Qatar: no U-turns, no surprises Since our posting of 2 July Qatar under the new ruling Amir Tamim bin Hamad has taken no striking initiatives, though it has shown no sign of withdrawing from the forward foreign policies of the previous Amir Hamad bin Khalifa.
Arab Digest Newsletter
Arab Digest Newsletter Archive
Syria: digging in Reuters reports that “Syrian troops drove insurgents from a central district of Homs on [29 July], tightening their siege on remaining rebel bastions in the city, which links Damascus to the Mediterranean heartland of President Bashar al-Assad’s Alawite sect.
Egypt: slipping under? The deaths of scores of protesters in Cairo on 27 July (65 according to the government, over 100 according to most estimates) have raised the crisis to a new level. As we write (morning of 28 July) the confrontation in the streets is not over.
Kuwait: elections again With all its weaknesses, the Kuwaiti parliamentary system is the most democratic in the Arab Gulf monarchies. Parliament can pass legislation and interrogate ministers, but parliaments have repeatedly been dissolved after challenging governments.
Palestine: blood, sweat and Indyk One week after the announcement by John Kerry that Saeb Erekat and Tzipi Livni “will be joining me in Washington to begin initial talks within the next week or so” neither appears to have commented.
Hizbullah: tiling the sea Our posting of 11 June outlined the formation of Hizbullah in the early 1980s to resist the Israeli occupation and the two roles it now claims, championing the Shia in Lebanese politics and defending Lebanon against Israeli aggression.
Egypt: the wider picture The rise and fall of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt will have wider repercussions in the Arab world and its relations with America and other outside powers. Commentators in the Arab media are having a field day propagating theories and conspiracy theories.
Kerry announces talks The US Secretary of State John Kerry announced on 19 July as he concluded his sixth quickfire visit to the region that “we have reached an agreement that establishes a basis for resuming direct final status negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis…
Jordan: the impact of Egypt Well over half a million refugees from Syria are placing an enormous burden on Jordan’s resources. This follows the impact of refugees from Iraq after the 2003 invasion, reportedly about three quarters of a million (Jordan’s population is just over 6 million).
Tunisia Tunisia has been experiencing relative calm following the dramatic events of the Arab spring; as usual news in the English-language media is sparse.