The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons should be a technical agency of the UN. But it has arguably become a piece in a geo-political chess game dominated by the US, invited into Syria to act in contravention of its remit.
The Saudis hope to win back a little of the moral authority they have lost in the
last few months. The “major shift” with regard to the US is meant to show that
the House of Saud are in sync with the street.
Every time the Gulf States’ rulers justify their support for violent
rebels in Syria or the military regime in Egypt by appealing to the unalienable
right of peoples to basic rights and representative governance, they legitimize
the Arab Spring in the eyes of their own peoples, too.
Obama’s overture to Rouhani is costing the United States the goodwill of some old pro-Washington friends in the Arab world. When Prince Bandar, a close friend of the United States and a trusted adviser to the Saudi King, issues threats, Washington must listen.
The three countries, and groups within
them, are locked in narratives of confrontation, victimhood and fear. At
present, their narratives are incompatible and seemingly unbridgeable. That is the real cause of the current
A US-Iranian rapprochement over Iran's nuclear programme could
improve general US-Iranian relations, leading to the lifting of Iran's painful
sanctions. Could this in turn encourage improved relations between the
countries of the GCC and Iran?
new Emir swiftly congratulated the interim Egyptian president, Adly Mansour,
who was appointed by the Egyptian army. This was in stark contrast to the fatwa
issued on July 6, 2013 by Al Qaradawi, openly calling on the Egyptian people to
defy the army and maintain support for Morsi.
Everywhere the Arab uprisings have
been confronted by the entrenched vested interests of old regimes, the
so-called ‘deep state’ in Egypt, and by Islamist populism. The alignment of
regional powers, following geopolitical interests, has sharpened the sectarian
lines. But these alignments are not somehow essential to the region.
The ongoing protests have only emphasised the gap between
the Turkish government and the EU, and between Turkey and Arab leaders whose
fear of revolt doesn’t necessarily translate into political solidarity with
Today’s Sunni/Shiite regional war is the direct
product of the Bush/Blair war on Iraq. The divide is all the more dangerous because
of the Levant’s confessional mosaic. These events are changing the very nature
of the states in the region, and the peoples that lie within them. Where do
Palestine’s borders now lie?
This second of two essays on military spending and the
EU crisis, explores
the role of the European arms trade, corruption and the role of arms exporting
countries in fuelling a debt crisis, and why these 'odious' debts need to be
written off. See Part One here.
The rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran is at the heart of Syria's destructive stalemate. This proxy conflict, with Baghdad providing crucial help to Tehran, highlights the scale of the blowback from the United States's war in Iraq.
Iraq, a decade after the US-led invasion and one year after the end of the US occupation, is grappling not merely with an escalating sectarian crisis between the Shia-led government and an increasingly disaffected Sunni minority, but with an intensifying ethnic crisis fomenting in an increasingly defiant and heavily armed Kurdish Region.
The Shari’a is largely irrelevant to most important issues of policy and
administration in the economy and in government. Its historical and symbolic
locus is on family and sexuality: patriarchal rights, segregation of the sexes,
enforced female modesty.
Fawaz Gerges and Rosemary Hollis with Robin Yassin-Kassab at the openDemocracy conference Syria's peace: what, how, when?, discussing the regional proxy war, class dynamics in Syria, intervention and the costs of not negotiating with Assad.
of the criticisms made of the emerging economies is that they are using cooperation
to gain markets, political influence and access to natural resources. But that
is what the countries of the North are also seeking.
The rulers of Saudi Arabia and Qatar insist that Bashar Assad step down
or be removed by force because the Syrian people want him gone. Yet, they
ignore the fact that the Arab peoples want them all gone, not just Assad.
Two men are now heading the virtual entirety of the
Kingdom’s intelligence gathering apparatuses. MbN’s control over the Mabahith
(secret police) and Bandar’s control over the Mukhabarat will link them closely
into western counter terrorist efforts.
America is still the Gulf states' indispensable ally, but the indecisiveness of Obama's policy in the Middle East is starting to foster frustration and concern in the Gulf capital cities. This is where Romney might have a card to play.