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Geopolitics

Fmr US Diplomat: Biden Will Not Withdraw from Syria Before Elections

On February 16, 2024, The Kurdish Center for Studies (KCS) organized a seminar on US policy towards the Middle East following the events of Oct. 7th and the war in Gaza, moderated by KSC fellow Shoresh Darwish. David Schenker, the Taube Senior Fellow at the Washington Institute and former US Assistant Secretary of State for […]

Restoring Şengal: Yazidis Gather to Secure Justice and their Future

In two conferences in Amsterdam and Brussels, members of the Yazidi community tried to heal wounds and look at the future, finding strength in coming together. The genocide against the Yazidis, carried out by ISIS, happened ten years ago, in August of this year. Or, better phrased: it began ten years ago, but the violence […]

Seeking a Third Way: Apo’s Rojava in the Shadow of Tito’s Yugoslavia

A handful of historical reference points are commonly deployed to contextualise the Kurdish freedom movement for unfamiliar audiences. The jailed Kurdish figurehead Abdullah Öcalan is represented by his supporters as the ‘Mandela of the Middle East’ – while his detractors opt for less generous comparisons. Meanwhile, the Kurdish-led polity established around the Syrian Kurdish region […]

Salih Muslim: If Turkey Keeps Attacking, SDF will Return to Border

On December 27th, 2023, The Kurdish Center for Studies (KCS) organized a discussion about the continued attacks of the Turkish state against Rojava. The program was conducted by KCS official Nawaf Khalil, and featured the co-chairman of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) Salih Muslim, who evaluated the repeated Turkish assaults on civilian infrastructure and the reason […]

Could the War on Gaza Pull Rojava into a Regional Conflict?

There are certain inflection points in history around which decades are defined, and October 7th was one of them. The Hamas incursion into Israel, and the subsequent Israel bombing and ground invasion of Gaza, have escalated the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to an intensity unseen since 1948. Events of such historic importance are seldom contained to their […]

Îlham Ehmed: Turkish Attacks Divide Syria & Inspire ISIS

This interview was originally conducted in Kurdish on October 23rd, 2023 and can be found here (including the original video). “It is possible that the Turkish state will continue these attacks and attempt to displace the local population. We have seen historical examples of this, even in recent history, such as the forced displacement of people […]

AANES: Turkish Attacks Intend to Eliminate Our People & Region

“These Turkish air strikes against us are war crimes according to all international laws and regulations. There is no pretext that allows for the deliberate targeting of civilian infrastructure. But it seems like the Turkish regime does not care and is not abiding by these legal rules. And they have announced publicly that they will […]

Serê Kaniyê: Four Years of Ankara’s Terrorizing Occupation

Wherever Turkey occupies in the AANES region of north and eastern Syria (Rojava), allied jihadists, criminal gangs, and ruthless mercenaries soon follow; and wherever these occupying hoards go, so does indiscriminate and extrajudicial killings, murders, mutilations, lootings, gender based violence, occupation of homes, and destruction of farmlands, orchards, and livestock. In essence, wherever Turkey and […]

Turkey’s Unofficial Military: Mercenaries & Jihadists

“To plunder, butcher, steal, these things they misname empire: they make a desolation and they call it peace.” — Tacitus, Roman historian (56-120 AD) Turkey’s growing geopolitical influence has contributed to the further destabilization of regional balances, deepening of conflicts, and promotion of extremism. In the Neo-Ottoman quest to increase their reach, Turkey has established […]

The Global Impact of Jin, Jiyan, Azadî

As we approach the first anniversary of the “Jin, Jiyan, Azadî” (Woman, Life, Freedom) revolutionary movement in Eastern Kurdistan (Rojhilat) and Iran, it is beneficial to investigate its global impact. I have examined the implication of this movement in global terms at two levels: its impact on state-centric politics and its impact on grassroots feminist […]

Rojava as Mesopotamia: Building Solidarity through Mythology

In the shadows of the global media, the Kurdish freedom struggle continues. Muted by mainstream narratives that favour more palatable resistance movements, the extremity of Turkish violence goes on without condemnation from world leaders. While the steadfast and unwavering resilience of the Kurdish people is undeniable, it may not be enough against NATO’s second-largest army. […]

Surviving the 74th Genocide: Şengal’s Yezidis Endure

The Yezidi community is one of the most oppressed and marginalized minorities in the world. As a legacy of at least 74 genocides throughout their history, the number of Yezidis have dwindled to near extinction levels. From the 14th to the 18th century, the Yezidi population fell from 23 million to 2 million, before falling […]

Ecology Councils: Grassroots Climate Strategies from Mesopotamia

“The councils have always been undoubtedly democratic, but in a sense never seen before and never thought about.” — Hannah Arendt As Greece and other parts of the world are once again engulfed by wildfires, while almost each day a new heat record is reached, an increasing number of people are realizing that the effects […]

Could Donald Trump’s Return Change the Fate of Rojava?

