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ISIS – SYRIA AND DISORDER IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Despite its biggest breakthrough in 2014, Islamic State (IS) has not continued its territorial expansion, and has even lost parts of its territory in 2015. To its detriment, several alliances have formed against it and it lost territory gradually during 2016.   Although these alliances are bound together by the common goal of defeating IS, they do not agree in their visions of post-IS Syria or even post ISIS Iraq.

As the disagreement within anti-IS alliances begins to show, defeating IS and bringing peace to the region still has a long way to go, and the Middle East is likely to stay a highly volatile and unstable region through 2017 and beyond the end of IS. Some questions related to post ISIS Middle East include the war in Syria and its underlying regional causes, including a view on the role and future of IS, Kurdish aspirations, the economic arrangement of a petrodollars deprived Middle East; the refugee crisis spanning from Eritrea to Afghanistan and Syria and its global solution.

What strategies could be implemented on disarming, removing IS from lands taken and having outside terrorists reintegrated into society?

There will be thousands (of IS fighters) who will be beyond reintegration into civilian life, their only role in the past few years having been warfare, some of it indiscriminate. What special forms of reintegration and monitoring of ISIS fighters, some of them in distant lands.  The apparent lack of or weak planning of past interventions has had a major impact on disorder in the region. Additional questions are raised concerning the regional order of the Middle East.

The Shi’a - Sunni war led by Iran and the Arab States in the regions of Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen has led to the whole region to become a battleground for the two sects. Both Iran and Saudi Arabia seem to believe in the military route to win this struggle. Is there potential to have Iran – Saudi around the negotiation table? What arrangements can break a deal for the two sides?