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Articles in Insurgencies

Lecture Slides on Kurdistan

By Martin W. Lewis | April 14, 2016 | 6 Comments

Dear Readers,
My lecture this week for my course on the history and geography of current global events examined the Kurds and the idea of Kurdistan. The slides from this lecture are available at the link below.
Lecture on the Kurds and Kurdistan

Radicalization of Russia’s Muslims—Are Crimean Tatars Next? (Part 2)

By Asya Pereltsvaig | April 11, 2016 |

[Part 1 can be read here. Thanks to Iryna Novosyolova for a helpful discussion of some of the issues discussed in this post.]
 
In 2014, the Russian Federation acquired another Muslim group that may prove troublesome both within Russia and globally: the Crimean Tatars. According to the 2002 Russian census, there were only 4,131 Crimean Tatars living in the country, concentrated …

Radicalization of Russia’s Muslims—Are Crimean Tatars Next? (Part 1)

By Asya Pereltsvaig | April 10, 2016 | 12 Comments

[Thanks to Iryna Novosyolova for a helpful discussion of some of the issues discussed in this post.]
 
A recent article in Foreign Affairs listed the use of the French language as the best predictor of a country’s rate of Sunni radicalization and violence, and particularly of the percentage of a country’s Muslim population that joins in the international Jihad. According to …

ISIS Lectures Slides in PDF

By Martin W. Lewis | April 1, 2016 |

As several readers noted that they were unable to open the PowerPoint version of my ISIS lecture slides, I tried to post them in the original Keynote format.  Unfortunately, the file was too large to post.  As a result, I decided to export the file and post it instead as a PDF.  That version is available here at the link.
(You can …

Lecture Slides on ISIS

By Martin W. Lewis | March 31, 2016 | 15 Comments

Dear Readers,
For the next 10 weeks I will be teaching a lecture course on the history and geography of current events, which is offered in two versions, one for Stanford students and the other for the community at large through Stanford’s Continuing Studies Program. This class is very demanding on me, as I must come up with new 70-minute lectures …

Mapping ISIS at the Institute For the Study of War

By Martin W. Lewis | December 18, 2015 | 4 Comments

(Note: This post is by Evan Lewis, not Martin Lewis.)
ISIS has proven to be as difficult to conceptualize as it has been to counteract. It has defied easy classifications and has been misunderstood and underestimated repeatedly by most of its opponents, often with disastrous consequences. In the effort to understand ISIS, its tactics, strategies, goals, and weak points, no one …

Superb Maps from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) and the Kurdish Issue

By Martin W. Lewis | December 4, 2015 | 4 Comments

I have been generally quite impressed with the mapping of the current war in Iraq and Syria. This is a complicated and rapidly changing conflict, and I find it highly convenient that major newspapers, magazines, websites, think tanks, and the indispensible Wikipedia provide comprehensive and often-updated cartographic coverage. The best maps that I have found come from the Institute for …

GeoCurrents Editorial: Recognition for Iraqi Kurdistan and Somaliland

By Martin W. Lewis | September 16, 2015 | 13 Comments

(Note: GeoCurrents is a non-partisan blog devoted to providing geographical information, particularly in reference to current global events. On rare occasions, however, opinion pieces are posted on the site. This is one of those occasions. As I regard this issue as extremely important, this post will remain at the top of the GeoCurrents page for at least the next week.)
Now …

The Ahl-e Haqq Minority Faith Fights for Its Homeland in Northern Iraq

By Martin W. Lewis | August 29, 2015 |

Earlier this week, Kurdish Peshmerga forces launched an offensive against ISIS in the Daquq district of Iraq, some 40 kilometers south of Kirkuk. Aided by airstrikes from US-led coalition warplanes, Kurdish forces took over a number of villages. As reported in the news service Rudaw:
Hismadin said Kurdish reinforcements streamed in once the Peshmerga’s heavy fighting began. He added that members …

Dhofar: Religion, Rebellion, and Reconstruction

By Martin W. Lewis | July 7, 2015 | 4 Comments

As mentioned in the previous post, Oman’s Dhofar region is highly distinctive in terms of both language and climate. It is also differentiated from the rest of Oman in regard to religion. Most Omanis follow Ibadi Islam, a branch that is said to predate the Sunni/Shia split, whereas most Dhofaris are Sunni Muslims. Dhofar also has a distinctive political history, …

The New York Times’ Impressive Collection of Iraq/Syria Maps

By Martin W. Lewis | October 20, 2014 | One Comment

As long-time readers of GeoCurrents may have noted, I have rather mixed feelings about the New York Times. I am often critical of Times articles and columnists, and I find the newspaper’s coverage of world events too spotty and incomplete to be satisfying. But I also start off every morning with the print edition, and I can’t imagine doing otherwise. …

ISIS Advances and the Kurds Retreat In Northern Syria

By Martin W. Lewis | September 21, 2014 | 5 Comments

The struggle involving the Islamic State (alternatively, ISIS or ISIL) in northern and eastern Syria and northern Iraq is finally receiving abundant coverage in the global media. Today’s (Sept. 21) New York Times, for example, features several articles on the issue, focused mostly on the international complications generated by the conflict. Many publications in the U.S., however—including the Times—have either …

Does the Boko Haram Insurgency Stem from Environmental Degradation and Climate Change?

By Martin W. Lewis | June 5, 2014 | 9 Comments

Several attempts to explain the extreme violence of Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria focus on resource scarcity, overpopulation, environmental degradation, and especially climate change. A recent article in The Guardian, for example, claims that:
Instability in Nigeria … has been growing steadily over the last decade — and one reason is climate change. In 2009, a UK Department for International Development …

Is Poverty the Root Cause of Boko Haram Violence?

By Martin W. Lewis | June 2, 2014 | 14 Comments

The notion that poverty is the main cause of terrorism and insurgency is one of the most contentious ideas in global security studies. Those on the left tend to emphasize the connection between violence and the lack of development, while those on the right tend to deny or at least minimize it.
In recent weeks, this debate has turned to the …

Casamance – harmonious name, discordant reality

By Claire Negiar | February 26, 2014 | One Comment

The Casamance has long been a region in limbo, caught between worlds: today trapped between Senegal and The Gambia, it was subject to both French and Portuguese colonial efforts before the border was negotiated in 1888 between the French colony of Senegal and Portuguese Guinea (now Guinea-Bissau) to the south. The settlement resulted in Portugal losing possession of the Casamance, which was at the time the commercial hub of its colony.

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