Since the defeat of IS, steps have to be taken to rebuild, physically and morally, a nation that has once again been shattered. These elections could be another of those steps, but all the signs indicate that they will do little more than maintain the status quo, with the real issues facing Iraqis once again going unaddressed.
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If the jihadi radicalization problem in Europe does indeed get worse, it may be worth considering radical new approaches, both of the soft and the hard kind. Perhaps Europe needs to spend significantly more to improve education in immigrant-heavy areas such as imposing longer prison sentences for terrorism offences
Since the operation in Afrin began, Turkey has been quick to exploit the international concern about the Islamist group, asserting that it is fighting IS as well as the YPG in the area. Turkey’s state news agency reported that ‘the PYD/PKK terror group has released all Daesh [IS] prisoners under the condition that they will fight against the Turkish army and Free Syrian Army (FSA) in Syria’s Afrin region’.
The referendum sent shock waves around the world, inspiring Kurds to the possibility of an independent state and alarming governments across the region. But if Erbil went ahead with the vote from a position of strength, the KRG is now in its worst state for years, wracked by internal dissent and with old political wounds freshly opened.
With no quick solutions to the Syrian conflict in sight, Turkey’s approach to the war has become one of self-interest. Gone are the days of demanding regime change. Al-Assad looks here to stay, a fact reflected in Turkey’s changing stance on the war, which is now focused on countering Kurdish military strength. The resurgent Kurdish threat will ensure that Turkey will not be leaving Syria any time soon.