Analysis articles

New era of US-Arab partnership inaugurated by Trump

The red, white and blue (and of course the Saudi green) were on full display as President Donald Trump made his maiden trip to the land of Islam’s two holiest cities in a watershed moment in US relations with the Islamic world. The grand welcome he received by King Salman is front-page news all over […]

What Trump’s first foreign tour tells us

Any American president’s first foreign foray attracts attention. Who will be honored with the first visit? Who will be implicitly snubbed? Given the interest in Donald Trump’s idiosyncratic, troubled presidency, interest is even greater than usual as we struggle to make sense of an administration seemingly in permanent crisis. The fact that US President Donald […]

Masculinity vs equality

Most men in the Middle East do not believe in women’s equality. This was what can be concluded from a recent survey conducted by UN Women. The 10,000 respondents who were questioned belonged to Morocco, Lebanon, Palestine and Egypt. Questions included whether they believed men should get preferential treatment over women (most thought so), whether […]

Macau vs Hong Kong, a tale of two cities in black and white

For the Chinese leadership, the former Portuguese enclave of Macau is now the model post-colonial child: dutiful, attentive and obedient to parental dictates emanating from the north. By contrast, neighboring Hong Kong, a British possession for more than 150 years before its 1997 handover to Chinese rule, has turned out to be Beijing’s enfant terrible: […]

Egypt’s future rests on its people’s shoulders

Unlike several of its neighbors, the Arab world’s most populous nation has thankfully succeeded in regaining its political, security and social equilibrium following years of turmoil. Egypt is on the right track, and with wise governance could emerge as a regional success story. Often forgotten is that from 1926 until 1953, Egyptians were among the […]

The world is getting hacked. Why don’t we do more to stop it?

The path to a global outbreak on Friday of a ransom-demanding computer software (‘ransomware’) that crippled hospitals in Britain – forcing the rerouting of ambulances, delays in surgeries and the shutdown of diagnostic equipment – started, as it often does, with a defect in software, a bug. This is perhaps the first salvo of a […]

Obama should be made to testify over the Iran nuclear deal

Another damning revelation was recently brought to light over the deal former US president Barack Obama negotiated with the Islamic Republic of Iran. The latest discovery revealed that Iran will soon launch two brand-new domestic satellites into space, which is likely cover for the test-firing of advanced intercontinental-ballistic-missile (ICBM) technology that could be used as […]

Speak Up for Europe and Win

Emmanuel Macron won the French presidency last week with 66 percent of the popular vote, a reasonable voter turnout of 74 percent and, most important, a positive pro-European vision. Yet some media commentators write that his mandate is “weak” because he “only” won against an extreme-right opponent. Donald Trump won his ticket to the White […]

Surviving in the age of cyber insecurity

Friday’s massive cyber-attack that compromised tens of thousands of computers in almost 100 countries was the first of its kind, heralding a new chapter in cyber crime, cyber terrorism and cyber warfare. The unknown assailants launched a coordinated offensive unleashing ‘ransomware’; a type of malware that infects Windows computers and restricts access to users’ data […]

Mine disaster could derail Rouhani’s campaign

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s visit to a coal mine in the north-eastern province of Golestan will remain a memorable event in Iran’s 2017 presidential campaign. A few days prior, Golestan – meaning “rose garden” – experienced one of the most tragic events in its history. A coal mine collapsed after a gas explosion; 400 miners […]

Turkish-American relations at crossroads

When President Donald Trump receives President Recep Erdogan on Tuesday at the White House, his legendary deal-making prowess will be on trial. Trump has not been in a tearing hurry to receive Erdogan. During the first 100 days of his presidency, Trump received the leaders of Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Jordan (twice), Iraq and […]

Why the world is watching Iran’s election

Iran’s presidential candidates are making final preparations for Friday’s landmark poll, which could have hugely significant implications for the country and the world beyond. At the centre of the contest are differing views over incumbent President Hassan Rouhani’s signature accomplishment: The 2015 landmark nuclear accord and his wider advocacy of economic and political re-engagement with […]

