Strategic Minorities: Iraq’s Non-Muslims and the Power of Persecution in the Fight Against the Islamic State – By Matthew Gruba

The tipping point in the U.S. debate over initiating an air campaign against the Islamic State was the plight of non-Muslim minorities in IS-controlled areas of Iraq, namely that of the Yazidi population in Sinjar. Via effective international messaging efforts, the Yazidis, a tiny religious minority unknown to the outside world, mobilized the United States and the international press behind them. In a roundabout fashion, the Yazidi crisis prompted the Catholic Church’s remarkable approval of the military intervention, which it believed would protect other non-Muslim minorities in Iraq, including Chaldean Catholics. As long as non-Muslim minorities are able to effectively message their

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Taming the Frontier: Pakistan’s Counterinsurgency Campaign in the FATA — By Uzair Younus

As militancy engulfed Pakistan in recent years, the power disparity between the Pakistani military and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)-led insurgency worked against the former, prompting the military to resort to heavy-handed, counterproductive tactics in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) that exposed the central government’s political vulnerabilities. This article adapts Ivan Arreguin-Toft’s framework for understanding […]

The Taliban’s Criminal Enterprise – By Shawn Snow

The media tends to paint a portrait of the Taliban as a monolithic, ideologically motivated entity with the goal of overthrowing the Kabul-led government. The conflict in Afghanistan, however, is morphing into a resource conflict and the Taliban is becoming involved in criminal enterprise, especially the opium trade. Poppies are the main staple crop in […]

Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Mohammad Mohammad Sadiq Al-Sadr: Mobilizing the Iraqi Shia Base – By Mike Airosus

In the existing literature on the Sadrist Movement in Iraq, there has been little analysis of one of its key actors, Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Mohammad Mohammed Sadiq al-Sadr. Although he never directly controlled the Mahdi Army, Sadiq al-Sadr, founded the Sadrist Movement, directly challenged the Saddam Hussein regime, providing the legitimacy and inspiration for the […]

Explaining Protests in the Gulf Monarchies During the Arab Uprisings: The Role of Coalitions, Oil and International Influences – by Andreas Kaufmann

This article aims to explain why the six Gulf monarchies Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain experienced such varying degrees of protest during the Arab uprisings in 2011 and why Bahrain experienced mass protest while the other five monarchies did not. This article argues that the reason for the monarchies’ […]

Appendix I

“When She Stands Among Men”: Sexual Harassment of Women at Political Protests in Cairo, January 2011 – August 2013

The authors, Serena Hollmeyer Taylor, Amy Tan, Phoebe Sloane, Maggie Tiernan, and Faiqa Mahmood are all students or alumni of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.   Introduction             Between January 2011 and August 2013 there were over 700 cases of sexual harassment reported in Cairo.[1] These cases include everything from catcalling to groping to rape […]

Op-ed: Chaos in Iraqi Kurdistan? by Elayne Stecher

The recent flare-up of tensions between Baghdad and Erbil over the exportation of Iraqi oil to Turkey has fueled the international media’s preoccupation with ethno-sectarianism and the vulnerability of the state in post-Saddam Iraq. Subsequent predictions by international media outlets of an imminent breakdown of order in the north of Iraq ignore the complex reality […]

P5+1 Talks With Iran in Geneva, Switzerland

Chances and challenges for the use of secret back-channels: the case of US-Iranian negotiations – by Stefan Maetz

This paper aims to show the role that secret back-channels can play in negotiations. After a theoretical analysis of back-channel negotiations, it will examine what factors contribute to the failure of initiating negotiations, with particular reference to a proposal made by Iran in 2003 which offered the U.S. the possibility to negotiate a comprehensive agreement […]

Daniel Markey on the Evolving U.S.–Pakistan Relationship – by Sukanya Banerjee and Michael Mori

Daniel Markey, Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, discusses U.S.-Pakistan relations, Pakistan’s domestic situation, the U.S. drone program, the withdrawal from Afghanistan, and reconciliation with the Taliban.

Noah Bonsey, International Crisis Group, on the Syrian civil war – by Mike Airosus

Noah Bonsey, Senior Analyst with the International Crisis group based in Beirut, discusses the recent developments in the Syrian civil war, including the impact of the chemical weapons deal, the implications of increased violence in Lebanon, and the upcoming Geneva II talks scheduled for January 22nd in Switzerland.

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