I would like to share a list of background reading on the modern Middle East. This list is by no means exhaustive, but provides a basic understanding of a very complex and fascinating region. Continue reading “Middle East Background Reading”
I was recently interviewed on Greek TV to discuss the Syrian conflict and Russia’s role in vetoing U.N. resolutions which would sanction the Assad regime. Russia has clearly sided with Damascus in its crackdown against anti-regime protestors which has gone on for 18 months and has caused at least 20,000 deaths and tens of thousands of refugees. This has been extremely frustrating for Western powers, Turkey and some Gulf states which want the Syrian dictator to step down. Continue reading “September 11-18, 2012 Links”
While the Obama Administration is busy figuring out the best course of action in response to Egyptian President Morsi’s ambivalence towards Tuesday’s Embassy attack, Eric Trager and David Schenker offer policy recommendations in the New York Daily News. Continue reading “Weekend Thinking: Copts & Egyptian-American Ties”
On Tuesday, while Americans were commemorating the eleventh anniversary of September 11, a mob in Libya stormed the U.S. Consulate and killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others. Libyan President Mohammed el-Megarif apologized for the “cowardly” attacks and pledged to work with Washington to apprehend the killers. President Obama acknowledged that this isolated attack would not undermine bilateral relations and that Libya and the U.S. would cooperate. Continue reading “The Limitations of U.S. Influence in Egypt”
Over the weekend, Chicago public schools failed to meet the Chicago Teachers Union demands of better pay and job security. Teachers work just as hard as anyone else and deserve respect and fair treatment. However, demanding job security – a wish every other working American desires – is delusional. When these demands were not met, public school teachers went on strike yesterday and have prevented about 350,000 students from entering school. Continue reading “Radical Reform Needed for Chicago Public Schools”
I wanted to focus specifically on the recent events in Israel and the West Bank. For economic reasons, most Palestinian protestors are demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad although some have called for President Mahmoud Abbas to step down. Some analysts surmise that the “Arab Spring” has now reached the West Bank. The immediate anger is directed against Palestinian leaders. However it remains to be seen if they can satisfy protestor demands through economic incentives like the Gulf regimes or if they will divert attention toward Israel and incite a third intifada.
“Palestinians Seek to Amend Economic Accord with Israel” Reuters
“We Are Not Scared: Mahmoud Abbas Tries To Quell A Palestinian Arab Spring” IBT
“Fayyad: Protests Prove PA Committed To Freedom of Expression” Ma’an News
“Mofaz: Bi-National State More Threatening Than Iran” The Jerusalem Post
“Palestinian Price Protest Turns Violent in West Bank” Reuters
“Palestinians Blame Israel for Dire Economic Situation in West Bank” Israel Hayom
“Ramallah Protestors Call on Abbas to Resign” Ma’an News
The third and final day of the Democratic National Convention concluded yesterday evening with a speech by incumbent President Barack Obama. The economy and job creation were the themes of Obama’s speech along with Vice President Joe Biden and former President Bill Clinton. More than 20 million Americans are unemployed and more than 40 million rely on Food Stamps. It comes as no surprise that this is the leading issue for voters. Foreign policy, the war in Afghanistan and the global threat of Al-Qaeda was barely mentioned. Continue reading “Weekend Thinking: The DNC and West Bank”
Yesterday, the Arab League foreign minister conference in Cairo discussed Palestinian affairs, the Syrian Civil War and Iran.
Al-Quds reports Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas acknowledging that a “Palestinian Spring” is underway. Recently, Palestinians in the West Bank have protested against the Palestinian Authority’s inability to make food and living costs more affordable. Prime Minister Salam Fayyad also weighed in on this issue, asserting that the PA has improved the standard of living in spite of overall Israeli control of the West Bank. Continue reading “Arab League Foreign Minister Conference”