Syrians are caught between the overt violence of barrel bombs and covert killing through hunger and enforced privation. Syria has exposed the fragility of international norms. Words have not alleviated its people’s suffering. Only action can give meaning to the words.
In the dusty farms and villages of Sinjar, the interests of Iran and Turkey collide. Here in northern Iraq, Tehran is allying with non-state actors in order to further its own interests — this time with the controversial PKK group, which will bring it into conflict with Ankara.
Thousands of Syrians have fought as mercenaries in Libya, Azerbaijan, and possibly elsewhere, on both Russia and Turkey’s behalf. Dozens have been killed, and hundreds have come back after their contractual deployments, but none return to the life they left behind.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Benjamin Netanyahu have become their countries’ longest-serving leaders by claiming to speak for silent majorities. In doing so, they have taken their respective countries in new directions.
Still today, a majority of the public believes that women were handed their rights on a silver platter. However, according to the rectified version of history, it was in the late 19th century that Muslim women of the Ottoman Empire first started to demand their rights.
We are witnessing an intense scramble for control of the Middle East among mostly autocratic, disparate regimes, creating new alignments where the fabulous wealth of small states is conjugated with countries boasting larger armies, with proxies and mercenaries as expendable cannon fodder in tow.
What on paper seemed to the bureaucrats who engineered the 1923 population exchange between Turkey and Greece an ingenious arrangement to help both countries cement their own nationalist myths was in practice anything but.