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Can the NOC save Libya?
Azza Maghur provides an insight into the recent economic détente and the role the National Oil Corporation can play in reviving cooperation between political rivals for power in Libya.
Azza Kamel Maghur
The Russian-Iranian Quagmire in Syria
The increase in Russia’s involvement in Syria that began in the summer of 2015 is a significant shift in the trajectory of the conflict. While it may be good news for the Assad regime and for Russia’s interests in the short term, this will not necessarily be the case in the long term for either of them. And while Russia’s military intervention carries the handprints of Tehran, it is also not in Iran’s long-term interest. What began as a way for Moscow to assert itself politically is likely to turn out to be both Iran’s and Russia’s quagmire in the Middle East.
Lina Khatib
Europe, not the United States, pays the price of failure in Syria
Russian President Putin has decided that Syria is part of Russia’s near abroad, no less than Ukraine it seems, a territory where some vital national interests are at stake. He has predicted the fecklessness of Western powers well. Whether he is deploying his arsenal in Syria to fight Daesh or to bolster Assad, by moving massive military presence into Syria he has made himself the one player that counts and has put himself in a position to call the shots. He does not have a strategy to end the conflict. But he has one that he thinks will guarantee Russia’s influence in this pivotal country while the West has no strategy to confront him.
Bassma Kodmani
In Search of an Iraqi Army
In the midst of a suffocating Iraqi summer, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi approved court-martial proceedings against several army commanders who had abandoned their posts, allowing Islamic State fighters to take over the city of Ramadi. Against a backdrop of intense fighting, increasingly complex conflict dynamics and palpable anxiety in the West regarding the best strategy to follow, this decision has come as a reminder of the deep dysfunctionality of Iraq’s military, which remains very troubled more than a year after the start of the jihadist offensive.
Myriam Benraad

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