More Than ISIS, Iraq's Sunni Insurgency
By Hassan Hassan
"The involvement of [Ba'athists and other forces not associated with the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria] is the worrying trend, not because they fight side by side with jihadists but because many of those fighters once stood by the federal government against the extremists. This fact alone should help the international community figure out the true causes for today's crisis."
ISIS Advance in Iraq Forces Gulf Donors to Rethink Their Patronage
By Elizabeth Dickinson
Christian Science Monitor
"If ISIS's advance in Iraq does attract new private donations from the Gulf, it may not be to ISIS itself, which is already flush from extortion and protection rackets in northwest Syria and Iraq's Anbar province. Add in oil smuggling and bank raids in Iraq, and the group looks increasingly self-sufficient."
By Nathan Thrall
New York Review of Books
"For the Ramallah leadership, maintaining strong ties with the US means it cannot encourage popular protests in the West Bank, cannot limit cooperation on security when Israel invades areas ostensibly under Palestinian Authority control, cannot attempt to join a number of UN agencies and international institutions, cannot grant political freedoms to non-militants in Hamas, cannot meaningfully share power with Hamas in the PLO, and, not least, cannot allow real democracy in Palestine."
Kyrgyzstan: Democracy Under Pressure
By Ahmed Rashid
"Tucked between China and the massive land mass of Central Asia, tiny Kyrgyzstan is at risk of obliteration by the shift of powers in the region. As the US withdraws from Afghanistan, China and Russia are realigning themselves...Whether American influence will last in the region after that has become the country's hottest talking point."
A Door Half Open: Transparency, Secrecy, and the Future of EU Targeted Sanctions
By Zachary Goldman
"European Court of Justice decisions invalidating WMD and counterterrorism sanctions represent a fundamental challenge to the EU's financial restrictions system, and have come about in part because the European judiciary lacks the ability to review the kinds of classified national security information that often underlies the imposition of financial sanctions."