Middle East

Jordan’s Security is at the Mercy of Foreign Powers

How the Trump administration chooses to roll out its peace plan, and whether Netanyahu decides to start annexing parts of the West Bank, could have major repercussions for Jordan. Seth J. Frantzman The National Interest Jordan’s King Abdullah II travelled to Assisi in Italy to receive a reward for his efforts to advance peace on March 29. He said that it was essential the international community understand the importance Jordan puts on being the custodian of Jerusalem’s Islamic and Christian ... Read More »

Peace hopes suffer setback as Taliban-Afghan talks derailed

Hopes for a breakthrough in a push to end Afghanistan’s grueling conflict suffered a major setback on April 19 after a key summit between the Taliban and Afghan officials was indefinitely postponed. Doha Hurriyet The so-called intra-Afghan dialogue, due to take place in Doha this weekend, fell apart at the last minute in a row over the large number of delegates Kabul wanted to send. The collapse comes at a critical time and amid continued bloodshed. The Taliban now control or influence about half of Afghanistan ... Read More »

Hard Truths in Syria

America Can’t Do More With Less, and It Shouldn’t Try Over the last four years, I helped lead the global response to the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS)—an effort that succeeded in destroying an ISIS “caliphate” in the heart of the Middle East that had served as a… Brett McGurk Foreign Affairs Working as a special envoy for U.S. Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, I helped establish a coalition that was the largest of its kind in history: ... Read More »

Bahrain revokes citizenship of 138 people in mass trial

(CNN)Bahrain has revoked the nationality of 138 people convicted of terrorism in a mass trial, according to the kingdom’s state news agency. By Nada Altaher, CNN The Bahrain News Agency citing Advocate General Ahmed al-Hammadi reported Tuesday that the High Criminal Court also sentenced 69 terror suspects to life in prison. Thirty-nine of the defendants received sentences up to 10 years, while 23 received 7-year terms. The remainder received up to 5 years. The defendants were accused of attempting to form ... Read More »

Istanbul’s new mayor pleads for unity as AKP seethes

Thousands of citizens waving Turkish flags clapped and cheered outside Istanbul’s city hall as the new mayor, Ekrem Imamoglu, appealed for a new era of peace and unity in Turkey’s largest city. Amberin Zaman Al-Monitor “Leave behind your quarrels, let’s think positive,” Imamoglu pleaded, his voice hoarse from months of campaigning, as he pledged to serve all of Istanbul’s 16 million-plus residents without discrimination. “Greeks, Armenians, Jews, I salute you all,” he said. “This city will be women-friendly.” Imamoglu delivered a ... Read More »

Mythbusting with the Grand Mufti: Australia’s Muslim leader answers your questions

You asked, he answered. The Grand Mufti of Australia and New Zealand Ibrahim Abu Mohamed answers some of the most commonly asked questions about Islam, including views on homosexuality and Jihad. Fares Hassan SBS Reporter Fares Hassan sat down with the Grand Mufti to address what he calls “misconceptions” associated with the religion of Islam. The questions were some of the most commonly asked by commenters on the… Q: You are the Mufti of Australia, why don’t you speak English? ... Read More »

Picturing Aden’s Fragile Recovery

After visiting Aden with a Crisis Group team doing field research and advocacy in Yemen’s interim capital, our Yemen expert Peter Salisbury shares his images of a city struggling to get back on its feet nearly four years after Huthi forces were pushed out. Peter Salisbury ICG Four years after war reached and devastated Aden, Yemen’s southern port city is finally experiencing a fragile recovery. The battle for Aden was pivotal in the early struggle for Yemen in 2015, when ... Read More »

‘Now your life can start again’: Sharrouf children finally reunited with Sydney grandma

The orphaned children of notorious Islamic State terrorist Khaled Sharrouf have been reunited with their grandma Karen Nettleton. SBS A harrowing five-year journey came to an end when a Sydney grandma was finally reunited with her surviving grandchildren and great-grandchildren – the children of former IS fighter Khaled Sharrouf. ABC’s Four Corners captured the moment Karen Nettleton saw Zaynab, Hoda and Humzeh Sharrouf and her two great-grandchildren for the first time since they were taken by their mother, Tara Nettleton, to… ‘Now ... Read More »

