Commentary by Alex IRELAND The veiling of women in Islam – common across the Middle East, and in emigrant populations from the region – is a highly controversial topic. Whilst some commentators claim that the veil oppresses women, and even that it epitomises an oppression of women ingrained in Muslim thought, others argue that the … More The Political Symbolism Behind the Muslim Veil
Analysis by Alex IRELAND Tunisia is now often hailed as the only success story from the wave of protests that swept the Arab world beginning in late 2010. This indeed has much justification, for out of the countries that experienced major political change, three have descended into war (Libya, Syria and Yemen), and one (Egypt) … More Tunisia: The Revolution Five Years On
Analysis by Alex IRELAND From the outside, Islamic State (IS) can seem a monolithic organisation expertly exporting terror attacks to the Western world. However, this impression is far from accurate. In fact, IS is mostly focused on holding and expanding territory in the Middle East, and places far greater emphasis on potential recruits to immigrate … More Islamic State’s Terror in the West: Who Directs It?
Analysis by Alex IRELAND Iraq is currently one of the most unstable and violent countries in the world, split between three rival ethnic and religious groups – the Kurds, Sunni Arabs and Shi’a Arabs. Presently, the north-east is ruled separately by Kurds as the autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan region (with consent from central government) and Sunni … More Behind the Ethnic and Sectarian Tensions in Iraq
Commentary by Alex IRELAND Since the signing of the Iranian nuclear deal in July of this year, plenty of arguments for and against have been raised. This article will offer a new perspective, examining the effect of the deal on wider Iranian foreign policy, and will argue that if the West abides by the deal it … More A New Perspective on the Iran Deal: Looking Within Iranian Politics
Analysis by Alex IRELAND In part I, this article gave an overview of the history of the Islamic State (IS) group. This second half will move on to analysing the reasons for its success, beginning with the immediate causes. In Syria, funded by the group’s wealth from previous Iraqi plunder, it was the combined experience of IS’s … More What Caused the Rise of IS? Part II: The Root Causes
Analysis by Alex IRELAND The spectacular advance across Syria and Iraq of the group named Islamic State (IS) took many Western observers by surprise. From being just one of a collection of rebel militias battling Assad’s forces in the Syrian civil war, and before that the almost wiped-out Islamic State of Iraq group, IS now controls territory inhabited by millions of people. However, the popular understanding of how IS has … More What Caused the Rise of IS? Part I: A History of IS