دعوة للكتابة

تستعد مجلة دراسات الشرق الأوسط ، للصدور كمطبوعة إلى جانب صدورها  على الانترنت. وهي بالتالي تدعو الكتاب للمساهمة في الأعداد القادمة.

إصدارات سنة 2016:

ندعو الكتاب لتقديم أوراق حول المقترحات التالية، ولديهم حرية اختيار المواضيع التي سيكتبون فيها ضمن المحاور التي تقترحها المجلة.   كما يمكنهم اقتراح مواضيع أخرى.  الرجاء أن لا يتجاوز عدد الكلمات ٨٠٠٠ كلمة بما فيها البيبليوغرافيا ، باستثناء مقالات التعليق والتحليل الموجز، والتقارير، ومراجعات الكتب. توجه الأوراق إلى العنوان التالي:

editor@middle-east-studies.net

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Netanyahu ‘fighting Obama’s plan to be UN Sec-Gen’

Kuwaiti newspaper A Jarida reported Friday that US President Barack Obama seeks to be appointed UN secretary general after his second term as US president ends. The newspaper claimed that Obama has been discussing the idea with senior Democrats and Republicans, some of whom are Jewish. The report, which admittedly appears somewhat far-fetched, has not been… Continue reading

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Israel’s NGO Bill is an Attempt to Crush Critics

Unable to deliver real solutions to the ongoing violence, Israeli governments have been trying for years to blame the messengers rather than take responsibility for their own policies. Last week, this practice was taken to the next level when a ministerial committee approved the NGO bill, proposed legislation targeting specifically peace and human rights organizations. Under… Continue reading

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Ominous Saudi-Iran Tensions

Diplomatic confrontation between two regional powers puts the Middle East at risk of greater chaos

By Hichem Karoui |  Beijing Review | NO. 2 JANUARY 14, 2016

It was through a strange twist of fate that Adel Al-Jubeir, Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs, declared the severing of his country’s diplomatic ties with Iran on January 3. This is the same man who, being the Saudi ambassador to the United States some years ago, had been subject to a failed murder attempt allegedly by Iranian conspirators in 2011.

Iranians take to the streets in Tehran on January 4 in a protest against Saudi Arabia’s execution of Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Al-Nimr (XINHUA)

 

That anecdote helps illustrate the distrust between Riyadh and Tehran that has spanned for at least four decades. The conflict–such is the most appropriate term to describe the relationship–has degenerated through a variety of aspects and dimensions throughout generations.

When Saudi authorities executed the Shiite cleric and activist, Sheikh Nimr Al-Nimr, along with three other Shiites and 43 Al-Qaeda figures on January 2, protests and condemnations erupted violently. Sheikh Nimr was considered a leader of the Saudi Shiite minority and a serious critic of the Saudi royal family. In 2012, he was injured in a clash with security forces while trying to escape and was subsequently arrested and jailed. Sentenced to death in 2014, his supporters had hoped that a deal could be reached that would secure his release.

So, when his execution was announced, Shiite Muslims in the oil-rich Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia as well as in Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, Pakistan and other places expressed intense indignation. Such a response was likely to have been expected. However, the storming of the Saudi Arabian embassy in Tehran by an angry mob that set fire to the building was unacceptable in the eyes of the Saudi authorities. As a result, diplomatic relations were cut off immediately, and all economic activities with Iran were ceased.

The beheading of the Shiite leader, along with 43 Sunni jihadists accused of terrorism, conveyed two main messages:

First, whether Shiite or Sunni, any Saudi citizen who chooses to rebel against the government will face the same fate. This was addressed mainly to the local population. It also implies that Shiite dissension will be treated similarly to Sunni terrorism.

The second message was addressed to Iran, which is accused of fomenting trouble, pushing the Shiite minority inside the Saudi kingdom to rebellion, and opposing Saudi projects in the region. The opposition is comprised of Iran’s alleged arming of Shiite militias to fight against the Saudi-backed Sunni order in Yemen, and Sunni Jihadists in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other Asian and African countries. The message implies that Saudi Arabia is not impressed by Iran’s aggression and is in a position to retaliate. These are the policies that embody Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud’s Saudi Arabian kingdom, which some commentators have dubbed as “hawkish.”

