Category Archives: Syria

New Syria Ceasefire

As reported in the news, the US and Russia have agree to enforce new Syria ceasefire. A new deal between the US and Russia to enforce a ceasefire in Syria has been reached, with the cessation of hostilities set to come into force on 27 February. A report by diplomatic editor of the Guardian is extracted below: The ceasefire, subject to the agreement between the warring parties, would exclude Islamic State, al-Nusra Front and other groups deemed to be terrorist organisations. Scepticism about whether it can be enforced will be widespread after a previous planned ceasefire failed to take place. Instead, Russia continued its bombing campaign, sieges of starving towns were never lifted and other confidence-building measures ignored. Continue reading

Syria: Partial Ceasefire Agreed

As reported, the US secretary of state, John Kerry, says the partial Syria ceasefire agreed at talks in Munich ‘will apply to any and all parties in Syria with the exception of the terrorist organisations Daesh and al-Nusra’. However, the Syrian Centre for Policy Research (SCPR) on Syria conflict finds that in all, 11.5% of the country’s population have been killed or injured since the crisis erupted in March 2011. The number of wounded is put at 1.9 million. Life expectancy has dropped from 70 in 2010 to 55.4 in 2015. Posts on Syria’s war are available on Pakistan Horizon here, here, herehere and here.

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Caliph Country: Under The Black Flag

Why ISIS Fights is another phenomenal long read from the Journal in The Guardian which is a must read article for all PIIA members. The veteran Martin Chulov narrates the accounts of jihadi fighters in Iraq and Syria, he reveals “the apocalyptic motivations of the militant movement that has hijacked the Syrian uprising – and transformed the Middle East.” As Chulov explains: It was around this time that I met an Iraqi jihadi named Abu Ismael, who was not shy about his own past. “I was a member of the al-Qaida organisation from 2005-11,” he said, his black eyes set in an unflinching stare. “I joined them with my father when I was 16, and apart from one and a half months in prison, I was very active in every way.” Now 23, he had made his way to al-Bab in Aleppo province in the second half of 2012 and been accepted as an auxiliary fighter by a local opposition unit, Liwa al-Tawheed. “We don’t trust al-Qaida,” the group’s leader, Sheikh Omar Othman, said at the time. “They don’t want what we want, but as Muslims we must accept wayfarers, especially if they come to help.” Chulov explains further that: By April 2013, the number of Iraqis fighting in Syria Continue reading

Drone Wars: Two Reports

Reaper drone

Please read our post on strikes on British jihadis in Syria here. Read our post on first ever Pakistan army strike which killed three high profile militants (by a UAV named “Burraq”) in the Shawal valley of the Waziristan tribal region near the Afghan border here. Equally, two interesting studies have emerged on drone warfare and strikes. Examining the dilemmas surrounding drone warfare, in their study Limiting Armed Drone Proliferation, Micah Zenko and Sarah Kreps argue “that it is essential to begin working now to expand and establish such rules and norms, while the number of states with armed drones remains relatively small.” They are strong proponents of a strategy that lays down clear limits on the sale and use of armed drones in order to reduce the prospects of the proliferation of these weapons and to prevent their use becoming widespread. Another, more recent, study from June 2015 by the Center for a New American Security entitled A World of Proliferated Drones Continue reading

Treasury’s War

For more than a decade, America has been waging a new kind of war against the financial networks of rogue regimes, proliferators, terrorist groups, and criminal syndicates. Juan Zarate, a chief architect of modern financial warfare and a former senior Treasury and White House official, pulls back the curtain on this shadowy world. In this gripping story, he explains in unprecedented detail how a small, dedicated group of officials redefined the Treasury’s role and used its unique powers, relationships, and reputation to apply financial pressure against America’s enemies. This group unleashed a new brand of financial power—one that leveraged the private sector and banks directly to isolate rogues from the international financial system. By harnessing the forces of globalization and the centrality of the American market and dollar, Treasury developed a new way of undermining America’s foes. Continue reading

ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror

ISISInitially dismissed by US President Barack Obama, along with other fledgling terrorist groups, as a “jayvee squad” compared to al-Qaeda, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has shocked the world by conquering massive territories in both countries and promising to create a vast new Muslim caliphate that observes the strict dictates of Sharia law. In ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror, American journalist Michael Weiss and Syrian analyst Hassan Hassan explain how these violent extremists evolved from a nearly defeated Iraqi insurgent group into a jihadi army of international volunteers who behead Western hostages in slickly produced videos and have conquered territory equal to the size of Great Britain. Beginning with the early days of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Continue reading