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Kurds collapse in northern Iraq

MENAroundupMENA Roundup is a weekly publication containing insightful articles on politics in the Mid
October 18 · Issue #60 · View online
MENA Roundup is a weekly publication containing insightful articles on politics in the Middle East, focussing on Syria and Iraq.

  • Iraq: Within a few days, Iraq’s Kurds have lost the majority of the so called disputed areas to the Iraqi army and Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF). The aftermath of the referendum that was held on Sept 25th has clearly illustrated why Kurdish statehood remains a distant dream: Rivalries between the leading Kurdish factions, rivalries within the KDP and PUK themselves as well as individual ties to foreign backers hinder any form of true unity. Considering all the cronyism (including a visit of the IRGC’s Qasem Soleimani after which most PUK Peshmerga abandoned their posts around Kirkuk), many questions remain open. But the collapse is real. 

  • Raqqa has been nearly completely liberated from the Islamic State. The price is high: Hundreds of civilians have been killed by US-bombs and the city lies in ruins. What comes next? Without ISIS there will be no uniting bogeyman anymore. Instead, conflicts between SDF elements, the population and Assad and his allies are likely to erupt. 
  • The Islamic State also apparently withdrew from Mayadeen without resistance. Pro-regime forces also advanced east of Deir ez-Zor city. The provincial capital now is pretty much surrounded. Meanwhile, IS-carbombs killed at least 50 people in eastern Syria. ISIS also claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on the police headquarters in Damascus that killed at least 5 persons according to the SOHR.
  • For the first time since 2011, Syrian air defense has targeted an Israeli jet that violated Lebanese airspace. However, the anti-aircraft system missed its target. In response, Israeli warplanes attacked the system that is located near Damascus.
  • While the Assad-regime demanded the withdrawal of Turkish troops from Idlib, Turkey deployed more troops and military equipment. Seems like Turkey came to stay.
Articles worth reading
'People no longer care': Damascus accepts Assad victory as fait accompli
Post-ISIS Governance in Jarablus: A Turkish-led Strategy
Not-So-Soft Power: Russia’s Military Police in Syria
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