Category Archives: Regional & International Politics

Initiative to End the Civil War in Syria - An amended version

isis oil map (1)

This new and amended version of the Tharwa Initiative to End the Civil War in Syria reflects feedback from a large number of activists and opposition members  from inside and outside the country that Tharwa received since the launch of the preliminary version on June 30, 2015. The next phase seeks to publicize the Initiative on the international level.  (Arabic Version)

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Neither an Idiot, nor a Wise Man

President Obama might have reached a rational deal with Iran, but the price-tag, namely: the dissolution of Syria, undermines its hypothesized potential for delivering a more stable and peaceful Middle East.
President Obama might have reached a rational deal with Iran, but the price-tag, namely: the dissolution of Syria, undermines its hypothesized potential for delivering a more stable and peaceful Middle East.

No. President Obama is not an idiot, and the deal that he just reached with Iran over its nuclear program will give the United States much more than it has given up, changing the face of the Middle East in the process. Perhaps, Europe will have in Iran another potential source of natural gas, breaking their reliance on Russia. Perhaps the strategic advantages for the U.S. and Europe are much larger that than whatever compromises they had to make in regard to Iranian ambitions.

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The Never Ending Struggle, Part…

(Photo: Carlos Barria, AP)
(Photo: Carlos Barria, AP)

Back in 2003, I was against plans for the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, and I made my objections known and clear in a variety of forums. But once it became clear that the invasion was proceeding irrespective of my stands and those of my colleagues, I wished it well and, wanting it to succeed, I tried in my capacity as an activist, no matter how small, marginal and limited, to help the democratization and state-building efforts through our work at the Tharwa Project. After all, the brunt of failure, as I argued then,  will be borne mostly by the Iraqi people, and the prodemocracy activists working around the region, as later developments have clearly demonstrated. How can I wish for U.S. failure then?

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What Victory? Whose Victory?

Many people are rushing to remind us these days of the Soviet contributions to the Allied victory in WWII. Most of these people of course conveniently forget to mention that Stalin had signed a pact Hitler that allowed them to divide Poland between them, and that he turned against Germany only after Hitler broke the pact and invaded Russia. The same experts also forget to mention that Stalin, and long before the German invasion, had already killed more Soviet citizens than Hitler’s forces would later do. Indeed, ever since the Bolshevik Revolution, Russia’s “victories” have always come at the expense of her peoples’ basic freedoms and their hopes for a dignified existence.

Bolshevik (1920), by Boris Kustodiev
Bolshevik (1920), by Boris Kustodiev

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The Kurds of Iran

Angry over the death of a chambermaid threatened with rape, ethnic Kurds in Mahabad burned the hotel where she had worked, witnesses and reports said.

Source: Riot Erupts in Iran’s Kurdish Capital Over Woman’s Death - NYTimes.com

It's not unusual for the Kurds living under Iranian rule to riot in protest of one abuse or another. They are indeed living under a de facto occupation. This is the only reasonable impression that one gets when considering how Kurdish-majority provinces are administered. Whether the current riots in Mahabad will mushroom into a larger movement remains as an open question for now.

Mahabad is a town with a population of 280,000 people, majority of them of Kurdish background (Al-Jazeera)
Mahabad is a town with a population of 280,000 people, majority of them of Kurdish background (Al-Jazeera)