Arab-Israeli Conflict

Struggle over Iran: Tumultuous Israeli Politics Will Not Usher Peace

May 9, 2012 by

Israel is currently experiencing the kind of turmoil that may or may not affect its political hierarchy following the next general election. However, there is little reason to believe that any major transformations in the Israeli political landscape could be of benefit to Palestinians. Former politicians and intelligence bosses have been challenging the conventional wisdom of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu through a series of charged statements and political rhetoric.

Illegal Settlements Bonanza: Israel Plots an Endgame

May 2, 2012 by

Israel’s colonization policies are entering an alarming new phase, comparable in historic magnitude to the original plans to colonize Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem following the war of 1967. On April 24, an Israeli ministerial committee approved three settlement outposts - Bruchin and Rechelim in the northern part of the West Bank, and Sansana in the south. Although all settlement activities in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem are considered illegal by international law, Israeli law differentiates between sanctioned settlements and ‘illegal’ ones. This distinction has actually proved to be no more than a disingenuous attempt at conflating international law, which is applicable to occupied lands, and Israeli law, which is in no way relevant.

The Calculus of Egypt’s Presidential Race

April 23, 2012 by

“President Hosni Mubarak has decided to step down from his position as president of the republic.” Uttered by former Vice President Omar Suleiman on the evening of February 11, 2011, these words set in motion jubilations by millions of Egyptians celebrating the ultimate triumph of their will over the obstinate dictator. Although the previous eighteen tumultuous days had united the overwhelming majority of Egyptians regardless of political orientation, religious persuasion, economic class or social strata, the ultimate victory of the revolution was not inevitable.

An Unlikely Peace: Iran’s Quest for Nuclear Weapons is Likely to Lead to War

April 21, 2012 by

As Israel has faced the threat of Arab armies and Islamic terrorism throughout its history, it has struggled to maintain a strong deterrence in the Middle East, one that will prevent other countries in the region from continuing to attack and to kill Israeli citizens. One of today’s most important issues in foreign affairs is Iran’s quest to obtain nuclear weapons and how their journey towards nuclear dominance in the Middle East might bring America and Israel into the conflict.

Profiting from Patience: Why Israel Should Not Act Unilaterally Against Iran

April 16, 2012 by

Even before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took the stage at the 2012 AIPAC conference, the crowd of more than 13,000 participants knew what the topic of his speech would be: Iran. Speaking with passion unmatched by any of the other notable speakers, including US President Barack Obama and Israeli President Shimon Peres, PM Netanyahu used biblical quotes, touching personal stories, and unbridled rhetoric to ensure that those in attendance understood that Israel would no longer stand by as Iran developed a nuclear weapons program.

What Marwan Barghouti Really Means to Palestinians

April 4, 2012 by

Last week, Marwan Barghouti, the prominent Palestinian political prisoner and Fatah leader, called on Palestinians to launch a “large-scale popular resistance” which would “serve the cause of our people.” The message was widely disseminated as it coincided with Land Day, an event that has unified Palestinians since March 1976.

Grasping the Syrian Quagmire

March 7, 2012 by

One of the most significant and enduring consequences of the Arab Spring has been the bloody uprising in Syria. For almost a year cities across the Levant have been defying the iron grip of the Assad regime and challenging the police state of the Ba’ath party. Of all the countries engulfed by the revolutionary fever encompassing the Arab World, Syria, a country of 23 million, epitomizes the toughest case.

Video: President Obama’s Address to the Annual AIPAC Conference

March 4, 2012 by

On the Sunday before he is scheduled to meet with the Israeli Prime Minister at the White House, President Obama addressed the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) annual conference, gathered in Washington. Obama addressed situations in the Middle East, with a significant portion of his speech focused on Iran.

Syria: A Way Out

March 3, 2012 by

There are two tales about the crisis in Syria. In one, the vast majority of Syrians have risen up against the brutality of a criminal dictatorship. The government of Bashar al Assad is on the ropes, isolated regionally and internationally, and only holding on because Russia and China vetoed United Nations intervention. U.S. Secretary to State Hillary Clinton describes Assad as “a war criminal,” and President Barak Obama called him a “dead man walking.”

Iran, Israel and the U.S.: The Slide To War

February 23, 2012 by

Wars are fought because some people decide it is in their interests to fight them. World War I was not started over the Archduke Ferdinand’s assassination, nor was it triggered by the alliance system. An “incident” may set the stage for war, but no one keeps shooting unless they think it’s a good idea. The Great War started because the countries involved decided they would profit by it, delusional as that conclusion was.

The Syrian Crisis: A View from Damascus

February 23, 2012 by

It would be no exaggeration to say that the Syrian crisis has become the most important international issue of the day. Dramatic changes are sweeping a huge region where the interests of many countries, including Russia, the United States, China and EU nations intersect. Temperatures are rising in the Middle East, and may soon reach the boiling point. It was interesting, therefore, amid the blizzard of global media reporting based sometimes on less than direct sourcing, to hear about events in Syria directly from officials in Damascus with whom the author of this article recently met.

BDS: Power of the People at Work

February 15, 2012 by

The issue is not about hummus, chocolate bars or Dead Sea vacations. It is about civil society taking full responsibility for its own action (or lack of). The issue is not exactly about Israeli products either, but rather about how even a seemingly innocent decision like buying Israeli dates may enable the continued subjugation of the Palestinian people. Because the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) highlights this, the reaction it often generates is charged and vehement. Many also react to the BDS because it actually works.

Israel and the US versus Iran: Talk Peace!

February 14, 2012 by

We are witnessing the state system at its worst. The options are tighter sanctions, or war. The far better option of sitting down with mediators, talking and searching for solutions is absent. Polarization and escalation, the material of which wars are made, fill the media. What a shame!

U.S., Iran Both Squandered Opportunities for Détente

December 28, 2011 by

Veteran observers of U.S.-Iran relations know better than to be optimistic about the chances for reconciliation between the two countries. It has long been the pattern - indeed the curse - that when one side was ready to engage, the other was not. But even the most jaundiced of Iran experts succumbed to a smidgeon of hope in 2008 that the election of Barack Hussein Obama would shatter a three-decade-old stalemate.

Foreign Aid Spared Drastic Cuts for 2012

December 17, 2011 by

Despite the budget cutting and anti-U.N. frenzy that seized Republican lawmakers over the past year, U.S. foreign aid and support for multilateral institutions emerged in somewhat better shape than many observers had expected. After negotiations by conferees from the Republican-led House of Representatives and the Democratic-led Senate, agreement was reached late this week on a diplomatic and foreign-aid package totalling 53.3 billion dollars for fiscal year 2012.

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