Arab League

The Revolution on a Laptop: YouTube Journeys through the Arab Spring

April 12, 2012 by

I chose to be here and now I want to leave. But I’m actually already at home, sitting in my living room. Yet what I saw was real. I just saw a Syrian protester moments after he’d been shot in the neck. I’d heard the shots that might be delivering the same fate to others. I’d felt the adrenaline of the survivors running over to do what they could for a boy whose blood trailed thirty feet into a ditch.

U.S. Expectations Must Change in the Middle East

April 11, 2012 by

News that the proposed Syrian ceasefire has fallen apart, that the Muslim Brotherhood has put forth a candidate for the presidency in Egypt, that challenges to the new government in Tunisia have already arisen, that there remains a risk of civil war in Libya, and that there is a good chance Israel may unilaterally bomb Iran later this year should not be much of a surprise to those Middle East foreign policy pundits who mix a good dose of realism in with any grand illusions about what the future holds for the region.

Annan’s Plan for Syria has Limited Horizons for a Country Snared in Distrust

April 1, 2012 by

The conflict in Syria has often assumed the ominous characteristic of being insoluble or endless. The government and its various opponents have shown little interest in compromise. The Assad regime’s increasingly ferocious efforts have so far failed to suppress the activities of the resistance movements, who, in turn, have been unable to strike a serious blow against the regime. As soon as one part of the country has been subdued by ruthless force, protests have broken out in another.

Bombings in Iraq a Sign of Deep Domestic Problems

March 23, 2012 by

When US President Obama announced the end of America’s involvement in Iraq, he deliberately did not claim victory. But he did say, when welcoming the last contingent of combat troops home in October last year, that the war in Iraq was over. For Americans, Australians and the media in both countries, that may be how the situation is seen. Iraqis could be excused for disagreeing.

Polling Shows Little Support for Syrian Intervention

March 20, 2012 by

Despite strenuous efforts by prominent neo-conservatives and other hawks, a war-weary U.S. public is clearly very leery of any armed intervention in what many experts believe is rapidly becoming a civil war in Syria, according to recent polls. In a survey released last week, the Pew Research Center found that only 25 percent of respondents said they believed the U.S. has a “responsibility to do something” about the year-old violence in Syria.

Compliance and the Counter-Revolutionary State: The Case of the United States

March 14, 2012 by

Many adversarial relationships exist in politics. On the domestic level, political parties frequently compete with each other to gain control of coveted offices. A contest, which transpires on the international level during periods of international revolution, is counter-revolutionary and revolutionary states spreading opposing doctrines.

Arabs, Russia Pat Themselves on Back over Syria

March 13, 2012 by

Russia has again demonstrated its diplomatic ability to gloss over differences even when none of the sides are prepared to make concessions. Although the positions of Russia and Arab countries on Syria are very different and the crisis in Syria is growing worse, it seemed after the weekend that peace is just around the corner – after all, everybody is actively pursuing peace.

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.

Geopolitics of Technology and the Hydrocarbon Status Quo

February 21, 2012 by

The unrest in the Arab world, which has continued for over a year now, implies one important conclusion beyond any ongoing regional struggle for democracy. It is a reflection about globally important technologies, and even more about a crucial geopolitical breakthrough – an escape from the logic of a hydrocarbon status quo, which – after Copenhagen 2009 – failed again in Durban 2011.

Is Russia’s game in Syria worth playing?

February 9, 2012 by

On February 7, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Foreign Intelligence Service Director Mikhail Fradkov traveled to Damascus to help stabilize the situation in Syria by encouraging democratic reforms. The substance of President Dmitry Medvedev’s letter, which they delivered to Bashar al-Assad, was not disclosed, but experts point to the highly delicate nature of the Russian officials’ mission.

Arab League mission to Syria was an exercise in duplicity

January 29, 2012 by

This weekend, Syria witnessed some of its bloodiest days since political agitation began last year. Dozens were killed after the government launched a new military offensive against rebel group the Free Syrian Army. The intensified violence came as the much-criticised Arab League observer mission suspended its operations in Syria, its tentative plan for peace having been rejected by President Bashar-al Assad.

Moscow’s Leadership Gamble in Syria

January 9, 2012 by

Yesterday, Syrian Minister of Defense, Dawoud Rajha, visited Russia’s one and only aircraft carrier Kuznetsov, which was docked in his country’s port city of Tartous. The visit comes at a time when the ruling al-Assad regime is gripped in a ten-month civil uprising, which has recently verged on civil war. The U.S., the European Union, and the UN have all accused Damascus for attacking its own people and refusing to take necessary political reform demanded by protesters.

A New Cold War

December 18, 2011 by

There was something odd about the “final pullout” of United States troops from Iraq as the last military convoy crossed the border into Kuwait. Addressing a group of returning soldiers at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, a few days before, President Obama hailed it as an “historic” moment after nine years of conflict, proclaiming it a “success.” He said, “We are leaving a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq.”

Mission accomplished? America withdraws from Iraq

December 15, 2011 by

Former US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, is reported to have advised President Bush concerning his planned invasion of Iraq that, “you break it, it’s yours.” The implication was that America would be responsible for restoring Iraq to political, social and economic health following the invasion.

As the U.S. military leaves Iraq, Renewed emphasis on protecting Iraq’s sovereignty

December 12, 2011 by

President Obama, while meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Monday in Washington, reiterated U.S. support for Iraq ahead of the U.S. pullout scheduled for the end of the month. Obama expressed the U.S. position that Iraqi sovereignty must be observed and in particular, Iran and other states have an obligation not to meddle in Iraq’s internal affairs.

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