The "conventional wisdom", as projected by some former U.S. officials and pro-Israel groups, is that Israelis will only make peace when they are given everything they want and feel secure. In fact, the opposite is true. It is only external pressure -- especially from the U.S. -- that historically has forced Israelis to make the right choice.
The savagery of ISIS, the slaughterhouse of Syria's civil war, the marauding militias in Libya and the restored autocracy in Egypt have devoured the hopes of the Facebook generation that spawned the Arab Spring. In Tunisia alone the spirit of the Jasmine Revolution still flowers. While the character of Tunisian society and culture has much to celebrate with its success, including just-completed peaceful elections that favored the main secular party, there is another factor: the absence of outside intervention, particularly from the West. In The WorldPost this week Rafik Abdessalem, Tunisia's former foreign minister, explains why despotism will never return to his country. Soumaya Ghannoushi argues that the many years that activists from the moderate Islamist Ennahdha Party spent in exile abroad taught them "the art of compromise and consensus, which may be the hallmark of the nascent Tunisian political model." Jonathan Labin, head of Middle East, Africa and Pakistan for Facebook, chronicles how the same social media that fomented political upheaval is now connecting young people in the region to jobs. (continued)
During times of conflict and political or religious civil unrest, the power of the human spirit's capacity for non-violent protest and kindness still shines through.
Let's give these pioneering women the respect that they deserve by acknowledging that the Arab world is in the middle of a paradigm shift and its women are, as a matter of fact, rising.
Should Israel and Hamas achieve their stated objectives, the relationship between Israel and the Palestinians, as a whole, will take a dramatically different turn, change the nature of the conflict, and substantially improve the prospect for peace. The question is: Will their political circumstances and the reality they face lead to such an outcome?
This week, Pope Francis sought to push ajar the heavy door of doctrine to accommodate the reality of modern families. In China, leaders of the Hong Kong Umbrella Movement sat down for talks with authorities while the Central Committee of the Communist Party in Beijing pondered how to move forward on "the rule of law." Elsewhere, in some good news, Nigeria cleared itself of Ebola. The fierce fight for Kobani continued as the western suburbs of Baghdad came under intense attack. Ukrainians head to the polls in the midst of a "frozen conflict" with Russia. In our monthly series from the Vatican, "Following Francis," Sebastien Maillard recounts the ups and downs of the synod on family and the Pope's efforts to outmaneuver conservatives among the assembled cardinals. (continued)
First, the simple declaration that one should not "dare" compare anything is disingenuous. One can and should "dare" to compare anything one wishes. This is called free speech. Of course, that does not mean one is right. It means one has issued an opinion.
John Kerry isn't doing himself any favors. When it comes to Israel, the Secretary of State may be remembered more for his gaffes than his accomplishme...
The key to untangling this mess and creating a series of tactical and strategic responses is to understand one basic truth: There are spirals of violence here that come from below, from the street, and spirals that come from above, from the state. Responses by citizens must undercut the violent spiral and address separately the state and the street.
This week, as Baghdad is under siege from within and Kobani is poised to fall to ISIS fighters, the question of "Who Lost Iraq?" is taking center stage. Many, including some former insiders, are quick to blame President Obama for pulling American troops out "too soon" -- despite the fact that the Iraq war wearily tested the sacrifice and patience of Americans longer than World War I and II combined. Obama was elected in the first place to end it all. The primary fault, more likely, lies with the blunt trauma to the region caused by the U.S. invasion and occupation in 2003, the unwise dismantling of the Iraqi army and the exclusion of Sunnis from post-Saddam power arrangements. A decade later, the counter-revolution is underway. In this contest, the reticent use of 21st century air power appears to be no match for the 17th century fervor of the Islamic State's boots on the ground. The French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy calls for the expulsion of modern day Turkey from NATO because of Turkey's willful abandonment of the Kurds in Kobani. Writing from Beirut, legendary former MI6 agent Alastair Crooke traces the appeal of ISIS today to the yearning for Islamic authority after the early 20th century demise of the Ottoman Caliphate. (continued)
It is nothing short of a travesty to allow another generation of Palestinians to grow up in a state of limbo, only so their corrupt leaders can ride on their backs and cry wolf about their plight while shamelessly enjoying the good life.
In his recent meeting with Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he was "committed to the vision of peace for two states for two peoples." That sounds nice. But if he'd been pressed, Netanyahu might have admitted that the two states he had in mind were Israel and the U.S., not Israel and Palestine.
After the collapse of the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks, in April, the July war on Gaza, the August drowning of hundreds trying to emigrate to Europe and the September war of words between their two major factions, Palestinians welcomed this week a series of unexpectedly good news.
We stand together, but we know that our interwoven lives require a recognition of independent dignity. So too must Palestinians claim their own way forward, perhaps gleaning from the current moment in Ferguson (and Hong Kong) alternatives to violence.
Respectfully, Mr. Secretary General, in that one sentence, in those 39 words, you have illustrated, I believe, a fundamental misreading of the actual situation, both past and present.
While it is important to be well-read and keep up with the news, it can be equally important to make sure the news stories mean something to you personally.