Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, presently the UK Government’s Middle East Envoy, says change is now inevitable in Egypt. Here, Blair raises the question being asked by analysts and observers worldwide: How will that change ultimately take form?
American policy planners for Afghanistan would do well to take note of developments in Egypt, where last week the army deployed in Cairo to fill the vacuum created by the disappearance of the hated police. To my mind, there’s a clear parallel with Afghanistan, where the notoriously corrupt police are likewise hated, while the army enjoys a similar — if not as historically established — reputation as the Egyptian military. But the difficulty in Egypt in finding an acceptable transition scenario to the current unrest suggests the limitations of a society in which the military is the only credible institution […]
Over the weekend, Wikistrat — a Tel Aviv-based technology start-up for which I serve as chief analyst — gathered a group of Israeli and U.S. geostrategists, myself included, to take part in an online scenario-generating drill in response to the ongoing protests in Egypt. Our goal was to work up four feasible pathway trees along which events could develop — two favorable to the Egyptian people, two favorable to the Egyptian regime — and then present them online to interested parties for feedback and voting. The exercise was an attempt to harness the Web 2.0’s wisdom of the crowd for […]
An examination of satellite images of Cairo shows the sheer breadth of the city, and this Al Jazeera report outlines the precise locations of violent protests and street demonstrations that have spread across the Egyptian capital during recent days.
The recent events in Tunisia have reverberated across the Middle East and North Africa, but they have found particular resonance in Egypt, where anger and frustration with President Hosni Mubarak’s government has escalated considerably over the past year. The violence, corruption and media censorship that accompanied last November’s parliamentary elections severely damaged the government’s credibility. Exacerbating this general frustration is the expectation that Mubarak’s son, Gamal, will succeed him and simply continue the status quo. In this week’s demonstrations, which saw Jan. 25 renamed Youm al-Ghadab, or Day of Wrath, protestors have indeed directed some of their anger at the […]
Negotiators from the P5+1 countries and Iran failed to reach a breakthrough in Istanbul last week at thelatest round of talks over Iran’s nuclear program. Nevertheless, it seems that, once again, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wants to keep negotiations alive with his seemingly never-ending bazaar-style haggling. The reason is simple: Ahmadinejad’s administration requires a positive outcome, at least on paper, so that the U.S., its European allies and the United Nations Security Council lift the debilitating economic sanctions targeting the Islamic Republic. So despite last week’s stalemate, the latest of many, Ahmadinejad is dangling the carrot of compromise to lure […]
With regard to Judah’s post on the current developments in the Middle East, it’s worth noting one of the arguments floating around among some in Israel — mostly security-minded hawks on the right — about the lessons from events in Egypt and elsewhere. They argue that the turmoil in the Arab world shows that it’s a mistake for Israel to trust its fate to peace treaties with despotic and ultimately unstable Arab regimes. Instead, they say, Israel should look to strategic strength, such as literal control of the high ground from where it can potentially be attacked. That includes the […]
Predicting whether the outpourings of popular disaffection sweeping the Arab world will continue to spread or result in real revolutionary change is a mug’s game. There’s been a change in tone among regional experts from, “Not a chance,” to, “Not likely, but this feels different.” But this kind of phenomenon is by its nature unpredictable, otherwise tyrants and despots would either head it off at the pass or know exactly when to pack their bags and head for the border. That said, everyone knew that in the long term, these regimes were not sustainable. What is now becoming obvious is […]
“The people want the regime to fall.” That has been the rallying cry as street demonstrations continued yesterday in Cairo, with thousands flooding into the streets in defiance of a government ban to protest President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year-old rule.
The cache of documents known as the “Palestine Papers” have created much turmoil among Palestinians and subjected some of the best-known officials of the Palestinian Authority to a withering wind of criticism. The papers, 1,700 files of correspondence about the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, were reportedly leaked to the Arab-language Al Jazeera television network by unknown individuals. They have appeared in the Guardian and on Al Jazeera’s English-language Web site, where they were portrayed as evidence that Palestinian leaders betrayed their people by making huge concessions to Israel. But what the documents and the reaction to them really show is something […]
Senior Arab officials are refuting the veracity of leaked documents showing that Palestinian negotiators agreed to make a string of once unthinkable concessions with Israel. A cache of thousands of pages of confidential Palestinian records, leaked to al-Jazeera TV and shared with the Guardian, began emerging over the weekend.
Beginning with the Iranian Revolution in 1979, the West has viewed the Middle East and North Africa primarily through the lens of radical fundamentalist political movements. That perspective has narrowed our strategic vision ever since, conflating Shiite with Sunni, evangelicals with fundamentalists, Persians with Arabs, Islamists with autocrats, and so on. But recent events in Tunisia and Algeria remind us that the vast bulk of history’s revolutions are fueled by economics, not politics. In this, the struggle for Islam’s soul is no different than that of any other civilization in this age of globalization’s rapid expansion. All of the world’s […]
Appearing this week before The Iraq Inquiry, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair expressed his belief that former U.S. president George W. Bush was set on regime change in Iraq straight after the 9/11 attacks. The Iraq Inquiry, also referred to as the Chilcot Inquiry after its chairman, Sir John Chilcot, is the ongoing British public inquiry into the United Kingdom’s role in the Iraq war.
The fall of Tunisia’s President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali is the latest reminder of how difficult it can be to encourage “friendly autocrats,” in the Middle East and throughout the world, to undertake reforms. It’s likely that, in light of Ben Ali’s fate, Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh is reassessing the advice that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave him during her visit earlier this month about moving ahead with political liberalization. But policymakers in Washington are apprehensive as well. Ben Ali’s government was often described as a “liberal autocracy,” where the state propagated a version of Islam more compatible […]
On Dec. 3, 2010, with only 28 days left in office, Brazil’s then-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva officially recognized the independent state of Palestine along Israel’s pre-1967 borders. A spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Ministry responded with a pointed reminder that Brazil had “never made any contribution” to the peace process, and called such unilateral declarations counterproductive. But that didn’t keep Argentina from following suit within a matter of days, and Bolivia and Ecuador had joined the ranks by Christmas. Uruguay waited until the New Year to make a formal declaration, while Chile did so on Jan. 12. And on […]
When street protests succeeded in putting an end to the 23-year dictatorship of Tunisia’s President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the world watched in astonishment. Practically no one had anticipated such a rapid turn of events. To be sure, the expectation that despotic Arab regimes will ultimately fall is widespread. But Tunisia, circa 2011, seemed hardly the place or the time for such a dramatic and transformative uprising. If it could happen in Tunisia, the cry went up throughout the Arab world, why not in our countries? Tunisia’s breathtaking Jasmine Revolution brought to mind the collapse of communism in Eastern […]
Iran has successfully test-fired an upgraded surface-to-air missile authorities say is aimed at protecting the counry’s most sensitive areas. The test was carried out near a nuclear facility in the central part of Iran. This video, from Russia’s government-owned English-language television station, features an interview with Victor Mizin, a political analyst at the Moscow State Institute for International Relations.