Ending the Yemen Quagmire: Lessons for Washington from Four Years of War

Two successive U.S. administrations have backed the Saudi-led coalition’s intervention in Yemen, helping deepen the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. ICG Congress should continue pressing the White House to end this support, while working to strengthen its war powers role in the future. What’s new? By lending limited support to the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen, the U.S. became complicit in a man-made humanitarian disaster. Washington sought to protect its own regional interests, shape coalition tactics and broker peace – but ... Read More »

The Roots of Right-Wing Dominance in Israel

Most commentators have focused on Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s personal qualities to explain what looked to many to be an unlikely election victory. Shlomo Avineri Project Syndicate But there are important structural reasons for Likud’s durability in power, and a strong economy is just the start. JERUSALEM – Binyamin Netanyahu’s latest electoral success, winning a fifth term as Israel’s prime minister, is by any measure a remarkable achievement for him and his right-wing Likud party. Serious corruption charges did ... Read More »

Yemen Cannot Afford to Wait

The scars in the country run deep – and the U.S. shares responsibility. ICG For an American who had a hand in shaping U.S. Mideast policy during the Barack Obama years, coming to Yemen has the unpleasant feel of visiting the scene of a tragedy one helped co-write. It is a scene whose most heartrending aspects are not easily accessible to a visitor. It is still possible to travel north, to the war-battered capital, Sanaa, now controlled by the Houthi ... Read More »

Israel faces old reality of Benjamin Netanyahu victory anew

Israel’s general election has put Prime Minister Netanyahu on track for a record fifth term in office, but not everybody is celebrating. Dana Regev (Haifa) Deutsche Welle The vote reflects a deep societal divide. Dana Regev reports from Haifa. The day after Israel’s general election, it’s hard to say the country has woken up to the dawn of a new day. In the northern port city of Haifa — known for its mixed Arab-Jewish population and left-leaning tendencies — the ... Read More »

Turkey’s Erdoğan sticks with Putin, defies U.S.

Another month, another meeting between Erdoğan and Putin. Dimitar Bechev Ahval We have grown accustomed to this double act. From Syria, to Europe’s energy geopolitics, to what pundits label “the rise of illiberalism”, the two strongmen roll on and on, to the consternation of European Union and U.S. policymakers. Monday’s summit in Moscow gave Erdoğan an opportunity to strike a defiant pose vis-à-vis America. He declared, for the umpteenth time, that Turkey’s purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile defence system was ... Read More »

Israel election: Netanyahu and Gantz on course for dead heat

Israel’s general election is on course for a dead heat with nearly all votes counted, local media report. BBC Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party and the centrist Blue and White alliance are projected to win 35 seats each with most votes counted. The outcome puts Mr Netanyahu in a strong position to form a right-wing coalition government. No party has ever won a majority in Israel’s parliament and the country has always had coalition governments. Exit polls had predicted ... Read More »

It Is Time to Revise Russia–Turkey Relations for a More Stable Future

With ongoing debates on Russian-made S-400 deliveries to Turkey, fate of continuing cooperation of Russia, Turkey and Iran in Syria and future of Ankara’s relations with the European Union and NATO, it is high time to make an honest review of Russian-Turkish relations, define weaknesses of bilateral cooperation and try to sketch a framework for a… Timur Akhmetov ModernDiplomacy Inspection of historical legacy and nature of current ties may be of big value for those who want to grasp contours ... Read More »

The oil and gas of Lebanon tempts the appetite of its neighbours

With three fronts potentially encroaching on its oil and gas-rich waters, Lebanon has few options for international arbitration. TRTworld Lebanon has 95.9 trillion cubic feet of gas and 865 million barrels of oil in just 45 percent of its economic waters; enough to ignite the closed Mediterranean region. To the south, its neighbour Israel claims ownership of 860km of the exclusive economic zone of Lebanon, to the north Syria is drowning in war, then there is Cyprus, which is lost ... Read More »