It doesn’t take a crystal ball to see that the Middle East’s 2020 will be tumultuous. Libya’s civil war has taken a dangerous turn, with Russian mercenaries and Turkish forces joining the fray as Gen. Khalifa Hifter’s forces push into the capital. Yemen’s still ravaged by economic blockade and war, despite recent efforts on all sides to de-escalate the conflict. Syria’s civil war continues to metastasize, with a massive new wave of refugees fleeing violence in Idlib. Large-scale popular protests are challenging Iraq’s government, which is bracing for fallout from the growing confrontation between the United States and Iran. Israel and the Palestinian territories could dramatically change their relationship, as the prospects of a two-state solution dissolve.… Seguir leyendo »
Nota: Este archivo abarca los artículos publicados por el autor desde el 1 de Octubre de 2008. Para fechas anteriores realice una búsqueda entrecomillando su nombre.
The decision by the aged President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to seek a fifth term in Algeria last week triggered some of the largest protests in the country’s recent history. The massive, peaceful rallies exceeded the expectations of most observers of Algeria and of the broader Middle East. The protests focused on rejecting a fifth term for Bouteflika but could easily evolve into wider demands.
Algeria’s unrest erupted in the shadow of long-lasting, highly consequential protests in Sudan against long-ruling President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. While initially understood as protests against food prices, Sudan’s protests quickly focused on political repression and Bashir’s decades of governance failure.… Seguir leyendo »
On Friday, March 30, Israeli troops killed more than 20 protesters and wounded more than 700 after the March of Return protest approached a fence dividing the Gaza Strip and Israel. Clashes recurred during protests the following Friday. The confrontation between activists in Gaza and the Israeli military captured global attention and put a spotlight on the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
However, the crisis did not dominate the Arab media to the extent one might have expected. The events erupted in the middle of a crowded regional political agenda. In previous Arab-Israeli crises, popular Arab media outlets would have typically broadcast wall-to-wall coverage accompanied by furious talk shows and mobilizational programming, drowning out all other issues.… Seguir leyendo »
The protests that have broken out across Iran in recent days have generated remarkable excitement about the possibility of revolutionary change. The demonstrations, the largest since the crushing of the 2009 Green Movement, have surprised virtually all observers. They erupted in peripheral areas rather than in Tehran, and have been dominated by working- and lower-class Iranians rather than by the urban, educated middle class that drove the 2009 demonstrations. The slogans in these protests have notably featured revolutionary rather than reformist slogans.
Seasoned observers of Iran have been stunned by the ferocity, speed and scope of these protests. It is important to recognize that much remains uncertain about them, including their real size, endurance, leadership and political aspirations.… Seguir leyendo »
While Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is currently in the Gulf attempting to broker an end to the crisis between Qatar and four Arab countries, the conflict shows no signs of a resolution. The crisis broke on June 5, shortly following President Trump’s visit to the region. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain declared a blockade of Qatar with no evident immediate cause. The anti-Qatar quartet released an extreme list of 13 demands which seemed intended to be rejected.
After Qatar brushed aside the Quartet’s July 3 deadline, the list of 13 demands was whittled down to six.… Seguir leyendo »
Late Thursday, President Trump announced a cruise missile strike against a Syrian air base in retaliation for the regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons against its people. Initial reports suggest that the strike involved 59 cruise missiles that destroyed Syrian aircraft and killed a dozen people. The missile strike has been widely praised by U.S. allies and condemned by Russia and Iran.
What does this sudden reversal in the Trump administration’s policy mean for the U.S. role in Syria? Others will weigh in soon on critical questions about legality, in the absence of either a U.N. Security Council resolution or congressional authorization, and the political fallout of his dramatic policy reversal.… Seguir leyendo »
The nongovernmental organization Save the Children recently released a report documenting almost unbelievable trauma among Syrian children. Hundreds of thousands of these children have known nothing but war, death, dispossession and loss. Syrian enrollment in primary education has dropped from 98 percent before the war to 61.5 percent this year. An entire generation risks being lost, not only in Syria but across the fractured states of the Middle East.
Episodes of forced migration are not new to the Middle East. The 1948 war that created the state of Israel generated one of the longest-lasting and most politically fateful refugee waves, while the 1967 war drove a second wave of Palestinian refugees.… Seguir leyendo »
The stunning assassinations of several key Syrian leaders and the outbreak of serious combat in Damascus last week momentarily held out the possibility that President Bashar al-Assad’s regime will rapidly fall. Many hoped for a cascade of defections, a rise in popular demonstrations and a rebel surge to bring down the government.
Those hopes were exaggerated, fueled by a feverish rumor mill, psychological warfare and notoriously unreliable information coming out of Syria. While the regime has been shaken, its military capability stands as demonstrated by its bloody reassertion of control over Damascus. Along with the support of Russia, its determination to survive at any price could draw out the endgame.… Seguir leyendo »
Egyptians lined up this week to vote in the first Parliamentary elections since the fall of President Hosni Mubarak. The high turnout in a peaceful, orderly election contrasted sharply with the violence and chaos of the previous week, when hundreds of thousands returned to Tahrir Square after security forces killed at least 42 people and left 3,000 injured. But Washington should not be fooled by the peace that has returned to Egyptian streets. Even successful elections can not erase months of political mismanagement by the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (S.C.A.F.) or the bloodshed committed under its auspices.
The U.S.… Seguir leyendo »
President Obama said that troop withdrawals from Afghanistan will begin in 18 months. Some of his advisers have hinted that the deadline is flexible. So, should we stick to the timeline or not? Here are three opinions from experts on the subject.
1.- Advantage: Taliban.
By Ahmed Rashid, President Obama’s decision muddied the waters as far as American credibility in Afghanistan and Pakistan is concerned, and created misapprehensions in Europe.
2.- Just Stick To It.
By Marc Lynch, there are many reasons to be skeptical of the plan’s prospects, from the corruption in Kabul to the difficulties of state-building. But a clearly communicated timeline increases the odds of success.
By Nathaniel Fick, the strategic benefits of setting a timeline may outweigh its tactical costs, if it persuades President Hamid Karzai and Pakistan to make progress stabilizing Afghanistan.
President Obama’s critics argue that his plan to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan starting in July 2011 signals a fatal lack of resolve, inviting the Taliban to wait out a feckless America, or else has no credibility. In fact, the deadline is crucial to the strategy. Yes, there are many reasons to be skeptical of the prospects for the new plan, from the hopeless corruption in Kabul to the difficulties of state-building. But a clearly communicated timeline increases the odds of success.
The July 2011 date should be understood as an inflection point, not as the end of the American military mission.… Seguir leyendo »