Arab awakening: Qatar’s controversial alliance with Arab Islamists

From Open Democracy:

Secular activists and politicians in Egypt and officials in Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – each for their own reasons – have watched with alarm as the Gulf state, Qatar, and its pan-Arab media arm Al Jazeera have promoted the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and allied Islamist groups such as Ennahda in Tunisia. Continue reading Arab awakening: Qatar’s controversial alliance with Arab Islamists

Inside Doha: A City as Empty Canvas

doha1In a seminal work published in 1970, writer Alvin Toffler managed to capture the sense of a world of such immense change at the physical, economic, political and social level that all were afflicted in one way or another by what he termed “future shock“. In his book of the same name Toffler identified a key phenomenon of the times, the stress and alienation of modern Western living; realizing the omnipotent and ominous role of media in the psycho drama of “super-industrial” societies, he also coined the phrase “information overload”. Continue reading Inside Doha: A City as Empty Canvas

Why Doha isn’t about to give up the Brotherhood

It has become rather fashionable in some circles to predict the imminent demise of Qatar’s alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood and the Brotherhood calques around the Arab world. I don’t see it happening, and here’s why: Continue reading Why Doha isn’t about to give up the Brotherhood

On Analysts’ Mea Culpa: The Brotherhood Is In This To Win

Many Egyptian social media activists and analysts opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood have taken a sharp line against Western analysts who appeared to be bigging up the Brotherhood during the latter period of the Mubarak years. You thought the Brotherhood were a cuddly bunch of moderate Islamists who would key to creating a new, more balanced, at-one-with-itself Egyptian political order after the brutality and stultification of Mubarak’s police state, they argue. Some of those analysts, of course, have continued to defend the Brotherhood in the post-Jan 25 political landscape, with a discourse that appears to complement the positive approach of the U.S. government, but the major part of the debate has focussed on the wider picture: did specialists misread the Islamist movement? Continue reading On Analysts’ Mea Culpa: The Brotherhood Is In This To Win

Homogenising the Middle East

The destruction of a synagogue in Damascus is the latest manifestation of a fundamental, and troubling, shift going on in the Middle East. The Jobar Synagogue, thought to be 2,000 years old, was looted and burned to the ground. Both the government and the Islamist-dominated rebels are denying they were behind it, but either way the incident appears to have been a deliberate act. It’s not the first time historical sites have been damaged in the suicidal violence of the Syrian civil war, nor the first time that minorities have been targetted. Continue reading Homogenising the Middle East