Mashreq–Worldwide Relations

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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…
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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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The Commonwealth – A Role in the Peace Process?

The biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting opened on April 16, 2018 in London.  Most of the world’s media, except perhaps those of the Commonwealth nations, gave the event less attention than it deserves – but that has been the fate of the Commonwealth itself for many years.

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Rolling Back Militancy: Bangladesh Looks to Saudi in a Twist of Irony

  Bangladesh, in a twist of irony, is looking to Saudi Arabia to fund a $ 1 billion plan to build hundreds of mosques and religious centres to counter militant Islam that for much of the past decade traced its roots to ultra-conservative strands of the faith promoted by a multi-billion dollar Saudi campaign.

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Realignment in the Middle East

Once upon a time Turkey and Israel were the greatest of friends.  In March 1949 Turkey was the first Islamic nation to recognize the new state of Israel. Over the next fifty years, despite some ups and downs, the relationship flourished.  In the Cold War Turkey was a key ally of the Western camp and in the 1990s, under the aegis of the United States, Israel and Turkey established bilateral defense, security and economic partnerships which burgeoned into strong social and cultural ties.

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Britain Turns Its Back on BDS

The organization dedicated to isolating and delegitimizing Israel by way of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) has so far not reacted officially to the announcement that Britain’s Prince William is to visit Israel this summer. Since he will also be visiting Jordan and what are described in the announcement as “the Palestinian occupied territories”, and since both Jordan’s King Abdullah and Palestinian Authority (PA) president, Mahmoud Abbas, have welcomed the news, hard-line BDS supporters do not have much of a leg to stand on. Moreover Prince William probably ranks considerably higher in the public popularity stakes than Roger Waters, Lorde…
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Pakistan Struggles to Get a Grip on Militancy and Ultra-Conservatism

Seventy years after its birth, Pakistan is struggling to get a grip on Sunni Muslim ultra-conservatism and its militant offshoots that were aided and abetted by successive governments as well as Saudi Arabia and at times the United States. The stakes for Pakistan are high as it confronts mounting international pressure that includes China, its closest ally, to crackdown on militancy.

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