Showing posts with label Politics and Government. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Politics and Government. Show all posts

September 11, 2014

Combating ISIL should not be America’s business, it is Saudi Arabia's

    Thursday, September 11, 2014   No comments

ISIL is a global threat but it is a bigger threat to the Middle East than to U.S. homeland. It is a bigger threat to Muslims than to Americans because, until now, the absolute majority of victims are Muslims. The U.S. could be part of a coalition that should combat ISIL but it should not take the lead. Saudi Arabia should take the lead in fighting ISIL because Saudi Arabia helped create it in the first place. The ideology and practices of ISIL are derived from the brand of a religious tradition called Salafi Wahhabism that was founded in Saudi Arabia and promoted by Saudi preachers under the patronage of the Saudi ruling family. Therefore, the fight against ISIL is Saudi Arabia’s and the rulers of Saudi Arabia must be forced to take the lead in this war.

August 8, 2014

The paradoxical nature of religious and ethnic states and the genocidal impulses

    Friday, August 08, 2014   No comments

by Ahmed E. Souaiaia*
The Arab Spring that freed some of the peoples of the Middle East from state imposed fear produced an existential challenge for increasingly heterogeneous communities, forcing people to define the nature of the state and the character of the country where they live. It is true that self-rule and self-determination require a sense of self. However, building stable countries in the new Middle East is tied to the peoples’ level of awareness of the genocidal impulse espoused by certain social groups amongst them. 

The old Middle East was built on an artificial foundation imposed by Western colonial and protective powers in the form of superficial liberal thought, imported Marxist ideas, petty ethnic identities, niggling tribal structures, and a variety of downwardly managed and imposed ideas. The regimes and political forces of the pre- and post-colonial periods exerted virtual monopoly on governing institutions in most Arab countries. During the second half of the twentieth century, Islamists, like the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates, began to challenge nationalist, monarchical, and clannish regimes arguing that Islamism provides a more inclusive political ideology for the peoples of the Middle East than alien ideas or narrow Arabism.

July 29, 2014

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

    Tuesday, July 29, 2014   No comments

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.”

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

    Monday, May 19, 2014   No comments
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. 

April 21, 2014

The slow moving wheel of democracy in Turkey and the future of women in politics

    Monday, April 21, 2014   No comments
By Sumeyye Pakdil
* see key below
Turkey has been occupied with a corruption scandal and the recent split between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Fethullah Gulen, a prominent religious figure who leads a worldwide Sunni movement named after him. Arguably, this split dates back to the government’s decision to close all school preparation programs (dershane) run by the Gulen movement. Then, by late 2013, when some corruption scandals involving members of the Erdogan cabinet surfaced, Erdogan looked at the Gulen movement as the source. Erdogan has accused Gulen and his movement as being politically and religiously treachery after the corruption scandals came on the Turkish political scene on December 17, 2013. While the local elections approached, the outcome of the elections would become so important for Erdogan to confirm his power and control over Turkey. Eventually, the local elections of March 2014 turned into a referendum to prove that whether Erdogan’s government would continue to rule the country and approve Erdogan’s leadership.

April 13, 2014

Is Ukraine becoming for the West what Syria has been for Russia?

    Sunday, April 13, 2014   No comments

Riding the wave of protests known as the Arab Spring, many Syrians rallied to demand more political and civil rights. Without the hesitancy that characterized their initial reaction to the protest movements in Tunisia and Egypt, Western administrations and some of the Persian Gulf regimes immediately threw their support behind the protesters. Assad’s regime belonged to the so-called non-moderate Arab governments and the protesters offered the West and its allies an opportunity to overthrow it. They formed the “Friends of Syria” group, now consisting of only eleven nations, to provide the opposition with all needed support, including deadly arms, to achieve that goal. After three years of brutal war, Syria’s economy and society are severely damaged and its allies, mainly Russia, China, and Iran have invested a huge political, economic, and military capital to help the Syrian government survive. The Friends of Syria claimed that Assad became illegitimate because he killed Syrians. Assad claimed that he was fighting armed terrorists and thugs.

Now fast-forward to 2013. 

March 30, 2014

Obama in Saudi Arabia to talk security and terrorism; the Saudis seem prepared, but are they really?

    Sunday, March 30, 2014   No comments

The new Saudi anti-terrorism law is anti-dissent, anti-civil rights draconian law?
For weeks even before President Obama’s arrival in Saudi Arabia, the rulers of Saudi Arabia have worked hard to make the summit successful. They knew that extremism, regional stability, and the Middle East peace process are high on the U.S. administration’s agenda. The Saudi rulers wanted to show that they are trustworthy, that they are fighting terrorism, and that they are a reliable and stable ally. Specifically, they will be showing President Obama two things: a new law that is supposedly aimed at fighting extremism and an unprecedented designation of an heir to the heir to the throne (Prince Muqrin—half-brother of the King).

