The Rise of Syria’s Kurds

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace – Since the summer of 2012, the beleaguered Syrian regime has all but abandoned areas predominantly inhabited by Kurdish populations. So far, the main beneficiary of this situation of quasi-autonomy for a “West Kurdistan” (as it is referred to in Kurdish political geography) appears to be the Democratic Union Party (Partiya Yekitiya Demokratik, or PYD)…

Turkey and its army: Erdogan and his generals

The Economist – IMAGINE a country with NATO’s second-largest army that counts Iraq, Iran and Syria as neighbours and is encircled by the Aegean, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean—but has nobody to command its navy. Just such a situation looms in Turkey after this week’s resignation of Admiral Nusret Guner, the number two in the navy who was expected to take over when its incumbent head steps down in August…

Iraq’s flood of ‘cheap oil’ could rock world markets

The Washington Times – The U.S. is not the only nation experiencing a renaissance in oil production. Sidelined for two decades by war, sanctions and political instability, Iraq passed a critical milestone last year by producing 3 million barrels a day of crude oil for the first time since 1990, before the Persian Gulf War, reaching 3.4 million barrels a day by December. Given its access to vast reserves at low costs, Baghdad is poised to play a pivotal role in determining whether the world’s growing thirst for oil drives up fuel prices to debilitating levels in coming years….