Author: William Gourlay

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Victory claimed in Mosul, but other battles loom

    • William Gourlay
    • 13 July 2017
    2 Comments

    With ongoing celebrations in Baghdad and scenes of devastation in Mosul, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has announced the 'liberation' of Iraq's second-largest city from ISIS. This moment, after an umbrella force of military units fought for nine months to relieve Mosul of the ISIS yoke, represents a victory for the people and government of Iraq. However, many challenges loom, among them reconciling conflicting interests amongst Iraq's peoples and restoring the ravaged landscape.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Bringing 'boogeyman' Iran in from the cold

    • William Gourlay
    • 21 September 2015
    4 Comments

    Canny politicians know it is impossible to please everyone all of the time. This must be clear to Obama in the wake of the nuclear deal reached with Iran. As he heralded the accord as a harbinger of a 'more hopeful world', Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it a 'stunning historical mistake'. The deal is a result of 18 months of hard diplomatic negotiation, but for the naysayers it means Iran is off the leash.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    The Kurds: fighting the good fight?

    • William Gourlay
    • 22 September 2014
    6 Comments

    Turkey and Iran, the two major regional powers against whose borders ISIS jostles, have, each for their own reasons, declined to participate militarily in President Obama's action against ISIS. The likelihood or benefits of working in concert with Iran can be debated long and hard, but in the meantime the Kurds clearly emerge as the immediate go-to allies. Positioning them as such, and arming them, will change the dynamics of the region.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Turkish democracy gets the shake-up it needs

    • William Gourlay
    • 11 June 2013
    5 Comments

    Turkey's increasingly dictatorial prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan paid little heed to last week's violent demonstrations, dismissing protesters as looters and blaming social media for inflaming the situation. The protests are hardly on par with Egypt's government-toppling anti-Mubarak demonstrations, yet may still lead to a rejuvenation of Turkish democracy.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Turkey's Kurdish Spring

    • William Gourlay
    • 11 April 2013
    3 Comments

    A public letter from the imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), declared that PKK insurgents should forego armed struggle against the Turkish military. An end to terror is one thing, but there is a way to go before Turkey's Kurds have the rights and freedoms they've long hankered for. 

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Separating art from war in Iran

    • William Gourlay
    • 25 April 2012
    3 Comments

    Sabre rattling, both by the Iranian leadership and by Western politicians and pundits, dominates the headlines and steers public discourse about Iran. A recent film, and a current art exhibition, remind us of the country's 'rich and ancient culture that has been hidden under the heavy dust of politics'.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Modernising Islam

    • William Gourlay
    • 17 October 2011
    16 Comments

    First appearing in 1906, the islamic periodical Molla Nasreddin displayed a sardonic and satirical take on women's rights, the role of religion in society and government, press freedom and education. The Arab Spring is the latest expression of this forestalled progressive sentiment.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Doubting democracy in Muslim Turkey

    • William Gourlay
    • 21 June 2011
    7 Comments

    Much has been made of Turkey as a model for reform and democratisation in the Muslim world. If the Turkish experience is indicative, then the process of establishing robust and viable democracies in the Middle East will be long and slow.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Muslims who venerate St George

    • William Gourlay
    • 12 April 2011
    6 Comments

    Crowding onto ferries in Istanbul, Turks arrive on the island they call Büyükada early in the morning, Muslim pilgrims en route to a Greek Orthodox church to ask favours of St George. No one is sure when the Muslim practice of venerating St George began, but it is well documented.

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