March 29, 2014

Karzai and the Bilateral Security Agreement

    Saturday, March 29, 2014   No comments
by Jacob Havel 
Sitting Afghani President Hamid Karzai remains defiant towards U.S. demands that he sign the Bilateral Security Agreement. If signed, the agreement would allow for continued military cooperation between Afghanistan and the U.S.+NATO including troop presence, monetary aid, and continued training of Afghani security forces. 

While many see Western aid as vital, Karzai’s dissonance is a result of unmet requests that the U.S. would actively pursue peace talks with Taliban leaders. While the U.S. outwardly seeks to continue counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan, neither they nor the Taliban have shown interest in pursuing such negotiations. On the contrary, the Taliban have vowed to increase violence in the weeks leading up to the April presidential elections. Indeed, recent attacks on a police station in Jalalabad and a hotel in Kabul have shown that the Taliban will seek to perpetuate a state of disorder and terror even with the election of new leadership. 

March 1, 2014

The Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi, Sisi, and the future of Egypt

    Saturday, March 01, 2014   No comments
A. F. al-Sisi
by Jared Ethan Krauss 
IN a move that surprised everyone not in Sisi’s circle, the cabinet has resigned.
The move comes as, in recent weeks, criticism and protests of the interim government have grown.  Egypt has seen no economic improvements since the revolution, and violence has only increased since the ouster of Morsi. While the fervor whipped up by Sisi just after the coup—where he was seemingly given permission by Egyptians to ‘fight terrorism’—was enough to sustain popular support the first few weeks or months, it was not enough to do away with the harsh realities of life for many Egyptians.  

February 8, 2014

How different are the new constitutions of Tunisia and Egypt?

    Saturday, February 08, 2014   No comments

How different are the new constitutions of Tunisia and Egypt?

The two countries transformed first by the Arab Spring now have new constitutions. The two countries are similar in many ways. Yet, the processes of producing their respective constitutions and the substance of each document point to the forces that made these legal documents similar in some areas and different in others. In both cases, it took more than two years to reach this point, underscoring the difficulty the drafters of the two documents have faced.

Notably, the Tunisian constitution was drafted by an elected body (Constitutional Assembly), whereas the current version of the Egyptian constitution was “edited” by an appointed committee after the deposition of the post-revolution (elected) president Mohamed Morsi. The Egyptian constitution, however, was endorsed by Egyptian voters, while the Tunisian constitution was adopted once it was endorsed by the majority of the members of the Constitutional Assembly.

January 13, 2014

English Translation of the Tunisian Draft Constitution (post revolution)

    Monday, January 13, 2014   No comments
The Tunisian National Constituent Assembly issued a draft constitution on Dec. 14, 2012. Civil society representatives in six of Tunisia's 24 municipalities met with assembly members to discuss the text later that month. The National Constituent Assembly launched the initiative with the United Nations to "enhance citizens' participation in the debate." The following is a non-official English translation of the draft constitution by the United Nations Development Programme project in Tunisia.

The June 1, 2013 Draft Constitution (Arabic; view online) is also available in PDF format. Approved Constitution of the Republic of Tunisia of January 26, 2014.

In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate

December 3, 2013

Text of constitutional amendments: First three parts (articles 1-83) of Egypt's constitutional amendments adopted by the 50-member committee

    Tuesday, December 03, 2013   No comments

Part 1: The state

Article 1

The Arab Republic of Egypt is a sovereign state, united, indivisible and inalienable. Its governance system is democratic and based on citizenship and the rule of law.

The Egyptian people are part of the Arab world, work toward its integration and unification. Egypt is a part of the Islamic world, belongs to the African continent, proud of its Asian reach and participates in the building of human civilization.

November 15, 2013

Morsi Trial Subverts Legitimacy

    Friday, November 15, 2013   No comments
by Jacob Havel
As the trial for deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi continues, his supporters and Egyptian military forces are both on high alert. Morsi has been charged with inciting violence and murder during large protests outside the presidential palace last December. Brotherhood leaders have called for and received massive protests over the trial, which pro Morsi activists have deemed illegitimate. The government has responded by mustering 20,000 armed security personnel as well as blocking off Tahrir Square. Morsi himself has rejected to observe the authority of the court on the grounds that the coup itself constituted illegal actions. The trial will, in some ways, represent the culmination of a recent anti-Muslim Brotherhood crackdown which as elevated bloodshed on both sides of the conflict.

November 4, 2013

Why are the rulers of Saudi Arabia losing their cool?

