By Jaya Ramachandran | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
BERLIN (IDN) - The eminent Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has revived the issue of a Middle East nuclear weapon-free zone (NWFZ), first proposed in 1962. Discussions on the subject have been frozen since the last quarter of 2012, when a planned United Nations conference on the region came to naught in the face of Israel’s opposition.
In fact, if further proliferation is to be prevented in the Middle East, and regional security enhanced, “now is the time to convene the conference mandated by the 2010 NPT Review Conference,” says Tariq Rauf in an essay posted on the SIPRI website.
By Ismail Serageldin* | IDN-InDepth NewsEssay
This is the last of a three-part series reflecting on the third anniversary of the Egyptian Revolution of January 25, 2011, launched by millions of people from a variety of socio-economic and religious backgrounds, demanding the overthrow of the regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who had been at the helm of affairs since 1981. Click here to read part one and part two.
ALEXANDRIA (IDN) - In its hour of anger and loss, Egypt is turning to General Abdel Fattah El Sissi, who has just been given the title of Field Marshal, and who is leaving his post as head of the Armed Forces to become a candidate for the presidency under the newly approved constitution. Barring some totally unforeseeable event, it is a foregone conclusion that he will sweep the polls in a landslide. He will become Egypt’s next elected president.
By Ismail Serageldin* | IDN-InDepth NewsEssay
This is the second of a three-part series reflecting on the third anniversary of the Egyptian Revolution of January 25, 2011, launched by millions of people from a variety of socio-economic and religious backgrounds, demanding the overthrow of the regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who had been at the helm of affairs since 1981. Click here to read part one.
ALEXANDRIA (IDN) - Whether or not those who control political power wanted it, they now find themselves at the helm of an increasingly autocratic and repressive regime. That paves the way to dictatorship. Dictators are sometimes claimed to be enlightened despots, but to me the emphasis has to be on the word despot. Despotism is the opposite of democracy, and it has never been compatible with respect of human rights. Soon the autocratic regime throws its net wider, captures more and more of the opposition that it can label as terrorists or terrorist-sympathizers. Soon all opposition is suspect.
By Ismail Serageldin* | IDN-InDepth NewsEssay
This is the first of a three-part series reflecting on the third anniversary of the Egyptian Revolution of January 25, 2011, launched by millions of people from a variety of socio-economic and religious backgrounds, demanding the overthrow of the regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who had been at the helm of affairs since 1981.
ALEXANDRIA (IDN) - January 25 was the third anniversary of the Egyptian revolution. A milestone that calls for reflection on those three years of chaotic action, great moments, dashed dreams, big achievements, sacrifice and betrayal, and all the components of a human drama of the highest order. Tumultuous times, historic hours… greatness achieved, then lost, retrieved and lost again in the fog of uncertainty as the elusive dream of building our new republic on an inclusive society and a system of laws seems to be overtaken by an active war on terror.
By Hossein Valeh* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
TEHRAN (IDN) - Saudi Arabia is the name of both a society and a government. In fact, it stands for a very traditional, closed, and semi-tribal society, which is prone to very profound and increasing conflicts while being impregnated with a host of potential changes. The existing conflicts can be divided into three major categories:
1. Cultural conflicts: This group contains those conflicts, which are mostly pivoted around the two main axes of religious bigotry as opposed to religious liberalism. The outcome of such conflicts is emergence or religious divides in the society;
2. Economic conflicts: Such conflicts usually exist between the poor and the affluent classes in any society and, in turn, have their root in the divide that exists between the ruling elite and people as a result of which certain social classes are marginalized; and
3. Political conflicts: These conflicts are usually due to an ongoing competition for grasping more power within the political structure of the country. In fact, their main cause is the power struggle, which has been institutionalized within a profoundly traditional and very old patriarchal system of government which makes up the petrified organization of Saudi monarchy.
By Manish Rai* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
NEW DELHI (IDN) - It is hard to imagine that representatives of the 30 countries that assembled in Geneva actually believed that they could find a political solution to the ongoing three year old Syrian civil war. Given the differing strategic interests in Syria of the powers within and outside the region, reaching a consensus to end the crisis at this juncture is beyond the realm of possibility.
