This month marks 12 years since Syria’s civil war began. The past year has been marked by a string of political wins for the Syrian regime but has brought greater misery for Syrians. Despite the regime’s triumphant rhetoric, Syrian society is overwhelmingly focused on survival alone, with no hope for economic recovery or reconstruction.
It has been 20 years since the U.S. led an illegal invasion of Iraq to topple the regime of Saddam Hussein. The invasion unleashed a series of catastrophes for Iraq, the wider Middle East and the world. These catastrophic outcomes remain with us today, and it is worth reflecting on the most enduring ones and their effects.
Many popular accounts of women’s experiences during war exoticize and decontextualize female fighters, while underscoring women’s vulnerability and victimhood at the expense of their agency. But these narratives can have high costs, making a more holistic understanding of women’s contributions to armed groups urgently necessary.