The Mideast and Abroad
- Published on Friday, 21 October 2011 10:38
Mona Eltahawy, award-winning, and well recognized columnist for Canada's Toronto Star, Israel's The Jerusalem Report and Denmark's Politiken, has gained a name for herself as an international public speaker on Arab and Muslim issues, including the role of women in the recent revolutions throughout North Africa and the Middle East.
She has appeared as a guest analyst in several media outlets and prior to moving to the U.S., Ms. Eltahawy was a Middle East correspondent for Reuters, The Middle East Times, The Guardian and Asharq al-Awsat.
Aslan Media recently had the opportunity to chat with Ms. Eltahawy at a panel presentation for the American Islamic Congress and World Boston, where she shared her thoughts on Egypt’s future.
Aslan Media: Mona, can you tell us your thoughts on the Egyptian revolution, where has it made it to, and where is it going?
- Published on Wednesday, 12 October 2011 08:26
To say that anyone could have predicted the events of the Arab Awakening would be a lie. To say that one could have foreseen the response of the United States to these revolutions... well, that is far more believable.
The Obama administration’s reticence when dealing with the Middle East is hardly shocking. The region is exceedingly complex and requires policy makers to walk the line between American values and interests.
In the cases of Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Libya and even Yemen the United States has ultimately raised the banner of American values of populist democracy, albeit slowly and with some hesitation. In Bahrain, the U.S. government has placed their bets on American interests. Sure, it is easy for armchair pundits to sit back and launch moral condemnation, but Obama’s position vis-a-vis Bahrain simply cannot be reconciled with the way he has approached the other ongoing Arab upheavals.
- Published on Tuesday, 11 October 2011 04:27
The United Arab Emirates held its second ever parliamentary elections last week, though the pool of voters was characteristically limited. As in the first election, only members of the specially appointed electoral college were eligible to vote for representatives of the Federal National Council, a 40-member advisory body with limited powers.
Billed by the government as a step towards political reform, only half of its members are to be put in office by voters; the other half is handpicked by rulers of the seven monarchies that comprise the UAE. Selection criteria for the electoral college remain unclear, though its membership was greatly expanded from the 2006 election in which only 6,689 persons cast ballots, perhaps a move taken to avoid protests.
- Published on Thursday, 06 October 2011 16:47
For many regimes, the Arab Spring has become synonymous with an existential internal threat. Decades of oppression and corruption have left them with citizens who are fed up and the dictators have predictably responded by clinging to power.
These attempts to reestablish control have ultimately increased the determination of the protesters, though, and their demands have often escalated as well. In more than one case, calls for reform have quickly transitioned into calls for revolution.
Yet despite a significant current of economic and political unrest among the youth of the Hashemite Kingdom, this escalation has yet to occur in Jordan. To understand why, we must establish from the outset that Jordan is not Egypt or Libya or Syria or Saudi Arabia. Jordan is Jordan, and in her short history, the country has already seen more than her fair share of existential crises.
- Published on Saturday, 01 October 2011 07:42
The expatriate most responsible for organizing opposition abroad to Syria’s Assad regime may arguably remain an unsung hero in America. But he is certainly getting his message out to much of the Arab world.
This man, Dr. Fehmi Khairullah of Prospect Park, New Jersey, was the first commentator featured on Al-Jazeera’s reports about President Assad’s July 20th speech calling for restoring order in Syria in return for vague promises of civic reforms. In Syrian-accented Arabic, Dr. Khairullah declared Assad’s speech to be “completely empty...Instead of sending his thugs into the streets, President al-Assad (who is also a physician) should don his medical whites, and put band-aids on those he is murdering.”
Since then, Dr. Khairullah has repeatedly appeared on Al Jazeera, as well as on France 24, CNN, Al Arabia, and even on Fox News, becoming a leading expatriate on all things Syrian.
- Published on Friday, 30 September 2011 08:35
On Tuesday September 27, the Israeli government announced it would be building 1,100 new settlelement units in occupied East Jerusalem. The fact that the announcement came as the world powers are scrambling to save the peace process in the UN suggests that Israel may not be serious about its desire to abide by the promise of a Two-State Solution.
Meanwhile, there has been growing protests across Israel as the country’s citizens are increasingly voicing their frustration with a government that no longer listens to their needs. As tensions continue to mount both domestically and abroad, Israel faces rebuke from most of the world powers, with the sole exception of its blindfolded ally, the United States.
After the fiery attack made by Israeli forces on the Turkish aid flotilla heading to Gaza last year, the country lost hope of forging stronger alliances within the Middle East and the wider Arab world. When asked to apologize for a preemptive strike on a Freedom Flotilla carrying only activists, Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, responded by saying Israel should not be apologetic for protecting itself.
- Published on Wednesday, 28 September 2011 09:54
Hardly a week goes by without some mention in the media of a US drone strike targeting and/or killing al-Qaeda militants. Most recently, the AFP reported that 10 suspected al-Qaeda militants were killed in several drone strikes in al-Qaeda strongholds in southern Yemen.
Among those targeted was al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's (AQAP) deputy leader, Saeed al-Shihri, who managed to escape. Others haven't been so fortunate. Abu Hafs al-Shahri, al-Qaeda Central's chief of operations in Pakistan, was killed in a drone strike on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, and al-Qaeda Central was dealt another serious blow the month before with the death of Atiya Abd al-Rahman, al-Qaeda Central's number two, who was also killed by a drone.
- Published on Sunday, 25 September 2011 09:35
For those dismayed at the domination of Israeli politics by extreme right-wing war criminals, this has truly been a summer to remember. Prime Minister Netanyahu, who long claimed he could not negotiate peace with a “divided” Palestinian people, suddenly reversed himself after the Hamas-Fatah reconciliation agreement was announced.
Netanyahu then traveled to the United States to publicly embarrass President Obama for doing nothing more than repeating what U.S. Presidents have said for years: that the pre-1967 borders should be the basis for Palestinian-Israeli settlement talks. This was followed by a typically hyperbolic speech before a joint session of Congress in which Netanyahu received many standing ovations for blatant lies (e.g., that the West Bank is not occupied territory) and for his racist characterizations of Palestinians as terrorists.
- Published on Wednesday, 21 September 2011 06:59
Taking a religious approach to peacebuilding has become an integral part of conflict resolution, especially when it comes to the “Islamic world” where religion, through various historical processes, has become inseparable from the state apparatus.
But conflicts are rarely ever as simple to exist solely on some real or imagined metaphysical plane, often using religious language to bolster claims of rights to a territory, economic injustice, or government repression. Peacebuilding works best in its gestalt form, focusing on the intersection of the different aspects of a society to create a more sustainable whole.
One of the latest developments in the field of peace studies has been the melding of environmental and conflict resolution studies giving birth to the theories of environmental peacebuilding.