For decades Syria has played the role of a bad student at school, its leaders thinking that if you don't cause trouble, no one will pay attention to you. The Syrian regime meddled in Iraq, nurtured Palestinian militants opposed to peace with Israel...Elections
The Palestinians have never been as divided and weak as they have been since this summer's infighting in Gaza. Their internal conflict is undermining international solidarity and distracting them from challenging the Israeli occupation. The Palestinian territories could explode at any moment. HAMAS accuses Fatah of conspiring against its...
The U.S. policy of paying Sunni Arab sheikhs for their allegiance could be risky.
TIKRIT Inside a stately guesthouse on the grounds of Saddam Hussein's palace in Tikrit on the banks of the Tigris, sheikh Sabah al-Hassani jokes that the initials "SH" of the former dictator etched on the walls are his.
"I have a weakness for Cuban...Elections
BEIRUT (AFP) U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon warned Lebanese leaders Friday that their country stood on the brink of an "abyss" if they failed to put their differences aside to elect a new president by a November 23 deadline. "If the responsibilities are not shouldered, there might be a move to the brink of an abyss," the U.N. chief said after...
Baghdad Tariq al-Hashemi says he cringes when he's described as Iraq's Sunni vice president. Mr. Hashemi, one of two vice presidents the other, Adel Abdul-Mahdi, is Shi'i says he is trying to reach out to all Iraqis. In September, he met for the first time with Iraq's most influential Shi'i cleric, the reclusive Grand Ayatollah Ali...Elections
Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians marked the third anniversary of Yasser Arafat's death in Gaza Monday with more inter-Palestinian bloodshed, underscoring a division that the late Arafat had relentlessly tried to avert since the 1993 interim peace accords with Israel and the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in the...
For decades Syria has played the role of a bad student at school, its leaders thinking that if you dont cause trouble, no one will pay attention to you. The Syrian regime meddled in Iraq, nurtured Palestinian militants opposed to peace with Israel and dominated its smaller neighbor, Lebanon. Syrias gambits in a tough part of the world...Elections
Today the Christian community of Lebanon retains a political privilege from the past, privilege that comes at a heavy cost. Lebanon is on the verge of collapse if a strong and respected presidential leader does not emerge by November 24. Elections are scheduled for November 12, but they may be postponed again, this time only for a...
BAGHDAD There is neither a cross nor a sign on the heavy metal gate to indicate that this is the official residence of one of the country's most prominent Christians, the first in Iraq in modern times to be elevated to cardinal by the Roman Catholic Church.
The simple structure, in a dilapidated neighborhood of this capital, opposite...Elections
CAIRO (IPS) Anti-torture activists in Egypt scored a rare win this week when an Egyptian judge handed down three-year prison sentences in a high-profile case to two police officers filmed last year abusing and sodomizing a man in custody with a broomstick.
Torture is not uncommon in this country whose regime is known for its...
SHANNON, Ireland (AFP) U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Friday warned against diplomatic moves to solve Lebanon's serious political crisis by compromising with the country's pro-Syrian opposition. "I think there is a lot of talk right now about compromise," she told journalists on a plane taking her to Ankara for talks with...Elections
CAIRO (IPS) Throughout October, Israeli officials reiterated longstanding claims that Egyptian authorities were failing to prevent weapons from being smuggled into the Gaza Strip, which has been governed by Palestinian resistance faction Hamas since June. According to many local commentators, however, the Israeli accusations are...
Lebanon has accused Israel of nearly 300 encroachments into Lebanese air space since the end of the Second Lebanon War, in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, Army Radio reported on Thursday.
In a letter to the United Nations, Beirut alleges that the Israel Air Force has performed 290 sorties into Lebanese...Elections
JERUSALEM Israel unveiled a new tactic this week aimed at deterring Palestinians from firing rockets out of the Gaza Strip. It will cut off Gaza's electricity bit by bit as a pressure tactic every time rockets hit Israeli territory.
Israel provides more than half of Gaza's electricity, and any power cutoff is sure to make life more...
