Politicians and the mass media have given much attention to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the quest for peace. However, to examine the Israeli-Palestinian conflict outside of the context of the Middle East is fraught with error. Israelis and Palestinians may be seen by some as the only parties. The frequent Hamas (an acronym for Harakat al-Muqawana al-Islamiya – Islamic Resistance Movement) rocket attacks on southern Israel and the subsequent Israeli incursion into Gaza give credence to this belief. Nevertheless, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was eclipsed by the Israeli-Lebanese War of 2006.
Tag Archives | Egypt
The trouble with war is that it has two sides. Everything would be so much easier if war had only one side. Ours, of course. There you are, drawing up a wonderful plan for the next war, preparing it, training for it, until everything is perfect. And then the war starts, and to your utmost surprise it appears that there is another side, too, which also has a wonderful plan, and has prepared it and trained for it.
Now that Prime Minister Erdoğan is set to take over as President Erdoğan, analysts are pivoting to figure out what comes next. While many are speculating about who the next PM will be (I still think it comes down to Ahmet Davutoğlu or Numan Kurtulmuş), Soner Cagaptay has an op-ed in the New York Times looking at a much longer time horizon. He argues that Turkey’s future after Erdoğan will be a liberal one because the AKP’s support has peaked, and while the last great wave to sweep over Turkish politics was a conservative religious one, the next wave will be a liberal one. Thus, Cagaptay predicts that once the younger and more liberal generation turns its grassroots angst into political power, the AKP’s time at the top will be over.
Last week, the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations hosted an event titled “Iraq at a Crossroads: Options for U.S. Policy,” where it heard varying perspectives on how to deal with the situation in Iraq in the light of the recent advancement of the violent militant group, ISIS, in its territory.
The Arab Spring in North Africa began in Tunisia in December 2010, with the self-immolation of a street vendor named Mohamed Bouazizi who had his fruit and vegetable cart confiscated by local authorities. Massive protests forced President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali to flee to Saudi Arabia. President Moncef Marzouki his successor failed to unify the country, and under political pressure agreed to hold new elections– which he postponed twice. Islamists have carried out attacks against members of parliament and political leaders, recently killing two moderate candidates. In May 2014 the electoral laws were changed to allow former officials in Ben Ali’s administration to run for office. Twenty former government leaders were recently released from prison, which sparked public outcry. Adding to the chaos last week fourteen soldiers were killed while pursuing AQIM Islamists embedded in the Chaambi Mountain region near the western border with Algeria.
There was a strong expectation in Israel yesterday once the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire terms were announced that Hamas was going to accept the deal. Even after Hamas rejected the terms and launched 80 more rockets at Israel yesterday morning, some prominent voices, such as former Israel national security adviser Giora Eiland, were predicting that Hamas would ultimately accept the deal today.
When the bodies of three Israeli settlers – Aftali Frenkel and Gilad Shaar, both 16, and Eyal Yifrach, 19 – were found on June 30 near Hebron in the southern West Bank, Israel went into a state of mourning and a wave of sympathy flowed in from around the world. The three had disappeared 18 days earlier in circumstances that remain unclear.
In 2011, NATO allies, beaming with victory, left the newly remade state of Libya hardly stopping to think of the post-revolution consequences that faced the distraught and unprepared African country as it began its uphill battle to establish democracy. Indeed, in times of trouble, the British Prime Minister, David Cameron would often think back to the Libyan intervention as his ‘happy place.’ In most European circles, the Libyan war is heralded as a success, with many leaders giving themselves a round of applause over the way their nations managed to come together and unseat the deplorable Gaddafi and bring ‘power to the people’ to forge their own destiny.
As Hamas continues firing rockets (and allowing other groups to fire rockets) at Israel from Gaza, and Israel responds with airstrikes, people are beginning to wonder how this round of fighting will end. During Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012, a ceasefire was brokered with U.S. and Egyptian intervention – and we can debate all day about how much Mohamed Morsi himself had to do with that, although my sense is that his role was overstated – but this time around such intervention does not seem to be coming.
