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Middle East Near You

All Stories Archive

  • Arab League and Iran differ over Syria, making solution ever more unlikely

    Two years down the line and the bloodletting continues in Syria. Despite the fact that the opposition to the Assad regime consists of many different groups with wildly varying agendas, a crucial component of most international peace plans is that the Syrian President should step down. Kofi Annan’s plan...
  • Examining Israel’s claim to ‘unilateral action’

    Benjamin Netanyahu has once again created a hodgepodge consisting of the holocaust, the ‘Iranian threat’ and anti-Semitism in order to justify the possibility of Israel taking unilateral action against Iran, and describes Israel as ready to ‘defend itself against Iran perpetrating another holocaust’. The statements were made during Israel’s...
  • Extension of Israeli nationality law entrenches racial discrimination

    Security concern continues to usurp collective consciousness and Jewish identity. Last Sunday, the Israeli government approved a proposal by Interior Minister, Gideon Sa’ar, to extend the citizenship law by a year, thus preventing the family unification between Israeli Arabs and their spouses from Arab countries, the West Bank or...
  • An exhibition of historical oppression

    British approval for Israel to temporarily display the Balfour Declaration during the inauguration of a museum in 2015 has met with verbal condemnations from the Arab League and leading Palestinian officials. The declaration is described as a document which negated the political rights of Arabs and Palestinians, as well...
  • Sectarian violence continues to divide Iraq

    Throughout his reign in Iraq, Saddam Hussein played up ethnic and sectarian tensions at every opportunity. He spearheaded a long campaign of violent oppression against Shi’ites (who make up the majority of the population), and massacred Kurds in northern Iraq. Six years after his death in 2007, and ten...
  • What’s behind the proposed visit of Qatari royal to Israel?

    Qatar’s foreign policy is nothing if not enigmatic. Since the Arab Spring, the small Gulf state has drastically upped its diplomatic efforts in the Middle East, the culmination of years of efforts to become a global player. The latest development is that Qatar’s Prince Khalifa Al-Thani is expected to...
  • Palestine’s search page on Google ‘harms peace’

    Israel’s furore at Google’s decision to replace Palestinian Territories with Palestine in its localised search pages led foreign minister Ze’ev Elkin to issue a statement addressed to Google’s CEO, Larry Page, suggesting a review of the decision since it creates obstacles to the peace process and ‘entrenches the Palestinians...
  • News

    Stephen Hawking’s boycott decision elicits Zionist hatred

    Academic boycotts seem to resonate deeply within Israel, veering towards the dynamics of vengeance. Cosmologist Stephen Hawking’s decision to boycott the Israeli Presidential Conference sparked a furore on social media sites, with a deluge of derogatory comments directed against the scientist applauded by Zionists and their supporters. Overnight, it...
  • The ICC on trial

    The International Criminal Court (ICC) has announced that it will launch a preliminary inquiry into Israel’s raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla, which resulted in the deaths of nine Turkish activists. The ICC’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, said that the inquiry would establish whether a full investigation into the raid...
  • Israeli law seeks to protect IDF from ‘defamation’

    The Israeli Ministerial Law Committee has approved a law developed by Yoni Chetboun of Jewish Home party, which would enable the IDF to press charges against individuals or entities propagating libellous information about the soldiers without the prior approval of the Attorney General. Claiming that the IDF has been...
  • Impunity, denial and requests for independent investigations in al Durrah’s killing

    Rewriting history in the Israeli narrative is as simple as refusing calls for independent inquiries into the countless crimes of the occupation. Years after Muhammad al-Durrah’s death in 2000, claims that the child is ‘still alive’ have resurfaced, despite Israel admitting responsibility for the child’s death in the past....
  • B’Tselem report raises fundamental question about criminal accountability

