Levant & Mesopotamia


The Making of a United Kurdistan

Slowly, and much to the distaste of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the possibility of a united autonomous Kurdistan stretching across the northern reaches of Syria and Iraq is emerging.


The Controversial Mohammed Dahlan

For years rumors of plots and counterplots have eddied around the controversial figure of Mohammed Dahlan, the charismatic Palestinian politician whom PA President Mahmoud Abbas regards as his greatest enemy, and who might very well eventually succeed him.

Can Lebanon ever rid itself of Hezbollah? Image ©: The World Bank

Can Lebanon Ever Rid Itself of Hezbollah?

In about 1980 – the exact date is disputed – Hezbollah descended like an incubus­ on Lebanon’s body politic, fastening itself onto a sleeping victim. Subsequently, while it has been taking its pleasure from its unhappy prey, all attempts to shake it off have failed. Hezbollah is a creature of the 1979 Iranian Islamic revolution. It drew its inspiration from the extremist Shia-based philosophy expounded by Iran’s first Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khomenei. Its aims were to resist Western influences in general and Israel’s existence in particular. Responsible for a string of notorious terrorist actions, such as the suicide car bombing…
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Netanyahu’s Alliance of the African Periphery

Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben Gurion, had an acute mind and the capacity to think strategically, a capacity demonstrated time and again during his two periods in office. The foreign policy strategy most closely connected with Ben Gurion has become known as the Alliance of the Periphery, or the Periphery Doctrine.  This concept called for Israel to develop close strategic alliances with non-Arab Muslim states in order to counteract the then united opposition of Arab states to Israel’s very existence.

Jihad Versus Soccer: Islamic State’s Convoluted Love-Hate Relationship

If the Islamic State (IS) was serious about attacking Euro 2016, its plans clearly never materialized. Leaked transcripts of the interrogation of one of the attackers of Brussels Airport in March leave little doubt however that soccer figures prominently on the group’s target list. So does this month’s beheading in Raqqa of four Syrian players. Yet, what emerges from analysis of IS’s policies is a convoluted love-hate relationship with the world’s most widespread expression of popular culture. Mohammed Abrini, a Belgian of Moroccan, descent, gained notoriety as the man with a white hat, after he was seen walking away in…
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Syria in Pictures Before & After War

20 photos of the same places, before and after the Syrian war of the city of Aleppo. One of the oldest inhabited cities in the world. In 19 July 2012 an ongoing military confrontation began in Aleppo, the largest city in Syria, as a part of the Syrian Civil War. It was marked by the Syrian army’s use of barrel bombs dropped from helicopters, killing thousands of people and forcing hundreds of thousands to evacuate. This battle has caused catastrophic destruction to the Old City Of Aleppo, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Syria’s Refugee Children Have Lost All Hope

Syria’s Refugee Children Have Lost All Hope

Young Syrians living in Lebanon are attempting suicide in ever greater numbers TRIPOLI, Lebanon — At a makeshift refugee camp just south of this northern city, a 12-year-old Syrian girl named Khowla sits on a dirty mattress in her tent. The roof is made of blue plastic tarp that does little to protect her from the intense sunlight. Though there hasn’t been rain in a few days, the concrete floor is damp and covered in a slimy film. Khowla is strikingly beautiful, with delicate features, nut-brown skin and large, dark eyes. She’s wearing her favorite dress, black with white stripes.


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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