Iraqi Kurdistan To Hold Independence Referendum

Iraqi Kurdistan is an autonomous region in the north-east of the country and has a somewhat fractured relationship with the government in Baghdad. Relations between the two authorities is much better than under Saddam Hussein, although this is a very low bar, but there remains a perception in Erbil that the Iraqi central government is both corrupt and incompetent. It is this perception that last week resulted in leading politicians announcing that the region would hold a referendum on independence from Iraq. This development is something that I have long argued for and could be a game-changer for the Middle East.

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Women’s Liberation and the Kurdish Question

One of the most inspirational movements of political history was the movement for female suffrage in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This was a struggle by a disenfranchised group that sought to radically transform how the existing political order functioned, and succeeded despite the fact that none of their group were in the corridors of power. Men and women came together to rectify an injustice that in modern discourse could only be conceived of as a thought experiment rather than as a serious policy proposal. Thankfully in democratic countries this arbitrary distinction has been removed, but the campaign for women’s suffrage can, in my view, easily compared to the struggle for Kurdish liberation. On the surface this may seem like a bit of stretch but hopefully this article will convince you of my case.

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Changing the Dynamics of the Syrian Crisis

A new year gives us the opportunity to soberly re-evaluate the ongoing crises of our world and one of the most pronounced areas of instability is the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. People like myself who argue against Western intervention in order to undermine ISIS’ narrative of Christian crusaders need to provide a coherent alternative. I think this is possible. At this point in time a lasting political solution to the Syrian crisis look unlikely but those of us who advocate a diplomatic end to the war need to think laterally.
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The West’s Kurdistan Dilemma

The Middle East is one complicated place. Pretty much any statement about the geopolitical situation of the region has to have an asterisk by it to account for exceptions and anomalies. Take the example of ISIS. The West is fighting ISIS along with Russia, Iran, Hamas, Al-Qaeda, and the Taliban just to name a few. This puts the West in a difficult position. For example it is very difficult for the US to criticise the Russians for supporting Bashir al-Assad when all three are fighting against the same enemy.
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Lib Dems Call For Turkey To Be Suspended From NATO

The Liberal Democrats have called on NATO to suspend Turkey from the military alliance because of the Turkish government’s recent crackdown on dissent following the failed coup d’etat in the country. The Lib Dems claim that the actions by the Turkish government violate “the principles of liberty, democracy, and rule of law that NATO upholds”. This response illustrates why political discourse in foreign policy is so poorly understood as people ascribe qualities to an institution rather than what the institution actually stands for.

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Religious Fundamentalism in Palestine

Right-wing propaganda from the United States and Israel often cite the popularity of the Islamist organization Hamas as proof of religious fundamentalism, thus making the idea of a Palestinian state a threat to Israel. However I believe that the fundamentalism displayed in the Palestinian territories is much overstated, and that the support for Hamas doesn’t necessarily equate to theological conservatism.

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