Archive for the ‘Security’ 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.

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.

3
Oct

Europe Needs Its Realist Past

Written on October 3, 2016 by Waya Quiviger in Europe, Foreign Policy, Security

As Europe’s troubles deepen and pose more of a threat to the vital interests of the U.S., Americans are recycling their tried and tested critiques of the European Union: It is too statist and bureaucratic. Its instincts are too protectionist. Its decision-making bodies are too slow and secretive. EU foreign policy is too naive, too feckless about defense and security. The problem with Europe, in a word, is that it is too European.

But the EU isn’t in trouble today because its leaders are “too European.” The EU is in trouble because its leadership isn’t European enough. It is time for the continent to return to the tradition of realist politics that gave rise to its modern union in the first place.

It is easy today to forget just how hardheaded the original architects of Europe’s postwar drive for integration actually were. Charles de Gaulle of France, Konrad Adenauer of West Germany and Alcide De Gasperi of Italy were conservative nationalists whose vision for Europe reflected the bitter experiences of two world wars and a failed peace.

In its origins, European unity was an unsentimental exercise in geopolitics. Germany and Italy saw it as a way to reintegrate into the world after the disaster of fascism. France saw a coalition with a defeated and partitioned Germany as a way to cement its power in Europe and to strengthen its global reach. All these governments saw European unity as a way to keep the Old World as independent as possible from both Moscow and Washington. “Europe will be your revenge,” Adenauer told de Gaulle after the humiliation of the Suez crisis in 1956, when the U.S. forced France and Britain to back down from a joint campaign with Israel against Egypt.

These leaders did not think that submerging their national histories and identities in a cosmopolitan, post-national Europe was either possible or desirable. They supported Europe because it seemed to be the best way forward for the peoples they led. For its part, the U.S. backed the project because a united Western Europe offered the best hope to stop communism in the short term and to prevent the recurrence of major European wars farther down the road. Read more…

 

 

26
Aug

However tempting it is to keep writing about Donald Trump, I’m going to move on to less bizarre topics. Last week I participated in a panel at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences on the implications of the Brexit vote (along with Leslie Vinjamuri of the University of London and Barry Posen and Francis Gavin of MIT). Their comments got me thinking— and not for the first time — about where the world is headed these days.

It’s easy to understand why people think the current world order is rapidly unraveling. Despite steady reductions in global poverty, the continued absence of great power war, and mind-boggling advances in science and technology, world politics doesn’t look nearly as promising as it did a couple of decades ago. It’s still possible to offer an upbeat view of the foreign policy agenda — as Joe Biden recently did — but the vice president is not exactly the most objective judge. He thinks the next president will be able to build on the Obama administration’s successes, but a more candid evaluation would conclude that the next president — whoever it might be — is going to face some serious challenges. Read more…

 

  • By Stephen M. Walt
  • August 21, 2016
  • Stephen M. Walt is the Robert and Renée Belfer professor of international relations at Harvard University.

 

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