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The Syria conflict, now in its seventh year, remains a significant policy challenge for the United States. U.S. policy toward Syria in the past several years has given highest priority to counterterrorism operations against the Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIL/ISIS), but also included assistance to opposition-held communities, support for diplomatic efforts to reach a political settlement to the civil war, and the provision of humanitarian assistance in Syria and surrounding countries. The counter-IS campaign works primarily "by, with, and through" local partners, per a broader U.S. strategy initiated by the Obama Administration and continued with modifications by the Trump Administration. The United States has simultaneously advocated for a political track to reach a negotiated settlement between the government of Syrian President Bashar al Asad and opposition forces, within the framework of U.N.-mediated talks in Geneva. For a brief conflict summary, see Figure 2. Since the recapture of the Islamic State's self-proclaimed capital at Raqqah by U.S.-backed forces in October 2017, Trump Administration officials have reemphasized that the United States is entering a "new phase" that will focus on "de-escalating violence overall in Syria through a combination of ceasefires and de-escalation areas." These efforts are designed to create the conditions for a national-level political process ultimately culminating in a new constitution and U.N.-supervised elections. In January 2018, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson laid out the Administration's policy for future U.S. involvement in Syria, stating that the United States intends to maintain a military presence there to prevent a resurgence by the Islamic State. To date, the United States has directed nearly $7.7 billion toward Syria-related humanitarian assistance, and Congress has appropriated billions more to support security and stabilization initiatives in Syria and in neighboring countries. The Defense Department has not disaggregated the costs of military operations in Syria from the overall cost of Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), which has reached over $18.5 billion. The executive branch has reprogrammed or requested more than $2.2 billion to train, equip, advise, and assist vetted Syrians as part of a specially authorized program in place since late 2014. Congress also has debated proposals to authorize or restrict the use of military force against the Islamic State and in response to Syrian government chemical weapons attacks, but has not enacted any Syria-specific use of force authorizations. Looking forward, policymakers may consider questions regarding the purpose, scope, and duration of the U.S. military presence in Syria, the effectiveness of U.S. cooperation with Russia, post-Islamic State governance and reconstruction, as well as the challenges of reaching a political settlement between the Asad government and a broad spectrum of armed and political opposition actors.
Fighting continues across Syria, pitting government forces and their foreign allies against a range of anti-government insurgents, some of whom also are fighting amongst themselves. Since March 2011, the conflict has driven more than 2.8 million Syrians into neighboring countries as refugees (out of a total population of more than 22 million). Millions more Syrians are internally displaced and in need of humanitarian assistance, of which the United States remains the largest bilateral provider, with more than $2 billion in funding identified to date. The United States also has allocated a total of $287 million to date to provide nonlethal assistance to select groups.
US Assistance to Turkey Handbook
President Vladimir Putin has become a legendary person in Russia once and for all. After the Crimean events in 2014, his authority among the society is indisputable. Attempts to exert pressure on him from outside only caused his popularity to grow. This is due to the peculiarity of the Russian nationality – Russians close the ranks in the face of external danger. However, there is the other side of the coin: the leader-worshipping gave rise to hypertrophied responsibility, and now any unpopular measure taken by the Government poses risk for his reputation. Basically, in the institutional sense, President Putin has become a kind of Egyptian pharaoh, with whom the population of the country associates the achievements and failures of the government. The delusion that Putin alone controls all processes exists in both Western countries and Russia. This is not true: there is a well-organized group of his associates, who actually exercise control. This dissonance is fatal for Putin, as there is a request today that he stay at the helm after 2024, and it is very strong. Putin himself has repeatedly said that he would like to live a normal life «for himself», which can be humanly understood. A very sensitive period, which is already called the «transfer of power» in the country, is expected in the future, and many pressure groups are getting ready for it.
In this moment of unprecedented humanitarian crises, the representations of global disasters are increasingly common media themes around the world. The Routledge Companion to Media and Humanitarian Action explores the interconnections between media, old and new, and the humanitarian challenges that have come to define the twenty-first century. Contributors, including media professionals and experts in humanitarian affairs, grapple with what kinds of media language, discourse, terms, and campaigns can offer enough context and background knowledge to nurture informed global citizens. Case studies of media practices, content analysis and evaluation of media coverage, and representations of humanitarian emergencies and affairs offer further insight into the ways in which strategic communications are designed and implemented in field of humanitarian action.
This book focuses on the crises facing Al Qaeda and how the mass killing of Muslims is challenging its credibility as a leader among Islamist jihadist organizations. The book argues that these crises are directly related to Al Qaeda’s affiliation with the extreme violence employed against Muslims in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan in the decade since 9/11. Al Qaeda’s public and private responses to this violence differ greatly. While in public Al Qaeda has justified those attacks declaring that, for the establishment of a state of ‘true believers’, they are a necessary evil, in private Al Qaeda has been advising its local affiliates to refrain from killing Muslims. To better understand the crises facing Al Qaeda, the book explores the development of Central Al Qaeda’s complex relationship with radical (mis)appropriations and manifestations of takfir, which allows one Muslim to declare another an unbeliever, and its unique relationship with each of its affiliates in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The author then goes on to consider how the prominence of takfir is contributing to the deteriorating security in those countries and how this is affecting Al Qaeda’s credibility as an Islamist terror organization. The book concludes by considering the long-term viability of Al Qaeda and how its demise could allow the rise of the even more radical, violent Islamic State and the implications this has for the future security of the Middle East, North Africa and Central/South Asia. This book will be of much interest to students of political violence and terrorism, Islamism, global security and IR.
Violence and Gender in the Globalized World expands the critical picture of gender and violence in the age of globalization by introducing a variety of uncommonly discussed geo-political sites and dynamics. The volume hosts methodologically and disciplinarily diverse contributions from around the world, discussing various contexts including Chechnya, Germany, Iraq, Kenya, Malaysia, Nicaragua, Palestine, the former Yugoslavia, Syria, South Africa, the United States, and the Internet. Bringing together scholars’ and activists’ historicized and site-specific perspectives, this book bridges the gap between theory and practice concerning violence, gender, and agency. In this revised and updated edition, the scope of inquiry is expanded to incorporate phenomena that have recently come to the forefront of public and scholarly scrutiny, such as Internet-based discourses of violence, female suicide bombers, and the Islamic State’s violence against women. At the same time, new data and developments are brought to bear on earlier discussions of violence against women across the globe in order to bring them fully up to date. With an international team of contributors, comprising eminent scholars, activists and policy-makers, this volume will be of interest to anyone conducting research in the areas of gender and sexuality, human rights, cultural studies, law, sociology, political science, history, post-colonialism and colonialism, anthropology, philosophy and religion.

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