strategy of offering military support to the US while exporting Muslim
militancy and portraying itself as the protector of the two holiest sites in
the Islamic world has backfired for both Saudi Arabia and the US.
is critical to recognize the significance of this revolutionary chapter in the
modern history of the Middle East and the creative conceptions and
articulations of resistance that shattered the system of domination,
particularly the popular roots of these uprisings amongst the urban and rural poor.
Egypt has jailed journalists by the dozen; the Gulf is jailing people for tweets they send and surveillance companies are gearing them up. One does not need a crystal ball to see that repressive states in the MENA region will continue to suppress dissent.
These oil-rich countries cannot sustain long-term growth and prosperity if half the population remains marginalised and excluded from the workforce. The GCC states should begin to invest in and reform public and private sector institutions in favour of female-friendly policies.
From an empirical-analytical point of view, what
has happened in the Middle East and North Africa since Mohammed Bouazizi died?
This is not an opinion piece, but an assessment of underlying factors which
have put pressure on the aspiration for justice and political reform launched
by the Arab Spring. (5,000 words)
The Baathist regime is indeed guilty of
great war crimes, but the human cost of a failed state would be a greater
catastrophe. Washington should have learnt this lesson from Afghanistan,
Somalia and Iraq.
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.