Kuwait; new thinking and the Muslim Brotherhood

Posted on Tags ,

Recent developments in the region (Egypt, Syria, Iran) have called for new thinking in the Gulf states, most of which are not well adapted for new thinking. Kuwait has a more open political system than most, though it does not habitually aspire to a leading role. The Amirs of Kuwait and Qatar met King …

Tunisia: stalling

Posted on Tags

The transitional government headed by Ennahda is likely to resign in response to nationwide strikes, protests and uprisings and to be replaced by a transitional caretaker government, probably in a long-drawn out process of protest and negotiation. Negotiations have started between the two main political parties, Ennahda and the opposition Nida Tunis (Call for Tunis). A

Afghanistan: final negotiations continue

Posted on Tags

John Kerry announced on 20 November that the US and Afghanistan had reached agreement on a Bilateral Security Agreement (NATO and other countries are not directly involved) after international combat troops withdraw, and that the deal would be presented to the Loya Jirga, the assembly of about 2,500 Afghan tribal leaders expected to last about four days, on 21 November for their approval. A report in the Los Angeles Times headed “Kerry announces US-Afghan security agreement” gives details of exchanges leading up to the agreement …

Morocco: not a problem country?

Posted on Tags ,

News from Morocco tends to be dominated on the one hand by the decades-old feud with Algeria over the Western Sahara (see for example the headlines listed on the allAfrica website), and on the other by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) (see for example the headlines listed on the US-backed Magharebia

Libya at the crossroads

Posted on Tags

For the first time since the revolution and liberation of 2011 the latent conflict between opposing militias has broken out into fighting on the streets of Tripoli in which scores of people have been killed. On 16 November the government announced a State of Emergency in Tripoli following clashes between rival militias which left at least 43 …

Turkey and the Kurds

Posted on Tags

On 16 November the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan welcomed the leader of Iraqi Kurdistan Masud Barzani in a ground-breaking visit to the Kurdish heartland of Diyarbakir in south-eastern Turkey. In unprecedented conciliatory language both leaders called for peace between Turks and Kurds. However the ceasefire between Kurdish PKK fighters inside Turkey called by the …

France, Iran and the Arabs

Posted on Tags ,

When the P5 +1 talks with Iran ended on 9 November without full agreement (but with agreement to resume on 20 November) the media reported a split between France and the other Western powers, although this was not confirmed in statements by John Kerry, William Hague, Catherine Ashton etc. The French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told …

Egypt: steadying

Posted on Tags

Little recent violence has been reported in Egypt. Standard & Poor’s has raised its sovereign credit rating for Egypt to B-/B from CCC+/C. We thank Beltone Research for information on political developments. Parliamentary elections will be held in February or March 2014, with presidential polls held in early summer. The Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the political arm …

Iran negotiations: tempers flare

Posted on Tags ,

The P5 +1 negotiations with Iran on the nuclear issue reconvene on 20 November in Geneva. The White House told the BBC on 14 November that a deal was extremely close and the US was willing to offer a "modest degree of relief" from sanctions in exchange for the beginning of a rollback of Iran's nuclear programme, …

Iraq: going downhill

Posted on Tags

The BBC reports that at least 41 people have been killed in attacks targeting Shia Muslims on the festival of Ashura, and also that Sunni Muslims are being driven out of areas such as the al-Zubair district of Basra. According to the UN there are more than 1.1 million internally displaced people with traditionally mixed areas like al-Zubair …