Turkey and the US have finally announced that the first phase of the northern Syrian safe zone will be launched this week after months-long negotiations carried out between military officials of the two NATO allies.
On Thursday, we marked another World Refugee Day, which was dedicated to raising awareness of the situation of refugees throughout the world. A lot has been said and written about the desperate plight of those who have been forced to flee their homes. As the UN says on its website: “Every minute, 20 people leave everything behind to escape war, persecution or terror.” It seems we will continue to write this for many years to come.
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq elected a new president, Nechirvan Barzani, on Tuesday, filling a position left vacant for almost 18 months following the Iraqi Kurdish independence referendum.
There is a very good sentence in Robert Mason’s 2014 book “Foreign Policy in Iran and Saudi Arabia: Economics and Diplomacy in the Middle East,” which examines the relations between states in an increasingly unstable region.
The 12th round of Astana talks on Syria took place this week in the Kazakh capital Nur-Sultan, formerly known as Astana. The 11 previous meetings, under the sponsorship of Turkey, Russia and Iran, produced tangible outcomes in regards to finding a solution to end the long-lasting conflict.
The past few weeks have witnessed two significant elections in the region. Both Turkey and Israel have been deeply involved in election season, with Turks heading to the polls for municipal elections on March 31 and Israelis casting their votes in national elections on April 9.
As we approach the end of 2018, there is no sign that the Syrian war, or the resulting refugee crisis, will end anytime soon. Nor will they as long as the conflict remains a proxy battle between regional and global actors.