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Showing posts from June 27, 2014

US Planning To Split Iraq

WASHINGTON: Time magazine has revealed a report of eight pages on plans to divide Iraq into three states, one of them in the north which is Kurdistan, the second for Sunnis along with Syria, and the third for Shi'ites in the south of the country that includes large areas of it.



The magazine added that this new Shi'ite country would be heading south to Kuwait, to deduct vital areas from it and include some parts of the north-east of Saudi Arabia.



The magazine published detailed maps distributing areas among Sunnis, Shi'ites and Kurds.



Baghdad was considered within the Sunni state, while Kirkuk was - according to the maps published by the magazine - inside the Kurdish state, but on the line of contact with the Sunni state, according to the report.


The report speaks about the annexation of the Kurdish areas in Syria to a Kurdish state in addition to the inclusion of some Sunni areas of Syria's Sunni state.


It is worth mentioning that the magazine is considered close to the US…

Amid Talks, Separatists Still Control Much of Eastern Ukraine

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Although Russian President Vladimir Putin's public support for diplomatic talks in eastern Ukraine and the decision of some separatist leaders to call for a cease-fire may de-escalate the crisis somewhat, a significant reduction in armed separatist activity throughout the contested east is unlikely. Conflicts between Western interests and Russia's goal of creating a neutral, decentralized Ukraine have prolonged negotiations.

Members of the Donetsk People's Republic, the militant-controlled region of Ukraine, participated in informal consultations June 23, signaling an evolution in the ongoing conflict. Previously, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko had resisted Russian pressure to negotiate with separatist leaders. Similarly, separatists had opposed the idea of holding direct talks with the government in Kiev. Separatist leaders, pro-Russian Ukrainian politicians, Russia's ambassador to Ukraine, former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma and an Organiz…

China's Suspicions of Foreign Organizations Re-Emerge

Members of the environmental group Greenpeace show pictures of polluted rivers in China as part of a protest at a popular shopping area in Beijing. (PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images)

Summary


Wide-scale but low-profile examinations of foreign nongovernmental organizations and their connections with domestic academia and social institutions inside China reflect Beijing's growing paranoia. In particular, a recent probe exposed concerns about foreign organizations' influence over local affairs and their ability to attract intellectual communities -- key avenues for influencing public opinion, especially in regard to sensitive subjects such as the environment, human rights and political campaigns.

The rhetoric surrounding liberal reforms has grown in recent years, alongside increasing ideological debates in the public realm. The Communist Party is wary of losing ideological dominance and oversight of politically sensitive domains. The suspicion that Western organizations have a role to p…

U.S.-Cuba Relations Could Advance in Panama

A woman walks under a Cuban flag in Santiago de Cuba.(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Analysis


According to media reports, a high-profile delegation from the United States will attend the inauguration of Panamanian President-elect Juan Carlos Varela on July 1. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson, Ambassador to Panama Jonathan Farrar and Massachusetts state Gov. Deval Patrick will attend. Although political delegations to presidential inaugurations are routine, the likely presence of a Cuban delegation at the event provides the opportunity for contact between Cuban and U.S. diplomats. The inclusion of a high-ranking official like Kerry suggests that substantive talks between Cuba and the United States may occur at the event. Such talks would almost certainly discuss the political negotiations with Cuba proposed by U.S. President Barack Obama.

The likelihood of such interaction has increased since the United States ma…

Iraq Update: Clashes Continue Across Sunni Areas

Iraqi troops in Ramadi on June 21.(-/AFP/Getty Images)

Analysis


The situation in Iraq remains fluid and dynamic, with clashes taking place across the Sunni areas of Iraq. According to unnamed Iraqi defense officials, seven divisions (approximately half of the Iraqi army prior to the fall of Mosul) have crumbled.

With a significant portion of its regular forces defeated and with large numbers of recent volunteers lacking training and experience, the Iraqi army will have to increasingly rely on outside powers, such as Iran and the United States, as well as Shiite militias such as the al-Sadrite movement, for aid. As Stratfor has noted, this dependence, especially on Iranian and Shiite militias, may worsen sectarian tensions and make it increasingly difficult for the central government to court ambivalent Sunni tribes in efforts to turn them against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.



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Baghdad remains heavily defended by the Iraqi security forces, but with the Islamic S…