How Islamic State became a military threat in Iraq and Syria

While the Islamic State group’s reign of terror in Iraq and Syria is virtually over, multiple reports throughout its existence show irresponsible arms transfers – especially from the West and its allies, empowering the self-proclaimed caliphate. This highlights an existing danger that won’t necessarily go away with IS: as long as such weapons transactions into war-zones occur, similar… Read More How Islamic State became a military threat in Iraq and Syria

Civilians in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta at ‘breaking point’

Communities in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta, a rebel-held area outside Damascus, are at breaking point and in urgent need of aid, warn sources on the ground. Eastern Ghouta is one of the last regions in Syria controlled by anti-government militias. An increasingly tightened siege by the Syrian government, in place for four years, has been preventing aid groups… Read More Civilians in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta at ‘breaking point’

How Russia can influence the Kurdish diplomatic crisis

Before the Iraqi Kurdish referendum, even the very suggestion of independence enflamed tensions between the Kurdistan Regional Government and its neighbours. Iraq’s central government, Iran and Turkey all threatened collective action against Erbil. Now the Kurds have overwhelmingly voted to secede, these power centres look set to clamp down further on the autonomous Kurdish region.… Read More How Russia can influence the Kurdish diplomatic crisis

Humanitarian crisis looms in shadow of Tal Afar battle

Iraqi forces have made gains in their efforts to retake Tal Afar, yet civilians within the city are suffering as a humanitarian crisis emerges from the conflict.  The Islamic State group captured Tal Afar in 2014, but the US-supported campaign to rout them has pushed them into the confines of the city centre.  Concerns about endangering… Read More Humanitarian crisis looms in shadow of Tal Afar battle