    Monday, November 04, 2013   No comments

The Umayyad Syndrome

For more than seventy years, Saudi Arabia has cultivated the image of a state run by level-headed, moderate, wise, deliberate, and cool-headed leaders. Publicly, its diplomats gave the impression that the Kingdom would chose dialogue over confrontation, moderation over extremism, and reconciliation over antagonism. Wikileaks unveiled the true nature of the regime when it revealed that the rulers of Saudi Arabia were in fact leading two lives: one public and another private.

October 5, 2013

Rouhani and Obama: Diplomacy Amidst Conflict

    Saturday, October 05, 2013   No comments
by Jacob S. Havel
Khamenei and Rouhani
The recent phone call between President Barack Obama and President Hassan Rouhani has historical implications. It was the first direct talk between presidents of the U.S. and Iran in thirty years. Nonetheless, the phone call, which lasted a brief fifteen minutes, represents the start of new diplomatic relations between the two nations. Ties had been weak and rife with contempt during the tenure of the former Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a far right conservative. However, in a political system that has demonstrated its ability to elect across the Iranian political spectrum, Rouhani’s moderate stances have lent him to propose openness to dealings with the West on the issue of uranium enrichment and nuclear energy.

September 18, 2013

Doha debate reveals gulf between locals, its elite and expatriates

    Wednesday, September 18, 2013   No comments
by Sarah El-Richani*

Recent commentaries by Qatari citizens and journalists both in the local and social media reveal a polity eager to engage critically and openly on the manner in which its ruling elite are managing the country’s immense oil and gas revenues. Concerns voiced reveal a divide between the largely conservative population and the local elite’s ambitious plans for the emirate of Qatar.

September 8, 2013

Deficiencies in the arguments for a U.S. war on Syria and the perils of military intervention in Syria without UNSC authorization

    Sunday, September 08, 2013   No comments

by Ahmed E. Souaiaia*
Answering a reporter’s question if bombing Syria is needed in order to preserve his credibility since he was the one who set a red line, President Obama replied: “First of all, I didn't set a red line. The world set a red line. The world set a red line when governments representing 98 percent of the world's population said the use of chemical weapons are abhorrent and passed a treaty forbidding their use even when countries are engaged in war. Congress set a red line when it ratified that treaty..."

It is true that international law and treaties have prohibited the use of certain weapons nearly a century ago. But UN Charter, the backbone of international law, also had established the proper response to any breach of these treaties. Outside the doctrine of self-defense from an imminent threat, no nation should attack another UN member state without authorization of the UN Security Council (UNSC). If nations were to act unilaterally, would U.S. leaders ratify a treaty that would allow, say the Soviet Union or China, to bomb the U.S. for actually using illegal weapons in Vietnam and other places?

September 7, 2013

Why would Putin be happy with or without a U.S. war in Syria?

    Saturday, September 07, 2013   No comments

by Ahmed E. Souaiaia*
Talking to reporters after the conclusion of the G20 meeting, the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, declared that any military intervention in Syria without UNSC authorization is an illegal act of aggression. He also said that his country will supply (sell, that is) the Syrian government with weapons to defend itself. This statement, in a sense, clarifies an earlier declaration by his foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, when he said that if the U.S. starts a war in Syria, Russia will not be part of it. Some analysts thought that Lavrov’s statement signaled Russia’s readiness to abandon Assad. The increased number of Russia warships near Syria and Putin’s statement reveal a different strategy.

August 25, 2013

A fragile alliance: how the crisis in Egypt caused a rift within the anti-Syrian government block

    Sunday, August 25, 2013   No comments

 A fragile alliance: how the crisis in Egypt caused a rift within the anti-Syrian government block
by Ahmed E. Souaiaia*
Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirate (UAE), Turkey, and the West condemned in unison the Syrian government for its harsh treatment of Syrians from the first day of the uprising in that country. Many observers were skeptical of the stated reasons for this sudden interest in human rights issues given that the Gulf States are in fact models of repressive governance. As the reaction to the Egyptian crisis revealed, the opposition to the Syrian government was not motivated by the stated goals (support for democracy and condemnation for authoritarianism). It was dictated by narrow political, ideological, and sectarian interests.

August 17, 2013

Egypt’s scorched earth: What is suggested here is that these assaults comprise an orchestrated plan to avenge by and for the Brothers

    Saturday, August 17, 2013   No comments
by Mariz Tadros
Thursday was a day of funerals in Egypt. Most international actors have rightly condemned the ruthless violence witnessed against the pro-Morsi protestors, but with the exception of Catherine Ashton of the EU, they have turned a blind eye to the violence witnessed across the country over the course of the same day.

In reprisal for the assault on the protestors, pro-Morsi factions have literally set the country on fire. Just to give you a sense of the scope of devastation, this is a quick list of some of the targets:

Six police stations were attacked in Minya, some torched, and one in Fayoum

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