America: love and hate

America: love and hate America is both loved and hated in the Arab world and Iran. Loved for the progress it stands for including material development and non-material values from education to accountable government, hated for its political and military interventions nearly always ending in tears through the law of unintended consequences.

Palestine: talks to begin

Palestine: talks to begin Following initial meetings in Washington last month what Reuters calls “the real discussions” start today 14 August “with Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni facing Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat in Jerusalem’s King David Hotel.

The Palestine negotiations

The Palestine negotiations With peace talks due to begin the Israeli cabinet is reported to have authorised extra subsidies for a number of Jewish settlements, including three formerly classified as “illegal outposts” that were recognised last year, Bruchin, Rachelim and Sansana.

Gaza: primed to explode

Gaza: primed to explode Recent political developments have greatly complicated the situation in Gaza, controlled by Hamas. Hamas has long been viewed as part of a “rejection front”, a Sunni partner in tactical and political alliance with Iran and Hizbullah, and in a fuller and more natural partnership with the Muslim Brotherhood. Muslim Brotherhood ascendancy …

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Palestine: blood, sweat and Indyk

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.

Kerry announces talks

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

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).


Sinai The Sinai peninsula, largely desert and containing areas of impassable mountains, separates Egypt of the Nile Valley from the countries of the Levant. It is Egyptian territory and has a population of about half a million, largely Bedouin tribes. On the eastern side it borders Israel and Gaza.

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