Towards Renewed War in Syria? The Kurds and Turkey

“The entire world should know that we will never allow the establishment of a terror state across our borders in northern Syria. … We will continue to crush the head of the serpents in their nests. Here is my message to those who want to block the steps we will take for the survival of our …

Evaluating Likelihoods for the Future of Libya – Scenarios of Victories (2)

In this article, we shall assess the likelihood of a lasting victory by the GNC, GNA, and COR—in other words, the ability of each government to not only achieve victory, but also to maintain lasting control. By victory, we mean a complete victory by one side over its adversaries, which is not imposed from the top down by external powers. In the previous article, we evaluated the likelihood for the initial victory of each government, finding that a COR victory was least unlikely. Now that intervention is already occurring, as we saw in our article on intervention scenarios, the “Total Victory” scenarios are considered sub-scenarios of Scenario 2: Intervention instead of independent scenarios. As such, this will be reflected in …

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The Middle East Powder Keg and the Great Battle for Raqqa

As events accelerate both within Syria on the battlefield and in the region, this article monitors and analyse these developments. It seeks to answer the question: do the unfolding states of affairs increase, or on the contrary decrease, the likelihood to see an intensification of Turkish escalation against the Syrian Kurds and, de facto, Northern Syria? We shall look first at the race that is taking place on the Syrian battlefield around the Battle of Raqqa and towards Deir es-Zor, there addressing furthermore the entrance of a new level of Iranian influence. We shall then turn to the evolving crisis around Qatar, pointing out notably impacts on Turkey and how  that crisis and the Battle of Raqqa feed into each other to heighten the risk to …

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Evaluating Likelihoods for the Future of Libya – Scenarios of Victories (1)

In this article, we shall assess the likelihood of a total victory by the GNC, GNA, and COR. By total victory, we mean a complete victory by one side over its adversaries, which is not imposed from the top down by external powers. In the previous article, we evaluated the likelihood for various spillover scenarios occurring both in the event of partition and without partition. Now that intervention is already occurring, as we saw in our article on intervention scenarios, the “Total Victory” scenarios are considered sub-scenarios of Scenario 2: Intervention instead of independent scenarios. As such, this will be reflected in the indicators, mapping and likelihoods. Indeed, as events unfolded and intervention took place scenarios 3, which were about …

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The Kurds in Syria – State-Building, New Model and War

This article focuses on state-building in Syria’s Kurdish area, i.e. the Democratic Federal System of Northern Syria, also locally called Rojava, and potential impacts. Indeed, we saw previously that the Kurds’ capacity to build a viable polity in Northern Syria was one crucial element for evaluating not only the outcome of the battle of Raqqa against the Islamic State, but also the way Turkey could become further and more intensely embroiled in the conflict (see Helene Lavoix, “The Battle of Raqqa, the Kurds and Turkey“,  The Red (Team) Analysis Society, 2 May 2017). Extreme cases scenarios ☔  Scenario War with Turkey escalates ⛵ Directly Impacted Actors: All Eurasian + Middle East states, U.S. (military, diplo); NGOs (for Syria/Iraq/Turkey); Businesses in Turkey, Trade & exchanges with Turkey; Airlines; Maritime activities; Religious institutions… ⛅ Scenario Kurdish …

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Saudi Arabia and the Chinese New Silk Road

During March 2017, King Salman of Saudi Arabia ended a six weeks tour in Asia with a state visit in China and a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. This visit included the opportunity to start the negotiations about the integration of Saudi Arabia to the Chinese New Silk Road Grand strategy (Michael Tanchum, “Saudi Arabia …

Evaluating Likelihoods for Libya – Scenario 2 Increased Spillover and Partition

As we discussed in the previous article, intervention and spillover are already occurring—thus we determined the likelihood of three partition scenarios occurring in the midst of intervention and spillover was highly unlikely. In this article, we shall discuss the organization, indicators, and likelihood of the various spillover scenarios occurring both in the event of partition and without partition. When discussing the potential directions of spillover, north refers to Europe; east refers to Egypt; south refers to Niger and Chad; and west refers to Algeria and Tunisia. Note: In the following article, we shall use the acronym COR for the Council of Representatives (nationalists), GNC for the General National Congress (Islamists), and GNA for the UN-backed Government of National Accord (unity …

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The Battle of Raqqa, the Kurds and Turkey

This article focuses on the evolution of the balance of forces on the battlefield, notably for the Kurds, mainly in Syria but also in Iraq, one of the multiple layers of interactions that must be considered around the battle of Raqqa against the Islamic State. It is part of a series aiming at deciphering the …

The UAE and the Chinese New Silk Road

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and China are negotiating, at the highest level, the integration of the UAE into the Chinese New Silk Road (NSR) initiative, also called the “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) initiative (Sarah Townsend, “UAE and China “working to restore silk road trading route””, Arabian Business.com, 13 December 2015). This move corresponds to the convergence of the Chinese and Emirati grand strategies. This confluence is based on an already thriving relationship between China and the UAE, which represents one-fifth of the Sino-Arab trade for the Gulf countries, with China being the UAE’s second import partner after India (Muhammad Zulfikar Rakhmat, “The UAE and China’s thriving partnership”, Monthly Monitor Report, A Gulf States Analytics Report, June 2015). Beyond these more “classical” …

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Evaluating Likelihoods for Libya – Scenario 2 Partition

We shall now discuss the organization, indicators, and likelihood of the various partition scenarios, after having detailed the indicators and determined the likelihood for intervention in the last article. Note: In the following article, we shall use the acronym COR for the Council of Representatives (nationalists), GNC for the General National Congress (Islamists), and GNA for the UN-backed Government of National Accord (unity government). Organizing the Scenarios and Indicators Considering that external actors are already intervening in Libya, as we saw previously, as well as the fact that surrounding countries are experiencing migrant, smuggling, and jihadist spillover from Libya’s civil war, we organized the parent scenarios to account for these certainties. The next branch of scenarios—which have not occurred yet—are …

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