    Despite Israeli rhetoric about precision strikes and avoidance of civilian casualties during Operation Pillar of Defence, B’Tselem’s report portrays a grim reality. According to the report, the Israeli military is responsible for the deaths of 167 Palestinians, including civilians and seven persons annihilated by targeted assassination. Shin Bet has...
  • Offering practical solutions to the bloody conflict in Syria

    What can be done for a country whose death toll is close to 94,000; where 1.5 million refugees have fled the violence, executions are widespread, crimes are committed by both Assad and the rebels and bodies as young as 11 are being hauled out of the Queiq (Martyrs) River?...
  • The Roots of the Middle East Conflict

    During the research for my latest book Imperial Designs: War, Humiliation and the Making of History (Potomac Books – the University of Nebraska Press, 2013) I came across something the Czech writer Milan Kundera said in his novel Immortality about shame. He was twice expelled from the Communist Party,...
  • Ze’ev Elkin and government for settlers

    Israel’s deputy foreign minister, Ze’ev Elkin, has claimed that settlements ‘have become a fact of life that must be recognised’. In an interview with Associated Press, Elkin, himself a settler in the West Bank, claims that the policy of building settlements is in accordance with the views of the...
  • A right royal Syrian mess

    In 1916 Britain and France secretly devised a plot to carve up and share out the Middle East between them. Under the authority of the Skykes-Picot Agreement it was decided that if they were to defeat the Ottoman Empire in World War I Britain would appropriate Jordan, Southern Iraq...
  • Reverse Psychology: Mordechai Kedar on Jerusalem

    Mordechai Kedar wants to abolish Al-Jazeera; his motive? That the Emir of Qatar, who is the most influential person in Arabia, uses the channel as a medium to broadcast his personal, political agenda. According to Kedar, the station raises the profile of political Islamic movements and attempts to reduce...
  • EU’s support for Israel’s arms industry bolsters occupation

    In 2012 the EU joined the ranks of Barack Obama and Henry Kissinger in being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for allegedly contributing to ‘peace’. Apart from Obama’s track record regarding the increasing drone attacks and Kissinger’s undisputed role in aiding Pinochet’s brutal coup in Chile, the EU’s ‘decades...
  • The treacherous path to Syria’s 2014 elections

    Imagine if Assad got voted out in the 2014 elections; and then he left, admitting that the elections were free and fair, that he had out stayed his welcome and it was time to go. “If I feel that the Syrian people do not want it…I will not stand,”...
  • The battle for Jerusalem

    Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world, and one of the holiest, containing sites sacred to Christians, Jews, and Muslims. This historic and religious significance to all three Abrahamic religions has made the status of Jerusalem a particular sticking point in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Although Israel...
  • Discrediting Falk to bolster a dependent impunity

    Richard Falk has long been deemed controversial in circles conforming to imperialist policies. Vilified for contradicting mainstream propaganda emanating from organisations allegedly concerned with human rights, Falk’s latest report about the Palestinian territories has ignited a call for his resignation, this time from the US. Calling the report provocative and...
  • Qatar brings the Taliban in from the cold. What next?

    In 2014, American troops will pull out of Afghanistan after 12 years. Ahead of this deadline, the US plans to sit at a negotiating table with the Islamic insurgents it has been fighting. These talks between the US, Afghanistan, and the Taliban were due to get underway this week,...
  • More questions about whether a two-state solution is still possible, or even desirable

    Naftali Bennett was, in many ways, the star of Israel’s last election campaign. The politician, who heads up the Jewish Home party, was the embodiment of the new breed of settler politicians: educated, urbane, but packing no punches about his extreme right-wing, nationalist views. That was in evidence last...
  • Time to ditch Israel’s hegemonic rhetoric

    After a volley of rockets were fired from Gaza into Southern Israel, former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman advocated a re-occupation of the enclave, declaring that in two years’ time Israel might find itself facing an advanced strategy from Hamas, with ‘aircraft and hundreds of missiles that will reach beyond...
  • Sectarianism in the battle of Sidon

