Monday, April 13, 2015

Saudi Arabia’s attempt to create a Sunni-Shia sectarian war hinges on fragile alliances and a retrograde worldview



What is happening in Yemen and why?


In the post-Arab Spring Middle East, the rulers of Saudi Arabia see no place for neutrality. Their default position has become that declared by President Bush after 9/11: You are either with us or against us. Even the winner of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, Tawakkol Karman, who is also a leading figure in Yemen’s Islah party, flew to Riyadh to join Abd Rabuh Hadi and bless the Saudi-led bombing campaign against Yemen, which killed thus far over 1000 people, including children and women. Indeed, neutrality is not an option when it comes to loss of life, but those who are inviting a foreign country to bomb their own people are siding with aggression.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

The rulers of the Gulf States are bent on destroying countries that refuse or escape their influence

Saudi Arabia and Yemen
by Ahmed Souaiaia

During the early days of the so-called Arab Spring, nervous for their own continued rule, the rulers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), led by the King of Saudi Arabia, proposed the expansion of the GCC to include Jordan and Morocco—but not Yemen. Yemen shares borders with two GCC member states yet it was excluded from this club of rich Arab countries. Yemen is not a good candidate because, despite poverty and political corruption, its people actually have a genuine desire to move towards representative governance. That is a non-starter for the Guff States. They prefer countries with similar governing tradition: exclusive family or clan rule and no prospects for democratic rule. That is why Jordan and Morocco were good candidates but not Yemen.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Saudi and Qatari dilemma: Can they support al-Sisi in his war on ISIL and support ISIL in its war on Assad?


 
GCC
When Prince Salman became King Salman, world leaders wanted to know about the man now controlling the country that exports more oil than any other, Saudi Arabia. Several leading publications claimed that the 79 year old king suffers from serious chronic illnesses. The Economist proposed that his predecessor, King Abdullah, had concerns about handing the crown to Salman because Salman may be suffering from Alzheimer's disease.  The Atlantic, too, reported in 2010 that Salman suffered from dementia. The official reaction of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the intergovernmental organization that is supposed to represent the wealthy Gulf States but actually serves to promote Saudi interests and point of view, to Egypt's claim that Qatar supports terrorism, suggests that the King might be indeed suffering from dementia. The background for this story is as follows:

Friday, February 06, 2015

Slaying, Slaughtering, and Burning: ISIL, the Cinematic Caliphate

By Islam Sakka*
Watching the latest videos posted by the Islamic State in Syria and the Levant (ISIL, or ISIS, IS), it is easy to see the changes in cinematic technique and the group’s choice of English as the main language. Their latest video, showing Jordanian pilot Moaz Kasasbeh being burned alive, sets a new precedent for brutality, ruthlessness, and high quality propaganda.

Ramallah — Before ISIL, most jihadist videos only documented various kinds of combat operations. The camera was always present to record the battles, to be incorporated in a single tape as part of a detailed report, which was released periodically as part of the counter-propaganda through which the group was trying to compete with the global media.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Where is the Outrage?



Europe’s hypocrisy and latent racism displayed after the Paris attacks


On January 11, 2015, an estimated 1.6 million people walked the streets of Paris as part of a “unity march” in reaction to the recent attack in the French capital. Some 40 world leaders joined the march. Other high-profile individuals also recognized the attack and the march—for instance, George Clooney and other actors referred to the events as they received awards on January 11. “Paris is the capital of the world today,” declared Francois Hollande. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

“This is What the Arab Spring Looks Like”



Tunisia’s transition to representative governance brings hope to Arab Societies




Four days after the fourth anniversary of the spark that ignited the fury of protests widely known as the Arab Spring, Tunisian voters reminded the world about what the Arab Spring is supposed to look like. The election of a new president this week capped four years of hard work that involved politicians and leaders of civil society institutions. In four years, Tunisians elected a constituency assembly primarily tasked with forming a transitional government and writing a new constitution. Those goals, despite many setbacks, were finally achieved. In the past three months, Tunisian voters elected a parliament, narrowed the field of presidential candidates (of more than 24 candidates) during a first round of presidential elections, and finally chose Beji Caid Essebsi, giving him 55% of their vote over the interim president, Mohamed Mouncef Marzouki.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Iran’s emerging institutional power and its effect on negotiations with the United States




On the eve of the Republicans’ takeover of the U.S. Senate and increased control of the House, the Wall Street Journal revealed, on the authority of anonymous sources, that President Obama had sent “secret letter” to the leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Iran took its time confirming it had received such a letter. The official confirmation ultimately came from the secretary general of the Iranian Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), Ali Shamkhani.

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