Posts Tagged “Syria”

‘Aleppo and the Myth of Syria’s Sovereignty’, Al Jazeera, 18 October 2016

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‘Aleppo and the Myth of Syria’s Sovereignty’, Al Jazeera, 18 October 2016

The narrative of sovereignty by the Syrian government is based on a number of myths.     The Syrian government’s campaign has reached a grim crescendo in Aleppo, further bewildering an international community struggling to respond to blatant attacks on hospitals, homes and humanitarian convoys. The government has long defended its actions, in Aleppo and…

‘ISIL May be in Crisis, But So is the Coalition’, Al Jazeera, 31 May 2016

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‘ISIL May be in Crisis, But So is the Coalition’, Al Jazeera, 31 May 2016

Writing on Al Jazeera, I argue that ISIL’s current battlefield losses will not automatically translate into meaningful gains for the coalition.   ‘The battle to recapture Fallujah from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has gathered momentum, with thousands of government-linked forces encircling the strategic town, supported from the air and advised on…

Expert Witness, UK Defence Select Committee, 3 November 2015

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Expert Witness, UK Defence Select Committee, 3 November 2015

  On 3 November 2015, I gave expert testimony to the UK Parliament.  Ahead of the publication of the Strategic Defence and Security Review, I briefed the UK Defence Select Committee on potential threats from North Africa and the Middle East. Below is a record of my opening remarks. Phil Wilson MP: What specific threats to the UK and its interests are…

‘Defining a “Full-Spectrum” Counter-Terrorism Strategy’, 22 July 2015

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‘Defining a “Full-Spectrum” Counter-Terrorism Strategy’, 22 July 2015

Chris Mackmurdo and I previously argued that there needs to be a ‘full-spectrum’ approach to combatting ISIL and similar groups. Since then, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Defence Secretary Michael Fallon have both used this language, particularly since the Sousse attack. However, it is unclear exactly what they meant by a ‘full-spectrum’ response, and…

‘ISIS and Global Jihad’, 18 May 2015

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‘ISIS and Global Jihad’, 18 May 2015

For the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and on the eve of the launch of its new publication, Armed Conflict Survey, I examine the two seemingly contradictory effects of ISIS on global jihad.  I argue that the competing tendencies of unity and fragmentation create a dialectical tension that will drive the evolution of global jihadism in…

‘What Strategy for Tikrit, Mosul and Beyond?’, 12 March 2015

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‘What Strategy for Tikrit, Mosul and Beyond?’, 12 March 2015

For Al-Jazeera, I argue that, to bring meaningful progress against the so-called Islamic State, the ‘spring offensive’ in Iraq must serve a broader political strategy. The very recent histories of both Iraq and Syria suggest that the solution to a political crisis cannot be military It is important, therefore, that the agents who attempt to retake…

‘Unleash Diplomacy, Not Missiles, in Syria’, 1 September 2013

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‘Unleash Diplomacy, Not Missiles, in Syria’, 1 September 2013

For my Al Jazeera opinion column, I argue that the use of chemical weapons as a trigger for a US strike on Syria seems morally and legally arbitrary. At the same time, responding only to the chemical weapons dimension promises to leave the fundamental dynamics behind the horrific cycles of violence untouched. http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/08/2013831192052577528.html

‘Syria: Talks or a Fight to the End?’, 4 March 2013

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‘Syria: Talks or a Fight to the End?’, 4 March 2013

In my latest opinion column for Al Jazeera, I argue that, alongside a clash between the narratives and policies of the US and Russia with regard to the Syria crisis, there has been a discernible gulf between each power’s discourse and their actions.       Syria: Talks or a fight to the end?  …

‘Half-light in Syria’, 11 September 2012

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‘Half-light in Syria’, 11 September 2012

In an opinion column for Al Jazeera, I argue that Lakhdar Brahimi’s commitment to painstaking negotiations, coupled with Mohammed Mursi’s belief that the crisis in Syria is the responsibility of regional powers, combine to offer the only fragile hope, at this juncture, for ending the bloodshed in Syria and preventing its multiplication throughout the region.                                                                                                       …

‘Dangerous Contradictions in Syria’, 28 June 2012

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‘Dangerous Contradictions in Syria’, 28 June 2012

Together with George Joffe, I argue on Al Jazeera that local, regional and international contradictions combine to create an atmosphere of confusion and deep mistrust.  Throughout the region, the perception of a zero-sum struggle is gaining momentum.   Dangerous contradictions in Syria         Incoherent national policies and geopolitical rivalries are leading to a worsening…

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