Posts Tagged ‘Middle East’

The evidence favoring the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed in July 2015, is before our eyes. It was negotiated between the Iranian government and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council: the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, and China and one other: Germany (P5+1). For much of the time prior to the negotiated interim agreement, the U.S. pursued a highly bellicose policy toward Iran and Iran speeded its development of a nuclear program that could be preparatory to having nuclear weapons capability. That history also makes evident why the rejection of the signed agreement is likely to have extremely grave consequences for the United States. (more…)

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Hatem SharrubHatem Shurrab is the head of communications with the Islamic Relief Fund in Gaza. He submitted a video report depicting the aftermath of the current conflict in Gaza. Mr. Shurrab was part of the Maxwell School’s Leaders for Democracy Fellowship (LDF), a U.S. State Department program that hosts reformers from the Middle East and North Africa for months of academic training and professional affiliations. See the video here.

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By Nimrod Goren

(Originally published on the I24News website, July 27, 2014)

Israel can no longer rely on Egypt to broker between itself and Hamas; a fundamentally new set-up is required.

The list of “wannabee-mediators” between Israel and Hamas is long. Those that have offered assistance in brokering a ceasefire include the UN, the Quartet, the US, the EU, Germany, Britain, France, Italy, Turkey, the Palestinian Authority, Qatar, Tunisia, China and Russia.

It was not always like that. In previous rounds of Israel-Hamas violence the overall formula was rather clear. It was the Egyptians, with American backing, that would eventually deliver. In 2012, after operation Pillar of Defense, the Egyptians were even designated as the guarantors of the Israel-Hamas understandings. (more…)

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by Imran Khalid

With Palestinian deaths (overwhelmingly civilian) nearing 700, it is time for a global rethink vis-à-vis Occupied Palestinian Territories. The current crisis comes on the heels of the 2009 invasion of Gaza which resulted in over 1500 Palestinian and 13 Israeli deaths, and the 2012 crisis in which well over 100 Palestinians were killed. We don’t need a statistician to inform us of the enormous discrepancy between the two sides militarily, economically and geopolitically. Indeed, Israel’s hold on Palestinian people and land has been likened to the apartheid regime in South Africa of yore. Yet, I am increasingly shocked and awed by the heavily biased coverage of crisis by the media in the United States and beyond. While social media has been integral in highlighting their plight, major media entities in this country continue to present the Palestinians as the “other,” with lesser values. (more…)

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by Timothy Rodriguez

(Published on the blog “Edgy World Affairs,” July 16, 2014)

It has come again. Something that comes every couple of years now – an Israeli assault on Gaza. To see images and video of the horrific bloodshed is pain enough – around 190 Palestinians killed (80 percent civilian), up to 1,485 injured; 1 Israeli killed and about 10 injured – but to make matters worse, the lack of journalistic and intellectual integrity on the topic has been appalling to listen to and read.

Contrary to the official Israeli line – which too many unquestionably follow as if it were gospel – the current assault did not begin with Hamas shooting rockets or the abduction of three Israeli teenagers. (more…)

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The tragic Israeli Palestinian relations and the many failed U.S. attempts to mediate an end to their violence-prone conflict does not appear to provide much hope that the new effort will succeed. Nevertheless, there are new circumstances within the United States and the Middle East region that open a window for an effective broad American role in transforming the painful Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (more…)

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Determining U.S. policy toward Iran and its nuclear programs should begin with considering the way the Iranian leadership and people regard their effort to develop nuclear power and nuclear weapons.  The current leadership wants to remain in power, but they differ about how that is best accomplished.  Ahmadinejad does not determine policy.  To what extent it is ultimately shaped by Ayatollah Khamenei or by the high military leaders is widely debated.  There is also widespread Iranian disaffection with the ruling regime.  The U.S. should be wary of unifying the divergent groups within the country.


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By Miriam Elman

Before September 11th and the military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan that followed as part of the ‘war on terrorism’, scholars of International Relations (IR) rarely focused on religion. The received wisdom in the field of conflict studies was that state behavior, and foreign policy decision making, was a rational choice based largely on the exigencies of the international context. This in turn was typically defined as the state’s capacity for war fighting and the costs and opportunities of using force to maximize state (and, just as often, regime) survival. To be sure, IR scholars did not discount the importance of the so-called three I’s: identity, ideology, and institutions. But foreign security policies based on cultural and ideational factors were considered ill-conceived. Rather than base war and peace decision making on the fickle demands of an idealistic public, the prudent statesman calculated state strategy only insofar as it advanced the national interest—or so the argument went. To quote Kenneth N. Waltz’s famous phrasing of the issue: those states and their foreign policy makers who failed to tailor decision making during international conflicts to the constraints and opportunities of the international environment would suffer ruin and ultimately ‘fall by the wayside’ of smarter states that knew better than to let religious or cultural sensibilities dictate state behavior.

The events of September 11th and their aftermath have had far sweeping ramifications for US foreign policy and world politics, but they have also fundamentally changed the way in which we now study foreign security policy and world politics. (more…)

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