Iran’s Intervention In Syria Must Be Stopped

As the situation in Syria continues to deteriorate with the collapse of the Assad regime becoming increasingly more imminent, further direct intervention by Iran in the Syrian conflict in an effort to save the regime should not be ruled out. For Iran, the Assad regime represents the linchpin to their regional hegemonic ambitions and as…

August 9, 2012 Read more

The Syrian Crisis: Pitting Russia Against The U.S.

The latest UN resolution sponsored by Western powers (the United States, England and France) designed to increase the pressure on Assad and force him to step down was once again rejected by Russia and China, making it abundantly clear that all diplomatic efforts have come to a dead end. If Russia, the main proponent of…

July 30, 2012 Read more

No Reconciliation With The Butcher Of Damascus

I cannot begin this article without first expressing my profound outrage about the behavior of the Western powers, Turkey, the Arab League, and Kofi Annan, all of whom are still debating the likelihood of finding a political solution to end the merciless butchering of the Syrian people by the Assad regime. Do they really think…

July 19, 2012 Read more

Egypt Can Rise To The Historical Ooccasion But It Must Choose Wisely

A few days after the Egyptian uprising, I argued that the Arab Spring could well turn into a long and cruel winter due to a host of prominent factors including: the lack of traditional liberalism, the elites’ control of business, a military that clings to power, and the religious divide and Islamic extremism. These factors are making the transformation into a more reformist governance (slow, filled with hurdles and punctuated with intense violence) much to the chagrin of Utopian-minded Western governments who thought that the transition to democracy would be attainable within months. If and when the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and the ruling Military Council reach a power-sharing agreement, the situation will continue to unravel and be punctuated by chaos and accompanied by violence.

March 5, 2012 Read more

Israel’s Borders And National Security

Israel’s National Security: the Psychological Dimension

No one should fault the Israelis for their preoccupation with national security. Indeed, the Jewish historical experience speaks for itself: centuries of persecution, expulsion, anti-Semitism and segregation culminating with the Holocaust and followed by incessant, violent confrontations with Arab states and the Palestinians. Such things have created a major psychological barrier that places national security concerns at the front and center of Israel’s domestic and foreign policy.  For this reason, any agreement on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must take into full account Israel’s legitimate national security concerns, which are deeply embedded in the mind and soul of every Israeli. Regardless of how exaggerated Israel’s sense of vulnerability may seem to its detractors, the Palestinians cannot afford to dismiss Israel’s concerns and hope to strike a peace agreement. Although the Israelis and the Palestinians differ about the kind of measures needed to alleviate Israel’s security concerns, only if the Palestinians appreciate the psychological underpinnings behind Israel’s national security and agree on the security measures needed will both sides reach an enduring peace.

February 16, 2012 Read more

Russia’s Self-Marginalization

Russia’s foreign policy doctrine appears to be based on rejecting every policy initiative that the United States and the European Union take and only then, beginning to negotiate from ground zero. This has been demonstrated in Russia’s Middle East approach where Moscow has chosen extremely shortsighted policy options, allowing the massacre to continue in Syria while remaining mute regarding Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. As a global power, Russia enjoys a unique position of tremendous influence on both Syria and Iran and has the ability to play an extraordinarily positive role in defusing the internal conflict in Syria and the Iranian-Western conflict in connection with Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.  Having failed to do so may risk turning these conflicts into major regional, if not global, crises while marginalizing Russia itself both regionally and internationally.

February 13, 2012 Read more

How Syria’s Ruling Apparatus Became Its Albatross

It was strongly suggested by close top officials in the Syrian government that I spoke with more than a decade ago that when Syria’s President, Bashar Assad, first assumed power he was determined to introduce some significant political reforms. Why then has he failed to implement at least some of what he had intended to do and failed to meet the public’s expectations for change following his father’s 30 year reign? The reason is that Mr. Assad inherited from his father more than merely the office of the Presidency. He inherited a system of governing: an entrenched ruling apparatus consisting of the Baath party leadership, the high military brass, a massive Intelligence (Mukhabarat) community, internal security and top business elites; all dominated by Bashar’s own Alawite minority group which had heavily-vested interests in maintaining the system at all costs. Mr. Assad was able to assert his rule based only on the tacit condition that he would preserve the status-quo, which in the end turned out to be his albatross.

January 30, 2012 Read more

The Egyptian Revolution: A Year Later

Many observers and analysts of the Arab Spring have tended to draw quick conclusions about the successes or failures of the revolutionary upheavals that have swept the Middle East and North Africa based on what has thus far transpired on the ground. This is a common mistake. Every Arab country that has gone through the revolution remains immersed within the very early stages of the revolutionary process. To determine the real prospects for political and economic reforms in any of these countries, we have to look into the nature of the grass-root movement that precipitated the revolution, the core issues that the newly-emerging governments face and the choices they are likely to make. Looking at Egypt from this perspective reveals that, notwithstanding, the continuing political squabbles and the combined margins of victory of the Islamic parties in the new parliament, the country is on a path of real political recovery, however long this process may take.

January 23, 2012 Read more

The Settlers’ Movement Is A Threat To Peace And Israel’s Existence

The attack of hard-line Jewish settlers on an Israeli military base in the West Bank must not be seen as a passing incident that can simply be eradicated by punishing the perpetrators, as Prime Minister Netanyahu said in the Israeli Parliament. This dangerous and most deplorable incident is a byproduct of the continuing settlement policies that Netanyahu and his hard-core coalition partners have zealously been pursuing for the past three years. Netanyahu condemns the attacks on individual settlers while such policies continue to focus on the rapid expansion of the settlements, further strengthening the settlers’ movement, which, for all intents and purposes, has acquired a de-facto veto power over policies affecting the future disposition of the West Bank.

January 9, 2012 Read more
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