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  • Author: Rodi Hevian
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Middle East Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: Global Research in International Affairs Center, Interdisciplinary Center
  • Abstract: This article examines the current political landscape of the Kurdish region in Syria, the role the Kurds have played in the ongoing Syrian civil war, and intra-Kurdish relations.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Kurdistan
  • Author: Jonathan Spyer
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Middle East Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: Global Research in International Affairs Center, Interdisciplinary Center
  • Abstract: Syria today is divided de facto into three identifiable entities. These three entities are: first, the Asad regime itself, which has survived all attempts to divide it from within. The second area is the zone controlled by the rebels. In this area there is no central authority. Rather, the territory is divided up into areas controlled by a variety of militias. The third area consists of majority-Kurdish northeast Syria. This area is under the control of the PYD (Democratic Union Party), the Syrian franchise of the PKK. This article will look into how this situation emerged, and examine its implications for the future of Syria.
  • Political Geography: Syria, Kurdistan
  • Author: Jill Bellamy
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Middle East Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: Global Research in International Affairs Center, Interdisciplinary Center
  • Abstract: As of June 2014, twelve Syrian chemical weapon production facilities remain structurally intact, even as United Nations weapon inspectors, under the auspices of the Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) struggle to negotiate with Bashar al Asad over an estimated100 tons of Priority 1 and Priority 2 chemicals still remaining in Syria, representing approximately eight percent of the total declared material. While Syria was identified decades ago as possessing the largest chemical weapons stockpile in the Middle East, its government has largely denied the existence of its biological weapons programs, dismissing any reference to them as "purely speculative."
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Jonathan Spyer
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Middle East Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: Global Research in International Affairs Center, Interdisciplinary Center
  • Abstract: Aided by Hizballah and Iraqi Shi'a volunteers, the Asad regime scored significant gains in the civil war in Syria in the first months of 2014. The regime has completed its re-conquest of the Qalamoun mountains and driven the rebels out of Homs. These gains constitute a consolidation by the Asad regime of its area of control in Syria, which runs from Damascus to the western coastal area, and now includes all the country's provincial capitals with the exception of Raqqa city and half of Aleppo city.
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Author: Rodi Hevian
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Middle East Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: Global Research in International Affairs Center, Interdisciplinary Center
  • Abstract: As Kurdistan is divided and the Kurdish people are not united geographically, they are split among numerous political parties and institutions in several different countries. They follow different leaders in each region of Kurdistan. After World War I, the Kurds created national organizations and institutions to further their cause. These included the Society for the Rise of Kurdistan (Kurt Teali Cemiyeti), established in 1918 in Istanbul; the Free Kurdistan Movement in 1923 in Diyarbekir; and Xoybun in 1927 in Lebanon. The goal of these organizations was to lead Kurdish rebellions against the Ottoman Empire and later, against Turkish state. Yet all of these organizations failed to achieve their goals and vanished from the public sphere in the following years.
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Syria
  • Author: Phillip Smyth
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Middle East Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: Global Research in International Affairs Center, Interdisciplinary Center
  • Abstract: As the Asad regime's most loyal Palestinian proxy, the PFLP-GC's role in the conflict in Syria is of great importance. Currently, the group's interests center on countering Syrian rebel forces in Syria and their allies in Lebanon. In this role, the PFLP-GC has suffered a number of significant losses, and for the first time in its existence is being pressed in all areas it operates. This article will focus on the Syrian Civil War's effects on the PFLP-GC and what the future may hold for the group.
  • Political Geography: Palestine, Syria
  • Author: Igor Delanoe
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Middle East Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: Global Research in International Affairs Center, Interdisciplinary Center
  • Abstract: Russian interests in the Eastern Mediterranean have been highlighted both by the country's diplomatic and naval activity related to the Syrian crisis as well as by its stance on economic and energy issues in Cyprus. During the 2000s, Moscow's influence on the island has steadily increased, making Cyprus a new Russian foothold in the Eastern Mediterranean. While Moscow's ties with Nicosia have served Russia's Mediterranean energy interests, they have also revived tensions with Turkey. In the context of the ongoing Syrian crisis, the Kremlin's growing involvement in Cyprus sheds new light on the Russia-Cyprus partnership.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey, Moscow, Syria
  • Author: Stephen Blank, Younkyoo Kim
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Middle East Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: Global Research in International Affairs Center, Interdisciplinary Center
  • Abstract: Energy issues figure prominently in the Russo-Turkish relationship. Their impact is not nearly as clear-cut as are the Iranian and Syrian issues. Turkey and Russia have a complex, evolving relationship characterized by mutual dependencies in the oil and gas spheres. As Richard Weitz stated, “Energy relations between Russia and Turkey have long been characterized by overt friendship and subtle competition.”
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Syria
  • Author: Jonathan Spyer
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Middle East Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: Global Research in International Affairs Center, Interdisciplinary Center
  • Abstract: The Asad regime has always suffered from a legitimacy deficit. When an uprising against it began in March 2011, the regime possessed few options other than brute force. Following a few desultory attempts at offering cosmetic reforms, the regime declared war against the insurgency in June 2011, seeking to crush it by force. Given the narrow base of his regime, Bashar Asad has pursued probably the only policy that was available to him. Asad's policy of repression has passed through a number of distinct phases. The regime has been forced to retreat from large parts of the country, due to its narrow sectarian base and a lack of sufficient manpower to hold these areas. The direction of events is clearly against the regime. However, at the time of writing, it shows no signs of imminent collapse.
