January 26, 2015 |
This weekend marks the fourth anniversary of Egypt's Tahrir Square uprising, which became the hallmark of the Arab Spring. As though to mock those long-dead hopes, Yemen and Libya have collapsed, Syria lies in ruins, and much of Syria and Iraq are occupied by ISIS. Several youthful leaders of the Jan. 25, 2011, revolt have been jailed (while the Egyptian leader they ousted, Hosni Mubarak, was just freed from prison). The death last week of Saudi Arabian King Abdullah - whose successor is also old and ill - adds to the turmoil in the region.
February 3, 2014 |
For those who think the failures of the Arab Spring prove the Mideast is unsuited to democracy, Jordan's Marwan Muasher begs to differ. A scholar and statesman who's long been a voice for tolerance in the Arab world, Muasher argues - in his important new book, The Second Arab Awakening and the Battle for Pluralism - that it's too soon to judge the outcome of the Arab upheavals that began in 2011. He says: "The Arab world never operated in a culture of democracy, so you can't expect a transformational process in three years.
July 19, 2013 |
AMMAN, Jordan - Secretary of State John Kerry won Arab League backing Wednesday for his effort to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, raising hopes that the stalled negotiations could resume. Kerry cited significant progress in narrowing gaps between the two sides, but he declined to elaborate. On his sixth trip to the Middle East in as many months as America's top diplomat, Kerry met in Jordan with representatives of the Arab League and nine of its members that support an Arab-Israeli peace plan proposed by Saudi Arabia.
May 30, 2013 |
KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip - Arab Idol is an over-the-top TV ratings smash in the Middle East, and a young crooner from a Palestinian refugee family, whom admirers have nicknamed "the Rocket," is stealing the show. The surprise breakout of the second season is a 23-year-old Gaza Strip resident named Mohammed Assaf, whose patriotic folk songs and romantic ballads - with their themes of grit, longing, and love - have propelled him into the final rounds. "I think this shows the world there are many normal people in Gaza, that Gaza is not just this place of terrorists and criminals but nice people," said Ala'a Nabrees, 22, a longtime friend.
May 3, 2013 |
JERUSALEM - Israel's prime minister gave a cool reception Wednesday to a new Arab Mideast peace initiative, saying the conflict with the Palestinians was not about territory but rather the Palestinians' refusal to recognize Israel as the Jewish homeland. The remarks signaled trouble for Secretary of State John Kerry's new push for Mideast peace and risked reinforcing Benjamin Netanyahu's image as a hard-liner unwilling to make the tough concessions required for peace. Netanyahu has not commented directly on the Arab League's latest initiative, but his words questioned its central tenet - the exchange of captured land for peace - and appeared to counter a modified peace proposal from the Arab world that Washington and Netanyahu's own chief negotiator have welcomed.
April 19, 2013 |
It began with an idea for a summer camp - a handful of kids getting a taste of Arab music and language for a few weeks at the Morris Arboretum, in the troubled times after 9/11. From a tiny beginning - the first camp, 10 years ago, attracted 18 children - Al Bustan Seeds of Culture has flowered into something unique in the United States, an organization that: maintains a resident ensemble of first-rate musicians versed in classical Arab music; offers a professional performance and residency series throughout the year with internationally known guest artists; conducts educational programs for adults and children alike; works with the Philadelphia School District to bring Arab language and music to the schools.
March 7, 2013 |
Aaron Shneyer's contribution to mediating conflict in the Middle East began with 12 teens and a jam session in Jerusalem. The Georgetown University graduate brought together a dozen Israeli and Palestinian musicians as part of a Fulbright-mtvU project that used music to foster dialogue and understanding. The result is Heartbeat, a peace-building collaboration that has been exported to the United States and will find its way to Congregation Beth Am Israel in Penn Valley on Thursday evening.
January 15, 2013
By Moncef Marzouki The futurist Alvin Toffler used to say that when a society reaches a certain degree of development, democracy becomes a technical necessity, not simply an ethical one. But this rule didn't seem to apply to the Arab world. Industrialization failed, "modernity" arrived late due to colonization, and when a democratic wave destroyed dictatorships in Latin America and Eastern Europe, little happened in North Africa and the Middle East. Racists pointed to the wrong cause for this phenomenon, citing the culture.
January 14, 2013 |
CAIRO - The Palestinian prime minister warned Sunday that his government could fail to meet its obligations to its people because of a cash crunch, and urged Arab countries to deliver on promised aid. Salam Fayyad met with Arab League members to discuss ways to raise the $100 million they pledged earlier to his Palestinian Authority. Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby said seven countries have responded favorably, but he did not name them. League foreign ministers meeting in Cairo decided to dispatch a delegation to the region to raise the funds the Palestinian government needs to make ends meet.
January 9, 2013 |
Since its launch in 2006, Al-Jazeera TV's English-language news channel has racked up prestigious journalism awards for its reporting on international issues, including the Arab Spring uprisings. The problem: Hardly anyone sees Al-Jazeera English (AJE) because few cable TV operators carry it. Last week, Al-Jazeera's owner - the emir of the oil- and natural gas-rich Persian Gulf state of Qatar - sought to change that. Al-Jazeera will pay an undisclosed sum - unconfirmed reports said $500 million - for Current TV, the little-watched but widely distributed cable network cofounded by former vice president Al Gore.