Tag Archive: Middle East

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Referendum in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq: Right Choice?

The phenomenon of the Islamic State (ISIS) has deepened and worsened the instability and tensions among states in the Middle East. According to some political observers, the spread of ISIS in Syria and Iraq will transform the current political landscape of the Middle East. Today, the Kurds in both countries play a significant role all through this process. They have established strong relations with global powers so as to counter terrorism, while defending their position from ISIS attacks ever since their beginning in June 2015.

How well do you know the Mashreq? It is a video on diversity in the Mashreq region of West Asia and North Africa. The short video is produced by Mashreq Politics & Culture Journal (MPC Journal). All rights reserved. Music by Alp Yenier/"Waiting Immigrant" by Reg Project Manuscript by Hakim Khatib Design by Ivan E. Rosado Publisher: Mashreq Politics & Culture Journal (MPC Journal) For more on the Mashreq, visit MPC Journal website: www.mpc-journal.org Follow us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/mpcjournal

How Well Do You Know About Diversity in the Mashreq?

How well do you know the Mashreq? It is a video on diversity in the Mashreq region of West Asia and North Africa. The short video is produced by Mashreq Politics & Culture Journal (MPC Journal). How Well Do You Know The Mashreq? Mashreq: is an Arabic word means “the place of the sunrise”, “Orient” or the “East” As of 2016, it is home for 3% of the global population (≈350 million) living in 17 countries with many different religions and a variety of ethnic and linguistic groups. These countries are: Lebanon, Syria, Israel/Palestine, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain,…
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Destabilising the Middle East: A Historical Perspective of US Foreign Policy - From 1953 when the CIA staged a coup in Iran to topple the democratically elected government of Mohammad Mosaddeq in 1953 until the Obama administration’s endeavours to replace the Assad regime in Syria, destabilisation has been at the core of how the US policy toward the Middle East. US destabilisation policy is not a post-9/11 phenomenon that can be defaulted to the “war on terror” nor is it an aberration from US foreign policy and the mainstream media and various analysts claim.

Destabilising the Middle East: A Historical Perspective of US Foreign Policy

I wrote the first version of this essay in June 2014. Since then, I had over 4,000 hits on it in my blog. I decided to update it partly because of some elements of neo-isolationist proposals from the Republicans Party and presidential candidate Trump who claimed that Obama and Clinton were the founders of ISIS. More importantly, I see a downward spiral in US foreign policy whether the White House is under a Democrat or Republican administration.

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Which Countries Still Outlaw Apostasy and Blasphemy?

Apostasy and blasphemy may seem to many like artifacts of history. But in dozens of countries around the world, laws against apostasy and blasphemy remain on the books and often are enforced. Last December, for instance, authorities in Sudan charged 25 men for apostasy – the act of abandoning one’s faith — including by converting to another religion. The men face the death penalty for following a different interpretation of Islam than the one sanctioned by the government. And, in Pakistan, police are currently pursuing a Christian accused of sending an allegedly blasphemous poem to a friend. Blasphemy – defined as speech or…
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Saudi security forces take part in a military parade in preparation for the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015. (AP)

What Happens When Arab Autocrats Left to Fend for Themselves?

It is a difficult task to explain everything about the Middle East in a short article. So what I am going to do is to present an important, yet sometimes provocative series of headlines for a more lively analysis. The first point is that the rise of Asia shares significant responsibility for the turmoil the Middle East is experiencing. What I mean to say with this is that popular wisdom has it that a war weary, indecisive and weak President Obama’s disengagement from the region lies at the root of nations with Saudi Arabia in the lead adopting more assertive foreign and defensive policies…
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What is France up to in the Middle East?

The name of the game is power politics. France was a major presence in the Middle East following the First World War, but has been on the retreat ever since, as decolonization has taken hold. Now France has seized an opportunity to reassert itself and take centre stage, probably seeing itself in competition with Russia to fill the power void left in the Middle East by President Obama and his misplaced policy of disengagement. France’s chosen subject? The interminable Israeli-Palestinian dispute. Its proposed course of action? A multi-nation conference, excluding the principals, to be held in Paris, tasked with setting…
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Terrorism: Then and Now

The year 2016 is the 100th anniversary of the Irish Easter Rebellion. Throughout the year I will try to revisit some of the lessons of Ireland’s struggle for freedom. Bombs explode in a subway. The victims are everyday people who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. What follows is outrage: Track down the perpetuators. The people who set off the bombs are monsters and inhuman fanatics, thunder the authorities. But the year is not 2016; it is 1883 during the “Dynamite War” waged by mainly Irish-American members of the Fenians against the English occupation of…
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Mideast Yemen

Positive Action in Yemen Yields Positive Results

If any one area is a microcosm of the chaos in the Middle East, it is Yemen. Here, as across the region, Islam has been at war with itself, as the deadly rivalry between Saudi Arabia’s Sunni fundamentalist ruling family, and Iran’s equally uncompromising Shia-based Islamic revolution, played itself out. Nowhere was the fault-line between the Shia and the Sunni traditions of Islam more obvious – and nowhere was it more blurred, as self-seeking interests cut across it. Who is fighting whom in Yemen? There are four main principals: The Iranian-supported Houthi rebels; the lawful president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi;…
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Photo illustration by Shaun Venish/123RF/Photodisc

Turmoil in the Middle East: Regional Dimensions Beyond Religion

Given the current Middle Eastern scenario, one may reasonably hold the argument that the on-going turmoil in the Middle East owes its burden equally to the Machiavellian Anglo-American policies in the region and the harrowing failure of the Muslim governments/leaderships in the Middle East to rationally respond to those challenges. But are there any dimensions beyond religion? Nationalism and Turmoil The region of West Asia (known as the Middle East) and North Africa has been home for tension and conflict since the end of the 19th century. The tensions were accentuated by the division of North Africa between European powers…
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Wahabbi Clerics, Saudi Arabia

Saudi Export of Wahhabism

There has long been debate about the longevity of the Saudi ruling family. My initial conclusion when I first visited Saudi Arabia exactly 40 years ago was: This can’t last. I would still maintain it cannot last even if my time line has changed given that the Saudi monarchy obviously has far greater resilience than I initially gave it credit for. One major reason for the doubts about the Al-Saud’s viability is obviously the Faustian bargain they made with the Wahhabis, proponents of a puritan, intolerant, discriminatory, anti-pluralistic interpretation of Islam.

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