Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Contextualizing David Ignatius' claim about "John Kerry’s big blunder in seeking an Israel-Gaza cease-fire"?



Contextualizing David Ignatius' claim about "John Kerry’s big blunder in seeking an Israel-Gaza cease-fire"?

by Ahmed E. Souaiaia*


David Ignatius, a journalist with extraordinary access to the halls of power but apparently limited sound reasoning argued that John Kerry has committed a “big blunder in seeking an Israel-Gaza cease-fire.” He explained that “Kerry’s error has been to put so much emphasis on achieving a quick halt to the bloodshed that he has solidified the role of Hamas, the intractable, unpopular Islamist group that leads Gaza, along with the two hard-line Islamist nations that are its key supporters, Qatar and Turkey.” Mr. Ignatius went on to provide a solution: “A wiser course […] would have been to negotiate the cease-fire through the Palestinian Authority, as part of its future role as the government of Gaza. Hamas agreed last April to bring the authority back to Gaza as part of a unity agreement with Fatah that was brokered by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.”

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Chaos and anarchy in the Middle East: How did it happen?



Takfīris' path to their "caliphate" is soaked with the blood of Muslims

by Ahmed E. Souaiaia*



The most important event of the summer might end up being ISIL’s (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) declaration that it has restored the caliphate. For the second time in the past two decades, Salafi Islamists have gained territory and resources to establish a communal entity reflecting their idea of an Islamic state. In the mid-1990s, the Taliban, aided by Saudi and Arab fighters led by Bin Laden, routed fellow Mujahidin to establish the Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan. The Emirate ended when U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001. Two weeks ago, ISIL, aided by frustrated Sunni Arabs and former Baathists, led an armed assault on the northern provinces of Iraq, linking them to territories in Syria under its control.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Lebanon's online Salafists monitor Iraq events

ISIL map
by Ghassan Rifi
[Lebanon's] Salafists are closely following events in Iraq. Some Salafists are waiting to see how the wars between the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and the Iraqi army will turn out before deciding what to do.

Social media posts indicate that many jihadist Salafists are pleased with ISIS’s progress in some Iraqi cities. They are careful not to openly express their feelings in public or make moves on the ground, lest they be thrown back into the spotlight. Those moves have stopped since the start of the security plan throughout Lebanon. Salafist social media posts suggest they have recovered their spirit and that ISIS's actions have restored their momentum.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Niyaz, brilliantly and deliberately building bridges through time, space, and cultures


(Music and band performance review)


 Members of the band Niyaz are similar to the music they produce: stunningly eclectic. They represent different ethnic, religious, and national backgrounds. Their music resurrects ancient arts and give life to words spoken in different tongues.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Why have many Syrians voted for Bashar al-Assad and what is the U.S. administration’s alternative to elections it does not particularly like?


by Ahmed E. Souaiaia*
Syrians vote, June 3, 2014.

Most Western governments and some observers argue that the elections that took place in Syria on June 3, 2014 were not legitimate because not all Syrians were able (or willing) to participate, they were held under war conditions, and Syrians were coerced into voting for the current president. These would be reasonable arguments if they were consistently applied. A brief examination of similar cases and relevant facts reveals that this is not the case.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Results of first post U.S.-occupation parliamentarian elections in Iraq gives Maliki an edge, but not a majority that would allow him to form a majority government on his own as he hoped

Iraq needs a strong government to face the ethnic and religious divisions that continue to cost Iraq nearly 1000 lives every month in the last few months. Most recently, al-Qaeda affiliates or al-Qaeda alike armed groups took control of several cities and towns in western Iraq threatening the unity of the country. Also, Kurdish leaders are threatening separation if Maliki is elected to a third term, mostly because Kurdish leaders are not happy with Maliki's handling of the disputed Kirkuk area and the sale of oil from Kurdish regions. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Jabhat al-Nusra losing support among rebels, tribes in south Syria

by Tarek Al-Abed 
On May 7, Syria’s Daraa province witnessed three events. First, battles broke out in the western countryside and militants started advancing toward the province. Second, a march was staged in support of the regime, near the location where armed confrontations were underway. Third, tension between Jabhat al-Nusra and other armed groups escalated in the south, against the backdrop of the arrest of Ahmed Nehme, leader of Jabhat al-Nusra’s military council.

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