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Showing posts from February, 2013

Syrian conflict: a sensible offer

It seems Syria, entering the third year of what many consider an all-out war that has taken the lives of more than 70,000 people, may have found a way to get out of the stalemate the country has been plunged into for months. That is, of course, if the main stakeholders in the conflict deign to relent and to do what's actually best for the state and its desperate population, the one who have been bearing the hugest brunt, as well as for its neighbors, most of them on the brink of deeper civil infighting. While in Moscow, where talks with his staunchest ally (aka Russia)'s counterpart were scheduled, and also while scud missiles were reportedly launched in Aleppo, the country's Foreign Minister has declared its Government is ready for talks with whoever wants to, talks in which the armed rebels (he literally mentioned "those who have weapons in their hands) would be authorized to participate in, thus relinquishing one of the regime's main preconditions. Even th

Rage breaks out in Palestine

A worrying, although too familiar, bout of violence has erupted in the West Bank, over the death of a Palestinian prisoner in Israeli custody. Although Israel denies any kind of wrongdoing in the face of accusations of torture by the victim-s interrogators, Palestinian authorities have called for an international objective inquiry into this death.

La “excepción bahreiní” a la Primavera Árabe

El pasado 14 de febrero, mientras millones de personas a lo largo y ancho del planeta celebraban el día de San Valentín, una gran parte de los bahreinís celebraban el segundo aniversario de su particular levantamiento, cuyo desolador resultado ha llevado a varios analistas a denominar el fenómeno la “excepción bahreiní”.

No hope for Bahrain (at least for now)

Well, it sees I was too fast to assume there may be hope for reconciliation in the Gulf Island. In one of the various demonstrations that were held within the framework of the second anniversary of the 14th February revolution, one teenager was killed by the security forces, and violence is escalating to dangerous levels, despite the condolences offered by the Government, and many activist denounce the use of excessive force, torture, kidnappings and extrajudicial imprisonments. Most opposition figures are accusing the Government of setting up the dialogue for failure, whilst keeping on with the daily repression. Bahrain holds the rare honor of being the country where the longest Arab Spring-related uprising is still taking place. Almost none of the authorities' concessions have in reality met the protesters' demands for democracy and freedom, above all the Shiite minority's calls for the granting of further rights eventually leading to equality and justice amongst the

Túnez: el alumno aplicado de la Primavera Árabe que un día se volvió rebelde

El 14 de enero, los tunecinos tenían en principio algo que celebrar: dos años habían pasado desde el derrocamiento y exilio del ex Presidente Ben Ali, que marcó un verdadero punto de inflexión, tanto para el lugar donde nació la “Primavera árabe” como para la región en su totalidad. Sin embargo, los habitantes del país nor-africano aún sienten que tienen poco que celebrar, ya que en realidad su situación no ha mejorado, e incluso la de algunos ha empeorado.

Ahmadinejad tries to lure Egypt

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is officially the first Iranian leader to visit Egypt in more than 30 years, since both countries broke diplomatic relations after Egypt entered into a key agreement with Israel that entailed the recognition of the Jewish state, a move the Iranian Revolution harshly protested against. Ahmadinejad, who was in the Arab capital in order to attend a Summit of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation, quickly embraced fellow Egyptian President Morsi upon arrival in Cairo, showing to what extent the thrust of closer relations between both countries was the actual aim of his visit. Both leaders also had the occasion to tackle the divisive Syrian issue both countries are heavily involved in, bluntly betting for an eventual round of negotiations that could lead to a pacific consensual solution. The mood of this meeting starkly contrasted with that of last year's summit, where Morsi blatantly chastised Iran regarding his stance towards the neighbouring civi

Bla bla on Syria continues

Last week, Damascus saw what some consider the heaviest infighting in the city since the uprising broke out almost two years ago. The conflict is further escalating leading to a worst-case scenario, and many believe that makes it harder to envision a positive end. There are three possible outcomes, and none of them seems optimistic enough: either the regime wins, either the rebels root the latter, either the civil war goes on following a Lebanon-type pattern. An eventual end to the current stalemate would undoubtedly require external intervention, insofar as all countries involved agreed to a plausible unified blueprint, preferably following the Geneva steps.  Some saw a glimpse of light when Mr Moaz Al-Khatib, leader of the unified opposition, put forward a proposal whereby the body he represents would be ready to negotiate with the untainted elements (or at least the ones whose hands are not stained by blood) of Assad's regime, particularly with the country's Vice-Pres

An assassination shakes Tunisia

The North-African country is again plunged into instability after a high-profile leftist opposition leader who was a vehement scourge of radical Islamists, Chokri Belaid, was slain on 6 February in what many consider a larger plot by extremists that have as of lately put the country under threat deteriorating both the social, the political and the economic situation. Demonstrations and clashes broke out throughout the country, many of them calling for the resignation of the controversial Islamist Government, amid fears that religious radicals are trying to derail the country's transition towards real democracy. The first 24-hour strike in years was called in by the strongest syndicate of the state. The funeral of the late activist has spurred concerns of a renewed polarization that could lead the country to a fatal stalemate, thus finally putting an end to the (few still alive) hopes the Arab Spring sparked two years ago.  The country's President admitted last week befor

NYT: "Brotherhood Struggles to Translate Power Into Policy in Egypt"

NYT's David Kirkpatrick never ceases to amaze me. His article on the obstacles the MB are finding on their way towards achieving total control of the state underlines incredible important facts not all critics speaking of "authoritarianism" have taken into account. The Brothers are first having difficulties when it comes to bash the Supreme Constitutional Court's auctoritas. Indeed, during its first session after the Constitution was adopted in a moot referendum, "the president of the court sneered with disdain at a lawyer for the Muslim Brotherhood trying to address the reconfigured bench, stripped of 7 of its 18 members. “As if you left a court to be spoken of like this!” Judge Maher el-Beheiry snapped".  They have also failed to rein in Egypt's deep bureaucratic system that cannot be entirely replaced with fellow allies, as well as in Egypt's mostly independent security forces (not only the military, but above all the Police), which still r

¿Una primavera iraquí?

Desde la intervención americana en 2003, Irak ha ido apareciendo de forma regular, aunque no destacada, en las noticias. La estabilidad no se ha afianzado en el país, sumido en una devastadora violencia sectaria, en la miseria y en el descontento social en los últimos años e incluso décadas, un país constantemente al borde de la guerra civil. ¿Qué está sucediendo exactamente en la actualidad, y cómo puede esto vincularse a la historia reciente del país?