Are you awake yet Mr. President?

Because you see. Mr. President, the world is not exactly standing still while you revel in “thy golden slumber,” and it does not stand still while your learn your way around. Realities in that little piece of dysfunctional paradise, AKA, the Middle East, continue to shift, and guess what? As they do so, they make a mockery out of the very principles you espouse.

Engagement you say? “Engage this!” they say. Continue reading

Middle Eastern Realities! (1)

Every new conflict in the region becomes inextricably linked to the ongoing Arab-Israeli Conflict as well as western imperialism in the discourse and tactics employed by the various regional actors invovled, who are often more interested in prolonging the said conflict. Festering old wounds are always a good distraction from developing new ones. However, the real panacea here does not lie in treating the causes of one set of wounds at the expense of another, as so many experts end up recommending, but in tackling the real issues involved: the development and democracy gaps. Any realism that attempts a song-and-dance around these issues represent nothing more than a cop-out mechanism, a running away from the real challenges ahead, and will only make the problems worse in the not-too-distant future. For things are moving at a much faster pace than they used to, and any problem that gets neglected today will haunt us all in the near morrow.

Should The United States Engage Syria? A Saban Center Policy Forum Debate

The Saban Center for Middle East Policy hosted a debate on October 23, 2006 between Joshua Landis, assistant professor at the University of Oklahoma, and Ammar Abdulhamid, a Saban Center Nonresident Fellow, on whether the United States should engage with Syria. Martin S. Indyk, Director of the Saban Center, formerly Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs and twice U.S. Ambassador to Israel, and Tamara Cofman Wittes, Saban Center Research Fellow and Director of the Arab Democracy and Development Program, chaired the event. Continue reading

The Slide!

Signs continue to bode ill for the future of regional peace and stability. Indeed, it now seems more likely that the recent terrorist attack against the US embassy in Damascus has actually been real, not staged. But note that the Syrian authorities no longer link the attack to Jund al-Sham, the bogus group indirectly set up and “cleverly” manipulated by the Syrian military security apparatus over the last few years. Rather, the attack is now attributed to a new group of Syrian expatriates who have recently returned from Saudi Arabia, with the ideas of a certain unnamed Saudi cleric filling their heads. Continue reading

The Historic Opportunity!

What is this historic opportunity that Nasrallah is speaking of? Is it the ability to “free our people and every inch of our land?” Or is it that lingering dream/desire to see Israel destroyed and brought to its knees? For once “the Israeli people lose their confidence in their weak and decrepit army, the foundation of the Israeli state will collapse.” Continue reading

Blogging and the Future of Democracy in the Arab World!

The following is a summary of a talk I recently gave at a State Department conference on Blogging and Democracy. I thought it would e of some interest here.

Many people across the world are still dubious of the possible avenues and channels for communications and expression that blogging can pave. But that is not surprising really. People have given a similar lukewarm response to the Internet itself at one point, not too long ago. But who can dispute the power and impact of the internet now? Continue reading