By Abdel Bari Atwan
In the past few days we have seen a flurry of high-ranking American officials visiting allies in the Middle East to reassure them that detente with Iran will not damage their interests and to offer them consolation prizes of various sorts.
In Israel, Secretary of State John Kerry met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu three times in less than two days, offering security concessions over the putative Palestinian state.
Meanwhile Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel went to Manama to reaffirm America’s commitment to its allies in the Gulf and to pave the way for new arms deals to counteract Iran’s ballistic missile capabilities.… [+]
Mandela’s struggle has shown that the South African example can be a template for resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict, except that international political will is lacking
It was with a heavy heart that I learned of Nelson Mandela’s death last night. His patience, dignity, and unwavering smile, his moral – and political – triumph over the most brutally oppressive regime was a constant reminder of the human soul’s indomitable drive for justice and freedom.… [+]
Visitors to Lebanon these days cannot help but be affected by the general sense of fear and anxiety that permeates the streets. In Beirut, where people hardly ever agree on anything, worries about security are the main topic of conversation in cafes frequented by writers and intellectuals. Tourists are markedly absent from the boulevards and markets.
Two events in particular have rocked Beirut in recent days: the bombing of the Iranian Embassy, and the assassination of top Hezbollah military commander, Hassan Al-Laqqis.… [+]
Critics of al-Qaeda and other extremist Islamic groups that adopt the same ideology always ask why these groups do not attack Israeli targets inside and outside the occupied Palestinian territories. Some activists on social media like Facebook, Twitter, and the internet doubt that al-Qaeda has any such intentions and say all its operations target Arabs and Muslims, as is happening in Syria, Iraq, Libya, and the Islamic Maghreb. They even go further, talking about some sort of ‘relationship’ between the two parties, which is difficult to believe.… [+]
In the absence of any disclaimers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) press it is clear that reports, which first appeared in the New York Times two weeks ago, about Israeli President Shimon Peres participating in the Gulf Security Conference in Abu Dhabi must be true.
This development confirms our concern, often voiced on this news site, that a gradual ‘normalization’ process between the Gulf States and Israel has begun, leading to a new alliance against Iran. This follows America’s recent moves away from its Gulf allies and its rapprochement with Tehran.… [+]
Discovering at the eleventh hour that Turkey was about to be marginalised over Geneva II and regional diplomacy in general, the prime minister has thrown himself whole-heartedly into the thick of it
What a difference 24 months can make. In November 2011, Tehran was fuming over Turkey’s agreement to host a Nato missile shield designed to protect Israel from retaliation if it attacked Iran. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s head of aerospace vowed that any foreign attack would see Iran strike Turkey.… [+]
Abdel Bari Atwan
In discussing Iran’s nuclear containment agreement with the P5+1 group of world powers*, observers and analysts have been quick to compile lists of ‘winners and losers’ with Iran topping the ‘winners’ and Israel and Saudi Arabia leading the ‘losers’.
Everyone seems to have forgotten about President Assad of Syria in these complicated equations, however.
In my opinion, Assad is one of the major winners, even though he has not been involved in the negotiations, either directly or indirectly.… [+]
ABDEL BARI ATWAN
If we want to determine whether the deal made between the P5+1 world powers and Iran concerning Tehran’s nuclear ambitions is good or bad, we must examine the initial reaction of Tel Aviv and Riyadh.
Saudi officials do not usually give an immediate reaction to political events; they prefer to see which way the wind blows. However, they are unlikely to be happy about this agreement, which will have come as a shock to them because they have been preparing over the past four years for a war with Iran, which is at the top of their list of enemies.… [+]