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Political Transitions in the Middle East
Key political, socioeconomic and cultural changes in the ME, from Mauritania to the Indian sub-continent.

This blog is curated by the Transitional Democracy in the Middle East Initiative at MEPF. Content, comments and insights on this blog do not reflect or represent the official position of MEPF and should not be considered under any circumstances as political and policy advice. All publication and idea rights belong to their respective owners. Republish, comment and distribute at your own discretion.
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Lebanon’s Taif Agreement Needs Revision

Lebanon’s Taif Agreement Needs Revision | Political Transitions in the Middle East | Scoop.it
The Taif Agreement is still the key to Lebanon’s political compact, although it should be reviewed and amended.
Middle East Prospects Forum's insight:

Hussein Itany and Hadi Fathallah on Lebanon's Taiif Agreement

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We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are | Political Transitions in the Middle East | Scoop.it
For centuries, governments told their soldiers and their people to “Know Your Enemy”. The problem with the Isis “Caliphate” – and it is a big problem for President Obama after journalist James Foley’s murder – is that we don’t know who it is. We are told of its butchery, cruelty, its kidnapping of women, its burying alive, its viciousness towards Christians and Yazidis and its public beheadings, but that is all. Even the Isis leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, comes across as a mad combination of the Mahdi who murdered Gordon of Khartoum, the assassinated Osama bin Laden and Oliver Cromwell, who did to the civilians of Drogheda what the Muslim Lord Protector al-Baghdadi has done to his enemies.
Middle East Prospects Forum's insight:

In the world of deception and "inception" we live in, who, does not matter that much

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Germany to Arm Kurds as Europe Shocked Into Helping Iraq

Germany to Arm Kurds as Europe Shocked Into Helping Iraq | Political Transitions in the Middle East | Scoop.it
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government cleared the way for Germany to supply Iraqis with weapons to fight Islamic State militants, dropping a post-World War II taboo on arms shipments to conflict areas.
Middle East Prospects Forum's insight:

Everyone wants a piece of the Kurdish/Iraqi Oil, even the Germans.

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The Middle East Unstitched

Middle East Prospects Forum's insight:

"It is easier to erect these divisions than tear them down, but the first step in doing so is to recognize that they represent a departure from history rather than a return to it. Recreating shared interests that cut across identities is an important step, and creating security for all is another. Sectarian difference isn’t new, but its overwhelming importance is. Allowing that difference to determine everything is not a return to the past but a step into a different—and likely more violent—future."

 

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Kurdistan in the making?

Kurdistan in the making? | Political Transitions in the Middle East | Scoop.it
Here's a guide for what you need to know about the Kurds, why the US is so eager to protect them, and how they got to this unique position within the Middle East.
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Gaza civilian death toll raises questions about Israeli military training

Gaza civilian death toll raises questions about Israeli military training | Political Transitions in the Middle East | Scoop.it
Experts ask whether poor soldiering skills and tactics are to blame, or if avoiding civilian casualties is just not a priority
Middle East Prospects Forum's insight:

It is either Israeli soldiers are ill-trained and do not know how to shoot, or are intentionally targeting civilians with massacres. 

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Who Is Behind Gaza's Mass Execution?

Who Is Behind Gaza's Mass Execution? | Political Transitions in the Middle East | Scoop.it
Piled in one room in a Gaza home are rotting bodies—and shell casings marked “IMI,” short for “Israel Military Industries.”
Middle East Prospects Forum's insight:

"I’m from a place that used to be called Khuzaa"

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Egypt’s looming energy crisis

Egypt’s looming energy crisis | Political Transitions in the Middle East | Scoop.it
After a decade of introspection, Europe is being forced to confront the instability on its borders, particularly to the east and the south. At least five deeply troubled states – Mali, Libya, Syria, Iraq and Ukraine – pose a diverse series of threats ranging from a flood of refugees to the radicalisation of individuals and terrorism, to the disruption of energy supplies.
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Oil and Why America Is Dropping Bombs to Defend Erbil

Oil and Why America Is Dropping Bombs to Defend Erbil | Political Transitions in the Middle East | Scoop.it
Why is the U.S. is dropping bombs to defend the Kurdish city, two and a half years after American troops left Iraq?
Middle East Prospects Forum's insight:

"Obama’s defense of Erbil is effectively the defense of an undeclared Kurdish oil state whose sources of geopolitical appeal—as a long-term, non-Russian supplier of oil and gas to Europe, for example—are best not spoken of in polite or naïve company, as Al Swearengen would well understand. Life, Swearengen once pointed out, is often made up of 'one vile task after another.' So is American policy in Iraq."

