Author Archive: Neville Teller

Neville Teller

was born in London and is a graduate of Oxford University. He has been commenting on the Middle East scene for over thirty years. He is Middle East correspondent for the Eurasia Review and his articles also appear regularly in other publications and in his blog “A Mid-East Journal”. His books include “One Man’s Israel” (2008), “One Year in the History of Israel and Palestine” (2011) and “The Search for Détente” (2014). A past chairman of the Society of Authors’ Broadcasting Committee, he is a veteran radio and audio dramatist and abridger. In the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2006 he was awarded the MBE for services to broadcasting and drama.

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France’s Middle East Peace Initiative and the Hamas Conundrum

The exact location in Paris where France’s Middle East peace conference took place on June 3 was not announced in advance to the world’s media. The precaution was fully justified on security grounds. For just prior to the meeting of some thirty foreign ministers from around the globe, Hamas had issued a statement condemning the French initiative. Hamas, be it remembered, rules nearly 2 million Palestinians in the Gaza strip, and is supported by unknown numbers of Palestinians – perhaps a majority – in the occupied territories. “Any proposals to bring the two parties back to the negotiating table,” declared Hamas…
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Iran’s Winning Ways

The Iranians, heirs to the ancient civilization of Persia which stretches back into the mists of time, have inherited both its ruthless and its subtle and devious ways of achieving its purposes. Persia was once the superpower of the ancient world, and Iran’s current repressive Islamist rulers seek again the hegemony the nation once enjoyed. Undeterred by apparent reversals of fortune, they are relentless in their pursuit of their objectives – jihad against western values in general, and the US and Israel in particular; jihad against Sunni states and peoples whom they regard as apostates against the true faith of…
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The Jihadist Civil War

The bloodthirsty jihadist organization that calls itself Islamic State (IS) sprang from the loins of al-Qaeda, once the supreme bane of the western world, which achieved its apogee with the destruction of the twin towers in New York. Over the past decade the fortunes of the two Islamist bodies have diverged, with IS apparently going from strength to strength and al-Qaeda apparently diminishing in influence. Now the wheel of fortune has turned, and as a result parent and offspring are at each other’s throats.

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What is France up to in the Middle East?

The name of the game is power politics. France was a major presence in the Middle East following the First World War, but has been on the retreat ever since, as decolonization has taken hold. Now France has seized an opportunity to reassert itself and take centre stage, probably seeing itself in competition with Russia to fill the power void left in the Middle East by President Obama and his misplaced policy of disengagement. France’s chosen subject? The interminable Israeli-Palestinian dispute. Its proposed course of action? A multi-nation conference, excluding the principals, to be held in Paris, tasked with setting…
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Lethargy in Lebanon

There are two major and long-standing areas of controversy in Lebanon – one political, the other judicial – and a casual observer might be forgiven for believing that things were on the move in both. It would be a flawed perception. On the political front Lebanon, although log-jammed nationally, is in the midst of municipal elections. The voting is taking place in four phases, governorate by governorate, around the country. The first poll was held on May 8 in the capital, Beirut.

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Will Assad Survive?

It is almost unbelievable, given the roller-coaster ride of Bashar Al-Assad’s fortunes these past five years, that he remains President of Syria (albeit a much reduced dominion), and stands a fair chance of remaining so. At the start of 2011 Assad was the absolute ruler of a brutal and repressive regime, and as firmly entrenched in power as his father, Hafez, had been throughout the thirty years of his presidency. For at that time the so-called “Arab Spring” – popular uprisings against repressive regimes which began in Tunisia in December 2010 – had as yet claimed no victims among the…
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Anti-Semitism and the British Left

Pursue a left-wing agenda around the political racetrack long enough and you’ll meet a right-wing agenda sprinting at you from the other direction. In the twentieth century Nazism and Bolshevism stood at opposite extremes of the political spectrum and their philosophies were poles apart, yet their regimes bore remarkable similarities to each other: the smothering of dissension, the persecution of political opponents, insistence that the state was more important than the individual, total disregard for the rule of law, rejection of religion, and so on. Now, in the early years of the twenty-first century, Britain finds itself witness to an…
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Positive Action in Yemen Yields Positive Results

If any one area is a microcosm of the chaos in the Middle East, it is Yemen. Here, as across the region, Islam has been at war with itself, as the deadly rivalry between Saudi Arabia’s Sunni fundamentalist ruling family, and Iran’s equally uncompromising Shia-based Islamic revolution, played itself out. Nowhere was the fault-line between the Shia and the Sunni traditions of Islam more obvious – and nowhere was it more blurred, as self-seeking interests cut across it. Who is fighting whom in Yemen? There are four main principals: The Iranian-supported Houthi rebels; the lawful president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi;…
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How to Defeat Islamic State – The Blair Recipe

Tony Blair is a man of wisdom and experience, a global player with many positive achievements to his credit, but in UK politics he is a spent force. The charismatic leader who transformed the fortunes of Britain’s Labour Party and led it to three successive election victories, is now the object of scorn by those in charge of the party. They have utterly rejected his middle-of-the-road approach, with its appeal to a wide swathe of moderate electors, in favour of a sharp turn to the left under their new leader, Jeremy Corbyn. Nowadays many who supported Blair while he was…
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