Tag archive for » syria «

The use and abuse of the ‘Islamic State’

Friday, 29. August 2014 0:13

While the beheading of US photo journalist James Foley has rightly drawn global attention to the violence of Salafi jihadi groups, the successes of the Islamic State (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIS) are being exploited by various actors to score political points.   [...]

Category:Commentary | Comments (2) | Autor:

The new caliphate: what it does and doesn’t mean

Monday, 30. June 2014 21:24

First published by European Council on Foreign Relations

The word “caliphate” sends many into paroxysms of horrified excitement. Following the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011 the opponents of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and its Arab calques liked to raise the bogeyman of this demonic political institution which Egyptian presidential candidate for the Brotherhood’s eminence grise Khairat al-Shater and Ennahda leader Mohammed al-Ghannouchi allegedly sought to establish. The main proof in the case seemed to be little more than that the Brotherhood was established a few years after the Turkish republic abolished the office of caliph in 1924, plus a lot of paranoia. No one really asked what “establishing a caliphate” would mean in practice. Mainstream media have avoided shedding much light, beyond telling us that it is a “medieval” entity. Given that the first caliphate was established around 623 CE and the last one ended less than a century back, we can safely say that this is useless information. [...]

Category:Commentary | Comment (0) | Autor:

EL PUZLE ISLÁMICO: Batallas internas en el islam político

Tuesday, 24. June 2014 4:16

Published in Spanish in Vanguardia Dossier, July/Sept 2014

Islamic society and politics in the Middle East are riven by two schisms today that have produced violent instability that is set to continue until a critical moment, such as the fall of a regime such as that in Iran or Saudi Arabia, or a historical compromise between the two. It would be hard to choose one as more unlikely than the other in the current situation. Both conflicts are products of the past generation and though they have developed separately it is possible to see a link between them if we consider the Islamic Republic in Iran as a Shi’ite mirror image of the political Islam that the Brotherhood and movements such as Ennahda, Hamas, Islah are representative of within a Sunni framework. [...]

Category:Commentary, Published articles 2014 | Comments (1) | Autor:

Street Art vs. State Soap

Friday, 4. April 2014 19:15

By Andrew Hammond

Flickr/Darla Hueske [...]

Category:Art, Published articles 2014 | Comment (0) | Autor:

Qatar a year on: Still Ikhwanistan

Sunday, 16. February 2014 23:56

(from European Council on Foreign Relations webpage)

http://ecfr.eu/publications/summary/qatars_transition_like_father_like_son304

Qatar’s leadership transition: like father, like son [...]

Category:Published articles 2014 | Comments (1) | Autor:

The Iran deal: What it means for Saudi Arabia

Wednesday, 27. November 2013 6:06

(This was written for the European Council on Foreign Relations, appearing on its website)

Almost everyone is happy about the deal reached between United States and Iran. Turkey, which has been drawing close to Tehran of late, is sending its foreign minister there on Monday; Oman was the location secret U.S.-Iran talks in recent months, so must be happy; the UAE issued a statement welcoming the deal. The two naysayers were always Israel and Saudi Arabia. Israel has made plain its displeasure, while Saudi Arabia has maintained a royal silence. [...]

Category:Published articles - 2013 | Comment (0) | Autor:

Saudi Arabia: cultivating sectarian spaces

Friday, 15. November 2013 2:55

(Part of a European Council on Foreign Relations report, ‘The Gulf and Sectarianism’, published November 2013)

Sectarianism has long underpinned Saudi Arabia’s domestic and foreign policy, and it has proved to be a particularly effective tool in the government’s management of the Arab Awakening, the movement of protest and revolt that began in Tunisia in December 2010. Saudi Arabia deployed a sectarian narrative to describe the 2011 uprising in Bahrain, calling it an Iranian-backed movement of Shia empowerment that aimed to disenfranchise Sunnis, the “rightful” Islamic centre of which Riyadh sees itself as champion. Saudi Arabia readily applied this framework to the conflict in Syria as it developed later that same year: the government characterised it as a battle in which a majority Sunni population has had to defend itself from an alignment of deviant Islamic schools and ideologies that aim to subjugate Sunnis – an easy sell considering that Shia powers and actors, specifically Iran, Hezbollah, and Syria’s own Alawi community, have been the most prominent supporters of President Bashar al-Assad. [...]

Category:Published articles - 2013 | Comment (0) | Autor:

Syria and the Battle for Public Opinion

Tuesday, 8. October 2013 3:31

Russian president Vladimir Putin’s recent intervention in American politics with an article placed in The New York Times was possibly the most spectacular turn in an immense battle raging in parallel to the Syrian civil war over the past two years - a battle for control of the narrative. [...]

Category:Commentary | Comments (1) | Autor:

Violence in Egypt: Neither Algeria nor Syria

Tuesday, 16. July 2013 4:21

Whenever the spectre of a new rupture between the Egyptian ‘deep state’ and the Islamists comes up, the Algerian comparison inevitably rears its head. On the surface it makes sense, especially this time round: a mass Islamist movement is deprived of governing – a right it won through the standard democratic process – by a military and entrenched interests who cannot stomach the idea of such a change of order. The Islamists would cry foul and take to the hills vowing they will be back to wreak their terrible revenge. [...]

Category:Commentary | Comments (1) | Autor:

Qatar: For My Next Trick…

Sunday, 9. June 2013 19:25

Qatar coup stories are of course dime-a-dozen. Doha has many potential enemies, from Iran and pro-Assad groups, to anti-Muslim Brotherhood regimes like Saudi Arabia who are with Qatar in the anti-Assad camp. The latest in the rumour mill is a bit more intriguing – that the Emir could be preparing to transfer much if not most of his powers to the heir apparent Prince Tameem. [...]

Category:Commentary | Comment (0) | Autor: