In late November, Algeria adopted new laws regulating the media and journalism, characterized by the government as allowing for more press freedoms. But considering the government has done so much to eviscerate freedom of expression and tame independent journalism in Algeria, that characterization doesn’t hold weight.
As 2023 ends, ambassadors and international officials at the U.N. do not have much to celebrate. The organization was having a hard year even before Hamas attacked Israel in October. Now the war in Gaza has sparked furious debates in the Security Council and General Assembly, with many asking if the U.N. can recover from the crisis.
With the war in Gaza having intensified following the end of the recent U.S.-supported pause in fighting, it has become clear that this conflict is upending U.S. President Joe Biden’s plans for the Middle East: The war has dealt a body blow to Arab-Israeli normalization, while accelerating Iran’s regional integration.
What do the war efforts of Israel and Ukraine have in common? Each is dependent on assistance from the U.S., and each sees itself engaged in an existential fight. But what is most notable is that both are engaged in war efforts that, despite imposing heavy casualties on their opponents, are in danger of strategic defeat.
Israel’s previous wars in the past few decades have had limited economic fallout, in part due to their brevity. But its current conflict against Hamas in Gaza promises to be a more protracted campaign, one that will affect a more significant swathe of the Israeli population and disrupt supply chains to a much greater degree.
In addition to the human cost of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, the conflict also poses clear challenges to the regional energy ecosystem that has emerged in the Eastern Mediterranean over the past decade. Having already created immediate disruptions, the war could also have a long-term impact on its future development and expansion.
Beijing’s recent diplomatic moves have fueled the growing chorus of voices raising the alarm over China’s alleged desire to use the Israel-Hamas war to fundamentally challenge the U.S. role in the Middle East. However, it would be a mistake to perceive China as anything other than an opportunistic actor in the Middle East.
Qatar’s role as a mediator between Israel and Hamas since Oct. 7 has given its standing a boost. That initially frustrated some of Doha’s Gulf Arab neighbors. But as the war continued, Gulf countries came to see some benefits, leading to coordination among them. As a result, the war has become a milestone in intra-Gulf relations.
The Israeli works of popular culture that are the most critically acclaimed in the West are also often the ones that engage the most directly with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. To outside observers, that has made it seem as though Israeli society was moving in a more conciliatory direction than it actually has in recent years.