    The escalation of fighting in Lebanon this weekend has for many entrenched their worst fears; that the conflict in Syria will spread across the border and engulf their neighbour. For the past year shockwaves from Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s bloody crackdown on activists have crept across the border, reaching...
  • US congressman seeks to justify Israel’s claim to the land

    War is incited by hatred. Unfortunately this reasoning has been applied erroneously to absolve Israel of any blame in its prolonged occupation of Palestine and ongoing human rights violations. In a recent interview, Texan Republican Congressman Louis Gohmert stated adamantly that Israel should not compromise the “right” to land...
  • What’s next for Egypt?

    It’s hard to keep up with the latest developments in Egypt. Last night Tweeters gave second by second updates of the events leading up to the overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi, who was democratically elected in Egypt’s first free and fair elections a year ago. On Monday the military...
  • African union suspends Egypt for coup

    Events in Egypt this week have been nothing if not fast-moving. On Wednesday, Mohammed Morsi, the country’s first democratically elected president in six decades, was overthrown. It has been seen by some as a continuation of the revolution which toppled long-time dictator Hosni Mubarak in 2011, and by some...
  • Ambiguity in the west over Egypt’s derailed democracy

    The US position on Morsi’s ouster from power last Wednesday appears to hinge on their supply of military funding to Egypt, which currently stands at around $1.5 billion a year. According to American state department and foreign operations law, in the event of a coup d’état funding should be...
  • Palestinian children are among workers exploited in Jordan Valley settlements

    The context of Palestinian survival has become a source of exploitation, echoing the recurring oppression created by dependence. Reports compiled by Maan as well as a recent report by Al-Jazeera shed light upon the ramifications of imposed subservience, including the indignity of slaving upon occupied territory for the benefit...
  • Erdogan’s Egyptian dilemma

    The ousting of Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi by the military has left western politicians and commentators unsure of how to react. They oppose military dictatorships, yet were deeply suspicious of Morsi’s Islamist policies. The US and the EU have stopped short of calling events in Egypt a “coup” and...
  • The Egyptian Auction

    News that the affluent Gulf monarchies Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait are set to pay out a combined sum of $12 billion to Egypt post Morsi makes the US’s $1.5 billion offering look miniscule. The highest bid currently goes to Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, which...
  • Israel offended over Arab criticism of its nuclear weapons

    As Arab countries indicated they would be targeting Israel by proposing a non-binding resolution at the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) during the annual meeting to be held in September, Israel has embraced the usual victimised stance. Ehud Azoulay, Israel’s ambassador to the IEAE declared the initiative as...
  • Egypt: a state within a state

    As the military swept back into the public spotlight to overthrow Morsi last Wednesday, I’m sure Hosni Mubarak was rubbing his hands together with glee. After all, he’d long been telling his country that the Islamists were trouble makers and deserved nothing more than to languish in a prison...
  • One man’s revolution is another’s military coup

    A recent interview on RT news channel broadcast former head of the Arab League and prominent opposition member Amr Moussa pointing out that democracy is not just down to the polls. “It’s not enough to have the ballot box approving you and then you just sit and enjoy your...
  • Gaza after the military return in Egypt

    When the Muslim Brotherhood came to power in Egypt in 2011, it was widely viewed as a huge boost for Hamas, the party in power in Gaza. The Brotherhood has long-standing political and ideological links to Hamas, providing support over the course of many years. By that token, the...
  • Israel deems EU guidelines ‘external dictates’

    The EU’s preliminary shift in foreign policy regarding Israel has ignited a furore, with scathing statements accentuating contempt, defiance and a degree of apprehension. As binding directives to member states have forbidden ‘funding, cooperation, awarding of scholarships, research funds or prizes to anyone residing in the Jewish settlements in...
  • What are negotiations for?

