Post revolutionary Egypt: An Arab Winter?

Post revolutionary Egypt: An Arab Winter?

August 3, 2011 | Sharyn Mittelman

Recent events and polling in Egypt indicate that pro-democracy activists are weakening, and that Egypt may be heading down an Islamist path.

New polls not only suggest that the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood is likely to win the November election, but also that Amr Moussa, known for his criticism of Israel will be elected President. The polls also reveal that a majority of respondents want to amend or revoke the peace agreement with Israel.

Another worrying trend is the rise of the Islamic Sulafi movement – which calls for Egypt to become an Islamic state under Sharia law. Their force in Egyptian politics was recently on display on Friday July 29, when over 100,000 protestors demonstrated in Tahrir Square calling for an Islamic state.

 

The Unholy Alliance of Iran and al-Qaeda

The Unholy Alliance of Iran and al-Qaeda

August 3, 2011 | Allon Lee

The Obama Administration has released explosive details of how Iran has become a safe haven for al-Qaeda.

It comes as the Administration is reportedly interested in refocusing world attention on, in the words of US Treasury Department’s Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen, Iran’s “unmatched support for terrorism” as well as its ongoing nuclear weapons program.

 

Interpreting the Mass Military Resignations in Turkey

Interpreting the Mass Military Resignations in Turkey

August 3, 2011 | Tzvi Fleischer

As readers are probably aware, all of the top leadership of the Turkish military resigned over the weekend – including the Chief of Staff, and the heads of the Army, Navy and Air Force.

What is the signficance of this – in a country where the armed forces have long played a strongly activist role in national politics?

 

Do Syrians need our Assistance to Halt Ongoing Massacres?

Do Syrians need our Assistance to Halt Ongoing Massacres?

August 2, 2011 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

The Assad regime in Syria has been continuing its vicious assault on the city of Hama, which began on the weekend. As The Jerusalem Post reports:

AMMAN – Syrian tanks pounded residential neighborhoods across the city of Hama on Monday in the heaviest barrage of a two-day assault to crush street demonstrations against President Bashar Assad, witnesses said.

Earlier on Monday, residents said at least four civilians were killed by tank fire on the second day of attacks on the city, where memories are still vivid of the brutal suppression of an uprising in 1982….

The Iranian Regime’s Summer of Discontent

The Iranian Regime’s Summer of Discontent

August 2, 2011 | Allon Lee

Not far away from the headline-grabbing Arab Spring, a power struggle is playing out under the Iranian summer sun as fissures in the one-time partnership between Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shatter into an unbridgeable abyss.

Veteran Iranian analyst Dr. Abbas Milani of Stanford University has written a follow-up to his June piece when it seemed Ahmadinejad would be impeached for sedition.

 

A Senior Military Defection in Syria?

A Senior Military Defection in Syria?

August 2, 2011 | Tzvi Fleischer

Following up on Daniel’s post on the escalating violence in Syria earlier today, one potentially highly important development in the Syrian saga has gotten little media coverage or comment, but should.

It is being reported that a top Syrian military officer, Colonel Riyad al-Asad, has defected from the regime, and is setting up a “Free Syrian Army”

 

Hamas official says UN bid is a ‘political scam’

August 1, 2011 | Sharyn Mittelman

The Palestinian UN bid to seek recognition of a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines has been criticised by many commentators, including Hamas officials.

Haaretz reported that Mahmoud al-Zahar, a prominent Hamas member in Gaza called the Palestinian UN bid “just nonsense” and a “political scam”.

 

Al-Qaeda on the Ropes?

Al-Qaeda on the Ropes?

August 1, 2011 | Tzvi Fleischer

The Washington Post reported last week that US counter-terrorism officials

…are increasingly convinced that the killing of Osama bin Laden and the toll of seven years of CIA drone strikes have pushed al­Qaeda to the brink of collapse. The assessment reflects a widespread view at the CIA and other agencies that a relatively small number of additional blows could effectively extinguish the Pakistan-based organization that carried out the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks…

While this is certainly very good news if true, it’s also important that such a claim not be misunderstood or over-dramatised…

 

The Pitfalls of the Palestinian UN Strategy/ The increased Gaza Threat

August 1, 2011

This Update features some more comment on the pitfalls of the problematic Palestinian strategy of seeking unilateral recognition of statehood at the UN.

First up is the Washington Post’s Jackson Diehl, who argues that this policy is additional blunder by Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas. He points out that reconciliation with Hamas, part of the strategy to present a unified Palestinian front, has gone nowhere, Palestinians are increasingly questioning what a UN vote can accomplish, and economically, the PA is in deep trouble. He even raises the possibility that Abbas may be seeking to provoke Palestinians to take to the streets in a third Intifada.

Weakened Hezbollah Shifts Blame Towards Israel

Weakened Hezbollah Shifts Blame Towards Israel

August 1, 2011 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

Last week marked the fifth anniversary of the Second Lebanon war, fought between Israel and Lebanese terror group Hezbollah. Since the conflict concluded, Hezbollah has been systematically consolidating power in Lebanon and amassing arms for the next round of violence. However, there has not been a shot fired from Southern Lebanon into Israel for which Hezbollah has taken credit. This is in stark contrast to the situation before the incursion, when Hezbollah would periodically fire rockets and mortars into Israeli territory in order to raise tensions.

To mark the anniversary, Israeli academics Abraham Bell and Gerald Steinberg have written a piece in Ynet about a study that they are conducting on different NGO responses to the 2006 conflict, which has some rather disconcerting findings…

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