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Fikra Forum

Fikra Forum

خلق الحوار. التأثير على السياسة.

Generating Dialogue. Impacting Policy.

Iran and Iraqi Kurdistan: Heading Toward Confrontation

Zmkan A. Saleem

The Islamic Republic of Iran and the autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq maintain cordial relations, and the two neighbors have publicly cooperated in battling the Islamic State (IS). However, this might change soon. The authorities in Tehran are increasingly frustrated with the Kurdish leadership’s decision to hold an independence referendum on September 25 in territories under control of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Tehran speculates that the vote would speed up Kurdistan’s walk toward full independence, an event which Iran sees as a challenge not only to Iranian stability but also to their regional ambitions.

Fikra Forum

Politicians Dimming the Light of Youth

Hanar Marouf

To wish for change is very hard in a culture that fears transformation. For almost three decades Iraqi Kurdistan has seen the same government, the same faces, and the same ideas, with only the slightest changes in leadership or policies. Who is accountable for the crisis in the region today? Whatever the answer, the current state of affairs excoriates the Kurdish politicians. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has not been able to build a trusted institution for society to follow and believe in.

Fikra Forum

East Jerusalem Palestinian Poll Shows Rising Nationalism As Tensions Grow

David Pollock

This week King Abdullah of Jordan made a rare visit to Ramallah, his first in five years, to confer with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the wake of a crisis over security at the Temple Mount/Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. This latest outbreak of small-scale violence and public protest has apparently been contained. But it follows two years of sporadic stabbings and other attacks by local Palestinians, amidst false rumors of Israeli “encroachment” on the Haram al-Sherif, the plaza surrounding the historic mosque.

The Palestinian Public’s Tough Choices: On Violence, Instability, Hamas, “Jewish State”

David Pollock

One-third of West Bank and Gaza Palestinians want to “escalate the resistance against Israel, even if that makes life harder right now,” according to a late-May survey conducted by the reliable Palestine Center for Public Opinion. The majority, however, prefer other options: a compromise deal with Israel, a focus on daily life, or simply maintaining the status quo. The differences between West Bankers and Gazans are relatively modest, with the former slightly less inclined toward “resistance” and more inclined toward focusing on practical everyday issues.