After announcing in December that the US will withdraw its troops from Syria, President Donald Trump and the White House back tracked a number of weeks later, declaring the withdrawal may yet take a number of months.
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This month last year, the Kuwaiti government hosted a ‘Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq’. It was attended by the United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres, along with dozens of foreign ministers and large numbers of other government and business representatives. The timing was perfect for Iraq. The country had recently announced the military defeat of the Islamic State (IS) and was enjoying an unprecedented level of optimism and all-round international good will.
On January 24, the Syrian-Kurdish forces backed by the US anti-Islamic State (IS) coalition barely repelled a counter-attack carried out by IS militants in the Syrian village of Baghuz Fawqani, on the eastern bank of the Euphrates where the river crosses the Syrian-Iraqi border.
On the very day of the proclamation of the “Caliphate”, on 29 June 2014, the so-called Islamic State (IS) published a video in English, through one of its official media channels, titled “The End of Sykes-Picot”. In this sophisticated video, a Chilean-Norwegian militant showed and narrated the destruction of a border crossing between Iraq and Syria as well as the hoisting of the “Caliphate”’s flag.
This article will focus on the strategic involvement of Russia and China in Iraq’s and Syria’s energy industry, focusing on the National Oil Companies (NOCs) of both countries and their involvement in the most strategic assets of the Middle East, oil and gas. Baghdad’s oil and gas production is fundamental to strengthen the stability of OPEC, while supporting policies against market volatility in the whole world.
The collapse of the regional order in the Middle East, with the subsequent reshuffling of regional balance, has led many to warn of an Iranian land bridge stretching from Iran to the Mediterranean. Indeed, as argued by Professor Vali Nasr, it was regional instability that allowed Iran to enhance its relative power and influence over the region: Iran did not cause, but definitely benefited from the collapse of the old order in the Arab world.
After 8 years of conflict, Syria is a country in ruins.
Five years of Islamic State (IS) rule across Iraq and Syria have wrecked the shared border between the two countries and created a fragile security situation in the area commonly known as “Syraq”.
In the summer of 2013, most commentaries on the Syrian civil war’s effect on Iraq’s Sunni population argued that the rise of Syria’s Sunnis against the government in Damascus had emboldened their co-religionists across the border, providing a morale boost to the Iraqi community that feels marginalized by a Shia-dominated Iraqi state, closely allied to Shia Iran. However, what was neglected in these assessments was the “cause and effect” relationship between the Syrian civil war and the deteriorating security situation in Iraq.
Radicalization in prison has long been a critical issue in the West (and beyond), where prisons have sometimes been turned in recruitment and proselytization hubs by different kinds of extremists, including jihadists. As is well known, one of the main concerns is that radicalized subjects may indoctrinate other common detainees. Italy has also been affected by this phenomenon and jihadist radicalization in prison represents a concrete threat.