May 23, 2016 |
A prominent Arab intellectual has written an important book that asks a critical question: Who is really responsible for Iraq's desperate plight? His answer is already provoking hot debate on Arab social media because he doesn't blame colonialism or the West. Instead, the noted Iraqi scholar and human-rights activist Kanan Makiya points the finger squarely at the Iraqi elite. "The U.S. did everything wrong in Iraq it could possibly do, but this book is about what the Iraqis did wrong," he told me. "You can point the finger at the Americans, but this is our failure; we own it. " He reserves special blame for the (U.S.-backed)
February 2, 2016 |
History has shown us that chaos follows the fall of a strongman. A power vacuum sparks competition among the ambitious, who often lack the juice to adequately replace the deposed despot. Which brings us to the first floor of Philadelphia's City Hall, where the three elected officials who supervise the city's elections are enduring their own version of an Arab Spring. It has been four years since Margaret Tartaglione, a politician so well-known that you can still just say "Marge" and everyone in City Hall knows who you're talking about, ended her reign as chairwoman of the City Commissioners after losing her bid for a 10th term.
December 25, 2015 |
In this Christmas season, Christian Arabs are under threat as never before in the region where Jesus and Christianity were born. In reality, Christian communities in the Mideast have been endangered for years, but their sufferings only grabbed U.S. attention in the era of ISIS - and in an election year. This has sparked a political debate over how to help them. Sen. Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush are proposing to admit only Christian refugees from Syria and Iraq - and exclude Muslims. Conservatives claim the administration is actively discriminating against Syrian Christians, since there are only 53 Christians among the 2,184 Syrian refugees admitted since 2011.
December 4, 2015 |
The music isn't likely to sound like anything most Americans have heard: The polarities between Arab and Western music, both obvious and subtle, are such that their fusion in this Saturday's concert, Words Adorned: Andalusian Poetry and Music, at Bryn Mawr College might seem impossible. Then it becomes perfectly doable. "It's supposed to blend the sounds of this pluralistic, cosmopolitan city," said Hanna Khoury, music director of Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture Music Program, which instigated the year-in-the-planning concert with the Crossing choir in works by two Syrian-born composers.
November 4, 2015 |
The University of Pennsylvania Health System has agreed to help VPS Healthcare, a health system based in the United Arab Emirates, improve the care of patients with lifestyle-related disease, such as diabetes, and cancer, VPS said Monday.. No terms were disclosed. As part of the partnership, Penn will help VPS develop educational conferences, standards for patient care, as well as continuing medical education for physicians, nurses and other allied health professionals. VPS operates 14 hospitals in the Middle East, Europe, and India.
August 15, 2015 |
We hear so much about the uneasy relationship across the Israeli-Palestinian divide that we tend to forget that fully 20 percent of Israeli citizens are Arab. What does it mean to be an Israeli Arab (or Arab Israeli)? Is that an identity - or a recipe for inner discord? These are just some of the tantalizing questions raised in the Israeli import A Borrowed Identity , an extraordinary coming-of-age story about Eyad, a Palestinian boy from a small village who grows up to become a cosmopolitan Israeli.
August 14, 2015 |
WE HEAR so much about the uneasy relationship across the Israeli-Palestinian divide that we tend to forget that fully 20 percent of Israeli citizens are Arab. What does it mean to be an Israeli Arab (or Arab Israeli)? Is that an identity - or a recipe for inner discord? These are just some of the tantalizing questions raised in the Israeli import "A Borrowed Identity," an extraordinary coming-of-age story about Eyad, a Palestinian boy from a small village who grows up to become a cosmopolitan Israeli.
June 17, 2015 |
How many times have you looked at news reports from Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, or Syria and thought, "How come they can't keep it together?" How is it the elite in Arab countries can't move beyond repressive regimes? How come they haven't discovered democracy yet? How many of us have fantasized, "If only I were king, I'd figure it all out"? With FX's political soap opera Tyrant , created by Gideon Raff, the Israeli TV wunderkind responsible for Prisoners of War and its American remake, Homeland , we got a chance to do just that: take a struggling, oil- and mineral-rich desert dictatorship and guide her to freedom.
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.