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Showing posts from August, 2013

The Syrian regime in a chart

Via The Arabist, in turn via WINEP

Syria's catch 22: damned if you attack, screwed if you don't

It seems a  US  strike on  Syria  is now imminent. Presumably without the backing of a United Nations Security Council resolution. Apparently, Assad has trespassed the red line President Obama spoke about a year ago. As if more than 100,000 deaths and nearly 2 million refugees were not convincing enough a reason. A horrifying attack with chemical weapons on the  Damascus  suburb of Ghouta that allegedly left behind more than 1,000 dead has set itself up as the most probable turning point of a conflict that has already ravaged the country and the whole region for more than two years. 

Go Maliki, go!

It seems the Iraqi Supreme Court  struck down  a measure imposing term limits on the prime minister, clearing the way for Nouri al-Maliki to seek a third term.  Good news for democracy and stability (sigh)!

Five game changers in Syria

Enlightening article : The chemical attack on a Damascus suburb while UN inspectors were in the country This attack is the only reason why all eyes are again on Syria, Where were they before? On Egypt, the actual core of the Arab world. What happens there might affect the rest of the region. Increasing weight of extremism in both sides, making it much more harder to even imagine an end to the conflict. The article talks about attacks in Latakia (the fief of Assad's regime). I would rather speak about the current situation in Lebanon. The Kurdish factor . That's when inshallah recovers its meaning.

Tunisia is on fire (again)

Last time I wrote about Tunisia things were not going exactly well. And this hasn't pretty much changed. Weeks ago, an assassination shook the country once again, and Tunisians are more than ever aware of their transition being in a complete stalemate, while they carefully look at their neighbour out of the corner of their eyes. Despite what TIME Magazine may say , Egypt has always been and will for years remain immensely relevant. This time, the political crisis was triggered by the 25 July assassination of MP Mohamed Brahmi, attribued to a jihadist movement. The kind of extremist group that has more than once put the country on the verge of deeper social instability, while the authorities seems unable to (or unwilling to) impose themselves and efficiently tackling the issue. Not surprisingly, the previous Government fell after the murder of the remarkable opposition leader Chokri Belaïd in February.

Digressions on Egypt part 1

"One of the few, if not the only, positive outcomes of Jan 25 that people cite is the breaking of the barrier of fear. People now are not afraid to speak their mind, protest, etc. But courage turned into impudence for some. Now people also feel safe criticizing the killing of hundreds mostly peaceful protesters, or retrieving a family member from a jail cell and shooting whoever doesn’t get out of their way fast enough." Found  here

Happy birthday, Discovering MENA!!

Wow. A year has passed since I shyly published a post in Discovering MENA and other thoughts. A year in which I have had my ups and down, I've been thrilled and I have been disillusioned, I have received invaluable support that has given me wings and I've lost hope sometimes. Confronting a blank page is not always easy, inspiration is very tricky, and having a blog means feeling very lonely sometimes. But the good thing is that I have never been bored, I have always found the motivation to carry on. This blog is really one of the things that keep me well alive and lively. I created it trying to find a way to organize my thoughts. I had started to accumulate a certain amount of knowledge on the region (once you start discovering it, you cannot stop asking for more) and wanted to prove to myself I was able to put all of this in writing, to analyze what was going through, to put it and elaborate on it in an easy comfortable way. Being followed was the least of my expectat

Back up and breathe

Okay, it's been more than a month since I last wrote something meaningful (barring the post about the Third Square movement, whose date of publication wasn't really fortunate), and I am more than sorry for that. Moreover because now that I'm IN the region, I had promised myself I would write even more often. At first I blamed the complete lack of inspiration. Three weeks of intense holidays left behind a sleepy lazy individual who could only think about being active again... in the medium term. But after four (excessively) relaxing days at the beach, I was ready to engage in a much more meaningful research and write as if there was no tomorrow. I wanted to elaborate on polarization in Egypt, I was looking forward to explaining the current situation in Tunisia, I was very excited to delve into Lebanon's political scenario, I was eager to closely follow the resumption of the MEPP talks, I felt my assumptions on Syria could use more knowledge... And, even though being in E

The quest for a happy medium in Egypt

Back in Egypt (finally!!), I was dying to comment on the situation with my friends, particularly with the "journalist sect". I was specially curious about how they assess the polarization that nowadays stands out as the biggest issue the country is facing, and whether a solution might eventually be found in that respect. I was surprised to listen to so many references to the "Third Square", an entity weary of divisiveness and exclusion, tired of politicians clinging to power, fed up with their brethren's swearing allegiance to either one or the other faction and dismissing any kind of concession. To sum up, a group of people who feel their dreams have been once and again betrayed by power-hungry figures vying for a higher rank but muttering at the same time empty words about freedom and the true will of Egyptians. A movement against both religious fascism and military rule. The first few ones who were brave enough to shout out loud they do not trust eithe