    You can’t fault John Kerry for trying. The US secretary of state has just completed his sixth visit in four months to the Middle East, attempting to restart face-to-face negotiations between Israel and Palestine. His visit, to Amman in Jordan, was focused on winning support from the Arab League...
  • Disrupting Tunisia’s democratic transition

    Tunisia was the country that kick-started the Arab Spring in 2011, after a wave of mass protests led to long-time dictator President Zine el Abidine Ben-Ali standing down. As neighbouring countries remain mired in strife, conflict, and troubled transitions to democracy, Tunisia has rumbled quietly on in the background,...
  • Israel’s reaction to the latest UN Security Council debate

    Israel regaled the UN Security Council with yet another regurgitated exercise in rhetoric, as the recent developments regarding the alleged peace process were debated, shedding light upon a process which fluctuates between empowerment and dependence. At a crucial time when public opinion is shifting in favour of Palestinian self-determination,...
  • Shades of Egyptian liberals

    When the Egyptian revolution ousted Hosni Mubarak, we saw three groups of Egyptian liberals. The first is the one which immediately turned 180 degrees and begun to praise Mubarak’s regime, even before he was ousted. These liberals were described by observers as paid critics who did not move away...
  • Netanyahu’s settlement compromise leads to talks with illusory objective

    As the peace talks continue, within improbable absolutes such as a nine month timeframe in which a “final status deal” is expected to be reached, Maariv newspaper reported Netanyahu’s compromise with the Jewish Home Party in order to preserve the coalition. In return for keeping the government’s legitimacy Netanyahu,...
  • The coup and the Muslim world

    The Muslim world stands at a crossroads after the coup which not only targeted democracy and its institutions but also the organisations which monitored and declared Egypt’s elections to be free and fair. Muslims re left with two options after the coup revealed itself to be an explicit call...
  • No-one knows how to end the conflict in Syria

    The aftermath of the Arab Spring is still being felt across the Middle East. In recent weeks, Egypt has taken centre stage, deflecting attention from the bloody civil war in Syria. More than two years after protesters called for president Bashar al-Assad to resign, 100,000 lives have been lost...
  • Diplomatic stalemate in Cairo

    Ever since Mohammed Morsi was deposed on 3 July, Egypt has been in a state of crisis. An interim government has taken over, but thousands of protesters remain on the streets, calling for Morsi to be reinstated. Meanwhile, Morsi is imprisoned at an undisclosed location, along with some of...
  • Why did the Palestinian Authority and Israel resume negotiations?

    Decision-makers in Israel believe that the resumption of direct talks with the Palestinians holds many dangers, especially since they have not been able to reach an agreement regarding the unresolved issues, such as the borders and land-swaps. This is despite the fact that the Palestinian Authority president considered that...
  • A senseless approach to dealing with the coup’s opponents

    There are new tactics in play since the beginning of the coup, according to Mohammad El Baradie in an interview with the Washington Post. In the interview, he says that attempts have been made to change the protestors’ demands, from toppling the coup and releasing deposed President Mohamed Morsi,...
  • Argentina’s president slams use of veto against Palestinians

    As Argentina assumes the UN Security Council presidency this month, President Cristina Fernandez condemned the misuse of veto by the five permanent members and reserved harshest criticism for the US, whose use of veto has shielded Israel from accountability throughout the decades of its illegal occupation of Palestine. Veto,...
  • Israeli settlements are illegal, what’s next?

    As the Israeli government announced the building of some 1200 new settlement units in the occupied West Bank and Israeli housing minister, Uri Ariel, laid down the cornerstone of a new Israeli settlement in East Jerusalem, Palestinian negotiators are wondering what to do next. The US has been sponsoring...
  • Another bloodbath in Cairo: but where are the British government?

    This morning the world woke to a third massacre in Egypt. Twitter was flooded with photographs of bodies, bandages wrapped around their corpses, soaked with blood. At midday an eyewitness in Nasr City told MEMO he could hear machine gun fire every five minutes, and that the stench of...