It might be half-term, but there’s no break in sight for the continuing saga of Assad holding onto power in Syria.
After meeting with President Putin in Moscow, the regime is talking of elections – but should this be taken seriously? Also on our agenda this week is a worrying trend of Islamic State endorsing attacks in Israel and women’s rights issues in the Middle East and India. The Henry Jackson Society’s experts and researchers are available for comment and analysis on all the weeks’ stories:
Dr Alan Mendoza, Executive Director on Syria
“President Assad’s desire to hold elections in Syria is laughable. He is not in control of most of the country and given the bloodshed he has caused he will never be legitimated by the kind of flawed electoral process he has initiated. The only viable future for peace in Syria is if both Assad and Islamic State are removed from positions of power.”
Hannah Stuart, Research Fellow on Counter Extremism
“Last week’s settlement between the Charity Commission and CAGE has been presented as a landmark victory for the prisoner advocacy group. CAGE representatives claim that the independent regulator’s request that registered charities did not fund the pro-terrorist group amounted to “21st century McCarthyism” particularly against Muslim charities. In fact, the court had already dismissed two claims by CAGE, that the commission had breached its human rights and had not acted fairly. CAGE withdrew its application for judicial review after the commission agreed that, were circumstances to change, charities would be free again to fund CAGE. This is a sensible compromise – no realistic counter-extremism strategy is omnipotent and public censure must be accompanied with the possibility of rehabilitation. But it is not the landmark victory that CAGE and its supporters claim, nor should it be used to diminish the new powers promised to commission to counter extremism.”
Tom Wilson, Resident Associate Fellow on Israel
“As Islamic State gives its endorsement to the ongoing wave of attacks in Israel, an Israeli Arab man is caught crossing over into Syria in an apparent attempt to join the IS affiliated Shuada al Yarmouq. We need to continue to observe this worrying trend, which might be a sign of greater IS involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
Dr Andrew Foxall, Director, Russia Studies Centre
“As further details emerge of exactly what President Putin and President Assad discussed during their meeting in Moscow last week, Russia pushing for fresh elections in Syria next year is a brazen attempt to keep a friend in power rather than find a long-term solution for a war-torn country.”
Emily Dyer, Research Fellow on Women’s Rights
Emily will continue monitoring women and girls travelling abroad to join IS and the treatment of women living in the group’s territory. She is also available to speak about women’s’ issues in India ahead of Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the UK.