Archive for the ‘Middle East’ Category

15
Nov

On Friday last week, Catalonia declared its independence, after the Spanish government triggered article 155 of the constitution, allowing the central government to impose direct rule on Catalonia, which has been an autonomous region since 1978.

In mid-October the military forces of the central government of Iraq retook Kirkuk from the Peshmerga forces. Kurdish aspirations for independence hinged on the city and its oil reserves, as it would have provided the economic resources for an economically self-sufficient entity.

As the 15th anniversary of the March 2003 Iraq war approaches events in Kirkuk are more important than ever, a reminder that post-Saddam Iraq continues to teeter on the edge of failure.

In pondering how this crisis emerged in Iraq, it is useful to compare why a similar crisis is occurring in Spain. Both the KRG and Catalonia have experienced past trauma in the guise of Saddam Hussein and General Francisco Franco. Independence in the minds of nationalists seeks to break with this past trauma. Read more…

Published in https://www.trtworld.com/

Ibrahim al-Marashi is an associate professor at the Department of History, California State University, San Marcos. He is the co-author of The Modern History of Iraq, 4th edition.

18
Oct

US President Donald Trump just made the first step to dismantle a deal that took more than four years to negotiate, from the first overtures made by the Obama administration to Iran in 2011 to the final signing of The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2015.
Trump is seeking to undo the diplomatic legacy of the previous administration, arguing that the Iran nuclear deal failed to prevent the development of Tehran’s ballistic missile programme and end its support for terrorism.

Trump ostensibly wants a grand bargain that will cover all of these issues. The irony is that in the past such a grand bargain was put on the table and rejected. Iran itself proposed it in 2003, and it was Trump’s Republican predecessor, George W Bush, that failed to pursue it. That failure led to Iran waging a low-intensity proxy war against the US in Iraq.
Just as Iran had options then to communicate its displeasure when the US failed to engage with it, so it has now. And all of them would lead to more instability in Iraq and the region as a whole. Read more…

By Ibrahim Al-Marashi
Published on Oct. 14, in http://www.aljazeera.com

Ibrahim Al-Marashi is Associate Professor of Middle East History at California State University San Marcos. His publications include Iraq’s Armed Forces: An Analytical History, The Modern History of Iraq, and the forthcoming, A Concise History of the Middle East, and a regular contributor for Al-Jazeera English and TRT World.

26
Sep

What does the war in Syria have in common with the stand-off in North Korea? All the leaders involved in the conflict use missiles as a diplomatic tool to boast of their country’s strength, and to send political messages.

In a speech before the United Nations on Tuesday, President Trump branded North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as “rocket man,” borrowing a term from an John Elton song.

However, Trump, is also a rocket man. So is Vladimir Putin. They all use “rockets,” or more specifically cruise and ballistic missiles to send political message to their rival “rocket men.”

Within the span of three months, from April 2017 to June 2017, the US, Iran, and Russia have all lobbed missiles over the skies of Syria, not for tactical military reasons, but to send symbolic political messages to their rivals, a form of “missile diplomacy”. Read more…

Published on Sept. 22nd, 2017 in http://www.trtworld.com

Ibrahim Al Marashi

Ibrahim al-Marashi is an associate professor at the Department of History, California State University, San Marcos. He is the co-author of The Modern History of Iraq, 4th edition.

30
Aug

The peaceful co-existence of Muslims, Christians and Jews in Spain might be more harmonious right now than at any other time in its history. That could be, in fact, what Daesh is targeting.

The attacks in Barcelona on August 17, 2017, conducted by terrorists pledging their allegiance to Daesh, demonstrate that despite the loss of the Islamic State’s spiritual capital Mosul over the summer, its ideology still inspires violence.

The attacks also fit a wider pattern this summer of urban terrorism having returned to Europe this summer and over the last one year. However, unlike the attacks in the UK earlier this summer, the attacks in Spain have invariably evoked the nation’s Islamic history by the media, analysts, and terrorist themselves.

Whether it was the 2004 bombing of commuter trains in Madrid or these vehicular attacks in Spain’s Catalonia region in 2017, the terrorists legitimize their violence by invoking the eight centuries of Muslim rule in the Iberian peninsula from 711 to 1492.

The symbolism of catalonia’s Islamic history

When reading about the vehicular attack on Barcelona’s pedestrian boulevard, Las Ramblas, I could not help but to analyze how a Spanish-Muslim terrorist was attacking part of Spain’s Muslim past. Barcelona was never under Muslim rule, although it was sacked by Muslim general al-Mansur in 985. Nonetheless, its most iconic thoroughfare, Las Ramblas comes from the Arabic word “raml” for “sand.” Las Ramblas was a wadi, a dry river bed. Read more…

Written on Aug. 30th, 2017 by Ibrahim-Al Marashi in http://www.trtworld.com
Ibrahim al-Marashi is an associate professor at the Department of History, California State University, San Marcos. He is the co-author of The Modern History of Iraq, 4th edition.

20
Dec

Why America was bound to fail in Syria

Written on December 20, 2016 by Waya Quiviger in Foreign Policy, Middle East, Op Ed

The fall of Aleppo is a human catastrophe. It’s also a demonstration of the perils of choosing the middle course in a military conflict. Sometimes it’s possible to talk and fight at the same time. But in Syria, the U.S. decision to pursue a dual-track, halfway approach made the mayhem worse.

A battered Secretary of State John F. Kerry made one more plea Thursday for a peaceful evacuation of what’s left of Aleppo. At a State Department briefing, he used the strongest language to describe the situation: “Another Srebrenica . . . nothing short of a massacre . . . indiscriminate slaughter . . . a cynical policy of terrorizing civilians.”

But for five years, the United States’ actions haven’t matched its rhetoric. Kerry’s only real weapon now is the gruesome suffering of the Syrian people and the shame it engenders in everyone who watches. That shame hangs over this administration, too.

Kerry’s critics argue that his efforts to negotiate a settlement were always doomed to failure. Maybe so, but after the Russian military intervention in September 2015, the administration concluded that diplomacy was the only viable strategy in Aleppo. Having made that decision, officials needed to make it work. Instead, they continued to toy with an armed opposition they weren’t prepared to fully support. Read more…

 Opinion writer December 15

www.washingtonpost.com

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