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Author: Aylin Ünver Noi
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Middle East Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: Global Research in International Affairs Center, Interdisciplinary Center
  • Abstract: This article addresses the approaches of Turkey, Iran, Syria, and Iraq in dealing with the Kurdish issue, with a special focus on historical background. In addition, the article discusses how this issue affects relations among the aforementioned countries and whether cooperation on this issue is possible. The article also examines how the Arab Spring has impacted the Kurds and the attitudes of these countries toward the Kurdish issue.
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Syria
  • Author: Jonathan Spyer
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Middle East Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: Global Research in International Affairs Center, Interdisciplinary Center
  • Abstract: This article will observe the process whereby Hamas has consolidated and maintained its rule in Gaza. It will argue that the gradual strengthening of the Gaza leadership within Hamas preceded the upheavals of 2011. The fallout from the events in Egypt and Syria, however, served to accelerate and accentuate the process whereby the Gaza leadership made gains at the expense of the external leadership.
  • Political Geography: Syria, Egypt
  • Author: Jonathan Spyer
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Middle East Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: Global Research in International Affairs Center, Interdisciplinary Center
  • Abstract: Since the 1990s, Hizballah has defined itself along a number of parallel lines, each of which prior to 2011 appeared to support the other. The movement was simultaneously a sectarian representative of the Lebanese Shi'a, a regional ally of Iran and Syria, a defender of the Lebanese against the supposed aggressive intentions of Israel, and a leader of a more generically defined Arab and Muslim “resistance” against Israel and the West. As a result of the events of 2011, most important the revolt against the Asad regime in Syria, these various lines, which seemed mutually supportive, began to contradict one another. This has diminished Hizballah's position, though it remains physically unassailable for as long as the Asad regime in Syria survives.
  • Political Geography: Israel, Syria
  • Author: Phillip Smyth
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Middle East Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: Global Research in International Affairs Center, Interdisciplinary Center
  • Abstract: As the Syrian revolution against Bashar al-Asad's rule enters its first year, Asad appears to have a good command over Syria's large and fractious minority community. Three of the most prominent minority groups include the Christians, Druze, and Kurds. Asad's control of these groups was not happenstance but the result of a number of hard-and soft-power moves executed by the regime. These calculations did not simply involve direct internal dealings with said minorities, but also outreach to their populations living in neighboring states and abroad. Due to the regime's many policies, minority support may continue for some time.
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Author: Efraim Inbar
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Middle East Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: Global Research in International Affairs Center, Interdisciplinary Center
  • Abstract: The widely accepted “land for peace” paradigm for peace with Syria entails great military risks and may invite aggression against Israel, while the potential political dividends of a peace treaty are limited. Moreover, the status quo, based on a defensible border, is both sustainable and preferable to any alternative. Even without taking into consideration current political volatility in the region, retaining the Golan Heights is more important than a peace treaty. Therefore, Israel should adopt a new paradigm for relations with Syria–a “peace for peace” formula, even if peace is unlikely to emerge any time soon.
  • Political Geography: Israel, Syria
  • Author: Jonathan Spyer
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Middle East Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: Global Research in International Affairs Center, Interdisciplinary Center
  • Abstract: One of the most notable aspects of the revolt against the Asad regime in Syria has been the proliferation of opposition movements and the various attempts to join them into a single unified opposition movement. This article will observe the state of the opposition prior to the uprising, note the key new alignments in the opposition, and critically assess the attempts at unification.
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Author: Elie Elhadj
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Middle East Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: Global Research in International Affairs Center, Interdisciplinary Center
  • Abstract: Examining the differences between the uprising in Syria and those in Tunisia and Egypt offers important clues as to why Syria's regime is likely to survive. The Tunisian and Egyptian armies refused to kill demonstrators and even supported the revolution. Syria's Alawi-led forces, on the other hand, do not hesitate to kill, as the Tadmur and Hama massacres show. The Syrian regime has been skillful at exploiting the conflict with Israel and the patience of Western powers with the dictatorship. The Syrian government has shown a strong ability to manipulate Islam for its benefit as well. While these tools do not work as effectively as they used to, they still give the Syrian government many advantages over its deposed counterparts in Tunisia and Egypt.
  • Political Geography: Syria, Egypt, Tunisia
  • Author: William Harris
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Middle East Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: Global Research in International Affairs Center, Interdisciplinary Center
  • Abstract: This article is an extract from William Harris, Lebanon: A History 600-2011 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011). Surveying Lebanon's communities through fourteen centuries and the modern country from its origins after 1800, the book closes with today's downbeat Lebanon. The extract features a twilight zone, between Lebanon's devastating war period of 1975-1990 and the implosion of neighboring Syria in 2011-2012. After 1990, the authoritarian Syrian regime commanded Lebanon, faltering in 2005 with its partners--Lebanon's Hizballah and theocratic Iran--looming larger. Economic reconstruction coexisted with corruption, confrontation between Hizballah and Israel, political murder, and environmental degradation. Looking ahead, resuscitation of a credible Lebanese democracy depends on pluralism in a new Syria.
  • Political Geography: Israel, Syria