Archive for category: Middle East

Israel’s Gaza offensive

Israel’s Gaza offensive

The contention that Israel is on its path of conflict against Gaza in its pursuit of self-defence is not acceptable. If armed force is to be justified as self-defence under the UN Charter, it is absolutely necessary that a precursor armed attack occurred. This is simply not the case with respect […]

Syria and the ICC

Syria and the ICC

There are arguments that to prosecute is to interfere with the right of self-determination of the Syrian people. However, when there is evidence of mass atrocities, with clear ideas as to who is responsible, the prosecution cannot be considered to be “taking sides”. 

Can I reconcile with the man who killed my son?

Can I reconcile with the man who killed my son?

Robi, an Israeli mother, ponders the possibility of meeting her son David’s killer, and can’t help wonder how honest she is with herself in her quest for reconciliation. Can a person who stole the life of a women’s child ever truly be forgiven? Is the dialogue between perpetrators and victims […]

Israel’s future as an anachronism

Israel’s future as an anachronism

Israel is a nineteenth century European project completed neither in the nineteenth century nor in Europe.

Negotiating the Syrian crisis – a compromise remains far off

Negotiating the Syrian crisis – a compromise remains far off

The trajectory of the Geneva II negotiations – either towards convergence (resolution) or divergence (non-resolution) – will affect the outcome of one of the most violent and protracted conflicts in the Middle East.

For Syrian refugees child marriage is a necessity

For Syrian refugees child marriage is a necessity

Research by women’s right organizations purports that the prevalence of child marriage is not due to lack of awareness about the concerns of the practice, but due to the social prejudice that girls face. While reports are inconclusive as to the rate of increase of child marriages among refugee populations, […]

Al-Qaeda in Radaa, Yemen – global security challenge or local succession dispute?

Al-Qaeda in Radaa, Yemen – global security challenge or local succession dispute?

In January 2012 Al-Qaeda seized control of Radaa, Yemen. Internationally the event was viewed as a territorial advance by Al-Qaeda, however the situation was much more complicated. Viewing the conflict from a different perspective has important consequences for what policy and action are appropriate.

Can Israel annex the Jordan valley?

Can Israel annex the Jordan valley?

The recent decision by Israel’s Ministerial Committee approving the annexation of the Jordan Valley goes against one of the very core tenets of public international law.

Local pressure for peace mounts in Syria’s civil war

Local pressure for peace mounts in Syria’s civil war

In the chaos of Syria’s civil war local peacebuilders are finding ways to bring respite for tired civilians from suffering and danger.

Temperance in the Arab Spring – averting catastrophe through great power politics

Temperance in the Arab Spring – averting catastrophe through great power politics

The world’s most politically volatile region, the Middle East, has been stabilised through the collective common sense of three Great Powers – the United States, Great Britain and Russia – applying regressive yet pragmatic foreign policy.

Syria – women, peacework, and the lesson from Bosnia

Syria – women, peacework, and the lesson from Bosnia

Below the radar of the forthcoming Geneva-2 peace talks, Bosnian and Syrian women are holding meetings to discuss the lessons that must be learnt from the failure of the Dayton Agreement. However, without the voices of those who have the greatest stake in preserving peace in their countries, peace agreements […]

A waiting game – Syria through the lens of conflict transformation

A waiting game – Syria through the lens of conflict transformation

Looking at Syria through the lenses of a few selected Principles of Conflict Transformation can offer new suggestions for peaceful actions as the fatigue of violence continues to grow. 

Israel and Iran – a love story?

Israel and Iran – a love story?

When war between Israel and Iran seemed imminent, Israeli graphic designer Ronny Edry shared a poster on Facebook of himself and his daughter with a bold message: “Iranians … we [heart] you.” Other Israelis quickly created their own posters with the same message – and Iranians responded in kind. The […]

Palestine (and Syria) and Kosova

Palestine (and Syria) and Kosova

Regarding existential, zero-sum struggles it matters which side has more options.

Syria – no deal, really

Syria – no deal, really

That Syria has been on a downward spiral since 2011 is not news. Any solution for Syria must not be limited in scope. Tackling chemical weapons is only one part of the entire deal. If a middle path between the use of force and non-action can be carved, using just […]

Syria and a possible UN approach to chemical weapons

Syria and a possible UN approach to chemical weapons

The UN would likely play a key role in verifying and overseeing an effort to put Syria’s weapons under international control. But the UN Security Council can only work if the two remaining superpowers put their backs into it.

Chemical weapons in Syria provide an opportunity for making peace

Chemical weapons in Syria provide an opportunity for making peace

Aiming to “transform conflict” would inject new energy into the diplomatic process around Syria, by finding new common interests between adversaries.

What should the US do on Syria?

What should the US do on Syria?

For the US to act as part of the international community and through the UN, it must commit itself in this particular case – and in general – to a diplomatic strategy of building common perceptions and sharing understandings.

Syrian military intervention – Washington’s “well-oiled” operation

Syrian military intervention – Washington’s “well-oiled” operation

The United States has only to gain from the likely military intervention which will give it unrestricted access to Syria’s oil reserves, with a larger control over the neighbouring oil producers and trade routes. The intervention comes at an opportune time for the superpower when the global economy has forced […]

R2P and International Law

R2P and International Law

The responsibility to protect is an international responsibility and not the exclusive burden of any one country, not even the US. But the use of force now or at any time should be left to the Security Council to decide. President Obama should now earn his Noble Peace Prize by […]

Syria – to intervene or not to intervene?

Syria – to intervene or not to intervene?

In the two years since the conflict began, civilian deaths have unfolded in unimaginable numbers, yet the international community did not act. With respect to the Responsibility to Protect, therefore, are the lives that have been taken thus far worth less than the potential use of chemical weapons? Are we […]

Syria disfigured – options for the West

Syria disfigured – options for the West

To understand what a militarily-inspired democratic transplant might achieve in Syria, one might look at what happened when the Iraqi Ba’athist regime of Saddam Hussein was overthrown.

There never was an “Arab Spring”

There never was an “Arab Spring”

With the top of the leadership pyramid removed, the societies left behind were rife with internal divisions. Without any historical experience, or sufficient wealth to divide among all claimants, they were never going to assemble themselves into polities and societies peacefully resolving their differences through constitutional, liberal mechanisms. Nor were they going […]

From YouTube to Jihad – Balkan volunteers in Syria

From YouTube to Jihad – Balkan volunteers in Syria

Even though conservative Islam is not much appreciated among the liberal and secular Bosniak and Albanian communities in the Western Balkans, radical groups show an increasing online and real-life presence.

The military, in the barracks and in society

The military, in the barracks and in society

By staging a coup, Egypt’s generals have acted against the grain of an era in which militaries have become less involved in politics.  That is their problem.