Israel Takes Aim at the Laws of war

  Unnamed Israeli officials have recently indicated that a future war with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon is inevitable, and that large numbers of civilians will likely die in such a conflict. Israeli officials argued in a recent New York Times piece that Hezbollah, like Hamas, commits double war crimes by targeting Israeli civilians and militarizing Read more about Israel Takes Aim at the Laws of war[…]

Meet the New Israeli Government

After more than a month of negotiations, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu managed to cobble together a coalition government in the final hour, with commentators describing the process as embarrassing and circus-like. The stability of Netanyahu’s new Likud-led government is questionable – it has the slimmest coalition majority possible with only 61 of 120 seats, Read more about Meet the New Israeli Government[…]

The Missing Peace: Full Recognition of Palestinian Humanity

For the third time in less than six years, Israeli airstrikes are pounding Gaza. That means six-year-old Palestinian children have lived through 3 major Israeli military assaults in their short lives. Every few years now, the same nightmare replays, along with the familiar news chorus of Israeli propaganda: Hamas is to blame for all of Read more about The Missing Peace: Full Recognition of Palestinian Humanity[…]

The Bulldozer is Dead, Long Live the Lion: Eulogies of Sharon

Arik Sharon is dead. Reviled and celebrated as a nation-builder and war-criminal, he was born Ariel Scheinerman to Georgian emigres in February 27, 1928 in the then hotly contested Sharon plain, now one of Israel’s most densely populated areas. He claimed to have defended his village with a knife as a 13-year-old and joined the Read more about The Bulldozer is Dead, Long Live the Lion: Eulogies of Sharon[…]

Syria in the Lebanese Context

When the fighting began in Syria, Bashar al-Assad’s life span was measured in weeks rather than years. The war then appeared localized.  Since, the scope of the conflict has grown and prospects for a mediated solution appear naive. But as the war continues to ravage Syria, it is destabilizing Lebanon and making Hezbollah’s position more Read more about Syria in the Lebanese Context[…]

Egyptian-Hamas Relations: An Icy Cold Front Settles In

Is Another “Coup” in the Forecast? Since the ouster of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in July, relations between the interim Egyptian government and Hamas, the ruling Palestinian faction in Gaza, have cooled considerably. The temperature dropped further this week when for the first time, the Egyptian naval police fired on Palestinian fishermen, a practice that Read more about Egyptian-Hamas Relations: An Icy Cold Front Settles In[…]

Did You Hear? Israelis and Palestinians are Talking Again!

The two-state “solution;” or, how to beat the same dead horse  Somehow US Secretary of State John Kerry managed to wrangle Israelis and the Palestinian Authority back to the negotiating table. After a lengthy stalemate, a renewed “peace process” kicked off in grand fashion with a Ramadan Iftar dinner at the State Department earlier this Read more about Did You Hear? Israelis and Palestinians are Talking Again![…]

That Haven-Hopping Al-Qaeda Finds a Viable Landing Pad in the Sinai

What the vacuous security situation means for Egypt, her neighbors, and the U.S. As U.S. drone strikes and targeted killings in states like Pakistan and Yemen continue to make life for terrorists there less and less sustainable, the ethereal group of Islamic Salafists who self-identify as al-Qaeda seem to be adapting to this new brand Read more about That Haven-Hopping Al-Qaeda Finds a Viable Landing Pad in the Sinai[…]

A Tale of Two Consulates

Even Coppola couldn’t whip this one up… It’s been the weirdest of times, for sure. L’affaire Petraeus has shed some light on the military-intelligence complex that generally avoids the myopic scrutiny of the public. It’s not the lack of transparency nor the vicious post-election politicizing, but rather the feckless improvisation behind the skirts of the Read more about A Tale of Two Consulates[…]

And to the Victor Goes the Ruins

The next phase of the Syrian Civil War As the Syrian conflict has dragged on, growing in intensity with no sign of resolution or international intervention, the regime may seem incredibly resilient: they have been able to push the rebels out of Damascus, to protect the majority-Alawite territories, to hold Aleppo, and to keep pressure Read more about And to the Victor Goes the Ruins[…]

With this cast of characters, who needs cartoons?

The 2012 UNGA meeting proved to be entertaining, but was it productive? The annual United Nations General Assembly meetings are a time for countries to come together, speak to each other in a neutral location, and attempt to work out their problems.  Unfortunately, they have become an opportunity for states to battle for status via Read more about With this cast of characters, who needs cartoons?[…]

Where things stop, nobody knows

Merry-Go-Round in the Sinai The 5 August evening attack on a Sinai police station is not only impacting domestic policies (and policy-makers) but also regional relationships. Since the attacks that killed 16 Egyptian policemen took place, a flurry of activity in Egypt, Israel, and Gaza is slowly reshaping the relationships of key regional actors. First Read more about Where things stop, nobody knows[…]

Mursi’s got the kursi!

The saga continues in Egypt In a tug of war that is the continuing saga of the Egyptian political process, the new president-elect has vowed that the people rule, while the military government has decided to “rework” the way in which the constitution is written.  In the recent presidential election, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Read more about Mursi’s got the kursi![…]

Jordan’s Big Tent

Hejazis, Palestinians, Iraqis, Chechens…and now Syrians Sometime in the morning of June 21, Syrian pilot Colonel Hassam Merei al-Hamade walked across the tarmac of the al-Dumair military airport and climbed into the cockpit of a Russian-made MiG-21 fighter jet, determined to desert. The colonel took off rapidly to avoid radar detectors and flew 110 miles Read more about Jordan’s Big Tent[…]

A New “Coalition-of-the-Willing”?

Israel: Political Intrigue Around Every Corner On 7 May the Israeli Knesset approved a bill to dissolve the government and hold elections – a year-and-a-half early – on 4 September. Yet during the early morning hours of May 8, amid armored-car convoys back and forth between the Knesset and the Prime Minister’s residence, Prime Minister Read more about A New “Coalition-of-the-Willing”?[…]

Bidding Sarko Adieu?

The Future of French Middle East Policy As the final round of voting for the French presidential election approaches, it looks like Sarko might need to start looking for a new job. Socialist candidate François Hollande has been consistently leading the polls and remains ahead after Wednesday’s big debate. Foreign policy somehow did not make Read more about Bidding Sarko Adieu?[…]

Between the Israeli Occupation and a Hard Place

Hunger striker highlights Israeli detention practices, but will anything change? Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan demonstrated to the world this week the power of nonviolent resistance. The 33-year-old father of two was arrested in his West Bank village by Israeli forces on December 17, and has since been held by Israel under administrative detention, without charge Read more about Between the Israeli Occupation and a Hard Place[…]

Politcs make for Strange-Bedfellows

Mashaal, Haniyeh, and Abbas: The awkward shift between old friends and new Khalid Mashaal, the Hamas politboro chief, announced this week that he will not seek re-election as the head of the organization. The announcement comes as tensions in Damascus increase, discussions between Hamas and Fatah appear to have reached a standstill, and the negotiations Read more about Politcs make for Strange-Bedfellows[…]

Stuff heading for the fan

Israel/Palestine: Stirring the cauldron Until about two weeks ago the blooming Arab Spring had left Israel and Palestine looking strangely quiet. However, the Obama administration’s failure to bring Netanyahu’s government and Abbas’ Palestinian Authority together meant that there were widespread expectations that negotiations would give way to confrontation–a third intifada. That confrontation has now taken Read more about Stuff heading for the fan[…]