Wednesday, December 02, 2020
Security Challenges

Kurdish dreams and nightmares

By Andrea Böhm

After a stunning series of events…” – this is the typical opening line these days for an analysis of developments in the Middle East. Kurdish affairs are no exception. Only a short while ago, the Kurds were considered the big winners of a decade of upheaval in the region, having achieved de facto autonomy in northern Syria and inched closer to independence in northern Iraq. But as of 2020, the …

How former IS members can be reintegrated into society

How former IS members can be reintegrated into society
By Frank Bachner

Thomas Mücke received the photos via WhatsApp. There’s one of a groom standing next to his bride, beaming with joy and laughter. Another is of a young man so unabashedly proud of the work uniform he’s wearing that he looks as if he’s being featured in an ad poster for his employer. Mücke, a social worker with a degree in education, is always delighted to look at these and other …

How to deal with returning IS fighters

By Peter R. Neumann

When US President Donald Trump declared the defeat of Islamic State (IS), he specifically referred to the group’s territory in Syria and Iraq – nearly all of which had been taken back by December 2018. What he did not mention were the thousands of IS supporters from all over the world who had been captured in the process. Yet, for many governments, especially in Western Europe, these individuals are the …

Russia’s new military focus on the Arctic

By Svein Vigeland Rottem and Andreas Østhagen

Few places have been the source of as much speculation, hype and broad statements as the Arctic at the start of the 21st century. Propelled onto the agenda by flag-plantings and resource appraisals, the Arctic has continued to lure researchers and journalists to venture northward to the next great game.

Fortunately, with more attention comes more knowledge as well. Reputable scholars have now debunked the notion of “resource wars” taking …

Are the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia preparing for regime change in Iran?

By Michael Lüders

As The New York Times reported in November 2018, the United States and Saudi Arabia have apparently reached a framework agreement for the sale of nuclear power stations to the Kingdom. The deal is said to be worth up to $80 billion. However, Riyadh is insisting on creating its own nuclear fuel, despite it being cheaper to buy abroad.

There can only be one plausible reason for this pursuit of …

The EU and its members will have to come up with their own policy for the new reality in Syria

By Volker Perthes

For the past eight years, Syriahas been the place where almost all the geopolitical, political, ideological and sectarian conflicts of the Middle East have converged as if under a burning magnifying glass. Syria is not at peace today, but the government of Bashar al-Assad – with more than a little help from Russia and Iran –has won the war.

The opposition is largely marginalized; most of its Arab backers are …

The Israeli defense. Military success in the age of terrorist armies hinges on public education, too

The Israeli defense. Military success in the age of terrorist armies hinges on public education, too
By Rafael L. Bardají and Davis Lewin

Democratic nations constrain their militaries in line with a moral code developed over centuries, forged in the face of the horrors of war and enshrined in the Law of Armed Conflict. However, recent history has shown that much of the fighting Western armies and their democratic allies have had to engage in has been against adversaries who abuse these rules purposefully for battlefield gains. This is particularly prominent in relation …

As long as civil war in Syria continues, neither Israel nor Iran can have an interest in escalating the conflict between their two countries. And yet, the conflict has already taken on a sinister tone

By Gisela Dachs

It’s nothing new for Iran and Israel to find themselves on a collision course. In the past, confrontations between these two countries – including cyberattacks, Israeli intelligence operations and Iran-sponsored terrorist attacks abroad – were often spectacular, but almost always covert. At the moment, however, we are seeing confrontations increasingly carried out in the open, for all to see. For example, direct military clashes took place on Feb. 10, 2018, …

What Libya tells us about Europe’s role in its unstable neighborhood

What Libya tells us about Europe’s role in its unstable neighborhood
By Wolfram Lacher

For the past four years, US and European policymakers have thrown up their hands in despair at their inability to influence the course of the war in Syria. Russia, Iran and Turkey, they complain, have relegated them to secondary roles. But the West’s failure to contain the conflicts in Libya since 2014 tells a different story.

Libya is not a theater of intense rivalry between major powers and regional heavyweights. …

When it comes to Iraq, it is easy to expect the worst, but the country refuses to collapse

When it comes to Iraq, it is easy to expect the worst, but the country refuses to collapse
By Andrea Böhm

During the past 15 years, Iraq has been the subject of numerous obituaries written by foreign policy experts and journalists – including myself. After the United States and its allies brought down Saddam Hussein in 2003, the country seemed constantly on the verge of collapse. Lately, however, it has become a source of better news. In late 2017, the government in Baghdad declared victory over the Islamic State (IS). Car …