Category Archives: Foreign Policy & IR

L’inconnue afghane

EL – 27 octobre 2011

En 1985, Steve McCurry, reporter pour le magazine National Geographic, tirait le portrait d’une jeune afghane aux yeux très clairs. Le cliché a fait le tour du monde tant et si bien que dix sept ans plus tard, une mission fut dépêchée en Asie centrale par le même magazine pour découvrir l’identité du modèle. La démarche se révéla fructueuse. Il n’en est pas de même pour la coalition occidentale, partie à la recherche d’une mystérieuse société afghane présumée majoritairement anti-Talibans. Continue reading

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Filed under Afghanistan & Pakistan, Foreign Policy & IR, Français

French Arabs and the 2012 Presidential Elections

Commentary by Antoine Alhéritière – 17 October 2011


The upcoming 2012 presidential elections are by far the most discussed topic in France since… the 2007 presidential election. France’s appetite for politics has gradually increased since the start of the socialist party’s primaries last January, or what “PS” figures like to call an “innovative” candidate-designation process. In a more unadvertised fashion, the Sarkozy-led right-wing majority is also preparing the 2012 battle, with the current minister of agriculture, Bruno Le Maire, in charge of the President’s reelection campaign. Continue reading

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The Long-Term Perspectives of Obama’s Unclear Middle East Policy

 Commentary by Takuya Matsuda – 25 September 2011


Amid the political upheaval in the Middle East, the Obama administration has come under heavy criticism for what many analysts and activists describe as a government with no coherent policy in the region. Others have claimed that Obama is little more than an opportunist who changes his stances in accordance with the evolution of particular situations, rather than basing his policy on democratic and just principles. Continue reading

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Filed under Arab Spring, English, Foreign Policy & IR

Erdogan’s New Doctrine: How the Turks Finally Got it Right

Commentary by Tamer Mallat 12 September 2011


Since the AKP’s arrival to power in 2002 under the aegis of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish foreign policy could be best described as being schizophrenic. For a country situated at the crossroads of history’s ever-changing geopolitical fault lines, such a characterization is far from extraordinary. The Ottoman Empire, from its birth, its various metamorphoses, and its eventual demise, never once ceased to bear witness to the constant evolution of its neighbors on every front of its borders. Once the primary catalyst of change, the Sublime Porte, in the last few centuries of its life, quickly became a victim to external pressures and political seismic shifts. Today, the Turks appear to have finally gotten their act together in terms of developing a coherent and effective foreign policy. This though was the result of a long process marked by years of trial and error. Continue reading


Filed under English, Foreign Policy & IR, Turkey

Who Lost Lebanon? From Politics of Confrontation to Compromise

Commentary by Takuya Matsuda – 2 September 2011

Rafiq Hariri & Hassan Nasrallah

The year 2011 already seemed likely to flower into a turbulent year for the Middle East, even before the advent of the “Arab Spring” that toppled close to three dictators in the region. Hezbollah’s withdrawal from the national unity government in Lebanon, which kept the country’s chronic sectarian conflicts from resurfacing for the past few years, sparked fears that the Lebanese “time bomb” was finally going to explode. Nobody could have predicted “the Arab Spring”, a series of historical events that have rocked the region’s authoritarian regimes since January. Continue reading

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

كبش المحرقة

بقلم أسامة حريري – ٢٧ آب ٢٠١١

شهدت الأيّام الأخيرة سلسلة أحداث هزّت منطقة الشّرق الأوسط وأعلنت بداية سيناريو جديد. للوهلة الأولى ، قد تبدو هذه الأحداث عشوائيّة وغير مترابطة. لكن قي الواقع هي متّصلة ببعضها البعض وهدفها واحد. أماّ السّؤال الأبرز الذي يهمّنا هو : من هو المستفيد من هذه الفوضى المنظّمة ؟ ولماذا هذا التوقيت بالذات ؟ من الواضح جدّا ً اليوم أنّ أبرز الأزمات وأكثرها تعقيدا ً هي الأزمة التي تشهدها سوريا نظرا ً لموقعها الإستراتيجي بين العراق وتركيا ولبنان و إسرائيل. الأزمة في سوريا لم تعد تقتصر على نظام ٍ مستبدّ يقتل شعبه يوميا ً ، بل أيضا ً على لعبة دول ٍ كُبرى تتصارع في ما بينها . أحد أوجه هذا الصّراع هو إيراني –أميركي. Continue reading

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Filed under Foreign Policy & IR, Iran, Lebanon & Syria, Palestine & Israel, Turkey, عربي

Palestine’s Legal and Legitimate Bid to Statehood and UN Membership

Commentary by Shereen Dbouk – 18 August 2011

It is official. According to Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Malki, the Palestinian National Authority (PA) will present its application for a full UN membership this September at the 66th UN General Assembly. Faced with a peace process in a persistent deadlock and Israeli Prime Minister B. Netanyahu’s continued defiance of the international consensus over a two State solution, the PA has decided to take a unilateral step toward international recognition. This marks the culmination of a two years strategy by Prime Minister Salam Fayed, which has led to wide diplomatic recognition and the building of independent Institutions for the future State of Palestine within the1967 borders. Now the moment is ripe for Palestine to claim its admission as the 194th member state of the United Nations. Continue reading


Filed under English, Foreign Policy & IR, Palestine & Israel