Political Analysis

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Trump’s Israel-Palestine Peace Plan – Its Test Run

On 15 June 2018 senior US administration officials met with UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, in New York to discuss US efforts “to promote peace in the Middle East and to meet humanitarian needs in Gaza.” Joining the meeting were Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, two of the three envoys (the third is David Friedman, US ambassador to Israel) who are leading Trump’s Middle East peace effort. Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, was also present. Reports had already indicated that the US’s carefully crafted peace plan was virtually complete. 

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Who Follows Mahmoud Abbas?

Reaching the age of 83 is no big deal these days.  Centenarians abound.  But Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas is 83 with a long history of health problems.  Some twenty years ago he underwent an operation for prostate cancer.  Subsequently, as a heavy smoker, he has struggled against a succession of health issues, many connected with his heart.

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Jordanian Protests: Revisiting the Arab Spring?

Protests that forced Jordan’s prime minister to resign and laid bare the country’s systemic economic and political crisis shed a new light on the root causes of popular protests in the Middle East that swept the region in 2011 and have since continuously erupted at local levels in a swath of land stretching from Morocco to Egypt.

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PUK – Gorran Relations in Post Kurdish Referendum: A New Phase of Conflict in Green Zone

The Kurdish referendum in September 2017 not only lost plenty of gains earned since 2003, but also brought about a deep political dichotomy between and inside the prominent political parties in the region. The post-referendum Kurdish politics in the Green Zone (the PUK dominated zone) shifted from an alliance to antagonism, particularly between the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Movement for Change (Gorran). This article will discuss the political rivalry between the two parties in the Green Zone since the Kurdish referendum period, as well as intra-disputes amongst the various factions of PUK and its implications upon their…
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Iranian Women Are the Mullahs’ Biggest Fear

With the US pullout from the nuclear deal, Iran will soon face renewed economic sanctions, compounding a crisis that has seen its currency go into free-fall. On top of that, the Trump administration has signalled its readiness for political and perhaps even military confrontation with the Islamic Republic. These are very real pressures, but I would argue that they don’t threaten the ruling mullahs nearly as much as a growing domestic development: the prospect of unveiled Iranian women.

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Iran and the China-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization

A planned China and Russia-led show of support for Iran at next month’s Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit is likely to be primarily symbolic unless the group opts to honour the Islamic republic’s bid to be upgraded from observer to full member.  How much solidarity with Iran can the China-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization afford?

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Syria – The Next Steps

Why did Syrian president Bashar al-Assad meet with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on May 17, 2018?  “Quite comprehensive negotiations took place,“ was the explanation offered by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.  

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The Trouble with Iran

That the current Iranian regime poses a problem for the free world is a fact of life.  It even poses a problem for Russia, its de facto ally in the Syrian conflict. But the Iranian dilemma comes into even sharper focus following US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, and the escalation of long-standing tensions between Iran and Israel into open military skirmishes.

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