Tag Archives: Egypt
The continuing public spat between Hezbollah and Arab states is a mixture of old and new styles of power play. The "old" part implicitly involves Iran--the chief supporter of Hezbollah--while the new aspect of this power play is between the antiquated monarchies and the nexus between Iran and Hezbollah. Iran is the "rising power" of the Middle East, while the Sunni Arab states belong to the category of "declining" powers. Hezbollah's status will be determined most significantly after the impending elections in Lebanon. As an example of how the U.S. foreign policy toward the Middle East is more of an expression of continuity than change (despite President Barack H. Obama's rhetoric of "change') Vice President Biden was dispatched to Lebanon to influence the outcome of the Lebanese elections, an action that is likely to backfire and, in the process, only enhance the political clout of Hezbollah. (more…)
A London Times dispatch reads: "Tony Blair makes his first trip to the Gaza Strip." In the growing global economic meltdown, the world has forgotten the suffering of the Palestinians who became victims of Israel's "war" against Hamas. How can there be a war between the most well equipped military of the Middle East and a state which does not even have an armed force of any credibility. But this is the era of asymmetric war, and Hamas did launch rockets or missiles on Israel. Those terror weapons did not cause much damage, but they provided a "justification" for Israel to let loose its military wrath on the civilian Palestinians. (more…)
MAY BE DECLINING, BUT STILL THE UBERPOWER Regardless of whether you are among those who are baffled about the economic problems that continue to ail the U.S. with no end in sight, or among those who are cheering the noisy fall of the mightiest among nations, here is one of the most cogent explanations that Nathan Gardels provides in the Fall 2008 issue of the New Perspectives Quarterly about the grim situation that the lone uberpower faces. He writes: In the space of a few short months, we have morphed from the citadel of free-market capitalism and freewheeling consumerism -- from a land of high-flying hedge funds, Hummers and homes that doubled as ATMs -- to a system in which the banks, insurance companies, mortgage industry and auto manufacturers are quasi-socialized (more…)
Looking at the tepid global reaction to the massacre of the civilians in Gaza, one wonders whether the conscience of the international community is half asleep or is suffering from something called sympathy fatigue. Hundreds of civilian casualties, incessantly escalating human misery, and with no end in the Israeli military action in sight, even God seems to have abandoned them. At the same time, it should be said unequivocally that Hamas' indiscriminate firing of missiles on Israeli cities is a repulsive act. One U.N. official involved in rescue attempts stated that Gaza has turned into hell. That, alas, seems to be the fate of Muslims in many places. (more…)
The United States never understood one feral rule of the Arab Middle East and Muslim South Asia: there is little hope left that the conventional politics will resolve the Muslim misery or problems of liberty either from domestic tyrants or from the tyranny of occupiers. That leaves only those who despise the U.S. and all it stands for in the Middle East and South Asia to attempt to resolve things their way. They are known as Islamists and terrorists in the West. But they appear to be doing their utmost to destroy the status quo. It seems that the conventional way of doing business or resolving conflict holds little promise in the aforementioned areas. It has been happening in the occupied Palestine, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. The same types of actors appear to challenge whatever political order exists in Lebanon. North Africa may not remain peaceful or stable for too long. Gaza has emerged as the most recent place of acute turbulence, and a place where the militants'
Indonesia has always been a place "way out there in Southeast Asia" for me. My world travels took me all over the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, and Europe, but East Asia remained a place that did not capture my professional interest until 2005, when I visited Singapore. During that trip, I remember the distinct feeling of ambivalence among a lot of Singaporeans on all issues related to Indonesia. That further aroused my curiosity. Since then, Indonesia was the most interesting place for me in East Asia. Strangely enough, however, my first visit to that country didn't happen until October 2008. (more…)