Archive for the ‘Middle East’ Category
It is not just the election results that show that Israelis have different views about who should be running the country: a flight to Tel Aviv can provide a glimpse into some of the simmering tensions in the Middle East.
The conflict was awfully familiar.
The Israelis were arguing with the non-Israelis, and indeed with each other – over who was entitled to what territory.
Some were polite, but others more hostile. It was an ugly scene. At one point, I thought people might well come to blows.
And still they could not sort it out. Who was supposed to be in what seat? The plane had not even taken off yet, but already Flight 2085, from Luton to Tel Aviv, had become a microcosm of the Middle East.
via BBC News – The Middle East conflict at 35,000 feet.
AN : I loved this story… a rather humorous, tangental view of the Middle East conflict which takes place in the setting of a plane. Oh, where is the Easy Jet pragmatism in International diplomacy and conflict resloution when you need it !!!
“Sawiris’s anguish is writ large in Egypt and beyond as newly liberated populations wrestle with the unaccustomed task of reinventing political systems — and the economic and civil institutions that go with them. On Nov. 28, Egyptians will begin voting for a new parliament that will appoint a committee to rewrite the constitution. The Free Egyptians party is pushing a secular, free-market agenda ahead of the elections. With the worsening economy set to foster more turmoil, the party is also advocating social programs for the poor.
Dreams of Democracy
For Egypt, the elections will determine whether the dreams of pro-democracy demonstrators will become reality or be smashed by sectarian turmoil and continued military rule. At stake for the wider region is whether Islamists or secular parties gain the upper hand and whether newly elected governments can kick- start stalled economies.“
via Billionaire Facing Death Threats Says Egypt Risks Becoming Iran – Bloomberg.
Guide: Christians in the Middle East
The Middle East is the birthplace of Christianity and home to some of the worlds most ancient Christian denominations. But Christian communities across the region are declining in numbers because of a combination of low birth rates, emigration and, in some places, persecution and violence.
BBC has compiled info on the situation in the Middle Eastern countries with respect to the Christian faith based populations.
Read the full report….
via BBC News – Guide: Christians in the Middle East.
“The Palestinian Arab bid for Unilateral Declaration of Independence this week appears to be strongly influenced by the same principles of hate and destruction.
A Wall Street Journal editorial earlier this week questioned the logic of the UN efforts, even from a Palestinian Arab perspective asking, “A vote at the U.N. won’t create a Palestinian state and will likely retard the creation of one, perhaps for years. It won’t remove any Israeli settlements from the West Bank and might well give Jerusalem reason to accelerate the pace of construction. It could also lead Israel to take various punitive measures against the Palestinians, including freezing tax transfers worth about $100 million a month. The U.S. Congress might follow by cutting off the $600 million in annual aid to the Palestinians.”
This week Mahmoud Abbas acknowledged what he stood to destroy in the wake of these efforts, saying, “the Palestinian people and their leadership will pass through very difficult times after the Palestinian approach to the United Nations.” Saying further, “We decided to take this step and all hell has broken out against us.”
In seeking to understand the move, The Journal referenced an opinion piece that Abbas wrote in the New York Times in May, which said that “Palestine’s admission to the United Nations would pave the way for the internationalization of the conflict as a legal matter, not only as a political one. It would also pave the way for us to pursue claims against Israel at the United Nations, human rights treaty bodies and the International Criminal Court.”"
As the Wall Street Journal concluded, “In other words, what Palestinians seek out of a U.N. vote isn’t an affirmation of their right to a state, but rather another tool in their perpetual campaign to harass, delegitimize and ultimately destroy Israel.”
Understand this: ‘peace’ is no goal of the Palestinians, only to hurt, maim, isolate and ultimately destroy the sovereign Jewish presence in the Mediterranean.”
via Suicide Diplomacy – Op-Eds – Israel National News.
Geopolitics in the Middle East.
“A nuclear Iran, it is now recognized, is not Israel’s problem alone. It possesses missiles that bring the Gulf states, Egypt, Turkey, Europe and Russia all within reach. A nuclear Iran would be transformative, a country not easily gone to war against, and one that will have considerably more power on the regional stage. And if Iran goes nuclear, it is almost certain that Turkey and Egypt will accelerate their own programs and Saudi Arabia would buy an off-the-shelf bomb from Pakistan. Libya agreed to dismantle its nuclear program in December 2003. The international crisis that broke out with Colonel Gaddafi’s regime in March 2011 would have looked very different had Gaddafi had the bomb.
