Egypt has a new draft of a constitution. It may be modified if the military rulers choose, although their wishes were faithfully carried out by the assembled 50 appointed members. Egyptian Nasserist director, Khalid Yusuf, said that the constitution promises more freedoms than most democracies. (He may have not read Saddam’s constitution, and he made that assertion as little girls were being hauled before a magistrate and sentenced for years in jail for daring to protest against a military coup.)
Lebanon is not a usual country: a deformed version of a nation, if even that. It is a place where people don’t agree on the definition of statehood and nationhood, and a place where sectarian divisions have constituted a bonanza for foreign intervention. But Lebanon is also a place crying out for an identity. While some do see marks of history, geography, and culture and recognize Lebanon as it is – an Arab country, no less Arab than other countries – others think that they have been misplaced in the Middle East, that they belong to Europe.
The recent high-drama nuclear negotiations in Geneva were riveting, to be sure. Old foes shuttled between conference rooms, chatted amiably in corridors, colluded to guard the sensitive details of their discussions from an eager global media.
Every utterance from officials, every smile, grimace and gesture made its way onto the twitter feeds of foreign policy wonks and commentators, mostly frustrated by the lack of substance to report.
Cairo – Walls. Walls. Walls. The geography of Cairo’s traffic has been gravely altered by the cement walls blocking streets to the Ministry of Interior, the cabinet and the parliament, all in close proximity, in addition to other facilities in central Cairo.
It would be fair to say that Khaled Meshaal is one of the biggest casualties of the Arab uprisings. Early on, Meshaal appeared more arrogant and more self-confident than usual. He had his reasons: the sponsoring Qatari regime was on the offensive and it seemed to be leading the entire Arab League and the Arab counter-revolution. Saudi Arabia was absent from the scene for much of 2011 and 2012, or so it appeared. Secondly, the Muslim Brotherhood reached power in Egypt and Tunisia and he received a hero’s welcome in both countries.
Almost three years after the Arab Spring began its region-wide sweep - ostensibly in search of democratic change - scant attention has been paid to one of its most dangerous consequences: the fraying of borders.
Weapons, militias, foreign Special Forces, smugglers, gangs and crooks now regularly traverse borders from the Levant to the Maghreb to the Persian Gulf. And these territorial infractions across Yemen, Libya, Syria, Egypt, Tunisia, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and other states will inhibit prospects for “democracy” more than any single development in the region.
Saudi Arabia’s status among Western governments and media has risen since Sept. 11. At first, Saudi Arabia was put on the defensive, given its decades-long policies of sponsoring (with total US blessings and support) jihadi groups and fanatical ideologies. Swiftly, the Saudi government moved to ingratiate itself with the Zionists in Congress: It moved closer to Israel and its interests in the region, and it unleashed an unprecedented campaign of anti-Shia rhetoric in order to undermine all manners of resistance to Israel and its terrorist occupation.