Ahrar al-Sham al-Nusra al-Qaeda Bashar al-Assad Caeser Act Civil Resistance Civil War Conflict Counter-Terrorism Democratic Union Party (PYD) Energy Sector Foreign Investment Free Syrian Army Hayat Tahrir al-Sham Humanitarian Aid Industrial Organisation Infrastructure Islamic State Jaish Khalid bin al-Walid Kurdish Groups Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) Land and Property Restitution Militarisation Operation Peace Spring People’s Protection Units (YPG) Post-War Recovery Rebel Groups Rebuild Syria Conference Reconstruction Refugees Sanctions Southeastern Anatolia Project Syrian Democratic Forces Turkish Strategy Uprising
Michael M. Gunter
The Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s, the two Gulf wars against Saddam Hussein in 1991 and 2003, and the Syrian Civil War, which began in 2011, are the main reasons the long-lasting Kurdish struggle recently has come to play such an increasingly important role in Middle Eastern and even international affairs. In addition, the resulting rise of both the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq and also another, albeit less established Kurdish government in northeastern Syria, called Rojava (now broadened into the Federation of Northern Syria to include the many other ethnic and sectarian groups that live there), has given the Kurds additional de facto institutional existence and even recognition.
Furthermore, the continuing insurgency of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Turkey, its spillover into neighbouring Iraq and Syria, its peace talks with Ankara from 2009 to 2015 and its de facto alliance with the United States to defeat the so-called Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria have given the PKK an importance inconceivable a mere decade ago. For example, the PKK played an important role on the ground in Sinjar, Iraq to help rescue the embattled Yezidis from the genocidal IS Jihadis in 2014. Even more, the PKK, through its Syrian affiliate, the Syrian Democratic Forces/Democratic Union Party/Peoples Defense Units (SDF/PYD/YPG), proved the indispensable boots on the ground that defeated IS in such dramatic battles as Kobane (2014-2015) and Raqqa (2017), among others. US air and advisory support, of course, were existential in these battles, which also brought Turkey, Iran, Russia, Iraq and Syria, among others, into the equation. The purpose of this article is to analyse the recent Kurdish struggle regarding the failed independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan, the US-Turkish confrontation in Syria, and their continuing profound effects upon Middle Eastern and international politics.
Due to the 2015 civil war, Yemen’s national order has vanished. Whatever viable attempt of conflict resolution must take into account a variety of existing micro-orders on a local basis. Deconstructing Yemen’s layers of conflict, this essay traces post-2015 internal transformations of power, arguing that Yemen has started a process of gradual feudalisation, based on militias and warlords, thus shifting from a multiple geographies scheme to an archipelagolike system of connected but rival feuds.
Various conflict resolution efforts unfortunately did not lead to a stabilisation of Libya. Actually, the situation is getting increasingly dangerous. A new strategy must be developed. It needs to include all four instruments of power in a coordinated way. A complimentary contribution of the various conflict resolution mechanisms and efforts is paramount. As a leading EU member and currently with a seat in the UNSC, Germany is in a unique position to shape and coordinate such a strategy.