Political Analysis

A demonstrator holds a picture of Jamal Khashoggi during a protest in front of Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul [Osman Orsal/Reuters]

Khashoggi Rejiggers the Middle East at Potentially Horrible Cost

  The fate of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, assuming that his disappearance was the work of Saudi security and military officials, threatens to upend the fundaments of fault lines in the Middle East. At stake is not only the fate of a widely respected journalist and the future of Turkish-Saudi relations.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman denies that Saudi Arabia abducted Jamal Khashoggi (Reuters)

Saudi’s Long History of Abductions

Riyadh has repeatedly been accused of kidnapping and sending dissidents back to the Gulf kingdom, accusations it denies. Jamal Khashoggi walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Tuesday to pick up a document. Handing his phone to his fiance, he told her to call for help if he did not come out. Hours later Khashoggi was nowhere to be seen, raising fears that the outspoken Saudi journalist had been kidnapped and possibly rendered to Saudi Arabia. Since then, the Turkish police have launched a probe and claimed that Khashoggi was murdered inside the consulate. A claim Saudi Arabia has…
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Extraordinary Ways in Which China Humiliates Muslims

Extraordinary Ways in Which China Humiliates Muslims

Bans on “abnormal” beards and even the name “Muhammad” CHINESE officials describe the far western province of Xinjiang as a “core area” in the vast swathe of territory covered by the country’s grandiose “Belt and Road Initiative” to boost economic ties with Central Asia and regions beyond. They hope that wealth generated by the scheme will help to make Xinjiang more stable—for years it has been plagued by separatist violence which China says is being fed by global jihadism. But the authorities are not waiting. In recent months they have intensified their efforts to stifle the Islamic identity of Xinjiang’s…
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Fragility of Middle East Alliances Becomes Ever More Apparent

A podcast version of this story is available on Soundcloud, Stitcher, TuneIn and Tumblr. Three recent developments lay bare the fragility of Middle Eastern alliances and a rebalancing of their priorities: the Russian-Turkish compromise on an assault on the rebel-held Syrian region of Idlib, the fate of troubled Abu Dhabi airline Etihad, and battles over reconstruction of Syria.

yemen - © Photo: Collin Anderson flickr.cc

Peace in Yemen – It All Depends on the Houthis

Yemen has become a vast battlefield, the scene of unending armed conflict. As a result the civilian population is now in the throes of what is universally described as “the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.” On the brink of famine, the nation faces mounting rubbish, failing sewerage and wrecked water supplies, all of which have led to the worst cholera outbreak in recent history. The UN reckons three-quarters of Yemen’s 28 million people need some kind of humanitarian aid. What has led to this catastrophic state of affairs? Even more relevant, of course, is what can be done to bring it…
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© AFP 2018 / THOMAS COEX

Reengineering the Israeli Palestinian Landscape

A possible ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, the Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip, is proving to be much more than an effort to end escalating violence that threatens to spark yet another Middle Eastern war. United Arab Emirates-backed Egyptian and United Nations efforts to mediate an agreement, with the two countries’ nemesis, Qatar, in the background, are about not only preventing months-long weekly protests along the line that divides Gaza and Israel and repeated rocket and kite-mounted incendiary device attacks on Israel that provoke Israeli military strikes in response from spinning out of control. They constitute yet another round…
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Cairo, Egypt - © Photo: Hakim Khatib/MPC Journal

Egypt’s Economic Pain Is All in a Good Cause

Before the 2011 revolution that deposed Hosni Mubarak, Egypt had undergone a few reform periods between 1991 and 2007 in an effort to reduce external debt and expand the role of the private sector. As a result of those reforms, Egypt was able to relax some price controls, tackle double-digit inflation, reduce subsidies and cut taxes.

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Iran Sanctions Conundrum

Trump administration’s decision to withdraw itself from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action followed by its announcement to re-impose sanctions is viewed as one of the most disruptive geopolitical events of recent times. This has thrown down the gauntlet to India to recalibrate its ties with both the US and Iran. However, the upcoming high-level 2+2 dialogue certainly holds the key to this challenge. 

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Jihadists: They Love Death As We Love Life

French extremism researcher Olivier Roy talks to Eren Guvercin about the Catch 22 situation of European Muslims expected to speak for Islam, the irrelevance of ‘liberal’ reforms, the false premise of current de-radicalisation programmes and the nature of modern terrorism.

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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…
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