The new US administration needs to handle a controversial foreign policy dossier: the withdrawal agreement with the Taliban signed by its predecessor. It still needs to figure out how.
- “We are not winning in Afghanistan right now. We will correct this as soon as possible,” said U.S. Defence Secretary James Mattis during a recent Senate hearing.
- On Monday, September 29th, the curtain will drop on the lengthy rule of Hamid Karzai, in power since 2001. He will be replaced in Kabul’s large Arg presidential palace by Ashraf Ghani, whose appointment will be sealed at a solemn ceremony, albeit one less festive than expected. The Afghans and the international community would have liked to celebrate the central Asian country’s “first peaceful and democratic transfer of power in recent history”, but things did not turn out as expected.
- “If you look at the broader region of the Middle East, what you observe is a large number of wars. Right now, a war is going on in Syria, another civil war is going on in Afghanistan, there is conflict in Libya, before that there was Iraq and Iraq is not finished yet, there was Lebanon…It looks like the region of the Middle East suffers from many different civil wars, suffers from a lot violent conflicts. Why does the wider MENA region continue generating wars, while armed conflicts declined worldwide after the Cold War?” asks political scientist Stathis Kalyvas, Arnold Wolfers Professor of Political Science & Director, Program on Order, Conflict and Violence at Yale University. The reasons are “international interests, transnational revolutionary factors and parochial, local divisions, but also stronger counterhegemonic ideologies which keep the conflicts going.” We interviewed Professor Kalyvas during our Istanbul Seminars 2013.