Since May, Yemen has witnessed widespread civil unrest in the southern governorates, including Aden and Marib. Three protesters were killed during demonstrations in Mukallah, and two more were killed in Dhalie. On October 13, five people were shot dead at a sit-in in Radfan, Lahj when security forces opened fire on the crowd. Witnesses...Elections
A senior Pentagon official said last week that the U.S. military would like to see a strategic partnership with Lebanon's army to strengthen the country's forces so that Hizbullah would have no excuse to bear arms.
The comments by Eric Edelman, undersecretary of defense for policy, in an interview aired on Lebanese television two days...
President Bashar al-Assad met with North Korean officials this week as Damascus hardens against the West after a September Israeli airstrike.
Damascus The peace overtures were nuanced and often veiled.
But in the months before Israeli jets struck a Syrian military facility in the northeast of the country, Syria had expressed some...Elections
Ramallah More than 11,000 Palestinian prisoners are in Israeli jails. One Israeli soldier, captured 16 months ago, is being held by Palestinians in Gaza.
Behind the new push for Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation are reports of talks about a possible controversial trade-off that could see the release of two of those prisoners. Such...
It is presidential election countdown time in Lebanon but the parliament that votes is a divided house. Will the legislature finally vote or will it demolish the house instead?
What is wrong in Lebanon? There is political paralysis. A handicapped cabinet duels robotically with a dizzy opposition. Sectarian governance power sharing is...Elections
Bekaa Valley Ali plucks a sprig of the cannabis sativa plant and sniffs its distinctive leaves with appreciation. This Lebanese farmer's field of marijuana, a splash of bright green on the sun-baked plains of eastern Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, will yield around 15 kilograms (33 pounds) of cannabis resin, or hashish, which he will sell for...
BEIRUT A British man was killed on Thursday while clearing cluster bombs dropped on southern Lebanon by Israel during its war with Hizbullah guerrillas last year, a United Nations spokeswoman said.
He was the 13th person to be killed during work to clear unexploded ordnance from the war in July and August, 2006, said Dalya Farran of...Elections
This week marks the fifth anniversary of Congress's vote to authorize the Bush Administration to overthrow the government of Iraq by military force. The Nation opposed the war authorization. In "An Open Letter to Congress," which we published on the magazine's cover on the eve of the vote, we argued that it would have "a significance...
Analysts say a growing number of young fundamentalists are increasingly restless in a country that bans all religious parties.
Zarzis, Tunisia While a potent Islamic movement once challenged this country's ruling elite, today political Islam has all but vanished here. This kind of dissent has been quashed to near extinction. But even...Elections
Since Israel's July 2006 war on Lebanon, and up to the current deadlock over electing Lebanon's next president, the Bush administration has gone out of its way to express its commitment to Lebanese "democracy" and to building a strong and sovereign country that can "stand up" to allies of Syria and Iran which exist within Lebanon's...
October 12th, 20070The White House is re-embracing Sunni authoritarian regimes to counter the rise of Shi'i Iran.
WASHINGTON Americans are hearing much less from the Bush administration about democracy for the Middle East than they did a year ago. As Shi'i Iran rises, the White House has muted its calls for reform in the region as it redirects policy...
BEIRUT (IRIN) Lebanon's tussling factions are headed for a stalemate, settlement, or war, and international actors as much as local ones will decide which, analysts say.
The presidential vote which was to be held on September 25 was deferred until October 23 after lawmakers failed to find a consensus candidate. Opposition members of...Elections
EAST LANSING Michigan State University is moving forward to forge a strong Middle East presence by signing an agreement that will put into action the next steps toward opening not-for-profit MSU programs in Dubai International Academic City (DIAC).
Classes there will begin as early as fall 2008.
The agreement moves MSU closer to...Elections
When I began seeing e-mails with the name "Dr. Haidar Abdel Shafi" in the subject line, I figured he must be speaking somewhere. In August 2002, I saw him speak at the Palestine Center in Washington, DC. I remember thinking how sharp his analysis was. It was so sharp, I forgot how old he was (he was born in 1919).
Dr. Haidar Abdel...
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