Towards Renewed War in Syria? The Kurds and Turkey

President Erdogan “Countries We Consider Our Friends See No Problem in Cooperating with Terrorist Organizations”, Eid al-Fitr celebration, AK Party’s Istanbul branch, 25 June 2017 – Presidency of the Republic of 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 state and nation…” President Erdogan (Presidency of the Republic of Turkey, “Countries We Consider Our Friends See No Problem in Cooperating with Terrorist Organizations“, Eid al-Fitr celebration, AK Party’s Istanbul branch , 25 …

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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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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 model contributes to …

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The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly –
4 May 2017

Each week our scan collects weak – and less weak – signals… As polarisation rises, not only internationally but also domestically within many countries, weak signals are not only “direct”, describing facts, but also, increasingly, “indirect”, i.e. perspectives on reality indicating more about the positioning of actors, the rising tension(s) and uncertainty, than about facts. The Weekly also …

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 various factors at work that will shape the outcome of the battle of Raqqa and thus impact the future. Such factors must be considered for scenarios as well as monitored for warning, notably by being included in corresponding mapping. The offensive against the Islamic State is progressing in the governorate of Raqqa. However, the outcome will not only be a more or less rapid victory against a …

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The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly –
9 Mars 2017

Each week our scan collects weak – and less weak – signals… Each section focuses on signals related to a specific theme: world (international politics and geopolitics); economy; science; analysis, strategy and futures; technology and weapons; energy and environment. However, in a complex world, categories are merely a convenient way to present information, when facts and events …

Evaluating Scenarios and Indicators for the Syrian War

Every year, The Economist, in its “The World in…” series, assesses it successes and failures regarding its past yearly forecasts (e.g. for 2012). This is an exemplary behaviour that should be adopted by all practitioners: if we are to deliver good and actionable strategic foresight and warning, and to improve our process, methodology and thus our final products, then we should always evaluate our work. Having now completed our last series of updates on the state of play for the Syrian war, we can now start assessing how our own scenarios and indicators fared so far, if they need to be updated and the potential methodological improvements that we should endeavour. Evaluating the scenarios As the Geneva conference took place (see previous …

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The Kurds and Rojava, State-Building in the Syrian War

During the Autumn 2013 and Winter 2014, we witnessed a major reconfiguration of forces in Syria, as seen previously, including with the rise of Salafi-Nationalists. This article looks at the evolution that took place in Western Kurdistan, notably the birth of novel political institutions, Rojava, and how and why the Kurds relate to the Geneva conference that took place in early 2014. Creating Rojava We recall that on 10 July 2013, the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) declared starting making plans to move towards some degree of autonomy for Rojava or the Syrian part of Kurdistan (see for detail 4 Nov 2013 update, 2.1.). News about Rojava and its “project” can be followed on its own website, created in August 2013 and maintained until 2017. The PYD moved forward …

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