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Who's Running Iraq? The Iraq Government Explained
How Powerful Is Syria?
Earlier this month, the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency spoke at an industry conference, where he expressed his doubt over Syria and Iraq's continued existence as they currently stand. More likely, he predicted, there will be fractures in those countries and Syria could possibly be divided into two or three parts.
The current turmoil in Iraq and Syria is the latest chapter in a history marred by violence and sectarian division. It's one thing to read the headlines, but it's important to frame the current events in historical context. Following the end of WWI, Western powers divided major swaths of the toppled Ottoman Empire. Leaders carved out countries, creating borders that split tribal regions in half. This laid the groundwork for the history to come. The Middle East is marred by turbulence, largely due to a forced combination of aggressive, opposing groups. In Iraq, for instance, the country is effectively split along Sunni, Shia, and Kurdish lines. Experts are predicting that, as Kurdish forces continue to mount and play an important role in the fight against ISIS, Kurdistan could become its own independent state.
Intelligence chief: Iraq and Syria may not survive as states (ap.org)
" Iraq and Syria may have been permanently torn asunder by war and sectarian tensions, the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency said Thursday in a frank assessment that is at odds with Obama administration policy."
TRIBES AND TRIBALISM IN THE ARAB SPRING (yementimes.com)
"From Iraq in the north down to the Arabian Peninsula and west all the way to Morocco, tribal values have had a strong influence on shaping the political culture and state-society relations in the Middle East."
Why border lines drawn with a ruler in WW1 still rock the Middle East (bbc.com)
"A map marked with crude chinagraph-pencil in the second decade of the 20th Century shows the ambition - and folly - of the 100-year old British-French plan that helped create the modern-day Middle East."
Kurdistan: The Next Flashpoint Between Turkey, Iraq, and the Syrian Revolt (jcpa.org)
"In the wake of the steady disintegration of the Assad regime, Syrian opposition activists reported that several towns, such as Amouda and Qabani in Syria's Kurdish northeast, had passed in mid-July 2012 without a fight into the local hands of a group called the Free Kurdish Army."