In a matter of days, the US’ role and position in the war in Syria has been thrown into disarray, a relatively stable area of the country has turned into a battlefield, IS, which was all but eliminated, may be rallying, and Moscow and Damascus seem to be in a stronger position than they have for years. In the eight-year war in Syria, a new chapter has just begun.
Results for Tag: ISIS
It is not so much that Trump is fulfilling his election vow to pull US troops from Syria that is concerning. It is the way he is doing it: without any apparent strategy, without any protection for the forces the US army has been cooperating with in the war against ISIS since 2014 and without any concern for the rights of Kurds (and other minorities) in a post-war Syria. This leaves the Kurdish People’s Protection Unit (YPG) and the SDF highly vulnerable. And it leaves the local population open to ethnic cleansing.
It is becoming ever clearer that the movement is transforming itself at a much faster rate than expected, even as the US president seeks to bring the troops back from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. In the short term he may win some political advantage, and it might even help his re-election bid, but the reality is that we are actually in a relative lull in a very long conflict, even if western leaders remain convinced that military power has been the right answer, even after 19 years of failure.
Tens of thousands of people who left the city before the final battle have now returned. But life is far from easy: most of the buildings are in ruins, there is no electricity and IS sleeper cells still pose a threat. Crucially, a lack of international recognition of the city’s civilian administration is hampering reconstruction.
Conducting archaeological research requires direct contact with ancient sites and materials. But the escalating armed violence in Syria continues to prevent archaeologists from resuming their work on the land. Most of the international institutions shifted their focus from Syria and moved their teams and projects to neighboring countries.
Today, Mandaeism is an endangered religion. Since the American-led intervention in Iraq in 2003, Sabian-Mandaeans have been subject to religious and ethnic persecution, including torture, murder, rape, forced conversion and marriage. Although the Islamic State never reached the Mandaeans’ historical homeland in southern Iraq, the community has endured severe human rights violations linked to the rise of Islamic extremism and lack of security.
In short though, it is evident that Russia exerts more influence on the whole in our region than Iran, whose role as a broker of reconciliations would have been rejected by most of the people in the south, who are suspicious of what they see as Iranian attempts to spread the Shi’i religion and its political ideology.