Signals: Heavy Fighting between Kurds and Iraqi Forces; Kurdish Factions; Russia; Israel

Impact on Issues ? ➃  Capacity (and willingness) of each actor to stabilize the situation  (critical uncertainty) ➚➚➚ ➃  /➄ Iraq vs Kurds – ➚ ➄ Syria  – ➚ ➃ Middle East Tension ➘ ?➂ Legitimacy of Kurdish political authorities and parties ➚➚  Iran influence in Iraq and in the region ➚ ? ➃ Gulf Countries (uncertainty regarding policy) ➚ Russia ‘s involvement and stake ➚ Israel’s […]

Signal: The Kurdish-led SDF Defeats the Islamic State in Raqqa

Impact on Issues ? ➄ Bashar al-Assad government decision regarding the Federation of Northern Syria… and Turkey (critical uncertainty) ➚➚ ➃  Turkey acting against the Federation of Northern Syria ➚  ? ➃ Iran influence (uncertainty regarding policy) ➚ ➃ Russia influence trial ➚ ➃ U.S. influence trial ➚ ? ➃ Gulf Countries (uncertainty regarding policy) ? Western NGOs and then businesses prospects in Syria ➚ ? ➄ Syrian future  (high uncertainty) […]

Signals: Kurd Military Command on Kirkuk; Iran again…

Impact on Issues ➚➚➚ ➃  /➄ Iraq vs Kurds – ➚ ➄ Syria  – ➚ ➃ Middle East Tension ➚➚  Iran Iraqi and regional influence ➚ Russia, U.S., Gulf Countries Conundrum ➘ Russia Influence ➘ U.S. influence – ➙ U.S.weight (unwilling? influence) The Iraqi attack on Peshmergas-controlled Kirkuk continued on 16 October and, as a result Iraqis forces, allegedly according to Kurds […]

Signals: Towards War In Iraq between Kurds and Iraqis, Iran…

Impact on Issues ➚➚ ➃  /➄ Iraq vs Kurds – ➚ ➄ Syria  – ➚ ➃ Middle East Tension ➚  Iran Iraqi and regional influence ➚ Russia, U.S., Gulf Countries Conundrum ➘ Russia Influence ➘ U.S. influence – ➚ U.S.weight (unwilling? influence) Around Kirkuk, skirmishes have now taken place in the early hours of Monday 16 October 2017 between Iraqis troops and Hashd […]

Signal: A View from China – its Rising Arms Exports

Impact on Issues ➚ ➀ ➁ China-U.S. Tension – ➚ Chinese influence (including OBOR/New Silk Road) – ➘ U.S. influence – ➘ USD supremacy – Uncertainty: American East Asian strategic presence and East Asian stability China has become the third larger exporter of arms in the world, even though it is still far behind the U.S. and Russia. It […]

Sources of American Decline… and Power – The View from the U.S. National Intelligence Council

The question of a U.S. decline is increasingly on the agenda as signals seem to pile up to indicate a relative loss of power status. The last instance of such dynamics at play is the 4 to 8 October 2017 state visit to Russia of King Salman Saudi Arabia King Salman, a long-standing close ally of […]

Signals: Russia Unveils Policy on Iraq Kurds Independence, Iraqis and Kurds discuss…

Impact on Issues ➘ ➁➀ /➄ Iraq vs Kurds – ➙ ➄ Syria  – ➘ ➀ Russia Conundrum ➚ Russia Influence – ➘ ➃ Middle East Tension – ➘ U.S. influence Note 13 Oct: Latest signal 16 Oct 2017 as situation has considerably evolved since 11 Oct, showing the essential fluid character of the dynamics ate work. A flurry of diplomatic moves, visits and […]

Signal: State visit of Saudi King in Russia

Impact on Issues ➚ U.S. Decline – ➚ Russian Influence – ➘ ➃ Middle East Regional Tension – ➚➚ ➂  Global tension Among many other impacts, we shall notably stress here that this visit shows the skill of Russian diplomacy and the pertinence of Russian strategy as Russia seems to be highly likely to succeed in  maintaining and developing […]

Which U.S. Decline? The View from the U.S. National Intelligence Council

The second decade of the 21st century appears to be rough for the U.S.. Could it mean that American power is waning? The question of a putative decline of the U.S. regularly emerges in international relations and in the media since at least the 1970s (Kenneth Waltz; Theory of International Politics, 1979: 177-178). However, each […]

Investigating the Rise of Populism (2) – Populism-Labelling and its Dangers

This article focuses on the “rise of populism”, the second explanation given for two of the major recent political and geopolitical surprises – i.e. the Brexit and the election of Donald Trump as U.S. President, and a major concern for many regarding the future evolution of Europe, the EU, and more largely the liberal paradigm in its globalisation guise.

Previously, we presented the current scholarly definition of populism, and suggested that it was less representative of reality than thought at first glance (“A perfect definition?“). Here, we shall focus on a too often forgotten aspect of “populism”, the way the word is actually used to disparagingly brand a protest movement or party and reinsert it within a larger political science framework. We shall explain how this practice of “populism-labelling” is actually fraught with three main dangers, which, furthermore, interact.

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