The refracted relationship

There are significant reasons for the maintenance of close and cooperative relations between Pakistan and the US. Unfortunately, Washington has almost always conducted its relations with Pakistan as a function of America’s other strategic or tactical priorities of the moment. Since US goals and priorities change periodically, at times rapidly, Pakistan-US ties have often resembled […]

Comey’s sacking and Trump’s arbitrariness

Washington was preoccupied this week with the fallout from the sacking of FBI Director James Comey. The move has brought back President Donald Trump’s arbitrary tendencies to mind, after a time in which he appeared to have adapted to the solemnness of the presidential office and the need for a well-choreographed functioning of his administration. […]

Key foreign issues facing South Korea’s new leader Moon Jae-in

As widely expected, South Korea resoundingly chose Moon Jae-in, the liberal candidate from the Democratic party, as its new leader in Tuesday’s snap presidential election. His decisive victory ends nearly a decade of conservative rule and may herald a major shift in the country’s domestic and foreign policies. Domestically, Moon’s first task is, among many […]

My enemy’s enemy is my friend

In 1996, Turkey signed the Military Training Cooperation Agreement with Israel – something that raised eyebrows in the Arab world. Despite Turkish officials’ remarks that the agreement was not against a third party, it caused a great disturbance in Arab public opinion and got harsh reactions from Arab states. The leaders of Saudi Arabia, Egypt […]

In Myanmar, extremist monks threaten mob rule

Anti-muslim vigilante groups led by Buddhist nationalists risk stirring communal tensions in Myanmar’s most populated and ethnically diverse city. Alongside holding protests and stopping religious ceremonies, on April 28, hardline monks and their followers forced the temporary closure of two Muslims schools they believed were also serving as mosques. o On early Wednesday morning, a […]

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Erick Erickson: The Fantasy of Impeachment

After President Trump fired James Comey, the F.B.I. director, the media and political left ignited with talk of impeachment. “We are certainly moving down that path,” said Representative Ruben Gallego, Democrat of Arizona. “The Comey Firing May Be the Beginning of the End of the Trump Administration” shouted a headline in New York magazine. Don’t […]

Hamas must do more to become politically relevant

Politics, it has been said, is the art of the possible. But when it comes to the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it can also become the art of the absurd. In a prosaic repetition of history, Hamas – the 30-year-old, Gaza-based Islamic resistance movement – decided to amend its charter, releasing a political document of principles […]

Donald Trump’s Firing of James Comey

The American people – not to mention the credibility of the world’s oldest democracy – require a thorough, impartial investigation into the extent of Russia’s meddling with the 2016 presidential election on behalf of Donald Trump and, crucially, whether high-ranking members of Mr. Trump’s campaign colluded in that effort. By firing the F.B.I. director, James […]

Agreement to establish safe zones in Syria comes into effect

On May 4, Russia, Turkey and Iran signed an agreement in Astana, Kazakhstan, establishing four “tentatively designated de-escalation zones” in Syria, where the three will act as guarantors to stop hostilities for six months, extendable if all parties agree. The two-day meeting between the Syrian government and opposition groups led to Moscow, Tehran and Ankara […]

UN safety drive aims to get motorists to slow down

The burden of harm on our roads is unmistakable. Every year, an estimated 1.25 million people are killed in road traffic crashes around the world. Tens of millions more are injured. Nine out of ten deaths on the roads happen in low- and middle-income countries, and younger people are more often among the lives lost. […]

The Problem with Linking Abortion and Economics

In recent days, Senator Bernie Sanders has come under fire for appearing at a campaign stop with Heath Mello, a mayoral candidate in Omaha who voted for anti-abortion legislation as a Nebraska state senator. Mr. Sanders said he supported Mr. Mello’s progressive economic positions, but critics said abortion and economics were inextricable – that women […]

Yemen’s implosion endangers global trade

The Yemen war is often regarded as a remote, localized conflict in Saudi Arabia’s backyard. But US military strategists warn that developments in Yemen pose a geostrategic threat to world trade and the regional balance of power. For those concerned with global shipping, the Suez Canal and Bab Al-Mandab at either end of the Red […]