After the first round of Geneva II negotiations between the warring sides mediated by Lakhdar Brahimi adjourned without concrete results achieved, the second round resumed but saw little rift healed so far. The Syrian opposition coalition has no unity. A big part of its components withdrew from the coalition protesting the Geneva talks and the rest does not fully represent the Syrian people. And most armed rebel groups now are Islamist in character. They are fighting for Sharia law, not democracy, the objective of the peace process sponsored by the US and Britain.
By Bernard Schell | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
ABU DHABI (IDN) - Internet is known to have played a crucial role in the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ aimed at overthrowing autocratic regimes and ushering in opportunities for majority of the people to shape their own future. Now a new World Bank report reveals that the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries lag behind other regions in use of a technology that is as crucial as the steam engine was as a driving force behind the Industrial Revolution.
But there is no need to despair. “The Middle East and North Africa region has been the cradle of science and technology and can again use modern technology to address the contemporary problems faced by the region,” says Inger Andersen, World Bank Vice President for the MENA region. "We at the World Bank Group are committed to working closely with all countries in MENA to improve access and quality of broadband internet connection.”
By Brian M. Downing* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
TEHRAN (IDN) - The Iraqi province of Anbar, which lies to the west of Baghdad and leads to the border with Syria, has been the scene of momentous historical events over the last decade. It was the site of fierce resistance to US forces and later a short-lived alliance between the insurgents and the US. Today Anbar is the site of Sunni opposition to the Shia government in Baghdad and of al Qaeda organizations that are fighting Shia governments in both Syria and Iraq. Initial stages of the campaign for Anbar are underway in the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi, with broader operations to follow for weeks if not months to come.
By Pir-Mohammad Mollazehi* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
TEHRAN (IDN) - In what way is the oil wealth of the Arab countries being spent? Is that wealth being used to promote sustainable social, cultural, political and economic development in Arab countries and, thus, plays a positive role in the life and livelihood of the Arab masses? Or is it being used in the opposite direction and is actually destroying the entire infrastructure in the Arab world, and instead of being a silver bullet for the maladies of the Arab countries, is only a scourge?
It is not easy to pass a simple judgment on this issue and many positive or negative arguments can be offered here. However, if the current conditions in the Arab world are examined more closely, especially after the political developments that have come to be known as the Arab Spring, one can, at least, claim that more than being a cure to their intractable ailments, the Arab oil wealth has been a scourge in disguise.
By Hiba Zayadin* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
CAIRO (IDN) - The first step in General Abdel Fattah El-Sisi's roadmap to “democracy” has been implemented. A new charter has replaced the 2012 constitution drafted during former President Mohamed Morsi's short-lived presidency giving Sisi the legitimacy he seeks to strengthen the army's grip on Egypt's political system. Over 98% of participants voted in favour of approving the new constitution. According to officials, the voter turnout was 38.6% of the Egyptian population – higher than the 33% who voted on the constitution presented during Morsi's tenure.
There was little doubt the new military-backed constitution would pass. On the first day of the voting process, polling stations featured women ululating in celebration, Egyptian flags being waved, and soldiers carrying flowers handed to them by people displaying their support for the army.
By Said Khaloozadeh* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
TEHRAN (IDN) - Every time that the European Union (EU) has established an independent diplomatic mission in a country, it has been construed as a sign of the willingness of the EU member states to promote their relations with that country. Therefore, it seems that the European Union has decided to improve and promote the level of its relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
In order to achieve that goal, one good way is to open an independent embassy in the Iranian capital city of Tehran. This will also open the way for future negotiations between the two sides on the conclusion of a bilateral trade and cooperation agreement, and will also help Tehran and the EU to further strengthen their mutual relations. The next stage will be the opening of an independent embassy by the Islamic Republic of Iran in the seat of the EU in the Belgian capital city of Brussels, which will be a further sign of improvement in bilateral relations