Musharraf's Opening to Israel

by Graham Usher | published March 2, 2006

When George W. Bush arrives in Islamabad on March 4, 2006, his will be the first visit to Pakistan by a US president since Bill Clinton touched down there in March 2000. Aside from the coincidence of the month, the circumstances could hardly be more different. In 2000, Clinton stayed for barely five hours, refused to be photographed with the then recently installed military dictator, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, and proceeded to lecture the general on Pakistan’s continued sponsorship of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Islamist insurgency in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

Less a “Big Bang” Than an Earthquake

by Peretz Kidron | published January 18, 2006

The two successive strokes and the cerebral hemorrhage that struck down Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon came just a few weeks after the somber ceremonies marking the tenth anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. The causes of the two occurrences were very different, and so was the actual physical outcome, for Rabin died within minutes of sustaining his wounds, while doctors still hold out glimmers of hope for Sharon’s survival, albeit with grave handicaps.

Salih’s Road to Reelection

by Gregory Johnsen | published January 13, 2006

Following six months of rumor and speculation in Yemen, President Ali Abdallah Salih did the expected and announced that he would stand for reelection in the presidential contest scheduled for September 2006. Salih accepted the nomination of his ruling General People’s Congress party on December 17, 2005, during its three-day conference in the southern port city of Aden. The conference, which had been postponed twice to allow Salih to return from state visits abroad, was largely a scripted affair, with few surprises, save for when the president tried and failed to catch a pigeon that landed at his table.

Controlled Reform in Egypt

Neither Reformist nor Controlled

by Issandr El Amrani | published December 15, 2005

Torture and the Lawless “New Paradigm”

by Lisa Hajjar | published December 9, 2005

The president who campaigned on a pledge to “restore honor and dignity to the White House” has now been compelled to declaim: “We abide by the law of the United States, and we do not torture.” In the closing months of 2005, President George W. Bush has been forced to repeat this undignified denial several times, most recently with the head of the World Health Organization standing beside him, because a dwindling number of people believe him.

Impunity on Both Sides of the Green Line

by Jonathan Cook | published November 23, 2005

As Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon strode up to the podium at the UN General Assembly on September 15, 2005 to deliver a speech recognizing the Palestinians’ right to statehood, government officials back in Jerusalem were preparing to draw a firm line under unfinished business from the start of the Palestinian uprising, five years earlier.

The Mehlis Report and Lebanon’s Trouble Next Door

by Marlin Dick | published November 18, 2005

The UN-authorized investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri, now well into a second phase of heightened brinkmanship between Damascus and Washington, also has Lebanon holding its collective breath.

Iran’s Nuclear File

The Uncertain Endgame

by Farideh Farhi | published October 24, 2005

Forecasting Mass Destruction, from Gulf to Gulf

by Sheila Carapico | published September 29, 2005

While internally displaced Americans were piled into an unequipped New Orleans sports stadium, the question on everyone’s lips was: where were the Louisiana National Guard and its high-water trucks when Hurricane Katrina struck? One answer, obviously, was that at least a third of the Guard’s human and mechanical resources were deployed to Iraq. Anti-war protesters demonstrating in Washington on September 24, 2005 as a new storm battered the Gulf coast turned the question into a new slogan: “Make Levees, Not War.”

Egypt’s Election All About Image, Almost

by Mariz Tadros | published September 6, 2005

The skies of Cairo are cluttered with strips of cloth daubed in red, blue and green. Hanging in crowded squares and stretching across streets before traffic lights, almost all of the banners proclaim the enthusiastic support of “So-and-So and his family” or “such-and-such shop or hospital” for Husni Mubarak in his quest for a fifth term as president of Egypt.

The Ceasefire This Time

by Evren Balta-Paker | published August 31, 2005

“The aim of the Turkish armed forces is to ensure that the separatist terrorist organization bows down to the law and the mercy of the nation.” Thus did the Turkish chief of staff, Gen. Hilmi Ozkok, brusquely dismiss the one-month ceasefire announced on August 19, 2005 by the Kurdistan People’s Congress (or Kongra-Gel). Kongra-Gel is the name adopted in 2003 by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which had renewed its armed struggle with the Turkish state just over one year before proclaiming its latest truce.

The New Hamas

Between Resistance and Participation

by Graham Usher | published August 21, 2005

In March 2005, Hamas, the largest Islamist party in Palestine, joined its main secular rival Fatah and 11 other Palestinian organizations in endorsing a document that seemed to embody the greatest harmony achieved within the Palestinian national movement in almost two decades. By the terms of the Cairo Declaration, Hamas agreed to “maintain an atmosphere of calm”—halt attacks on Israel—for the rest of the year, participate in Palestinian parliamentary elections scheduled for July and commence discussions about joining the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

Black Monday

The Political and Economic Dimensions of Sudan's Urban Riot

by Khalid Mustafa Medani | published August 9, 2005