Riyadh had paved the way to the mass execution, the largest since 1980, through two crucial actions: First, adopting a new defense policy; second, announcing the Islamic anti-terrorist alliance.

The new defense policy was outlined in October 2015 by Prince Sultan bin Khaled Al-Faisal while addressing the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations (NCUSAR) in Washington, D.C. The policy emphasized that Saudi Arabia’s primary goals were to “defend the homeland, protect Saudi citizens, secure national interests, bolster defense of partner states and strengthen inter-agency partnerships.” The prince said that “the doctrine’s evolution will depend on the conventional capabilities of potential non-friendly countries, the spread of unconventional threats (Daesh, Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah) and proliferation of nuclear weapons in the region.”

The formation of the Islamic anti-terrorist military alliance was also a major event in its own right. When he announced it on December 15, 2015, Saudi Deputy Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, said that it was directed not only against the so-called Islamic State (Daesh), but also against any other terrorist organization. According to the Saudi Press Agency, 34 states have decided to form the alliance, with a joint operations center based in Riyadh. The 34 countries include most Arab League states, a number of Muslim states in Africa, and Asian countries including Pakistan, Bangladesh and Malaysia. More than 10 other Islamic countries, including Indonesia, are said to have expressed their support for the coalition. Iran, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Algeria, Oman and Eritrea were not among the members of the alliance.

Whatever the credibility and internal cohesion of such an alliance, it is clear that neither Iran nor Iraq or Syria would join in any time soon. Yemen, Syria, and Iraq have actually joined Lebanon as a proxy battlefield between Iran and Saudi Arabia, representing Shia and Sunni communities, respectively.

Read this story on Beijing Review

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The future of a people at stake

Although intended to inspire his Fateh Party followers, Mahmoud Abbas’ televised speech on the 51st anniversary of the group’s launch highlighted, instead, the unprecedented crisis that continues to wreak havoc on the Palestinian people. Not only did Abbas sound defensive and lacking in any serious or new initiatives, but his ultimate intention appeared to be about… Continue reading

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NIDC Drills 90 Wells in 9 Months

TEHRAN (FNA)- National Iranian Drilling Company (NIDC) has drilled 90 oil and gas wells since March 21. The wells are nearly 50 km long, up 18% year-on-year, and include directional and horizontal wells as well, said a senior NIDC official. Mehran Alipour, head of the operations department of NIDC, said the department has drilled over 1,300… Continue reading

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China, UK agree on Syria statement

China and Britain have agreed on a joint statement addressing the situation in Syria, the two countries’ senior foreign affairs officials said on Tuesday. Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the two nations have decided to issue the statement to support a political solution to the Syrian issue and “support Syrian people to decide on their own… Continue reading

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Iran Unveils Underground Missile Depot

In a move that could further irk the United States and its allies, Iran aired fresh footage Tuesday of an underground bunker housing its ballistic missiles. The release of the video, which shows senior Iranian officials touring the bunker, comes even as the U.S. mulls imposing sanctions against Tehran for missile tests carried out in October.… Continue reading

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Bangladesh Upholds Death Sentence For Islamist Party Head

Bangladesh’s highest court upheld the death sentence for the leader of an Islamist party for committing war crimes during the 1971 independence struggle, reports said Wednesday. Motiur Rahman Nizami, head of the country’s largest Islamist party, Jamaat-e-Islami, had filed an appeal against the death sentence that was announced after his conviction last year. Nizami was convicted… Continue reading

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Syrian Refugees Recreate Destroyed Monuments

Behind the curtain of the Jordanian desert, Syria’s bygone historical monuments can be spied. A group of six amateur artists living in the heart of Jordan’s Za’atari refugee camp, host to nearly 80,000 Syrians, has worked together to recreate famous landmarks, which once stood proudly in the western Asian country, in dedication to its long and… Continue reading

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