamic law] is their actual goal and absolute ambition, know that the implementation of this Shar’iah is impossible without practicing Jihad and Jihad is impossible without unity,” Fazlullah said.

Throughout the speech, Fazlullah quoted the Koran to provide religious justification for the TTP’s war against the Pakistani military and government, and said that it is the obligation of clerics to rally Muslims to the cause.

IT DIDN’T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY: FINDING LEVERAGE IN SYRIA

AARON STEIN

For special access to experts and other members of the national security community, check out the new War on the Rocks membership.

The execution of Assad’s April 4 chemical weapons attack was a textbook use of these weapons. This suggests that the decision to use them was military in nature, not a complicated exercise in signaling to the outside world. Reported Russian military activity in the area clearly implicates Moscow as one of two things: either an impotent and clueless backer of the Syria regime, incapable of monitoring the activities of an air force it is co-located with, or party to a war crime

At President Donald Trump’s order, a barrage of cruise missiles collided with the Syrian air base that was purportedly the source of the chemical attack on Kahn Sheikhoun. This use of force has been widely praised and hailed as a potential turning point in the Syrian conflict. However, the use of limited cruise missile strikes to change state behavior has a poor historical track record. It is too early to tell if the strikes will contribute to the immediate goal of deterring future chemical weapon use in Syria or even a second goal now articulated by some members of the Trump administration: forcing Russia to reevaluate its support for Bashar al Assad.

The Great Game in West Asia


The 11 short articles in this text examine 1) the competing interests between Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkey and other actors in the South Caucasus region; 2) the exercising of soft power by the Güllen Movement, Turkey and Russia in the area; and 3) the state-building struggles of Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

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Mehran Kamrava, Anatol Lieven, Mahmood Monshipouri, Gareth Winrow, Hamid Ahmadi, Jeffrey Mankoff, Meliha Benli Altunışık, Bayram Balci, Richard Giragosian, Alexander Kupatadze, Anar Valiyev 

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