Qatar has been focusing on prominent American Jewish leaders as the isolated Gulf state seeks to repair its image. Why American Jews? It's about Saudi Arabia. By Mitchell Plitnick On January 31, the Israeli embassy in the United States stated that Israel did not approve of several right wing, pro-Israel American Jewish leaders meeting with senior officials, including the emir, of Qatar. “We oppose this outreach effort in the Jewish and pro-Israel community,” said embassy spokesman Itai Bar Dov. It was an unusual, and in some ways bizarre, statement. What was Israel so worried about? [tmwinpost] “There is nothing wrong with analysts…Read More... | 3 Comments
By supporting the Saudi kingdom with military aid and intelligence cooperation, while ignoring the regime's human rights abuses and support for terror organizations, Israel and the U.S. risk repeating the Cold War era's worst mistakes. By Eitay Mack (translated by Ofer Neiman and Tal Haran) Israel and Saudi Arabia have been close partners with the American political and economic elite for several decades. In recent years, their parallel relationships with the U.S. have become a close triangular relationship. Israel and Saudi Arabia promote their mutual interests in the Middle East and, it seems, maintain intelligence ties, the details of which remain…Read More... | 3 Comments
The city is a tinderbox, and no one wants to set off a fatal spark. A prominent Israeli journalist tweeted on Wednesday that Netanyahu’s government expects the United States to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “perhaps as early as Sunday.” Dana Weiss, the chief political analyst for Channel 2 News and the anchor of her own prime time weekly television magazine program, also wrote that her sources had told her the U.S. would announce plans to move its embassy to Jerusalem. According to the information she shared, the impetus for this move came on the back of pressure from Trump’s Christian…Read More... | 7 Comments
The public role of women in Saudi life has expanded rapidly over the past decade, accented last month by lifting a ban on women driving. But as the Kingdom moves forward on some rights, it is regressing with regards to others — particularly, cracking down on political dissidents. By Thomas W. Lippman So, with its decision to let women drive, is Saudi Arabia finally modernizing its oppressive rules of social behavior and relaxing its tight restrictions on political and social life? Yes and no. Economic necessity and the realities of the modern workplace are forcing changes that to Westerners look like progress,…Read More...
Over the past decade, Middle Eastern countries have viewed their borders as a physical obstacle. The recent warming of relations between Arab states has led to increase in trade, leaving Israel more regionally isolated than ever before. By Moran Zaga Over the last month, border crossings have opened along both the Jordan-Iraq and Iraq-Saudi Arabia borders, while the border crossing between Jordan and Syria is slated to open soon. Even the crossing between Lebanon and Syria is now accessible, even making it to the news recently after Bashar al-Assad paid a visit to the area for Eid al-Adha prayers, after kicking…Read More... | 50 Comments
No, Trump did not create the rift between the PA and Hamas. But he has bought into the Israeli narrative, thus creating an environment that encourages more aggressive steps by stronger parties. The most dangerous part? Trump surely has no idea he did any of this. By Mitchell Plitnick The effects of Donald Trump’s trip last month to the Middle East continue to multiply. The focus, quite correctly has been on the breach between Qatar and Saudi Arabia. But the effects of the Saudis’ wooing of Trump are felt throughout the region. [tmwinpost] Flattering the president of the United States…Read More...
It is very difficult to accept at face value this newfound determination to defeat terrorism by the Gulf states by humiliating a smaller neighbor whose differences consist primarily of alternative choices of distasteful proxies. By Gary Sick There are several things that I find confounding about the current conflict within the GCC: First, as a member of the US policy team that first applied sanctions against Iran when our diplomats were being held hostage in Tehran, we drew the line at food and medicine. That has remained true in the succeeding 37 years. Despite all the onerous sanctions that the…Read More... | 1 Comment
Despite what Israel's prime minister may have you believe, the Iran nuclear deal has succeeded in doing exactly what it set out to do: significantly decreasing the threat of a nuclear-armed Islamic Republic. By Shemuel Meir The annual Herzliya Conference made headlines a few weeks back simply due to the fact that former Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon and former Prime Minister Ehud Barak pulled out a no holds barred attack on Benjamin Netanyahu. It was interesting to hear that Ya'lon told the crowd that "at this point in time and in the near future, Israel does not face any existential threats."…Read More... | 1 Comment
As his health steadily deteriorates, Palestinian journalist Muhammad Al-Qeeq has lost his ability to speak or walk. By Noam Rotem Forty-six days after he began his hunger strike, Palestinian journalist Muhammad Al-Qeeq has lost the ability to speak or walk, and has begun to vomit and urinate blood. According to his lawyer, Ashraf Abu Snena, Al-Qeeq can barely communicate using signals. He is currently being treated at Emek Medical Center in the northern city of Afula, where is both his legs and one arm are handcuffed to his bed at all times. One of the symptoms of a full hunger strike…Read More...
Between implicit recognition of Israel, or simply a desire not to travel through military checkpoints, the Saudi Arabia national team does not want to play against Palestine in Jerusalem. By Yoni Mendel (translated from Hebrew by Sol Salbe) Last April the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur witnessed the Asian draw for the regional groups’ stage of the 2018 World Cup. As soon as the first group was drawn out, the Palestinian representatives knew that times ahead were going to be tough — and not only on field. Knowing who was selected to Group A was enough for them to work…Read More... | 2 Comments
Here is my bi-partisan proposal to opponents of the deal: don’t cut our countries adrift from our allies, and don’t light my region on fire. If this deal falls, I’ll have to suffer the consequences of the war you chose. Criticize Jewish or Israeli opponents of the Iran deal, and you are an anti-Semite. Not only that; conservative hysterics now say you have de facto accused such opponents of dual loyalty, an antiquated anti-Semitic charge being wielded as precisely as a club. [tmwinpost] It’s time to drop that old trope altogether. The very idea that there’s something wrong with dual loyalty…Read More... | 39 Comments
On his way to the finale of one of the most important shows in the Arab world, Haitham Khalailah had to deal with the Shin Bet, restrictions on the movement of Palestinian citizens and the fraught connection between Palestinians in Israel and the rest of the Middle East. Will he be the second Palestinian in a row to be crowned winner? By Yael Marom and Henriette Chacar Haitham Khalailah, a 24-year-old Palestinian singer from Majd al-Krum, competed Friday night in the finale of Arab Idol - the most popular singing competition in the entire Arab world. Hundreds of millions of viewers…Read More... | 10 Comments
Over the last few months, I have engaged in a series of conversations with Pakistani writers and academics through mutual friends. These talks have been a rare and fascinating opportunity to see their country through their eyes rather than through Western media sources. We've discovered some surprising common concerns and a mutual desire to stay in touch. We would like to write posts occasionally for one another so that our audiences can share these understandings as well. The following is an introduction by Abdul, one of the participants, who writes his own blog tackling the stories of Pakistan that are…Read More... | 6 Comments
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