On August 27th, headlines splashed global newspapers that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and nine other top officials resigned from the ruling Executive Committee (ExCo) of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Talks about an emergency or a regular session of the Palestine National Council (PNC) followed. Although PNC Chairman Salim al-Zanoun announced Sept. 14-15 PNC meeting in the West town of Ramallah, few days ago al-Zanoun announced postponing the meeting for three months. These developments raised many questions; the most important is what the actual reason behind convening this meeting in the first place. Read the rest of this entry
Many observers saw a potential breakthrough in Tony Blair’s recent meeting with the head of Hamas’ political bureau Khaled Meshaal that may take Hamas out of the bottleneck and lead to a long-term truce between the movement and Israel. Yet, it appears that the crux of the issue surpasses initial assessment as this meeting comes in the midst of entangled developments and may perhaps lead to various domestic, regional and global transformations. Read the rest of this entry
Just an hour and a half separated Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from a political nightmare. His joy, pride and confidence in quick and short coalition negotiations were on the line and proved to be as erroneous as those speculations which could not see him sweeping the Israeli elections. Netanyahu’s victory met lukewarm reception, especially in those capitals that have had experience with him throughout the peace process. Yet, in a chaotic region hemmed in by conflicts, an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement is widely seen as central to regional stability, but does peace have any prospective in light of the recent Israeli elections and new government? Read the rest of this entry
In the past four years, Arabs have been living in an endless Sisyphean ordeal, an unexpected nightmare after rising for what they called “the Arab Spring”. The scenario was cloned in most Arab Spring countries. Alas, hopeful revolution turned into belligerence, then into strife followed by a war, as if a new regional order was endorsed to guarantee instability and chaos in the region. This new regional order has markedly new features and novel actors. The feature most starkly apparent is the rise of non-state actors, which have bolstered their presence and influence across the region, disregarding borders and ignoring the strategic equations that ruled the region for decades. Read the rest of this entry
Are we witnessing a harbinger of a religious war? Is it the beginning of a new violent era that may not spare any nation? What is that radicalism wants to achieve by committing such acts? Why is this happening? And is there a solution? These are few questions that appear in the daily debates and articles in the aftermath of the Paris events. It is crucial to investigate the backgrounds of this state of affairs, particularly from a Middle Eastern and Muslim perspective, in order to provide sound analysis and practical prognosis. Read the rest of this entry
The peace process between the Palestinians and the Israelis is at a complete standstill and each party blames the other for the failure to make any progress. Israeli officials repeat continuously that there is no Palestinian peace partner and accuse Abbas and his Palestinian Authority of flexing their diplomatic muscles in an attempt to isolate Israel internationally and take unilateral steps to achieve statehood. However, it would be outlandish to imagine that the Palestinians could succeed in such an approach (if it is true) without a minimum international understanding of the Palestinian narrative. In order to fully comprehend this state of affairs, it is crucial to make an assessment of the positions and announcements of both sides.
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When the first spontaneous explosions of the Arab democratic revolutions erupted in Tunisia in December 2010, many were hoping that this revolt might usher in a new beginning for the whole region. When Egypt joined Tunisia a few weeks later, hopes mounted and everyone started to think that the long-awaited moment had finally arrived. This feeling further intensified with the Yemeni revolution and the early stages of the revolutions in Libya and Syria, and a new order was anticipated. Nevertheless, the trajectory of events took things in a completely different direction. Some opted to see the recent downward spiral as a conspiracy theory, while others saw in these events a natural outcome of an ignorance planted by corrupt rulers over decades. Read the rest of this entry
Another Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip; it’s not the first and won’t be the last if the political equation in the region does not change. With the previous offensives launched by Israel on Gaza, several military goals were declared. This time, “Operation Protective Edge” comes within a different context, with new domestic, regional and international factors at play. These conditions, by and large, are more prosaic and complex and have been key elements in determining Israel’s goals for this operation, as part of a larger strategy that goes beyond the war itself. Read the rest of this entry
Palestinian success in burying a seven-year division has surpassed its domestic effects and has, without a doubt, regional and international implications. With the Palestinian unity government, the relationships between the Palestinians and Israelis on one side and the Palestinians, their Arab neighbors and the international community on the other side will experience a dramatic change that may chart a new course of events and developments. Read the rest of this entry
After less than a year of exceptional Egyptian-Turkish rapprochement, the events of June 30, 2013 ruptured this relationship. Similarly, when Egyptian and Iranian statesmen began to decrease tensions and a thaw in relations resulted, events evolved to return things to square one.