Archive for the ‘#middle_east’ Tag

BBC News – The Middle East conflict at 35,000 feet   Leave a comment

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 !!! 🙂

Posted January 26, 2013 by arnoneumann in Middle East

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Arab League risks Russian wrath by approaching West over Syria | World | Deutsche Welle | 18.11.2011   Leave a comment

Seldom does a nation’s internal affairs remain with influence singularily within  its own borders. The interplay of politics on the global level is not that simplistic..

“Catalyst for a wider conflict?

Any military intervention in Syria could act as a catalyst for a wider conflagration in a volatile region already primed to explode, with al-Assad’s main ally Iran under increased pressure from the West over its nuclear program and under threat from an Israeli administration which appears to be preparing to take matters into its own hands.

Not only would Western-led intervention in a major Arab state threaten to plunge the Middle East into a wider regional conflict, it would also ratchet up the tensions between the West and Syria’s powerful allies in Russia.

Russia, a long-term supporter of the Syrian regime and one which maintains a naval base in the country, has already accused Western countries of inciting opposition to al-Assad’s rule, as well as condemning the Arab League’s decision to suspend Syria. Moscow, in tandem with China, also blocked a UN Security Council motion last month to bring sanctions against Syria. “


via Arab League risks Russian wrath by approaching West over Syria | World | Deutsche Welle | 18.11.2011.

Posted November 27, 2011 by arnoneumann in Syria

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On eve of election, Egypts Copts worry about outcome   Leave a comment

“Egypt’s always potentially explosive religious fault line between its Muslim majority and its large Coptic Orthodox Christian minority feels more ominous here than elsewhere.

“This used to be the wealthiest and most cosmopolitan city in the country, but it has been slowly fading for more than 20 years,” said businessman and blogger Mohammad Hanou. “It has become poorer and more conservative. The conservatives are not only Muslims. There are conservative Copts, too. But their differences need a trigger — an event.

“One of those flashpoints occurred at a midnight mass marking the beginning of 2011 when a homemade bomb exploded at the front of the al-Qiddissin Saints Church. Twenty-three worshippers died and nearly 100 were injured.

That act of violence was followed by a sporadic acts on churches across the country. It is one of the reasons why Copts fret about the potential electoral successes of the Muslim Brotherhood and their more extreme allies, the Salafis, whose Saudi-like puritanical ideas about Islam are popular in Alexandria’s slums.

“Many Muslims are tolerant and feel free to elect Christian parliamentarians,” said Hany Mikhail Botros, a prominent Copt businessman who was only five metres away from the blast and lost his future daughter-in-law and many close friends in the attack.

Proof of this tolerance, he said, was that many Muslims personally contacted him to express their sorrow after the New Year’s bombing.

“I can even say that some Muslims fight more for our rights than we do ourselves,” Botros said as he looked up at a wall in the church with photographs of those who died in the bombing.

There was, however, inevitably, a “but” coming as Botros continued his reflections.

“But such turmoil has always existed under the surface here. Kids in some primary schools are actually taught to hate Christians. After this year’s revolution such sentiments began to come out more.”

Alexandria was once the largest Jewish city in the world, but only a handful of Jews live here today. Whether a similar fate may befall the Copts is a subject that is not much discussed in public but it is at the back of many minds.

“Do we have a Plan B? No,” Botros said. “We could live overseas and I have the chance to do that, but I do not see that as a solution. I really love this country and I am not only making a speech.”

Religion is such an emotive topic that there has never been a reliable census of how many Muslims and Christians there are in Egypt. Copts claim they number about 15 million and make up about 20 per cent of the population. Many Muslims reckon that the true percentage of Copts is only eight or 10 per cent.

via On eve of election, Egypts Copts worry about outcome.

Posted November 26, 2011 by arnoneumann in Egypt

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BBC News – Guide: Christians in the Middle East   Leave a comment

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.

Posted October 10, 2011 by arnoneumann in Christianity, Middle East

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Suicide Diplomacy – Op-Eds – Israel National News   Leave a comment



“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.

Posted September 25, 2011 by arnoneumann in Geopolitics, Israel, Middle East, UN

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Hirsh Goodman: Israel has no margin for error when it comes to Iran | Full Comment | National Post   Leave a comment

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.

Posted September 3, 2011 by arnoneumann in Conflict, Geopolitics, Middle East

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Hima: The Middle East’s Tradition of Environmental Protection | Green Prophet   Leave a comment

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.

Posted August 1, 2011 by arnoneumann in Environment, Hima, Middle East

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The New Arab World: Investing in Change « The New York Forum Blog   Leave a comment



“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.

Posted June 23, 2011 by arnoneumann in Middle East

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Joint Efforts to Map Water Levels Across Arab Countries   Leave a comment

“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.

Posted June 14, 2011 by arnoneumann in Middle East, Water

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Arab Spring has not run its course, expert says – The National   Leave a comment



“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.

Posted June 14, 2011 by arnoneumann in Middle East

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