Foreign Policy Blogs

Islamic Awakening

Trouble in Geneva highlights the need for more robust U.S. involvement in Syria

Trouble in Geneva highlights the need for more robust U.S. involvement in Syria

After less than half an hour of joint session talks on Saturday, February 15, the second round of the Geneva II conference on Syria has abruptly ended. In a press conference shortly after, joint United Nations-Arab League negotiator, Lakhdar Brahimi apologized to the Syrian people for the almost complete failure of the negotiations, “I am […]

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Tunisia seeks symbolic closure to climate of insecurity

Tunisia seeks symbolic closure to climate of insecurity

  In a week freighted with heavy symbolism, Tunisians tried to heal the scars of the tumultuous year marred by two assassinations, a suicide bombing in a resort town and routine incidents of violence, threats and political infighting. Earlier this week, three people were arrested in Kairouan for alleged links to militants deemed responsible for […]

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What is to be done about Syria?

What is to be done about Syria?

By Aryeh Neier There are no good alternatives. There seems no prospect that anything significant will come of the peace talks in Geneva. The government of President Bashar al-Assad considers that it is winning and, therefore, it is unwilling to agree to leave power or even to make meaningful concessions. Moreover, many of Assad’s supporters have […]

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From Beirut to Jerusalem Turns 25

From Beirut to Jerusalem Turns 25

  The New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman’s landmark book From Beirut to Jerusalem turns 25 this year. It remains a compelling overview of Middle East history for those who are not specialists in the region. Reading it today, Friedman’s description of a region where identities are primarily tribal is informed more deeply by two […]

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The Legacy of The Ottoman Empire: Conflict, Colonies and Peter O’Toole

The Legacy of The Ottoman Empire: Conflict, Colonies and Peter O’Toole

The recent death of actor Peter O’Toole has renewed some interest in the real life character portrayed in his greatest role, that of T.E Lawrence in the film Lawrence of Arabia. O’Toole not only looked like a virtual double of T.E. Lawrence, but the film about how the Middle East had developed into its modern […]

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Tunisia Takes Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Tunisia Takes Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

This past week, radical Islam reared its ugly head again, this time in a seaside suburb of Tunis.  On Monday afternoon, the National Guard was called in to investigate a reported terrorist hideout in the Raoued suburb of Tunis.  The 24-hour standoff that ensued resulted in the death of seven militants and one police officer, […]

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Method to the Madness: The Lessons of Iraq and the Rejection of the ISIS

Method to the Madness: The Lessons of Iraq and the Rejection of the ISIS

This past Sunday al-Qaeda Central (AQC) released a statement disowning its Iraqi-Syrian affiliate, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). The declaration—which spread across jihadi online forums and eventually published by the BCC—proclaimed: “[Al-Qaeda] has no connection with the group called the ISIS, as it was not informed or consulted about its establishment. It […]

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Chemical Weapons destroyed as Libya descends into chaos

Chemical Weapons destroyed as Libya descends into chaos

Libyan foreign minister Mohamed Abdelaziz announced earlier this week that with Western assistance, Libya had completed the destruction of its chemical weapons. The process to dismantle the Libyan chemical stockpile began in 2004 under the Ghaddafi regime as part of his campaign to normalize relations with the West. At that time, Libya had declared approximately […]

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Egypt continues media crackdown, but with a new twist

Egypt continues media crackdown, but with a new twist

In Egypt today there remains only one Arabic language broadcaster that has not succumbed to the pressures of the military government and condemned the newly outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. Though Qatari based, Al Jazeera is one of the most influential news networks in the Middle East and was particularly praised for its coverage of the 2011 […]

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Sobering Thoughts about the Prospects for Peace in Syria

Sobering Thoughts about the Prospects for Peace in Syria

The first round of Syrian peace conference known in diplomatic circles as Geneva II came to an end on Friday with few concrete results. Arguably, there have been some mildly positive effects. It gave the regime and the opposition an opportunity to compete for the sympathy of international public opinion. In the process it may […]

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Morsi Attends Trial in a Glass Cage of Silence

Morsi Attends Trial in a Glass Cage of Silence

Since the chaos of the first trial of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in early November, in which Morsi loudly accused the judge of covering up an illegal military coup as the courtroom erupted into a shoe-throwing melee, Egypt’s military-backed government has taken no chances. The latest session was originally scheduled for January 8th, but was cancelled […]

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Tunisia finalizes constitution

Tunisia finalizes constitution

  After months of arduous bargaining and political hurdles, Tunisia is putting the finishing touches on the long-awaited constitution. The Constituent Assembly on January 20 passed another milestone on the road to adopting the document that will pave the way for the nation’s first election of a permanent government after the revolution. Article 73, which […]

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Turning the Tide: Three Years Later Tunisia Is Still the Forerunner of the Arab Spring

Turning the Tide: Three Years Later Tunisia Is Still the Forerunner of the Arab Spring

On January 9, Ali Larayedh dutifully resigned as the Prime Minister of Tunisia, fulfilling his promise to end the political deadlock in Tunisia following the crises that ensued as a result of the assassination of secular politician, Mohamed Brahmi in July 2013. Although strikes and protests have plagued the country since 2011, the transition to […]

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Sectarian Tension Intensify in Lebanon

Sectarian Tension Intensify in Lebanon

Sectarian tension between Lebanon’s Sunni and Shiite factions has been escalating as conflict in Syria is spilling over its border.  A car bomb exploded on January 2, claiming five, in Beirut’s suburb largely controlled by Hezbollah.  Less than a week prior Mohammad Chatah, former Finance Minister, was killed along with six others by a car […]

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As Military Cracks Down, Students React

As Military Cracks Down, Students React

Last week Egypt’s secular military dictatorship continued its increasingly brutal campaign to suppress dissent. In the span of just a few days it formally accused the deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood associates of participating in a far-fetched terrorist plot and sent security agents to raid the office of the Egyptian Center for […]

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