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
As South Sudan continues to build itself after less than a year of independence, Israeli businessmen are looking to profit both economically and ideologically from the potential Christian ally. Will the nascent country become a pawn in the clash between Islam and the West? By Christiane Marie Abu-Sarah Alongside the creation of the new Republic of South Sudan has come a flurry of excitement among political pundits, who see the nascent state as a perfect ally for Israel. As the reasoning goes, the Christian-majority South Sudan, which has long been embroiled in an internecine conflict with the Arab-Muslim population of…Read More... | 4 Comments
Since I posted the appeal of want-to-be driving Saudi women to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, I thought it worth mentioning that she has officially responded. Clinton called their actions "brave" and added that their goal is "right." She then stressed that the campaign for driving is a homegrown one, focused on equal rights, and is not being forced by foreign players. Her response did not immediately follow a letter by the women, sent to Clinton on 20 June. That merely received a response from the State Department spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland: “There are times when it makes sense to…Read More...
Over a decade ago, I wrote a small piece about Druze women in Israel undertaking their own form of social initiative, by learning how to drive. (It was sometime in 1998; the original internet magazine where it was published it no longer exists.) I remember being fascinated to learn that driving could be a key step towards slow, incremental change in gender roles in a traditional society, leading to social advancement and women's progress. I personally love to drive. I think that beyond the obvious physical independence, there’s something about the feeling of being on the road, free and fast…Read More... | 4 Comments
Six months ago, there were five Arab republican dictators. Now, all but Syria's president are out or on their way, and even Assad is facing his biggest challenge since succeeding his father a decade ago The "Arab Spring" of the last six months has already swept away the dictators of Tunisia and Egypt. Libya's ruler seems unlikely to survive, and the Yemeni president has agreed to step down in exchange for immunity. This means that the republican dictatorship, once an important type of regime in the Arab world, is on its last legs. Or, more accurately, its last leg. Syria's…Read More... | 1 Comment
The prospects for democracy in Egypt will be affected by regional developments, and will also affect them in turn. While important elements in Egyptian society have been virtually ignored, Islamists' role has been greatly exaggerated in Western discourse, and nowhere more so than in Israel. Arab regimes that are more responsive to their peoples' voices may force Israel to change its policies, but that will ultimately benefit the country's own interests. It is hard to fully articulate the magnitude of yesterday's events in Egypt. The success of massive popular protests in removing Mubarak from power is an amazing development, which…Read More... | 3 Comments
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