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Showing posts from August, 2012

What are you planning to do, Mr President?

Days ago, my friend María Sanchez informed on Scoop Empire about the Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi's visit to Iran ( Morsi's visit to Iran - the world is watching ) and the reactions such a historical event has sparked/could spark. Morsi will visit Iran within the framework of the holding of a Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement. The Movement was formally created in 1961 by prominent leaders of that time, Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser amongst them, with the aim of declaring themselves "neutral" and defend their sovereignty in everything that concerned Cold War-related events. After the end of the conflict, the group has struggled to find a common aim; as membership falls most of the times under the "third world" umbrella, development issues are normally discussed, as well as significant world events. It remains a key forum of dialogue in the international arena. The Movement's last Summit was held in Sharm El-Sheikh (Mubarak's darling reso

What I felt I needed to know about the Free Syrian Army

So everyone speaking about the Syrian conflict knows the country is heading towards a full blown-out civil war (some consider it is already the case) waged by the Syrian regular Army (mainly controlled by Assad's Alawites closest allies) and its thuggish militia, the shabiba, against the rebels, most of them organized under the banner of the Free Syrian Army (FSA). According to our beloved Wikipedia, "the Free Syrian Army is the main armed opposition group operating in Syria" [...] "composed of defected Syrian Armed Forces personnel and volunteers" [...] "its formation was announced on 29 July 2011 in a video released on the Internet by a uniformed group of deserters from the Syrian military who called upon members of the Syrian army to defect and join them". First of all, the FSA is composed of civilians who took up arms. The peaceful demonstrations, following the example of their Arab brothers in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen and Bahrain, st

What about Lebanon?

I would never dare to think I have enough knowledge so as to freely talk about this issue and produce a meaningful article, but I will try to write down what I have understood so far (I already had to edit as I misunderstood some facts, thanks Louis!). Lebanon and Syria have always been deeply interconnected. Both countries were part of the Ottoman Empire, both countries were under the dominance of France's colonization, both countries share an extremely complicated ethnic/religious division, and both countries political scenes still depend on the other's. More recently, Syria was a key player in the brokering of the 1989 Taif Accords putting an end to Lebanon's civil war, and its troops (and many authorities) stayed in the country (allegedly guaranteeing the non resumption of violence) until 2005, when the country's population unanimously demanded their retreat. It all started in Tripoli, Lebanon's second largest city, next to the country's northern borde

Violence in Jerusalem... what's new?

Dozens of Jewish children/teenagers (even though only a handful of them have been arrested) were involved in what looked like a "public lynching" of various Palestinian youths, right in the middle of Jerusalem, in Zion Square, an emblematic site meters away from the Old City of one of the holiest places in the world. One of the Palestinian boys nearly died, had not been for the emergency services. It looked that outcome had already crossed one of the attacker´s mind: according to The New York Times, one 15 year-old suspect was heard saying "For my part he can die, he´s an Arab". Moreover, scores of by-standers (most of them probably Jewish Israelis sympathizing with the criminals) witnessed the episode without intervening. On the same day, Jewish assailants tried to set fire to a Palestinian taxi (in which  a Palestinian family  was traveling) throwing what looked like Molotov cocktails. On top of that, a group of Palestinian journalists were allegedly attacked w

So Zenawi has died... now what?

Ethiopian (former) Prime Minister, President and country hero, Meles Zenawi, has died at the age of 57, according to Ethiopian official sources, although nobody exactly is aware of the circumstances of the passing away (not surprising in such a secretive country). The interim leader will likely now be the country´s Deputy Prime Minister (and Minister of Foreign Affairs) , Hailemariam Desalegn, according to a moot Constitution. Zenawi was well known for his peculiarities (shrewdness, extreme austerity, seriousness and industriousness) and 20 years-long clinging to power. A former guerrilla member (he came to power as the leader of a rebel group which finally rooted out dictator Mariam in 1991). But, above all, he was a pragmatist: he somewhat "sidelined" his Marxist convictions in favour of a more convenient approach with the aim of luring Western governments avid of giving away money to third world countries after the Cold War. Ethiopia however remains, despite the spec

Why Brahimi is a much better fit for Syria

Visiting Scholar for the Carnegie Middle East Center´s Sami Moubayed has got it all right. His magnificent article Brahimi won´t risk his reputation in vain  highlights the poignant truth about of one of the most serious mistakes the international community (and particularly both the UN and the League of Arab States) has made since the breaking out of the conflict: choosing the wrong mediator. And taking into account the many many (many) things at stake, it really shocks me why nearly nobody stressed that fact earlier. Appointing an special envoy to show unity/consensus and be able to speak to Assad? Great idea. Not bearing in mind what was exactly needed? Failure. Even though he will have to face several setbacks, let´s only hope Brahimi´s appointment somehow clears the path of the Syrian mess... His advantages, as presented by Moubayed: He is "the man who helped end Lebanon’s civil war, who managed Iraq’s troubled post-Saddam elections, and propped up Hamid Karzai as