Neither Iran nor Hezbollah has ever deterred or even spoke about deterring Israel on behalf of Syria. Therefore, while Israel is focusing on degrading the ‘axis of resistance’ threat on its Syrian border, its adversaries are drawing red lines that once crossed could lead to an all-out war. The risk of this happening can be contained if both parties at least agree not to cross the other’s red lines. But if the situation escalates, as the recent case of south-western Syria suggests it might, international mediation – like the Russian one – will be needed to prevent a war.
Results for Tag: Islamic State
North Africa countries have adopted an overwhelmingly legalistic approach to returning foreign fighters. In line with the 2014 UNSC Resolution 2178, which required countries to take steps to address the foreign fighter phenomenon, most countries (with the exception of Libya) now have legal frameworks for prosecuting returning foreign fighters, for the most part for having joined a terrorist group abroad. Therefore, returning foreign fighters who are detected at official ports of entry will face arrest.
Egypt’s strategy to combat these groups has primarily relied on a security crackdown – specifically on the Muslim Brotherhood – and large-scale military operations against IS in North Sinai. At the same time, the state has set about ‘renewing religious discourse’. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has repeatedly called for a more moderate version of Islam, although the efficacy of the approach to prevent and counter radicalization has been questioned.
Whenever the war comes to an end, this challenge will become particularly difficult to manage. The shabiha will not disappear once their military purpose has ended. Instead, they will likely linger as organized crime groups, further eating away at the state’s legitimacy and slowing the country’s economic and social recovery.
The most recent blow to Iranian influence was the victory of Muqtada al-Sadr’s political coalition in the Iraqi parliamentary elections in May 2018. He reached out to poor Shiites, marginalized Sunnis and even secular parties who wanted a change in Baghdad. Although he cannot form a government on his own or become prime minister, he will play an important role in shaping a new political climate that is likely to be more resilient to Iranian influence.
The most famous example of a successful initiative to prevent radicalization in Lebanon is a project by the NGO MARCH in Tripoli. It started from 2014 and brought together young people from two rival neighborhoods: the Alawite minority from the Jabal Mohsen area and the Sunni community of Bab el-Tebbaneh. The groups, who live in poor quarters of the city, separated by Syria Street, are known for their sporadic clashes and armed battles in the streets of Tripoli.
While the kidnapping of foreigners in Libya has made headlines, nationals from countries in sub-Saharan Africa are arguably the most vulnerable. Most of them are fleeing persecution, war and famine, pushing them to rely on criminal gangs to take them to Europe. However, since Europe began contracting Libyan militias to intercept boats at sea in February 2017, smugglers have resorted to kidnapping migrants to earn a profit instead.
Frustrated by the slow pace of government reconstruction, some citizens have begun taking matters into their own hands, with volunteers cleaning the streets and residents rebuilding their own houses and businesses. However, some have accused Baghdad of having sectarian motives for moving slowly on the reconstruction of former IS-held areas, which are primarily Sunni.