Category Archives: English

Human Rights and Syria: An Original Position for the Gulf?

Commentary by Riccardo Dugulin – 26 March 2012


On February 29, the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) adopted by an overwhelming majority a resolution condemning the flagrant violations of human rights in Syria. Regardless of the fact that the HRC cannot generate legally binding resolutions, the move of the council must be read as a major step forward in the international push to limit Bashar al-Assad’s ability to further wage war on his own population. Kuwait, Qatar, Turkey and Saudi Arabia have been instrumental in drafting and garnering support for the resolution. The Syrian crisis represents the first event in Middle Eastern recent history in which local Arab powers, along with Turkey, openly take a position and lead the way in denouncing crimes committed by an Arab government against its own population through a UN resolution. Continue reading

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Filed under English, Foreign Policy & IR, Gulf states, Lebanon & Syria

Little Hope for Iran as Green Movement Fades Away

Commentary by Behrooz Vosooghi* –  11 March 2012

"Grandpa says no action is necessary, you just need to put a mirror above each voting box". Source:

It was in June 2009 when an estimated 3 million people marched toward Azadi square in Tehran, showing their opposition to the result of the Islamic Republic’s tenth presidential election. Ever since hundreds of men and women were killed either in the streets or in prisons, thousands more have been imprisoned and tortured, and political leaders have been made to confess before millions of TV viewers. The Islamic regime has sustained the crackdown it first adopted against the opposition. Some people wonder what drove the Green Movement into isolation this fast? I here offer a few reasons for this. Continue reading

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Hezbollah: From Lethal Politics to Political Suicide

Commentary by Oussama Hariri – 1 March 2012

This article was first published in Arabic.


In a recent speech, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary general of Hezbollah, reasserted his party’s support to the Syrian regime. Among his rather far-fetched statements was the blunt denial of what is happening in Homs, describing the city’s massacres merely as exaggerated events. While the people of Homs face a brutal ordeal, Hezbollah is far from changing its political course. Successful policy is based on adapting to changing times and the emergence of new political players. While change has swept across the political scene in the Arab world with new powers rising and others declining, one cannot help but wonder where Hezbollah’s policy, the fierce defense of a doomed regime, will lead it; all this in the context of the changing prospects of regimes across the Arab world. Continue reading

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Filed under Arab Spring, English, Lebanon & Syria

Republican Foreign Policy and the Changing Middle East

Commentary by Wajdi Mallat – 19 February 2012


The Republican Party has for a long time been known as the more credible party on foreign policy in the United States. While the Republicans are typically against heavy spending on government, they have always been adamant that military spending should not be cut. George W. Bush based a large part of his reelection campaign on his and his party’s strength on foreign policy, especially in the difficult times following the attacks of 9/11 and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. His campaign frequently attacked Democratic candidate John Kerry for being too soft to be able to lead the country. Whether or not the Republican Party has earned its strong reputation on foreign policy is another issue, yet the impression in the United States makes it clear that it is considered the stronger of the two when it comes to foreign relations. Continue reading

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Tangible Support for the Syrian Opposition: An Alternative to a Risky Intervention in Syria

By Riccardo Dugulin – 11 February 2012

Source: (Sezayi Erken/AFP/Getty Images)

The specter of a civil war is looming over the Syria as the rift between the government, along with its supporters, and the anti-Assad demonstrators is beyond repair. The death toll of the regime’s ruthless crackdown on the uprising is enormous, with conservative figures placing the number of deaths at 6500. Continue reading

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Filed under English, Foreign Policy & IR, Lebanon & Syria

Algeria: Reform or Securitization of Civil Society?

Commentary by Mélissa Rahmouni – 3 February 2012

People hang up an Algerian national flag during a protest in Laghouat, 11 January 2012. (REUTERS/ Zohra Bensemra)

Since the first days of January 2012, Algeria has experienced a wave of protest and contestation in a dozen wilayas (regions) – either strikes, demonstrations or sit-ins in the streets, or in front of the wilaya headquarters, in industrial zones or even in high schools (Constantine) . This storm of protest is mostly led by Algerian unemployed youth but it has attracted people of all ages. Continue reading


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Hezbollah: Is this still really resistance?

 Commentary by Riccardo Dugulin – 15 January 2012


The term ‘resistant’ provides the person it describes with an almost immediate moral high ground. Regardless of the historical time and place, once put into a conflict situation the resistant is an individual that willingly decides to make disproportionate sacrifices and to take above than average risks to defend his values and homeland. From the Hashashiyyin Shiite rebels resisting Sunni Saljuq rule in Persia between 1092 and 1265 to the armed Algerian factions freeing their territory from French occupation in the 1950’s; resistance movements always face a large and organized foreign army with elements of indirect and asymmetric warfare. Beyond the concrete operational techniques such armed groups decide to use to protect and free their homeland, the resistant is the beneficiary of almost complete moral superiority. Continue reading


Filed under English, Lebanon & Syria