Mashreq–Worldwide Relations

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A New Cold War?

The struggle for dominance between Saudi Arabia and Iran – one the leader of the Sunni Muslim world, the other of the Shi’ite – is being conducted up and down the Middle East.  In Syria and Yemen, the conflict has descended into open conflict.  In Iraq it is largely a struggle for political superiority.  Elsewhere the two countries are competing by proxy, providing varying degrees of support to opposing sides in disputes in Bahrain, Qatar, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

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Did They or Didn’t They? The Battle for Control of Brussels’ Grand Mosque

It’s hard to prove beyond doubt a direct causal link between militancy and Saudi-inspired ultra-conservative forms of Sunni Muslim Islam. That hasn’t stopped Belgium’s parliament from attempting to wrest control from Saudi Arabia of Brussel’s downtown Grand Mosque after three years in which Belgians played a prominent role in Islamic State attacks in the Belgian capital as well as Paris.

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Rohingya Plight Feeds Muslim Assertiveness

The plight of Myanmar’s persecuted Rohingya minority is becoming the Muslim world’s latest rallying call emulating the emotional appeal of the Palestinians in the second half of the 20th century.

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US Moves Against Iran Raise Spectre of Wider Regional Conflict

US President Donald J. Trump in a step that could embolden Saudi Arabia to move ahead with plans to destabilize Iran, has instructed White House aides to give him the arguments for withholding certification in October that Iran has complied with its nuclear agreement with world powers.

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Secret Goings-On in the Mediterranean

Hands up if you know anything about IEMed, the Barcelona Process or UfM.  And full marks if you can identify that IEMed stands for the European Institute of the Mediterranean, the Barcelona Process is shorthand for the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (Euromed), and UfM betokens the Union for the Mediterranean.

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Poverty Impedes Global Sustainable Development

  UNITED NATIONS (IDN) – While nearly 1.1 billion people escaped extreme poverty between 1990 and 2013 because of strong economic growth that benefited the world’s poorest, “the number of people living in extreme poverty remains unacceptably high, with nearly 800 million living on or below US$1.90 per day,” according to a new UN document.

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Trump’s Mid-East Venture

Ambiguities and vacillations surround many aspects of the Trump administration’s policies or lack of them, both domestic and foreign, but one element seems clear.  President Donald Trump appears determined to pursue an Israeli-Palestinian accommodation, within the context of a wider US-led anti-Islamist, anti-Iran, cooperative effort involving “moderate” Middle East states including Israel. The signs that something’s afoot seem to be proliferating

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Moves On The Arab-Israeli Chessboard

Broad goals such as “America First” and “Make America Great Again” set the tone of President Donald Trump’s administration, but viable domestic policy objectives are hard to discern.  The Muslim travel ban, the Mexican wall and the healthcare reforms were challenged from the first, and as yet are not being fully implemented. Whether withdrawing from the Paris climate change treaty yields the US positive results only time will tell.

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