April 16, 2014

THE RESURRECTION OF SYRIAN KURDISH POLITICS

Kurds showing their support for the PYD in Afrin, Syria during the conflict, August 2012.

PDF version available here This article examines the current political landscape of the Kurdish region in Syria, the role the Kurds have played in the ongoing Syrian civil war, and intra-Kurdish relations. For many years, the Kurds in Syria were subjected to discrimination at the hands of the Ba’th regime and were stripped of their basic rights.[1] During the 1960s and 1970s, some Syrian Kurds were deprived of citizenship, leaving them with no legal status in the country.[2] Although … [Read more...]

POLITICAL ISLAM IN MOROCCO: IS THERE AN “EXCEPTION MAROCAINE”?

Coat of Arms of Morocco

PDF version available here Contrary to other Arab countries, Morocco has not experienced an “Arab Spring.” Those who wish to see systemic change have not been able to get a degree of popular support and mobilization similar to that which brought an end to the dictatorships of Ben Ali in Tunisia, al-Qaddafi in Libya or Mubarak in Egypt. The regime has attributed their failure to the special link between the Moroccan monarchy and its people. However, this article argues that it was the … [Read more...]

THE NINETEENTH ISRAELI KNESSET ELECTIONS: LACKLUSTER ELECTION, SIGNIFICANT RESULTS

2013 Israeli legislative election ballots

For the first time since the 1970s, there was no serious dispute as to who would emerge as prime minister from the 2013 Israeli elections campaign.  Despite the lackluster campaign, the election results and the government that emerged from them do represent a certain change. Most notably, the election campaign focused on internal issues. This is because a core, centrist consensus on external and national security affairs now exists among a critical mass of Israeli Jews.  This is also reflected … [Read more...]

Israel’s Election: Netanyahu Holds On, Center Does Well

Yair Lapid, head of Yesh Atid party

As expected, Israel has once again made Benjamin Netanyahu its prime minister. The results were not as positive for him as they might have been but are good enough to reelect him. While some might find this paradoxical, the results show that Israelis have a basic consensus and yet have very different ways of  expressing their political positions. This isn’t surprising given the fact that 32 parties were on the ballot. First, though, a myth that has at times become a … [Read more...]

THE ARAB SPRING AND THE PROSPECTS FOR GENUINE RELIGIOUS AND POLITICAL REFORMS

There is a guarded optimism that the Arab Spring could result in genuine religious and political reforms. This optimism is grounded in the belief that for the new governments to be reelected, they must reduce unemployment and poverty quickly and convincingly. Dogmatic posturing produces neither jobs nor prosperity. Islamists, Salafists, and jihadists--with Wahhabi inspiration and cash--will assail the new policies as un-Islamic. The confrontation could marginalize Islamist and other extremists, … [Read more...]

ASSESSING IRAQ’S OIL INDUSTRY

  This article provides an overview of Iraq’s oil and gas industry, focusing in particular on its history since 2003 under the Coalition Provisional Authority and the sovereign Iraqi government. It also examines the relationship between the development of natural gas reserves and local autonomy, as well as the controversy surrounding ExxonMobil’s dealings with the Kurdistan Regional Government. Finally, the article considers how the oil and gas industry relates to the wider economy … [Read more...]

THE ARAB SPRING, ITS EFFECTS ON THE KURDS, AND THE APPROACHES OF TURKEY, IRAN, SYRIA, AND IRAQ ON THE KURDISH ISSUE

  This article addresses the approaches of Turkey, Iran, Syria, and Iraq in dealing with the Kurdish issue, with a special focus on historical background. In addition, the article discusses how this issue affects relations among the aforementioned countries and whether cooperation on this issue is possible. The article also examines how the Arab Spring has impacted the Kurds and the attitudes of these countries toward the Kurdish issue.    Click here to download the PDF version of … [Read more...]

IS THE ISRAEL-PALESTINIAN PEACE PROCESS DEAD?

barry-rubin

  Western governments, experts, and journalists have long assumed that an Israel-Palestinian or comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace agreement ending the conflict was near at hand and easily achieved. In fact, the truth is the exact opposite. Indeed, there has not been any real “peace process” or real chance for a diplomatic solution since the Palestinian leadership rejected a deal in 2000. This article examines the factors that, on one hand, make the “peace process” deceased and, … [Read more...]

FACTS ON THE GROUND: THE GROWING POWER OF HAMAS’S GAZA LEADERSHIP

jonathan-spyer

  This article will observe the process whereby Hamas has consolidated and maintained its rule in Gaza. It will argue that the gradual strengthening of the Gaza leadership within Hamas preceded the upheavals of 2011. The fallout from the events in Egypt and Syria, however, served to accelerate and accentuate the process whereby the Gaza leadership made gains at the expense of the external leadership. Click here to download the PDF version of this article. INTRODUCTION The … [Read more...]

HIZBALLAH AND THE ARAB REVOLUTIONS: THE CONTRADICTION MADE APPARENT?

jonathan-spyer

Since the 1990s, Hizballah has defined itself along a number of parallel lines, each of which prior to 2011 appeared to support the other. The movement was simultaneously a sectarian representative of the Lebanese Shi’a, a regional ally of Iran and Syria, a defender of the Lebanese against the supposed aggressive intentions of Israel, and a leader of a more generically defined Arab and Muslim “resistance” against Israel and the West.  As a result of the events of 2011, most important the … [Read more...]