Two recent events focus increased international attention on Morocco. First, nine activists from Morocco’s February 20 pro-reform movement were granted bail at their appeal hearings this week. They had been jailed last month under charges of chanting anti-regime slogans and clashing with police during a protest. The activists had been arrested on April 6, while attending a mass rally in Casablanca called by the trade unions. The rally was called in protest to the austerity measures enacted by the government of Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane. The demonstrations were attended by some 10,000 people.
The French Revolution, according to Albert Camus, produced no artists but did give birth to two cultural notables. In fact, he goes so far as to say that they were the only notables: a gifted journalist by the name of Camille Desmoulins; and the under-the-counter-writer, the Marquis de Sade. The only poet, he stressed, was the guillotine. How disturbingly fitting then, that Desmoulins found himself the subject of the guillotine alongside Georges Danton in 1794, the victim of false charges. The word, like a cruel joke, did eventually kill him.
Irrespective of how one feels about the direction taken by various Arab revolutions in the last three years, a few facts remain incontestable. Arab revolts began in the streets of poor, despairing Arab cities, and Arabs had every right to rebel considering the dismal state of affairs in which they live. Few disagree with these two notions. However, the quarrel, in part, is concerned with the cost-benefit analysis of some of these revolutions, Syria being the prime example. Is it worth destroying a country, several times over and victimizing millions to achieve an uncertain democratic future?
“Political Islam is a product of modernity as much as a response to it.” – Mohammed Ayoob
Islam emerged in elitist and starkly divided tribal societies that had over time corrupted the prevalent status quo. Beginning as a movement rallying for greater inclusiveness, unity and equality under the umbrella of one god regardless of lineage, wealth, age, or gender, it quickly transformed into a uniting factor for different tribal groups that ousted the classist beliefs and practises of the hierarchical and powerful Bedouin tribe in Arabia.
It served as an active call for addressing the social and economic problems prevalent at the time; political for those who wielded power and influence, empowering for those who had none. Islam’s origins were driven by ideals of justice and egalitarianism, rejecting the prevalent inequalities in the distribution of power among humans. Despite the evolution of Islam, Islamic ideals, Islamic objectives, and Islamic principles throughout history, questions pertaining to governance, legitimacy, the rights and duties of the ruler and the ruled, and the conditionality of the allegiance has, and continues to remain an issue of concern to Muslims, and Muslim societies.
As Egypt’s former defense chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi approaches his expected presidential victory, he faces a myriad of issues that threaten his office. While many claim the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) poses the largest threat to Egypt, the country’s economy also illustrates worrisome concerns. For the past three years, the Egyptian economy has been struggling since the country emerged from the post-Mubarak revolution. Public debt has been aggregating, businesses and households face harsh conditions due to daily power blackouts, and the country’s energy shortfall will be exacerbated with the coming summer months. Unemployment and economic stagnation has continued to plague the country since Mubarak was deposed.
With the current unemployment rate at 14%, and the number nearly double among the young section of society, the country is facing a restless youth who is disenfranchised with the current course of the economy. Frequent labor strikes further cripple already paralyzed sectors such as public transportation and healthcare. With a mild growth rate around 2.1% for the last fiscal year, the country shows bleak prospects of growth. One of the country’s longest financial bases, tourism, has seen a precipitous drop in comparison to its pre-2011 heights. Wary international investors, halved foreign currency reserves, and a strained national budget continues to plague the country’s prospect for future growth.
“In Yemen today, the US embassy is closed to the public. Officials telling CNN there is credible information of a threat against Western interests there,” a CNN news anchor read the news bulletin on May 08.
This is CNN’s Yemen. It is a Yemen that seems to exist for one single purpose, and nothing else: maintain Western, and by extension, US interests in that part of the world. When these interests are threatened, only then does Yemen matter.