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Middle East

Middle East. Will Oil and Gas Save Lebanon?

A large oil and gas deposits off the Lebanese coast. Tensions with Israel. A massive immigration crisis, pending from the Syrian civil war. On September 14, an U.S. Navy ship, in this case the destroyer, USS Ramage, docked in Lebanon’s capital Beirut. No American military vessel had performed such a maneuver since 1984 (when U.S.…

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Which Kurdish populations?

There has never been a Kurdish State. But, there has been and still exists a Kurdish nation. The Kurds have occupied the mountains that extend from western Iran to eastern Turkey through Iraq and Syria for centuries.  because political boundaries have worked that way, and there is no Kurdish nation, as such, although they have…

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The Shi’a Movement.

There has been a tendency on the side of the mainstream media to describe this movement as a monolithic entity, and interested in adopting the model of the Islamic Republic of Iran. In fact, the Shi’a movement in Iraq is more complex, having responded almost exclusively to specific indigenous socio-economic Iraqi mechanisms. While, one of…

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Ba’ath Party Dominance and Mistakes.

As the Ba’ath increasingly dominated the State, the Communists faced greater restrictions on their activities. By the early 1980’s they had been virtually silenced. Indeed, the Ba’ath Party suppressed all secular opposition. The effect was that all political grievances were increasingly channelled through the Shiite Islamic movement. The Shi’a were poor, but well represented politically…

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Iraq. A Fragile Country.

Iraq, the country established on the land of the Assyrians and Babylonians of ancient Mesopotamia, is one of the most bitter fruits of the Franco-British imperialist nation-building efforts in the post-WW1 scenario that was the ‘Sykes-Picot’ Accord, signed on May 16, 1916. British, French and, to a lesser extent, Russian diplomats decided how the former…

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Middle East 2019. Another Uncertain Year Ahead.

The Return of Palestine and A Deepening of the Shi’a-Sunni Divide. One of the clearest lenses through which to gaze into the scenarios that could develop in the Middle East in 2019 is the next Israeli legislative election. It is scheduled to take place on November 5, 2019. But Israeli officials may move the vote…

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The Khashoggi Murder Has Shaken the Very Foundations of the House of Saud.

The now confirmed murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of a Saudi ‘investigation team’ on October 2, 2018 after visiting consulate of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul has attracted international interest. It has also raised concerns about the future of Saudi Arabia, as the murder should not be examined in isolation. Rather, it will…

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Israel, Palestine And The Impossible Deal.

What is the so-called ‘Middle East Peace Plan’ ? What this means, in practical terms ? What can the Palestinians Expect from the Deal ?  Seventy years have passed since the foundation of the State of Israel. Less remembered in the West is the flip side of that coin; the ‘Nakba’, meaning the ‘Catastrophe’, which…

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Has the Countdown to the End of the Syrian War Began?

The cards suggest that the final showdown in Syria is approaching. Daraa, the city where the anti-Asad revolt – or, better, the proxy war – broke out has been disputed between the Syrian army and the Islamist forces since March 2011. After the liberation of Damascus and surroundings, including Ghouta – that ended just after…

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Middle East Under Pressure.

The Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital, and its Political Context, Has Ended the Middle East Peace Process. One might be forgiven for thinking that far from shunning an interventionist foreign policy, as he promised during the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump has been conducting someone else’s ‘diplomacy’. Since his election, Trump has offered important…

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Protests, Not Like The Arab Spring.

Unlike the protests of the ‘Arab Spring’, moreover, the recent protests in Iran have a political connection. President Rohani publicly declared they had valid reason to protest and the right to do so. The revolts began in Mashhad, a spiritual centre noted for its sympathies with the conservatives – as well as the shrine of…

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Advocacy

Research and Rating, a tool of Advocacy.

Advocacy is a strategy used around the world by NGOs, activists, and even policy makers themselves, to influence policies. Advocacy is about creating reform of…

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Baobab

An Unhappy Fish.

0nce upon a time there was a colony of little fishes who lived together in their own small pool, isolated from the rest of the fish…

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Youth & Mission

Peace and Climate Justice is Needed to Save the Planet.

The world is afire again, the flames heartbreakingly consume shrubs, trees and forests in Australia, Portugal, Brazil, and recently in California and Siberia and elsewhere too.…

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