Levant & Mesopotamia

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

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

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

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.

maxresdefault

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.

PUK-gorran1

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…
Read more

sochi-1

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.  

23Gaza-web-jumbo

Gaza: A Response in Kind to the Humanitarian Crisis?

For the sake of the Palestinians and Israelis alike, the humanitarian crisis in Gaza has to be seriously addressed by the international community. The massacure of unarmed Palestinians at the Gaza-Israel Border has left at least 60 Palestinians killed and at least no less than 1700 injured. Eight of the dead were children. While the demonstrations have intensified over US embassy relocation from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the start of protests was on 30 March 2018.

A Lebanese election official empties a ballot box after the polling station closed during Lebanon's parliamentary election, in Beirut

Lebanon’s Elections and the Importance of Religion

On Sunday, Lebanese citizens will vote in national elections for the first time since 2009. These are the first elections since the passage in June 2017 of a new electoral law and the first since the 2016 Beirut municipal elections, when a grass-roots campaign won almost 40 percent of votes, challenging Lebanon’s long-standing patronage-based sectarian parties.

Menu Title