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Iraq, Iran & the Gulf

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.

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.

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.

Iraq’s Jihadi Jack-in-the-Box, Middle East Briefing N°38, 20 Jun 2014

The jihadi surge is the tragic, violent outcome of steadily deteriorating political dynamics. Instead of a rash military intervention and unconditional support for the Iraqi government, pressure is needed to reverse sectarian polarisation and a disastrous record of governance.

The Huthis: From Saada to Sanaa, Middle East Report N°154, 10 Jun 2014

Continued fighting between Huthis and their various opponents could lead to a major conflagration, further undermining the Yemen’s troubled political transition.

Iran and the P5+1: Solving the Nuclear Rubik’s Cube, Middle East Report N°152, 9 May 2014

A comprehensive nuclear accord may be in reach if both sides – Iran and the Security Council permanent members plus Germany – show determination to settle on a technical agreement and isolate the deal from its complex regional context.

Iraq: Falluja's Faustian Bargain, Middle East Report N°150, 28 Apr 2014

An alliance between the local military council and the jihadi ISIL group is keeping the besieging Iraqi army at bay around Falluja, but unless Sunni alienation is addressed, the city risks a new round of devastating conflict.

Yemen’s Southern Question: Avoiding a Breakdown, Middle East Report N°145, 25 Sep 2013

Yemen must agree on its state structure, including the South’s status, to forge a stable future. A final agreement cannot be forced by the National Dialogue Conference; for some key issues, only continued, more inclusive talks in the context of confidence-building measures can succeed. 中文

Make or Break: Iraq’s Sunnis and the State, Middle East Report N°144, 14 Aug 2013

With Sunni Arab frustration at a boil at home, unprecedented Sunni-Shiite polarisation in the region and deadly car bombings plaguing the country, Iraq is inching toward relapse into generalised sectarian conflict. 中文
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