Algeria: elections on 17 April

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The Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal resigned on 13 March to run the re-election campaign of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who has still not spoken in public since his stroke last year except to register his candidacy for the presidential election on 17 April. Campaigning starts officially on 23 March. Reuters comments that Sellal did …

The Qatar dispute, workers and football

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The article below published in the Huffington Post by James Dorsey of Singapore University explores the way that three controversial issues, all of which we have considered in recent postings, feed off each other: the row between Qatar and Saudi Arabia (supported by the UAE and Bahrain), the large number of expatriate workers in the …

Obesity

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is a worldwide problem, associated with increased wealth, changes in modern diet and lack of physical activity in a modern lifestyle. All of these factors are particularly evident in the Gulf region, where life has been transformed by the changes of the last two generations. They are compounded by other factors: the harsh climate and near-universal dependence on air conditioning …

Libya: Zaidan snaps

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First we thank former British ambassador Richard Dalton for a comment on our posting of 8 March in which we referred to Saadi Qadhafi’s "astonishing record of brutality", quoting a report by James Dorsey. Richard writes:
I think Dorsey overdoes the Saadi+brutality story. 
I don't know about after 2002, but before, he was not on the rampage.  The revenge …

Jordan and Palestine: rising temperature

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Following the problems at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem last month which caused the Jordanian Parliament to vote unanimously for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador (our posting of 1 March), tension has increased with the killing of a Jordanian judge by the Israeli Defence Forces. Ra’id Zuaitar is from a well-known family of Nablus in …

More on the GCC: Kuwait

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First we thank a former diplomat who served in Qatar for following comment on the article "Break Up in the Gulf" by Bilal Saab circulated in our posting of 9 March: "This must rank as the least accurate analysis of the current crisis that I have read in the last five days. I was …

Women

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The status, problems and progress of women in the Arab world are constantly in the media, rightly so. For example an article on 10 March in the Beirut Daily Star is headed "Arab world failing women in gender equality, education". It draws from a UNESCO report on gender imbalances in education across the globe:
‘“The Arab world is …

Qatar and Saudi Arabia

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The row over Qatar’s independent policy (considered in our posting of 6 March), in particular continuing support for the Muslim Brotherhood, continues. Neither side has given ground although the practical consequences are so far limited to shadow boxing. A report in the Doha News quotes an unnamed official “Qatar will not let go of …

Libya: holding on

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The Libyan government remains weak, and security is poor particularly in Cyrenaica and the south. On 2 March protesters broke up the General National Congress, which has been obliged to move to a hotel.  A Reuters report of 6 March is headed "Western countries alarmed as Libya slides towards chaos". BP has mothballed …

Peace talks: Netanyahu meets Obama

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The Israeli Prime Minister met President Obama on 3 March. Welcoming Netanyahu Obama spoke of Syria, Egypt and Iran, and then of the peace talks: “it is still possible to create two states, a Jewish state of Israel and a state of Palestine in which people are living side by side in peace and security.  But it’s difficult and it requires compromise on all sides.” Netanyahu said in his reply “you rightly said that Israel, the Jewish state, is the realization of the Jewish …