MideastWeb Middle East Web Log
Monday, September 29, 2008
Israeli-Palestinian Peace - Going noplace?
Everyone except Zippy Tzipi Livni is pretty much agreed that the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is going no place. Several articles have predicted that when the "deadline" for concluding a shelf agreement, or forming a Palestinian state, or whatever that deadline was, has passed at the end of the year, a third Palestinian Intifada may break out (see for example here and here). In the United States, George Bush is winding down his presidency. In Israel, Tzipi Livni is trying to form a government and in the Palestinian Authority it is not certain who will govern and what the status of the government will be after January 2009, when most Palestinians believe that Mahmoud Abbas's term as president will have expired. . [more]
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
In Defense of Indian Secularism
I write this from New Delhi, which has just borne witness to five massive bomb blasts in which dozens were killed and scores more injured. The bombings were the work of a group calling itself the Indian Mujahideen (IM). The callousness of their act was also witnessed by the fact that amongst those targets selected was a children's park. In the aftermath of the bombings, tensions between Muslims and the proverbial "other" is understandably tense. These tensions are being exploited by certain Hindu fundamentalists allied to the Bharata Janata Party (BJP). Neither is this the only cleavage in Indian society. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati has noted that Christians in BJP-ruled States were feeling insecure as a result of the attacks on their churches in places like Orissa, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. It almost seems as if one fundamentalism feeds the flames of other fundamentalisms. In this religious fundamentalists, whatever their religious persuasion, have far more in common than those who recognize the reality of India as an ethnically and religiously diverse country and therefore who aspire for a secular state in which all may practice their cultural and religious beliefs freely. [more]
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Devil's advocate: New Elections in Israel
Tzipy Livni has evidenlty just become head of Israel's Kadima party (pending finalization of eleciton results) and has a chance, at least, to form a moderate government that will pursue the peace process. For those who support peace, the sensible course would seem to be to support Livni. [more]
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Lessons of 9-11
The tragic terror attacks of September 11, 2001 should, at least, have been a learning experience. But the high tuition has not generated much wisdom. [more]
Monday, September 8, 2008
Everybody loves the Hamas
It seems that everybody, almost, loves the Hamas and is showering it with gifts. This might be surprising, since Hamas is a genocidal, racist terrorist group which continues to be an avowed enemy of the peace process, and which took power illegally in a bloody coup. But in the Middle East, that sort of thing seems to work pretty well.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Middle East: Hungry and Angry
There is undoubtedly a looming food crisis in the Middle East (see for example here and here for similar Israeli and Lebanese views.) Food prices will continue to rise, Middle East population increase will continue to outstrip the capacity to feed it, and water will not be more plentiful. Add to that the immediate prospect of rising unemployment due to worsening world economic conditions and you have a very volatile mix. The problem is not limited to the Middle East. It affects Africa, South America and south Asia as well - the entire world poverty belt, and it is not really a new problem. In fact, the major ingredients of catastrophe have been in place for years, and should have been evident to everyone, yet nobody raised a warning flag until now. Economics is a generally boring and discouraging subject. It is only of political interest when the disaster is upon us and nothing can really be done to stop it. [more]
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