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  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: In June 2014, The Soufan Group (TSG) released its initial Foreign Fighters in Syria report, which identified approximately 12,000 foreign fighters from 81 countries. Nearly eighteen months later, despite sustained international effort to contain the Islamic State and stem the flow of militants traveling to Syria, the number of foreign fighters has more than doubled. Based on its own investigation, TSG has calculated that between 27,000 and 31,000 people have traveled to Syria and Iraq to join the Islamic State and other violent Salafist groups from at least 86 countries. This increase is evidence that efforts to contain the flow of foreign recruits to the Islamic State and other extremist groups in Syria have had limited impact.
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS)
  • Abstract: Syria’s nearly four year civil war took a dramatic new turn this month as the United States and its coalition partners began bombing militants from the Islamic State group (formerly know as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) and al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate Jubhat al-Nusra. The U.S. intervention opens up profound uncertainties about the objective and targets of the military action, the responses of the dizzying array of actors on the ground, and the potential for escalation. In December 2013, POMEPS published “The Political Science of Syria’s War,” a collection of original essays by many of the top civil wars and insurgencies scholars, which helped to place the Syrian war into a broad theoretical and comparative perspective. This new collection of articles originally published on “The Monkey Cage” explores the evolution of the conflict, the nature of the Islamic State, and key debates about Syria’s horrific war.
  • Topic: War, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS)
  • Abstract: Iraq’s long-simmering political conflicts and violence erupted in June with the stunning capture of Mosul and advances toward Baghdad by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The collapse of the Iraqi army and the rapid seizure of territory by ISIS took most observers by surprise, but the crisis had been developing for years. This POMEPS Briefing collects more than a dozen recent articles by academics writing for The Monkey Cage and other leading online publications that explore both the immediate crisis and its underlying causes.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS)
  • Abstract: Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan occupied a dominant political position not too long ago. In June 2011, his Justice and Development Party (AKP) won nearly 60 percent of the seats in parliament while expanding its lead over its closest competitor. Turkey seemed well primed to take advantage of the Arab uprisings, with its independent foreign policy and criticism of Israel playing well with Arab audiences. Erdogan even seemed keen to find a resolution to the long-running struggle with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and reconcile with the country’s Kurdish citizens. Those days seem distant indeed. For at least the last six months, Erdogan has struggled to respond to sustained popular protests, a growing corruption scandal, a stalled peace process with the PKK, a deeply unpopular and ineffective Syria policy, and dissent from within his own party. How did Erdogan’s fortunes reverse so quickly? Are his problems primarily the natural decay of a leader too long in power or do they speak to deeper problems with his party’s ideology or the foundations of Turkish democracy? The 14 deeply researched and analytically powerful Foreign Policy Middle East Channel essays collected in this POMEPS Briefing go deeply into the origins, dynamics, and likely implications of Turkey’s new political scene.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS)
  • Abstract: How should analysts understand the combination of the June 30 massive popular mobilization and the July 3 military coup against then-President Mohamed Morsi? Should these events be understood as a continuation of the January 25 revolution, a second revolution, a straightforward military coup, or a restoration of the Mubarak-era order? Does the blame for the failure of Egypt’s first popularly elected presidency lie with Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, with a recalcitrant opposition, with a resistant state, or with the deep problems which any transitional leadership would have confronted? Can a pathway toward a democratic order still be found?
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Popular Revolt
  • Political Geography: Egypt
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS)
  • Abstract: Yemen began its long-awaited National Dialogue Conference this week in Sanaa. The NDC hoped to find some zone of consensus for moving forward in its transition from the long rule of Ali Abdullah Saleh. It has been beset by many problems of representation, withdrawals and boycotts, deeply entrenched divisions, and the perception of irrelevance to the real problems of Yemenis. For a while it looked like it might never actually convene.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Yemen
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: PalThink For Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Local banks in Gaza, under pressure from Israeli sanctions, are running out of cash and desperate Palestinians lined up at branches Monday hoping to pull money out of frozen accounts. But most banks have sharply curtailed withdrawals over the past two weeks and some have posted signs telling customers they cannot take out any more money. The U.N. stopped distributing cash handouts to Gaza’s poorest last week. Economists and bank officials are warning that tens of thousands of civil servants will not be able to cash paychecks next month. “No society can operate without money, but that’s the situation we are reaching in Gaza,” said economist Omar Shaban. The Israeli shekel is a widely used currency in the Gaza Strip, and the territory needs at least 400 million shekels, or about $100 million, each month in new currency to replace aging notes and to pay salaries
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Gaza