Observers of Middle East contemporary politics have always contended that the Palestinian cause has often been used by the various ruling Arab regimes to distract the minds of their oppressed peoples from the need for internal political, economic and social reforms. There is an urgent need, however, now that the region seems to be undergoing conditions similar to those that existed in the early twentieth century, to flesh out this argument even further. Continue reading “From Nationalism to Country-Building: A Necessary Shift in Emphasis”
The problem with modern Arabs, peoples and governments alike, is not that they have been consistently defeated in almost every war they fought, ever since gaining independence in the second part of the twentieth century. Rather, it is the continuing incredulity with which they choose to deal with these defeats. The central role that the Arab collective memory still assigns to Arab peoples, in both the historical process and the divine scheme, is so out of touch with contemporary reality that Arabs have almost no choice but to continue to fall back upon conspiracy theories to explain this seemingly illogical situation to themselves and make it more acceptable somehow.
Continue reading “The Aftermath of Conquest: Two Possible Scenarios and a Simple Must”
Although the potential showdown between Syria and the United States seems to have been averted for the time being, as developments in the last few days indicate, many outstanding issues in Syrian–American relations remain unresolved, and have not, in fact, been seriously addressed yet. As such, and with the United States now firmly established in neighboring Iraq, these issues are bound to be revisited in the near future, perhaps as soon as the Syria Accountability Act is debated once more by the U.S. Congress. Due to the apparent inability of the two sides to show the flexibility necessary for reaching workable compromises, the two countries seem to be hurrying along the path toward confrontation. The recent mini-crisis, therefore, seems like a prelude or an opening salvo in an ongoing diplomatic showdown that has all the possibilities of leading to war.
Continue reading “Syrian-American Relations: Clean Break Advocates vs. Status Quo Beneficiaries”