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Debunking the myths about Gaza: The truth behind Israeli and Palestinian talking points

Debunking the myths about Gaza: The truth behind Israeli and Palestinian talking points | Political Transitions in the Middle East | Scoop.it
Why this fight now? Who started it? What happened with the kidnapped Israeli teens? Getting to the bottom of myths
Middle East Prospects Forum's insight:

To the point:

 

"Whatever cease-fire terms end up being accepted by both sides will only matter in the short term. In the long term, only true justice (an end to Israel’s occupation and apartheid) can end this conflict. Here, the responsibility of American citizens is paramount: If we can end our government’s unconditional military and diplomatic support for Israel’s most destructive policies, or condition such support on Israel abiding by its legal and moral obligations, we can begin to work toward that real justice all Israelis and Palestinians deserve."

  
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Gaza civilians pay price of war

Gaza civilians pay price of war | Political Transitions in the Middle East | Scoop.it
Dozens of Palestinians wounded by Israeli bombings in Gaza are now seeking treatment at East Jerusalem hospitals.
Middle East Prospects Forum's insight:

These faces have life, are life.

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US supplies Israel with bombs amid Gaza blitz

US supplies Israel with bombs amid Gaza blitz | Political Transitions in the Middle East | Scoop.it
Pentagon says Israel allowed to tap local US arms stockpile in past week to resupply it with grenades and mortar rounds.
Middle East Prospects Forum's insight:

Why would a major army fighting an informal group of under-equipped organizations needs to be funded by another country?

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Kerry urges Hamas to accept Gaza truce offer

Kerry urges Hamas to accept Gaza truce offer | Political Transitions in the Middle East | Scoop.it
US secretary of state backs Egyptian plan as Israel says world must hold Hamas accountable for rejecting earlier offers.
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Iran: Dried out

Iran: Dried out | Political Transitions in the Middle East | Scoop.it
Farmers who worked the fertile lands around Isfahan have had to find a new way to make a living since the river at the heart of this Iranian city ran dry. Instead of raising and selling crops irrigated by the Zayandeh Roud, they are now paid to keep
Middle East Prospects Forum's insight:

Water, another source for more war.

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The Real Middle East Crisis Is Economic

 The region’s economic isolation is fueling political instability and violence.
Middle East Prospects Forum's insight:

"While Iraq’s chaos has many sources, the president is nevertheless on to something; and it’s not just Iraqi Sunnis, but the entire Middle East that is detached from the global economy."

 
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You might not have heard of the ‘Hannibal Protocol’, but it's behind one of Israel's worst atrocities yet

You might not have heard of the ‘Hannibal Protocol’, but it's behind one of Israel's worst atrocities yet | Political Transitions in the Middle East | Scoop.it
While Israel and Hamas are still looking for ways to end their Gaza war, the UN Human Rights Council has appointed a three-member panel to investigate allegations that humanitarian law was violated in the Gaza Strip during the fighting, in a manner that could amount to war crimes.
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Egypt: Stay Or Leave?

Egypt: Stay Or Leave? | Political Transitions in the Middle East | Scoop.it
Whenever something goes wrong or I miss an important meeting because I’m stuck in traffic, I find myself filled with an anger and rage so strong towards Egypt, the easiest party to blame. I find myself  facing a dilemma every single day about whether to stay or leave, wishing for a chance to flee the country …
Middle East Prospects Forum's insight:
The people and their hearts of gold
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Why Don't Palestinians Just Leave Gaza?

Why Don't Palestinians Just Leave Gaza? | Political Transitions in the Middle East | Scoop.it
As airstrikes have rained down on Gaza in recent weeks, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have been forced to flee their homes. Some received leaflets and phone calls from the Israeli army, urging them to evacuate ahead of fighting. Others simply...
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Israel Provoked This War

Israel Provoked This War | Political Transitions in the Middle East | Scoop.it
There seems to be near-universal agreement in the United States with President Barack Obama’s observation that Israel, like every other country, has the right and obligation to defend its citizens from threats directed at them from beyond its borders. But this anodyne statement does not begin to address the political and moral issues raised by...
Middle East Prospects Forum's insight:

"You cannot just land blows, leave the Palestinians in Gaza in the economic distress they are in and expect Hamas just to sit around and do nothing."


