Articles on Middle East

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President Obama’s charm offensive in the Middle East has been overtaken by the Arab Spring and growing instability in the region. EPA/Khaled El Fiqi

Obama and Romney face off over Middle East policy

When Barack Obama and Mitt Romney commenced their presidential campaigns, Middle East policy was not a top issue. But the Middle East has a propensity to thrust itself on US politics. True to form, the…
Residents inspect their damaged house after a bomb explosion in Baquba, Iraq. EPA/Ali Mohammed

Bombings in Iraq a sign of deep domestic problems

When US President Obama announced the end of America’s involvement in Iraq, he deliberately did not claim victory. But he did say, when welcoming the last contingent of combat troops home in October last…
Many Syrians prefer the stability of the Assad regime to the chaos they saw after dictators were deposed in Libya and Iraq. EPA/Youssef Badawi

The Syria roulette wheel – where nobody wins

The stench of hypocrisy is a hard one to wash out for the West in the Middle East. We shook Gadaffi’s hand and pretended we liked his outfits when he coughed up for Lockerbie and we snuggled with Mubarak…
Looking at the earth from above can reveal incredible secrets. delayed gratification

Googling the past: how I uncovered prehistoric remains from my office

Archaeology is the study of the remains of the past but has long been predatory on the sciences and their ever-growing technologies. I was brought up as a student in 1970s Britain, when we learned of the…
How can we stop people putting themselves in peril? AAP/Josh Jerga

Five ways to prevent more asylum seeker tragedies

Last weekend, an overcrowded fishing boat sank off the coast of Indonesia with more than 200 asylum seekers on board. In Australia, the political blame game started soon after with both sides trying to…
Egypt takes its first steps towards democracy but it’s not in the way many were hoping for. EPA/Amel Pain

The rise of Islamist parties in Egypt’s elections

After the overthrowing of dictator Hosni Mubarak, Egypt has had its first round of parliamentary elections, with two parties dominating the vote – the moderate Muslim Brotherhood and the religious conservative…
President Obama and French leader Nicolas Sarkozy were caught speaking of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in unflattering terms at the G20 summit. AAP/Stefan Rousseau

Careless whisper: what Obama and Sarkozy’s slip means for Israel

The recent Cannes G20 meeting was ostensibly about saving Europe from falling into economic oblivion. But a frank exchange between US President Barack Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, caught…
People in Libya are desperate for change and the new government will have to manage expectations carefully. AFP/Abdullah Doma

The challenges for Libya now Gaddafi is gone

The relegation of Moammar Gaddafi to the meat-locker of history is a significant exorcism of Libya’s past. Whether it would have been better for him to face trial is a moot point. It’s doubtful that too…
Gilad Shalit speaks to his family following his release from captivity after five years. AFP/IDF

One against a thousand: The politics of the Gilad Shalit deal

When Gilad Shalit was dragged away in a cross-border raid in June 2006, it’s doubtful he or his captors would have imagined five years’ of negotiations lay ahead. Nor in their most fevered imaginings would…
Coptic Christians have long been discriminated against in Egypt, but the violence against them, and the government response to it, signals concerns for democracy in the country. EPA/Mohamed Omar

Democracy in peril: Egypt’s handling of Coptic unrest

The violence in Egypt involving Coptic demonstrators, military units and unidentified thugs shocked the country and rang alarms about prospects for transition to democracy. Egypt is going through a revolution…
Syrian troops withdraw from the city of Hama where they were quelling pro-democracy protests. AFP/STR

Solving the crisis in Syria. Where will the unrest end?

The United States has stepped up sanctions against Syria, targeting President Bashar al-Assad’s financial resources. Syria claims to have withdrawn its troops from the city of Hama, which has played a…
Palestinian medics attend to an elderly woman in the shadow of the Israeli wall. AAP

Explainer: The upcoming UN Palestinian sovereignty vote

The United Nations is set to vote on recognising Palestine as an independent state next month. What the chances of the Palestinian initiative succeeding? What implications would recognition of Palestinian…
Syrian President Assad addresses the nation earlier this week. AAP

Syria - breaking the pattern

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad made a major speech earlier this week promising major reforms in the way his country is governed in an attempt to end protests rocking the Middle Eastern country. However…
Israelis have a right to live in peace. But Israel has no ‘right to exist.’ AAP/Gali Tibbon

Israel has no ‘right to exist'—and neither does any other state

Since the 1970s, Israel’s leaders have insisted that their Palestinian interlocutors acknowledge Israel’s “right to exist” as a pre-condition for negotiations on a settlement of the conflict. Amongst other…
President Obama is spending his post-bin Laden political capital in the Middle East. AAP

Obama, Israel and the Middle East dilemma

President Barack Obama has made a number of speeches focusing on events in the Middle East in recent weeks. Obama used a landmark speech regarding the uprisings in the Arab world to call on Israel to change…
Obama has outlined American foreign policy in the Middle East. AAP

The Obama doctrine

President Barack Obama’s speech on the Middle East and North Africa yesterday is being considered a landmark event in US foreign policy. Made in the wake of the so-called Arab spring and the killing of…
Revolutions encourage people to see the world through different eyes. AFP/STR

The Arab World: a new model for civilised revolution

The lives of millions of people in the Arab-speaking world are changing. Often for the first time, women and men have jumped, danced, kissed strangers and sung in the streets. There is talk of dignity…

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