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Geopolitics

Kurdish Forces In Syria Continue To Recruit Child Soldiers

Kurdish commanders have broken earlier pledges to stop the forced recruitment of children, saying it is necessary to protect individual homes.

A young Syrian Kurd near a Syrian Kurdish soldier
A young Syrian Kurd near a Syrian Kurdish soldier
Ahmad Khalil

RMELAN — After being called out by rights groups last summer, Kurdish military forces pledged to end their use of child soldiers and to protect them from armed conflict. But 10 months later, witnesses and relatives say Kurdish forces continue to recruit schoolchildren.

Yasser al-Hassan, 46, an engineer in the oil fields of Rmelan, a town in the northeastern al-Hassakah Governorate, says that armed boys and girls man checkpoints between al-Qamishli and Rmelan. "Many children died at the fronts in Ras al-Ein, Yarubia and Hassakeh," he says, adding that he had personally attended the funerals of a number of child soldiers.

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Geopolitics

Is Soft Power Dead?

With an activist Supreme Court creating a gap between democratic rhetoric and reality in the U.S., and Russia and China eager to flex military muscle, the full-force return to hard power looks bound for dominance.

U.S. flag and Chinese flag

Dominique Moïsi

-Analysis-

PARIS — Russia's war in Ukraine rages on, tensions are erupting in the South China Sea and now abortion rights are being stripped away in the U.S.: Looking around the world, we have to ask: what is left of the notion of soft power?

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How can we talk about the power to convince when the power to coerce is increasingly the norm? And when there is such a gap between rhetoric and reality in the U.S. and in Russia and China, hard power almost seems to have become part of soft power?

“We will lead the world not by the example of our power, but by the power of our example,” Joe Biden said the day after his election. But what kind of example was he talking about? That of the Supreme Court’s judges, whose decision promises a terrible future to women and to all those who still wanted to believe in an enlightened and liberal America?

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