October 2017 Review

October 2017 Review

TransConflict is pleased to present a selection of articles published during October, plus updates from the Global Coalition for Conflict Transformation. 

 Suggested Reading Conflict Background GCCT

1) Don’t believe anything you read about Kirkuk

Matthew Parish – The unopposed invasion of Kirkuk by troops ostensibly loyal to Baghdad of uncertain provenance and without anything other than token Peshmerga resistance to occupation of so strategically important an asset, the petrochemical capital of Iraq, is a back-room deal. The terms of that deal are not hard to divine. Read on…

2) Catalan Independence

Matthew Parish – In the Catalan crisis, pro-independence politicians have proven themselves particularly astute in their tactical judgments and this has undoubtedly accelerated the crisis. Nevertheless the fact remains that the Spanish government and the institutions of the European Union have failed abjectly in defusing this crisis. Catalan independence, whatever the deleterious externalities, is now a real prospect. The government in Madrid may fall. One of Spain’s most prosperous regions may be suspended in a period of indefinite chaos. The European project is potentially in jeopardy. Dark historical parallels are recalled. This is a catastrophe of potentially unlimited proportions. It can only be hoped that wiser heads shortly reject the blinkered recent policies so poorly fumbled in response to the Catalan conundrum. Read on…

3) Secession blues

David B. Kanin – Make no mistake; the ongoing Catalan crisis is a disaster for Kosova. Read on…

4) Reflection on the Catalan conundrum

Matthew Parish – Whether or not the Spanish state missteps further in an attempted occupation of Catalonia, the political geography of Spain now seems destined to be permanently transformed. The international community, and in particular the European Union, must support all Spaniards in ensuring that this process takes place with minimum political and economic damage to the Euro zone’s fourth-largest member. Read on…

5) The Iraqi Kurdistan vote – a look back on the long struggle for Kurdish independence

Rene Wadlow – Turkey, Iran and Syria all fear that moves for an independent Kurdish state in Iraq will lead to demands within their state for greater Kurdish autonomy, or demands for a unified Kurdistan. But creative thinking on confederal forms of government are in short supply in the current fog of war and repression in the wider Middle East. There should be ways in which there could be autonomy for the majority Kurdish areas while protecting the rights of the ethnic/national minorities which also live in the Kurdish areas. Read on…

6) Sequestering Catalonia

Matthew Parish – It now seems depressingly likely that Spain heads into a long-term low-level conflict with one of its most prosperous regions, doing damage to the economy of Catalonia, the reputation of Barcelona amongst foreign visitors and the political and legal systems of Spain. A series of tit-for-tat events will ensue. There may be parallel parliaments and governments; parallel elections; incensed protestors; occasional acts of violence; political uncertainty; flight of capital; controversies over the use of legal process to enforce the writ of central government; examples of how weak Madrid looks when it cannot enforce its injunctions; and more. Read on…

7) Annulling the Iran deal – a dangerous strategic mistake

Dr. Alon Ben-Meir – Rendering the Iran deal null and void will cap Trump’s misguided and treacherous approach to the Iran deal, and irreparably undermine America’s global, moral, and political leadership. Trump’s generals know this best, and they should stop him before it’s too late. Read on…

8) What was the Islamic State? Will it be back?

Matthew Parish – If and when a renewed Islamic State appears, the international community might do well to manage its emergence more carefully than for the first Islamic State. Every effort must be made to prevent any renewed Sunni political movement being captured by Islamic fundamentalism. But it is hard to see a strict return to the historical boundaries of Sykes-Picot, no matter how much Shia voices in Damascus and Baghdad might insist. Read on…

9) Militarisation in Sri Lanka’s north – not going away

Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice – Two recent reports show how the Sri Lankan military is continuing to weave itself into the fabric of everyday life in the north, including through the continued growth in military-run businesses, the control of private investment, and – perhaps most unsettling of all – the direct co-option of vast numbers of local people through their recruitment into the Civil Security Department (CSD), a military operated economic development provider involved in running farms and pre-schools. Read on…

10) Buried conflict – explosive remnants of war in Kosovo

Brenna Gautam – Hekuran and Agron keep fighting for a mine-free Kosovo. Through long stretches without adequate support and funding, through rainfall and snow shifting the sediment of buried mines, through winter, summer, spring and fall, they continue ridding Kosovo’s soil of this memory of the conflict. Read on…

11) Increased Korean tensions – time for concerted non-governmental efforts

Rene Wadlow – Today there is a need for a coming together of non-governmental organizations who are primarily focused on the resolution of armed conflicts such as the International Crisis Group, International Alert, and the Association of World Citizens with those groups concerned with the abolition of nuclear weapons. Read on…

12) The demise of Turkey’s democracy – an open letter to President Erdogan

Dr. Alon Ben-Meir – I know that you want to preside over the hundredth anniversary of the new republic of Turkey in 2023. But how do you want to be remembered? As the man who had all the power to make Turkey a shining star and a proud nation, or the ruthless Sultan who has squandered Turkey’s potential to become a model of Islamic democracy with a brilliant future ahead? You have failed your people. They must now await your departure from public life to breathe again, to think again, and yes, to dream again. Read on…


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