Turkish intervention in Afrin bogged down. Israel loses an F-16 and retaliates against Syrian and Iranian positions. Outlook stormy. In our posting of 29 January we quoted Charles Glass on the war in Syria: “The latest phase has little to do with Syria, apart from the fact that it’s taking place there.” Since then the bloodshed has continued in what the UN describes as “Even by Syria’s atrocious standards.. exceptionally deplorable developments”, with at least 277 civilians killed between 4 and 9 February, most of them in “airstrikes by the …
Iraq will hold parliamentary elections on 12 May. The formation of electoral coalitions is well underway and is producing some surprising bed-fellows. Prime Minister Abadi, despite his success in defeating Da’esh and curbing the Kurds, may not be returned to office.
Following the independence referendum last September, Iraq’s Kurds are in a state of financial and political crisis. It will probably take months to negotiate a settlement between Erbil and Baghdad.
Outlook for the Islamic “state” bleak as a state, but cheap wins globally. Failed or predatory states fertile ground for ISIS and al-Qaeda.
September a bloody month. IS-held Raqqa falls. Astana “deescalation” a mixed blessing.
With IS almost defeated Iraq blitzes the Kurds. Danger of civil war as the anti-IS coalition dissolves.
The Iraqi Kurds appear determined to go ahead with their referendum on independence on 25 September, despite almost universal international opposition. (Israel is a notable exception.) The result will undoubtedly be in favour but a unilateral declaration of independence the day after seems unlikely.
Iraq: following the liberation of Mosul and Tal Afar the next target is Hawija , the last major IS-held town. Kurdish and other post-war complications. Key supply route from Jordan reopened.
Perhaps especially following the ouster of Stephen Bannon, there are some parallels between what seems to be happening presently inside the Trump Administration and the shifting dynamics inside the Administration of George W Bush which led to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Politics taking over after the Mosul victory over IS. Elections next April in Iraq, referendum next month in Kurdistan. Saudi interest – hint of détente with Iran.