By Eric Walberg* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
TORONTO (IDN) - The builders of Gaza’s Ark hope to bring Gazan goods to the world. The latest plan to try to break the illegal siege of Gaza, according to organizer Michael Coleman at June 9 press conference in the port of Gaza, is to refurbish their very second-hand fishing boat, fill it with Gazan products (date products, embroidery, craft items and more) and sail to another Mediterranean port, like any normal exporter.
By Fahad Nazer* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
WASHINGTON (IDN | Yale Global) - Thanks to the bountiful oil under its desert sands and an equally plentiful supply of foreign labour – skilled and non-skilled – Saudi Arabia has enjoyed a booming economy. Prices of crude oil, nearly $100 a barrel for two years running, have largely spared Saudi Arabia the ill effects of the economic downturn that stalled many nations across the globe.
Thanks to the prosperity, the kingdom has also survived, relatively unscathed, the seismic events of the Arab Spring, spurred in large part by feelings of economic deprivation and political marginalization among Arab youths.
By Bernhard Schell | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
BRUSSELS (IDN) - Hundreds of Palestinian homes and structures have been bulldozed and approvals for illegal settlements have increased despite the 27-nation European Union (EU) asking Israel to stop settlement expansion, forced displacement, and demolition of Palestinian property in an unprecedented statement one year ago, says a new report.
EU foreign ministers adopted on May 14, 2012 some of the most extensive and far-reaching recommendations on the issue of the Israeli policies in the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT). In particular, the EU ministers approved specific recommendations for developing Area C which constitutes 60 percent of the West Bank and falls under full Israeli military and civil control. An estimated 150,000 Palestinians live there among 325,000 Israelis living in settlements that are illegal under international law.
By Antonio C. S Rosa* | IDN-InDepth NewsReport
An international peace mission visited Damascus from May 1 to 11 wading through a labyrinth of multi-layered domestic and foreign political, economic and religious interests constituting the backbone of persistent half-truths about a rather intricate situation in Syria whose worst victims are ordinary and peace-loving people. Following are excerpts from an extensive report by the editor of peace journalism website TRANSCEND Media Service (TMS).
PORTO (IDN) - It was disconcerting coming into the country for the first time knowing what I thought I knew and seeing a calm, positive demeanour in people, which could well be misconstrued as apathy, yet exhibiting expectant, concerned, awaiting eyes and facial expressions.
By Eric Ruder* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
CHICAGO (IDN) - Israel carried out two major rounds of air strikes on Syria in the span of 48 hours in the opening days of May, raising the prospect of a wider war in the Middle East. The second and larger of the two attacks targeted a mountainside military complex that overlooks Damascus, turning the night skies into day, according to witnesses.
By Jayantha Dhanapala* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint
KANDY (IDN) - The two-year-old conflict in Syria rages on with the embattled dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad and his Ba’ath Party withstanding the attacks of a motley group of rebels supported by the West and by the money bag monarchies of Saudi Arabia and Qatar with Israel not far behind. Dictatorships - whether unelected, elected or inherited – are of course unacceptable in this day and age when the palpable consent of a sovereign people is paramount for the governance of independent countries. However, no regime change by self-appointed guardians of democracy from abroad can replace a genuine movement for change by the people, of the people and for the people.
By Baher Kamal* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint
CAIRO (IDN) - Not that nuclear issues are an actual source of concern to Egyptian citizens. They are deeply worried about their present and immediate future now that inter-religious violence is on the rise, triggering a dangerous, growing insecurity amidst an overwhelming popular discontent with President Mohamed Morsi's regime. Simply put, there is too much frustration and deception here to think of nukes.
Nevertheless, it is also a fact that the governments of Arabs countries in general, and in the Gulf region in particular – following reported U.S. political pressures – have lately been expressing increasing fear of Iran's nuclear programme and therefore focusing, again, on nukes.
By Ernest Corea* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
WASHINGTON DC (IDN) – The party has ended, and the hubbub of nice sounding words and phrases has receded into personal and institutional memory. There are other issues calling for urgent attention, including the dangerous war talk from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, better known as North Korea.)
For all that, President Barack Obama’s March 2013 visit to the Middle East was, say those who were on the spot, nice while it lasted. Even the rockets fired by Hamas operatives from beleaguered Gaza into Israel and carefully directed not to create excessive damage during Obama’s visit failed to spoil the mood.
By: Patrick Johnson* | IDN-InDepth NewsReport
TORONTO (IDN | Geopoliticalmonitor.com) - South Sudan may have taken most of Sudan’s known energy reserves with it when it voted for independence in 2011, but that doesn’t mean Khartoum has given up on keeping Sudan in the mix of Africa’s key energy players. Eyeing a bounce back, Sudan has been courting energy companies worldwide with the promise of untapped resources in Sudan. And given the relatively raw nature of these unexplored blocks, the strategy could conceivably bear fruit over the medium term.
By Sharon Dolev* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint
BINYAMINA-GIV'AT ADA (IDN) - Around the world, when it comes to nuclear weapons, it is a well know “secret” that Israel is a Nuclear Armed State. Just like India and Pakistan, Israel has developed a nuclear arsenal, but unlike the two, Israel’s arsenal remains a secret. Israel doesn’t talk about its arsenal and usually, doesn’t take part in any international or regional discourse about it.
By Ernest Corea* | IDN-InDepth News Analysis
WASHINGTON DC (IDN) - Anniversaries are usually treated as occasions for celebration. They are given special names as in “golden” for a fiftieth anniversary and “tin” for a tenth. Goodwill is in the air, food and drinks are brought out, and “don’t worry, be happy” is the overarching theme for all concerned. Not so in contemporary Iraq, where the tenth anniversary of the US invasion of that country fell on March 19, 2013. The event was not commemorated with joyous activity. Instead, murder and mayhem prevailed.
International news agencies reported that Baghdad was wracked by death and destruction on the tenth anniversary of the invasion. Over 50 people were reported dead in a wave of bombings that ripped through the capital and its environs.