Despite the risk of indictment, Donald Trump still seems to be enjoying considerable popularity in the United States. A survey conducted in 2021 revealed that 74% of American Republicans wanted Trump to run for president again in 2024. The news was significant then, and it is even more so now that the former president was […]

From Sèvres to Lausanne: Kurdish Society and the Nation-State Model

After the First World War, the Kurds, like other non-Turkish nationalities in the Ottoman empire, were presented with what seemed like a golden opportunity to establish their own nation-state. Articles 62 to 64 of the Treaty of Sèvres, signed on 10 August 1920, called for the establishment of an independent Kurdish state.[1] However, these articles […]

Lausanne Treaty: From Statelessness to Citizenshipless Kurds

The Lausanne treaty resulted in catastrophic consequences for the Kurds, the most obvious of which was statelessness. However, long after the imposition of the treaty, the Kurds continued to suffer a range of state imposed policies and consequences that affected their capacity to live with basic human rights and dignity. One such repercussion was the […]

Thomas Schmidinger: On Kurdish Nationalism Post-Lausanne

The following is an exclusive interview with professor Thomas Schmidinger following his presentation during a two day international conference on the centenary of the Lausanne Treaty held in Hasaka, Rojava (Northeastern Syria). The international conference was organized by The Rojava Center for Strategic Studies and held on the 7th-8th of July. Professor Schmidinger is a Political Scientist […]

100 Years after Lausanne: Challenges for the Kurds across Kurdistan

The following is a transcription of a speech presented by Thomas Schmidinger during a two day international conference on the centenary of the Lausanne Treaty held in Hasaka, Rojava (Northeastern Syria). The international conference was organized by The Rojava Center for Strategic Studies and held on the 7th-8th of July. *The following transcription entails editing […]

Rojava: Turkey Ups the Ante Ahead of Astana

On Monday (June 12), people in Rojava were astounded by a US Central Command press release revealing 22 US military personnel were injured in a helicopter “mishap” in southern Hasaka, part of the de facto Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES)- also known as Rojava. With the incident repressed for 24 hours, and […]

AANES: On Trying ISIS Foreign Fighters

“We can no longer keep these prisoners without an indictment or trial. These people must be held accountable for their crimes. They remain a danger not only to the region, but to the entire world. These are thousands of the most brutal ISIS fighters. We cannot keep them anymore. It is creating a security problem […]

The Global Responsibility of Supporting Rojava’s ISIS Trials

On Saturday the Autonomous Administration in North and East Syria (AANES) announced that it will commence trials of the thousands of ISIS militants it has held in detention since 2019. The Kurdish-led administration of northeast Syria (Rojava) had back in 2020 announced a similar trial with International Monitors led by the Swedish government but such […]

Yazidi Migration Sounds the Alarm Bell at Home

A report recently released by the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) revealed that 120, 000 Yazidis (Êzidî) have fled the country since the genocidal campaign by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) perpetrated against the Yazidi enclave of Mount Shingal in August 2014. Many have chosen relocation in countries such as Germany, Sweden, […]

A Rise in Executions of Kurds and Baloch by Iran

A recent report by Hengaw, a Kurdish human rights organization documenting human rights violations by the Iranian regime, shows a concerning rise in executions of minorities such as Kurds, Baloch and Azeris by the government. The Iranian regime has historically relied on executions – often still held in public spaces in town and city squares […]

A Kurdish Century

Prelude Until the 1800s Kurds lived in autonomous principalities on the fringes of the Ottoman and Safavid empires, the contiguous region providing a buffer between the two fierce rivals. After the spread of nationalism and World War I, in 1920, the defeated Ottoman Empire and victorious allies signed the Treaty of Sevres, which outlined a […]

Brawling Over Power Sharing in the KRG

Elections for the Parliament of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Southern Kurdistan (north Iraq) are currently scheduled for November 18, 2023, more than a year after they were originally planned for October 1, 2022. However, the prospect for either another delay or a deeply flawed election both remain possible due to continued tensions between […]

The Children of ISIS: KCS Reports from Roj Camp

On February 16th, 2023,  the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a press release expressing “grave concern” about reports that the male children of ISIS fighters, some as young as 12, had recently been removed from the Roj Camp in Rojava (northeast Syria), 13 kms from Derik. In the wake […]

Will Assad Gift Erdoğan a Pre-Election Meeting?

Though not confirmed yet, Turkey’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, announced on Friday (April 28), that the quadripartite meeting involving foreign affairs ministers of Turkey, Syria, Iran, and Moscow may take place in early May. Notably, his country is in the throes of holding parliamentary and presidential elections that could end the two decade-long rule […]

What is at Stake in Turkey’s May 14 Elections?

Historical Significance Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections on May 14th are historic. They come 100 years after Kurdish leaders were betrayed after they supported Kemal Ataturk to establish the nation state of Turkey because they trusted he would fulfil his promise of giving Kurds’ autonomy in the newly created nation. General Ihsan Nuri Pasha was […]

Rise of the Far-Right within European Militaries

In recent years, economic recession and an influx of migrants across Europe have triggered a rise in support for far-right parties and a decline in the popularity of their mainstream rivals. The loss of confidence in authorities and their governing mechanisms has led voters to turn towards movements which present an alternative discourse that stimulates […]

Iraq War 20 Years On: How the US Failed Kurdish Politics

Twenty years ago, American-led forces launched their fateful invasion of Iraq: a campaign of devastating shock and awe that shattered the Iraqi state and overthrew Saddam’s dictatorship in under two months. The story, one of Iraqi disintegration, sectarian conflict, and ultimately American failure to produce a flourishing democracy, is by now well known. However, the […]