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Middle East & North Africa

Arming Iraq’s Kurds: Fighting IS, Inviting Conflict

Middle East Report N°158, 12 May 2015

A Kurdish Peshmerga fighter holds a a rocket-propelled grenade launcher as he takes up position in an area overlooking Baretle village (background), which is controlled by the Islamic State, in Khazir, on the edge of Mosul September 8, 2014.

The US-led coalition’s military assistance to Kurdish forces against the Islamic State (IS) is inadvertently accelerating intra-Kurdish fragmentation. The West should coordinate its aid better, build upon Iraqi Kurdistan’s past efforts in transforming its peshmergas into a professional military, and encourage Kurdish coordination with Iraq’s central government in the fight against IS.

Recent Reports

Arming Iraq’s Kurds: Fighting IS, Inviting Conflict, Middle East Report N°158, 12 May 2015

The US-led coalition’s military assistance to Kurdish forces against the Islamic State (IS) is inadvertently accelerating intra-Kurdish fragmentation. The West should coordinate its aid better, build upon Iraqi Kurdistan’s past efforts in transforming its peshmergas into a professional military, and encourage Kurdish coordination with Iraq’s central government in the fight against IS.

Yemen at War, Middle East Briefing N°45, 27 Mar 2015

Yemen is now at war. Fuelled by Saudi-Iranian rivalry and a violent jihadi upsurge, fighting is fragmenting the country and could spread beyond if parties do not immediately de-escalate and – with the support of Gulf neighbours – return to negotiations on a compromised, power-sharing leadership.

Libya: Getting Geneva Right, Middle East and North Africa Report N°157, 26 Feb 2015

After six months of worsening clashes, Libya is on the brink of all-out civil war and catastrophic state collapse. All parties must press the two rival authorities to join a national unity government, resolutely uphold the UN arms embargo, and persuade regional actors to stop fuelling the conflict.

Tunisia’s Elections: Old Wounds, New Fears, Middle East and North Africa Briefing N°44, 19 Dec 2014

Tunisia’s presidential election highlights the multiple divides that trouble the country and region. Unless the winner governs as a truly national leader, representing all Tunisians and not just his base, current tensions could escalate into violence.

Iran Nuclear Talks: The Fog Recedes, Middle East Briefing N°43, 10 Dec 2014

When twelve months of intense negotiations between Iran and the P5+1/EU3+3 ended with yet another extension, sceptics saw this as confirmation that the talks are doomed. But it would be as grave a mistake to underestimate the real progress as to overstate the chances of ultimate success. A landmark agreement is still within reach if both sides adopt more flexible postures on enrichment capacity and sanctions relief.

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Toward a Lasting Ceasefire in Gaza, Middle East Briefing N°42, 23 Oct 2014

To achieve a durable ceasefire, not only must Israel significantly change its policy toward Gaza, but, no less importantly, Hamas and the Palestine Liberation Organisation must take further steps to implement their reconciliation agreement in order to enable reconstruction and stabilise daily life in the Strip.

Tunisia’s Borders (II): Terrorism and Regional Polarisation, Middle East and North Africa Briefing N°41, 21 Oct 2014

The growing link between cartels and armed jihadi militants along Tunisia’s borders with Algeria and Libya, combined with heightened ideological polarisation, could form an explosive mix ahead of Tunisia’s legislative and presidential elections.

Bringing Back the Palestinian Refugee Question, Middle East Report N°156, 9 Oct 2014

With Palestinians increasingly doubtful that the refugee question can be resolved within a two-state framework, the Palestinian leadership should seek to reinvigorate refugee communities as well as to reclaim its representation of them. When diplomacy emerges from its hiatus, the leadership will be able to negotiate and implement a peace agreement only if it wins refugees’ support or at least acquiescence. 

Rigged Cars and Barrel Bombs: Aleppo and the State of the Syrian War, Middle East Report N°155, 9 Sep 2014

Syria is sliding toward unending war between an autocratic, sectarian regime and the even more autocratic, more sectarian jihadi group that has made dramatic gains in both Syria and Iraq. Without either a ceasefire in Aleppo or greater support from its state backers, the mainstream opposition is likely to suffer a defeat that will dash chances of a political resolution for the foreseeable future. 中文

Iran and the P5+1: Getting to “Yes”, Middle East Briefing N°40, 27 Aug 2014

November’s deadline could be the last chance to avoid a breakdown in the Iran and the P5+1 nuclear talks. Compromise on Iran’s enrichment capacity is key to ending the impasse, requiring both sides to walk back from maximalist positions and focus on realistic solutions.

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Latest Translations

Yemen at War
Middle East briefing N°45
Now available in Arabic
Libya: Getting Geneva Right
Middle East and North Africa Report N°157
Now available in Arabic
Iran Nuclear Talks: The Fog Recedes
Middle East Briefing N°43
Now available in Farsi
La Tunisie des frontières (II) : terrorisme et polarisation régionale
Middle East and North Africa Briefing N°41
Now available in English