Political Analysis

Syria - MPC Journal - bashar-al-assad

The Kurds and Assad

International politics are subject to strange twists and turns. By one such convolution the future of Syria’s Kurdish population and of its president, Bashar al Assad, have become intertwined. Formed in 2015, the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) is the political wing of the mainly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which controls north-eastern Syria. Kurdish forces have fought the Syrian military on several occasions during the 7-year civil war, but the SDC has clearly begun to seek better relations with the Assad regime. On July 27, 2018, in response to an invitation from the Syrian government, a delegation of the SDC…
Read more

170621073636-01-mohammed-bin-salman-bin-abdulaziz-file-super-tease

Canada– Saudi Arabia: Questions about Saudi Concept of Sovereignty

The failure of Western allies to rally around Canada in its dispute with Saudi Arabia risks luring the kingdom into a false belief that economic sanctions will shield it from, if not reverse mounting criticism of its human rights record and conduct of the war in Yemen. It also risks convincing Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that acting with impunity will not impinge on his efforts to attract badly needed foreign investment.

Palestinian-Israeli Flags – © Image: The Yorker. MPC Journal

What Trump Actually Said about Jerusalem

President Donald Trump’s declaration about Jerusalem on 6 December 2017 gave rise to instant and almost universal condemnation. Western governments saw it as an unnecessary provocation, guaranteed to set back the prospects of peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, and likely to generate violent protests in the Arab world. Muslim condemnation was immediate. Although notably muted from Sunni Arab states, it was at its strongest from Turkey, Iran and the Palestinian Authority. At a specially convened meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas were vehement in their…
Read more

SA

Whither Wahhabism?

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman could well dash expectations that he is gunning for a break with Sunni Muslim ultra-conservatism rather than a shaving off of the rough edges of Wahhabi ideology that has been woven into the kingdom’s fabric since its founding more than eighty years ago.

People take part in pro-government rallies, Iran, January 3, 2018. Photo: Tasnim News Agency/Handout via REUTERS

Iran – The Beginning of the End?

Rumbles of discontent, erupting into public protests, are nothing new in Iran. They predate the Islamic Revolution of 1979, which swept the Shah from the throne and Ayatollah Khomeini into power. Today, among the slogans being chanted in the mass demonstrations bursting out all over Iran and threatening the very stability of the regime, are: “Reza Shah, God bless your soul.” In short, the regime of the ayatollahs has long outlived its honeymoon period.

Iraqi students walk near a building of the central Library of the University of Mosul

The Rise of Iraq’s Young Secularists

MOSUL, Iraq—Rayyan Hadidi was 18 years old when he lost his faith. It was July 2006, and he was on his way to school when he stumbled upon a cheering crowd that had gathered near a local mosque. The group, made up mostly of mosque leaders and worshippers, had encircled two men accused of volunteering with the Iraqi police force, which many saw as a puppet of the American occupiers. Al-Qaeda gunmen brandished their arms, preparing to execute the men, as the crowd shouted, “Allahu akbar.” Hadidi stared at the two men, flinching when he made eye contact with one…
Read more

gettyimages-487378042

Hezbollah in Britain

A rumour is circulating in the British press to the effect that the UK is about to designate Hezbollah, lock, stock and barrel, as a terrorist organization.  It would not be before time. The UK first proscribed Hezbollah’s terrorist wing in 2001, and added the military wing in 2008 after the organization targeted British soldiers in Iraq, but it has reserved judgment on the organization as a whole because of its political activities.  Any such distinction, which the EU has copied from the UK, is illusory. Hezbollah is a unified organization, and its jihadist purpose is basic to its existence.  Even Hezbollah’s…
Read more

12MIDEAST-jumbo-v2

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. 

22abbas1-jumbo

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.

Menu Title