By Mattijs Messely, MEDEA Institute A lot has been written about the Syrian crisis. During the last months many have started to wonder whether this crisis has become a full-blown civil war. This is not merely a semantic discussion, because the possibility that ethnic and religious dividing lines overshadow the original cause of the Syrian crisis – being a struggle for more democracy – would have serious consequences for the whole region. The last months it became apparent that the geopolitical stakes have not diminished, sadly the opposite is true. Iran and its allies are backing the Assad regime while Saudi-Arabia and its own are supporting the rebels. On the battlefields the fundamentalist fractions of Al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) have gained more ground – in the city of Raqqa there are regular executions held in public by the ISIS.
Iraqi secularists under attack ahead of elections – 11/04/2014 - Al Monitor
Kadhem al-Haeri, a cleric who has close ties with the Islamic Dawa Party and the Iranian regime, issued a fatwa March 30 banning the election of secular candidates in the upcoming elections. Large banners were hung in many areas of Baghdad and included a picture of the marja (spiritual guide) and the signature of the party’s office. The banners read: “it is forbidden to elect secular candidates”. The banners, hung late in March, are still present in some areas in Baghdad.
Wealthy Qatar, a backer of Syria’s armed rebels, makes room for displaced students – 13/04/2014 - Christian Science Monitor
While Qatar has embraced the effort to topple Syrian President Baschar al-Assad, it is less keen to take in Syrian refugees. Most of the 2.5 million Syrians fleeing the conflict are in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq. Far fewer have made it to wealthy Gulf States like Qatar, Kuwait or Saudi Arabia.
Relative Calm in Parts of Syria is deceptive – 05/04/2014 - The New York Times
The change of atmosphere here in the Syrian capital is unmistakable. The boom of shelling no longer dominates the days and nights. Tensions over security are draining from the city like air from a balloon. Checkpoints remain ubiquitous but sentries are relaxed, even jocular, teasing strangers, “Any bombs” ?
Midi-Med: « Iran yesterday-Iran today : change during Rohani’s presidency »
The MEDEA Institute and the European Movement Belgium would like to invite you to the next Midi-Med on 23 april 2014 which will be dedicated to: Iran yesterday-Iran today: change during Rohani's presidency.
Conference « The Protest Movements in the Contemporary Middle East »
A conference on " The protest movements in the contemporary Middle East" will be held in Prague on May 29 and 30 with the assistance of the MEDEA Institute.