Weekly Round Up 17th – 23rd September

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Photo courtesy of RFE/RL

Idlib in the balance

Who?
Various Factions including Turkey, Syria, Russia and the US

What?
Power play for control

Where?
Idlib Province, North Syria

Why is it important, relevant, worth consideration or keeping an eye on?
The situation on the ground in Idlib Province is complicated as ever. Idlib is the last big strong hold of the Syrian rebel groups in Syria. Turkey recently struck a deal with Russia that averted a major offensive of the Syrian Armed Forces in the region. As a result of this Turkey will continue to increase its number of deployed troops to the region. On the other hand a majority of the rebel/terrorist/non-state actors in the province reject this deal under which they are called to withdraw from a defined demilitarized zone.
A further actor is Iran who has long supported the Syrian government under Bashar Al-Assad. One view is that the Islamic Republic is looking to pressure the United States in Syria and make a show of force.
The United States roll in the future of Syria is unclear as of yet although it has recently committed its troops to region for an indefinite period of time.

It is clear that the future of Idlib currently lays in the hands of Russia and Turkey, both of whom are at odds with the United States. The situation in Idlib certainly requires close scrutiny in the coming weeks as it very may well decide the outcome of the conflict in the region.

Full Articles:
Al Jazeera
Reuters
Reuters
Reuters

Yameen-ID.jpg
Photo courtesy of the Maldives Independent

Strong arm or Democracy?

Who?
President Abdulla Yameen

What?
Running for second term

Where?
Maldives

Why is it important, relevant, worth consideration or keeping an eye on?
The current presidential election in the Maldives is seen by many as a “referendum on Democracy” and has resulted in an impressively high turn out of voters. Over 260’000 people in the island nation are eligible to vote. President Yameen is known to be friendly with Beijing. Furthermore he has recently cracked down on dissent, with most of his critics in jail or in exile. In February this year Yameen imposed a state of emergency on the country as he deployed troops to stop members of the parliament who were looking to impeach him.
The outcome of this election will most decide the fate of the Maldives for years to come.

Full Articles:
Al Jazeera
AFP

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Photo thanks to strategic-culture.org

Slaughter in Ahvaz

Who?
Four militants/separatists

What?
Opened fire into crowds during a Parade

Where?
Ahvaz, Southwestern Iran

Why is it important, relevant, worth consideration or keeping an eye on?
Amid sabre rattling in Idlib, Iran has placed the blame for the deadly shooting that killed nearly 30 people, including women and children, on the United States and its allies in the Arabian Gulf. Whether these claims are credible or not remains to be seen. However Iranian President Rouhani has said that Iran is ready to confront the US over the deaths  in Ahvaz. “America wants to cause chaos and unrest in our country so that it can return to this country, but these are unreal fantasies and they will never achieve their goals,” said Rouhani.
Furthermore it is important to bear in mind that just last month the US imposed more sanctions upon Iran.
The outcome of this attack could very well have a ripple effect in the region including but no limited to an increased Iranian presence in the embattled Syria.

Full Articles:
AFP
Al Jazeera
Reuters
AFP

***

Full List of Resources Used:
https://www.afp.com/en/news/205/iran-points-finger-arab-separatists-deadly-attack-doc-19c7qq1

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/09/iran-blames-gulf-allies-ahvaz-parade-attack-180923053321613.html

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-military-attack-rouhani/rouhani-says-iran-ready-to-confront-u-s-after-military-parade-attack-idUSKCN1M304Q

https://www.afp.com/en/news/205/iran-vows-crushing-response-after-gunmen-kill-29-army-parade-doc-19b87g15

https://www.afp.com/en/news/205/maldives-strongman-eyes-new-term-monitors-cry-foul-doc-19b9et2

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/09/maldives-votes-high-stakes-election-test-democracy-180923042346776.html

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/iran-northern-syria-180922094328020.html

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-rebels/syrias-idlib-spared-attack-turkey-to-send-in-more-troops-idUSKCN1LY0T9

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-idlib-group/jihadist-group-rejects-deal-for-syrias-idlib-main-faction-yet-to-declare-stance-idUSKCN1M307W

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-idlib/syrian-fsa-rebels-to-cooperate-with-turkey-in-idlib-wary-of-russia-idUSKCN1M20YL

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2016/07/16/president-rouhani-and-the-new-iranian-economy.html

https://www.rferl.org/a/putin-erdogan-syria-iraq-talks-ankara/28761044.html

https://maldivesindependent.com/politics/mp-reveals-details-of-meeting-with-president-yameen-118261

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