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About Issa Khalaf

Issa Khalaf, a Palestinian-American, has a D. Phil. in Politics and Middle East Studies from Oxford University

Articles by Issa Khalaf

This week’s front page editor

Constitutional conventions: best practice

The once and future Syria

A negotiated peace may be Syria’s only salvation from imminent demise, but internal complexities and strategically incoherent external responses mean it will not be forthcoming.

Syria: the danger of false dichotomies

How one defines Syria’s troubles determines one’s prescriptions. Evidence that a silent majority did not want violent conflict and preferred a political solution leading to reform is not easily dismissible. And Syrian politics, unlike Libya under Gaddafi’s ‘personal rule’, is not about Assad.

The unmaking of Syria: beneath the fog

One can no longer say that Syria is a moderate, pragmatic, stabilizing and secular regional centre keeping extremism at bay - a natural function of its geography, relatively diverse ethno-sectarian make-up, as well as the political sophistication of its people.

The unmaking of Syria

The Saudi regime and Washington are fundamentally working at cross-purposes, for the Saudis’ nemesis is al-Qaeda-like groups, not the Muslim Brotherhood, which will most likely be the beneficiary of armed chaos.  Washington will set in motion a process it cannot control, to the calamity of the Syrian people.

Syria’s inscrutability

Syria is hard to categorize in relation to the Arab spring, because of its people’s multifaceted relationship to the Syrian state and current regime, their fear of a fundamentalist takeover, civil war, resistance to foreign-imposed regime change and to military intervention.

The tragedy that is Iraq

Totalitarian rule, war, sanctions, invasion, destruction, sectarian suspicions, western manipulation all have brought Iraq to its knees. Any formula that relies on a basic regrouping and reshuffling of a corrupt regime in control of state resources will collapse in violence.

A great change is sweeping Arab political culture

All Arab regimes, regardless of regime type, have essentially behaved like dynasties. This is why the essentially secular, expansive, inclusive, internationally-aware neo-nationalism of the young Arabs in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere in the region offers a revolutionary break from an unending past.

‘Humanity, dignity, liberty’

Maybe the US won’t change its course until the Arab world changes. It is amazing how instantly possibilities present themselves when the people, en masse, demand their own interests and rules of the game.
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