September 20, 2017

Middle East: Wine, Blood and Gasoline

A Palestinian boy looks at the gun of an Israeli guard at Abu Dis; check post in East Jerusalem. (Photo by Kashfi Halford, Creative Commons License)

Mahmoud Abbas is doing everything in his power to prevent a general uprising, which might quite well endanger his regime. But pressure from below is mounting. Popular wisdom in Israel has already found a name for the situation: "Intifada of Individuals". For the Israeli security chiefs, that is a nightmare. Read More »

Who Will Make the Middle East’s New Map?

Twin-Explosions in southeastern Kobani on 8th October 2014. (Photo by Karl-Ludwig Poggemann, Creative Commons License)

The U.S. wants countries like Iraq and Syria to remain unified failing which it fears complicated new realities will emerge. But those complications are already here Read More »

Why a Third Intifada May be About to Kick Off

Jerusalem's Western Wall, Dome of the Rock, al Aqsa Mosque. (Photo by Michael-Ann Cerniglia, Creative Commons License)

With no diplomatic solution on the horizon and with no evidence that either party is willing, or able, to break the psychological barriers to reconciliation,Israeli and Palestinian sides are resorting to increased unilateralism and kowtowing to their own domestic pressures. Read More »

Chinese Salafism and the Saudi Connection

A Chinese Muslims headed  to the Xi'an mosque in Shaanxi province. (Photo by  Pollenoid, Creative Commons License)

In China, the Hui Salafi sect, and its links with Saudi Arabia, have a long and complex history. Read More »

Turkey’s Islamic State Challenge

Turkish army's tanks take position along the country's  border with Syria. (Photo from videostream)

Once the IS problem is defused, though, the conundrum of what to do with Assad will return. It is doubtful that the international community is really willing to pursue regime change in Damascus, so Turkey may have no choice but to soften its rhetoric and seek a diplomatic exit strategy from the Syrian quagmire.  Otherwise, the civil war could conceivably go on for years to come and continue to destabilize the entire region. Read More »

Syria War: Implications of Battle for Kobani

The fight for Kobani, a small Kurdish town on the Syrian side of the border between Turkey and Syria, has left thousands displaced. (Photo by Turgut Engin via Today's Zaman)

The reason that Turkey supports ISIL and al-Nusra's war against the Kurds is that it seeks to prevent a Kurdish autonomous region on its southern border with Syria. By eliminating "Rojava," the Kurdish appellation for "West Kurdistan," Turkey also hopes to further weaken the Kurdish nationalist movements, especially the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and its politically affiliated organizations. Read More »

A Culinary Tour of Eid Dishes Across Middle East

The traditional lamb karahi originates from the rustic and traditionally Pukhtun town of Landi Kotal.  (Photo by Fawad Ahmed, via Dawn)

Muslims mark Eid al-Adha celebrations with a feast. Thalia Rahme brings us some traditional and not so traditional recipes prepared by Muslims across the Middle East on that day. Read More »

What Arab Partners Will Get in Return for Syria Strikes

Syria map

Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, the UAE and Jordan are all on board against Islamic State. What’s in it for them? Read More »

ISIS and Dilemma of Sunni Arab States

(Google map)

The reason why Sunni Gulf States support the IS is its strong opposition to the Shiites. It is not just Iran, which is 90 percent Shiite, that the Gulf Arabs believe to be a threat, but the Shiite population in their own countries. But the Saudis recently seem to have realized that their support of the IS and jihadism has resulted in the “chickens coming home to roost.” Read More »

Gaza Blockade — No Signs of Loosening

Truckloads of humanitarian aid and commercial goods bottle-necked at Kerem Shalom crossing along the Gaza-Israel border. 
(Photo by Erica Silverman/IRIN)

Despite Israel and Hamas entering a ceasefire, aid groups are reporting no relaxation in Gaza’s crippling blockade by Israel. Some analysts are warning that the threat of the deal collapsing is real, especially as there appear to be few enforcing mechanisms. Read More »