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The Women in a Morgue in Baghdad

The Women in a Morgue in Baghdad | Political Transitions in the Middle East | Scoop.it
An Iraqi prostitute, in a state of growing lawlessness, is a distinctly vulnerable figure.
Middle East Prospects Forum's insight:

The everyday story in Iraq

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Libyan police chief assassinated

Libyan police chief assassinated | Political Transitions in the Middle East | Scoop.it
Interior Ministry says Tripoli police chief killed by fighters after leaving a meeting in the Tajoura neighborhood.
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When the Son of Hamas Spied for Israel

When the Son of Hamas Spied for Israel | Political Transitions in the Middle East | Scoop.it
Code-named ‘The Green Prince,’ Mosab Hassan Yousef betrayed his father and passed intel from the highest echelons of Hamas to Israel’s internal intelligence agency.
Middle East Prospects Forum's insight:

How many princes are there out there?

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Israeli General: No Civilians in Gaza

Israeli General: No Civilians in Gaza | Political Transitions in the Middle East | Scoop.it
Says they're as guilty as Germans.
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How can journalists be objective when writing about dead children?

How can journalists be objective when writing about dead children? | Political Transitions in the Middle East | Scoop.it

""Giles Fraser: Loose canon: Being calmly rational about Gaza feels like a very particular form of madness. Journalism must convey the emotion too. (Warning: contains images some readers may find upsetting)

Middle East Prospects Forum's insight:

"I know, I know: this sort of emotion is not going to solve anything. But in the midst of unimaginable suffering, the idea of calm objectivity feels like a desperate attempt to maintain some thin veneer of civilisation protecting us from the total futility of it all. And when Netanyahu’s spokesman, Mark Regev, comes on the radio, intoning that false, calm sympathy straight out of the PR handbook, I want to scream. And the double frustration is that screaming is generally understood to be what you do when you have lost the argument. Whereas I can’t shake the feeling that, in these circumstances, screaming is the most rational thing to do.


Being calmly rational about dead children feels like a very particular form of madness. Whatever else journalistic objectivity is, it surely cannot be the elimination of human emotion. If we don’t recognise that, we are not describing the full picture."

 

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In a hospital. At the beach. Hamas, Israel tells us, is hiding among civilians

In a hospital. At the beach. Hamas, Israel tells us, is hiding among civilians | Political Transitions in the Middle East | Scoop.it
Richard Seymour: According to Israel, Hamas is cowardly and cynical
Middle East Prospects Forum's insight:

"They hid at the El-Wafa hospital.
They hid at the Al-Aqsa hospital.
They hid at the beach, where children played football.
They hid at the yard of 75-year-old Muhammad Hamad.
They hid among the residential quarters of Shujaya.
They hid in the neighbourhoods of Zaytoun and Toffah.
They hid in Rafah and Khan Younis.
They hid in the home of the Qassan family.
They hid in the home of the poet, Othman Hussein.
They hid in the village of Khuzaa.
They hid in the thousands of houses damaged or destroyed.
They hid in 84 schools and 23 medical facilities.
They hid in a cafe, where Gazans were watching the World Cup.
They hid in the ambulances trying to retrieve the injured.
They hid themselves in 24 corpses, buried under rubble.
They hid themselves in a young woman in pink household slippers, sprawled on the pavement, taken down while fleeing.
They hid themselves in two brothers, eight and four, lying in the intensive burn care unit in Al-Shifa.
They hid themselves in the little boy whose parts were carried away by his father in a plastic shopping bag.
They hid themselves in the “incomparable chaos of bodies” arriving at Gaza hospitals.
They hid themselves in an elderly woman, lying in a pool of blood on a stone floor.
Hamas, they tell us, is cowardly and cynical."

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Thousands flee Israeli shelling on east Gaza

Thousands flee Israeli shelling on east Gaza | Political Transitions in the Middle East | Scoop.it
People flee their homes by foot after heavy overnight bombardment killed dozens of Palestinians.
Middle East Prospects Forum's insight:

 This is Genocide.

 

"What [Palestinians] are [saying] is that how can the world accept the Israelis targeting civilians in an area which is completely shut off? There are no shelters, no early warning systems, no sirens. The population is basically completely naked to the enormously strong Israeli military machine."

 

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