Iran’s participation also appeared to signal how Iran is emerging from decades of American-imposed marginalization. Only two years ago, it was disinvited from joining Syrian peace talks because of pressure from the United States. Now, with Iran’s enhanced standing in the aftermath of the nuclear agreement, Mr. Kerry appears to be testing whether a broader basis for cooperation is possible.
A political crisis threatens to derail the dream of self-determination in South Kurdistan. As if a war with Islamic State jihadis, a refugee burden beyond comprehension and a budget freeze from Baghdad were not bad enough, political infighting and public protests are now added to the toxic mix. Although the leading Kurdish political parties are hardly responsible for the Islamic State’s war, the refugee crisis or even Baghdad’s peculiar understanding of the Iraqi Constitution, they are responsible for other problems. The political infighting and economic woes in the region both seem like the result of poor decisions and bad policies.
A very detailed overview of the shifting battle lines in Syria, updated to include recent changes since Russia began its bombing campaign.