A nuclear Middle East is in no one’s interest; therefore, opposition to the prospect is wide. The United States, China and Russia have imposed sanctions on Iran in the hope of impeding the bomb. Israel and Saudi Arabia find themselves on the same side of the fence.
But Iran is Israel’s problem most of all. No other country is existentially threatened by Iran, in a position to suffer irreparable damage if attacked with nuclear weapons. Those imposing sanctions and locked in diplomacy to try to resolve the problem are involved in global power play, not a life-and-death situation. Iran is not calling for the destruction of Turkey or Saudi Arabia, and if America, China or Russia loses the game, as they indeed might, it is not their heads that will be on the chopping block.
For Israel, there is no margin for error.”
via Hirsh Goodman: Israel has no margin for error when it comes to Iran | Full Comment | National Post.
Heritage thinking has long been onside with respect to the issue of the environment. It is perhaps correct to say that not to have long term thinking around the issue of the environment is to be offside and heretical.
“According to a report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Hima became a symbol of social equity, justice and instrument of environmental conservation. As such, Hima was a way of life which helped people to use the resources available sustainably and build resilience. Furthermore the system encouraged ‘equitable sharing of resources, social inclusion, sustainable use, consultation (shura), representation for decision-making, land management, management of scarce resources, rights of use, ethics, conservation and poverty prevention.’ “
via Hima: The Middle East’s Tradition of Environmental Protection | Green Prophet.
“Moving to the implications of the Arab Spring, many panelists felt the old power system was still very much intact. “A lot of people think the end of the road is elections. That is wrong,” reminded Ayed, “it is the beginning of the road.” “
via The New Arab World: Investing in Change « The New York Forum Blog.
You may have to read the complete article several times to understand the full impact of its tenets . Rational choice theory and rational choice philosophy , its origins and manifestations can help us to discern elements in the approach that our Governments and Countries are making in economic and societal governance fronts….even the thrust for democracy in the ” Arab Spring ” Middle East.
“But the real significance of rational choice philosophy lay in ethics. Rational choice theory, being a branch of economics, does not question people’s preferences; it simply studies how they seek to maximize them. Rational choice philosophy seems to maintain this ethical neutrality (see Hans Reichenbach’s 1951 “The Rise of Scientific Philosophy,” an unwitting masterpiece of the genre); but it does not. Whatever my preferences are, I have a better chance of realizing them if I possess wealth and power. Rational choice philosophy thus promulgates a clear and compelling moral imperative: increase your wealth and power!
Today, institutions which help individuals do that (corporations, lobbyists) are flourishing; the others (public hospitals, schools) are basically left to rot. Business and law schools prosper; philosophy departments are threatened with closure.”
via RAND, Cold Warriors and the Failure of ‘Rational Choice Philosophy’ – NYTimes.com.
“Water supplies have a major impact on agriculture and the environment. A steady water supply is also essential for city life. Cities are growing in size and population throughout the region. And, because of climate change, experts predict an increasingly dry future. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that rainfall in many parts of the region will decrease by over 20% during the next century.
And as water resources dry up, competition for it will get more intense. With the satellite data, working across borders, regional leaders will be able to work from the same information, enhancing cooperation and efficiency. Cooperation in tackling some of the area’s water issues is essential.”
The ever increasing scarcity and distortion of water resources requires monitoring and cooperation of the use of the resource. Read on….
via Joint Efforts to Map Water Levels Across Arab Countries.
“ABU DHABI // A leading expert on civil society has warned the Arab Spring has not finished, with elections in Oman in October a potential flashpoint that could trigger fresh protests.
At a conference in Abu Dhabi on the role of the media in Arab societies, Khalid al Safi al Haribi, the managing director of the Omani think tank Tawasul, predicted further demonstrations before the end of the year.”
via Arab Spring has not run its course, expert says – The National.
Do read the complete piece. Events elsewhere are so quick to fall off the mainstream media screen…we are all on ” One Blue Marble” and so this does affect us all.