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Joost Hiltermann

Joost Hiltermann is the programme director for the Middle East and North Africa at the International Crisis Group. He is based in Brussels.

Iraq and the Kurds

Joost Hiltermann, 17 November 2016

Ever since​ the fall of the Ottomans, the Kurds have been a non-state nation, an insurgent population split across four sovereign states – Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Iran. Denied, as they see it, an independent Kurdistan by the cynical manipulations of the French and British colonial powers in the aftermath of the First World War, over the next hundred years they suffered serial and...

The Iran-Iraq War

Joost Hiltermann, 4 February 2016

Predicting what will start a war, and when, is an unrewarding business. Long-term trends (‘causes’) are often clear enough, but not the proximate causes, or triggers. We can assess the comparative significance of competition for resources, hunger for power, the nature of political systems, the psychology of leaders. What precipitates a conflict, though, may be a sudden, unforeseen event: an accident, misreading or miscalculation, or a temperamental leader’s flash of hubris. Often, of course, it is a combination of such things.

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