ISIS and Syria’s Palestinian Refugees

As the Islamic State continues their campaign of terror in the Middle East, the Palestinians have found themselves to be victims yet again. In fact, these individuals have found themselves in between a rock and a hard place with nobody to defend them as they are a stateless people.

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On April 1st, Islamic State forces entered the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus for the first time. Since the fighting broke out three years ago, the camp has been reduced from 200,000 to only 15,000 residents. Putting aside the identity of the camp’s inhabitants, this is a serious issue. Furthermore, this issue can be generalized to represent the struggle of minorities within the war-torn nation.

This situation is representative of the overall issue that is not just the Islamic State, but how the international community has reacted to their campaign. If one is to recall, the Iraqi Kurds were in a tough place not too long ago and it took too long to provide them the support they desperately needed. As the West continues to back Syrian Rebels, one reason ISIS came to power as fast as they did, the minorities that were under Assad’s protection are the ones getting hurt.

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The main takeaway from this is that the West must allow the minorities to defend themselves by first discontinuing arms to the rebels, who have demonstrated a disregard for casualties that is truly comparable to the Assad regime. The second lesson is that the minorities need to be given proper resources so that they may defend themselves and protect their land. This is the ultimate indication of the trouble that international tampering into the community has caused. These nations and people must be left to resolve this issue, which was not entirely caused by them in the first place, so that they may finally have peace and stability.

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Yemen: America’s Newest Proxy War

The Gulf State of Yemen has been in turmoil and plagued by civil war since the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh abdicated office in 2012. On one side is the Sunni-backed regime and on the other is the Shiite Houthi Militia.

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Recently in the news, the Houthis have been making advances, which threaten to undermine the existing status quo of a regime that has maintained power through corruption and power sharing. Their control of the nation’s capitol, Sana’a, have forced the sitting president (And Rabbu Mansour Hadi) to flee the nation. Their presence has been interpreted as a means for Iran to further its influence in the region. Given that this in the sphere of influence of the Saudis as well as the rest of the Gulf States, the Sunni regimes have decided to involve themselves, also. Furthermore, a threat to Saudi power is taken seriously by the United States have oil interests to protect in the region. Alternatively, any advance of Shi’a power is viewed as beneficiary to Iran, which both Israel and the United States consider the biggest threat to their power. y The result of elevating tensions caused by these events has resulted in several heavy airstrikes of Houthi military bases as well as the capitol. The Saudi defense minister has also vowed to continue the strikes in order to weaken the militants. While the Gulf Cooperation Council is entering this struggle, the United States is providing support and encouragement at a distance as Secretary of State John Kerry revealed that the White House plans to provide further logistical and intelligence support. If this was not a proxy war before, it certainly is becoming one now. A side effect of these bombings is the unlikely support that the Houthis have found within the country. Former President Saleh has pledged his support for their cause as areas still loyal to him were also struck. This partnership is a surprise given that Saleh fought the Houthis for a long duration throughout his presidency. Whether or not this partnership will be of any use to the militants is still to be decided, but it certainly lends the support of those loyal to Saleh. Ultimately, if this becomes a proxy war, then much more will be at stake than the control of the Yemeni government. The Islamic State declaring their involvement in causing further chaos through recent suicide bombings will not help the situation either.