Gaza and the Hamas problem
Cut off by their neighbors, the people of the Hamas-governed Gaza Strip suffer from high unemployment, low investment and only sporadic electricity. With Hamas having proven itself dangerous to Egypt, Israel and the Ramallah-based Palestinian government, it is not difficult to see why the sanctions continue. Qatari aid may give temporary respite, but Gaza’s fate remains sealed by the terrorist organization’s determination to destroy Israel.
Egypt: Proud and jittery as El-Sisi begins second term
With the Middle East in turmoil, the Arab world’s most populous nation and its biggest army are nowhere to be found. Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi believes the path to national greatness begins at home, with economic development – not foreign entanglements. But as trouble builds up in Egypt’s immediate neighborhood, Mr. El-Sisi may not be able to stay out.
War in the North? Israel, Lebanon, Syria and Iran
Israel is girding for another war in southern Lebanon. But this time Hezbollah can pound northern and central Israel with up to 1,500 missiles a day – 10 times as many as it launched in the entire 2006 Lebanon war. And the conflict could well spread to Syria and Gaza, and perhaps even to Iraq and the Mediterranean offshore gas fields. As Iran supplies Hezbollah with ever more advanced missile technologies, the window for a preemptive strike by the Israeli Defense Forces is closing.
Syria heads toward renewed conflict
Daesh’s imminent defeat in Syria has brought new tensions to the fore. Iran now has proxies and allies right next door to Israel, while the U.S. has committed to a long-term military presence. Russia’s main objective continues to be securing its Syrian bases, and Turkey is becoming more isolated over its insistence on keeping Kurdish groups from controlling any territory. These factors form a volatile mix that makes it difficult to foresee anything but renewed conflict in the already war-torn country.
Opinion: Long-simmering tensions over Qatar come to a boil
Qatar has quarreled with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states before, but this latest flare-up is far more serious. While the cause of the crisis – an allegedly fake news report – seems a flimsy justification for a diplomatic and economic blockade, Doha’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood and friendly ties with Iran have put it in this fix. Qatar will have to agree to at least some of the 13 demands made by Saudi Arabia and its allies, and the U.S. will probably help broker a compromise to end the impasse.
Can Turkey and Israel sustain detente?
Turkey’s mercurial president decided to make up with Israel just as suddenly as when he froze relations back in 2010. That bodes ill for a durable rapprochement, especially in light of Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s long-standing ties with Hamas. But there are long-term reasons why the deal could work.
Sinai’s tangled web
The geopolitical significance of the Sinai Peninsula, which borders several strategic waterways and serves as a buffer between Egypt and Israel, can hardly be understated. Instability there is on the rise, as radical jihadi groups gain a stronger foothold. Egypt will have to overcome mistakes of the past and underwhelming support from its allies to bring law and order back to this critical portion of its territory.
Global trends: players and paths for Islamic State (part 2)
As Islamic State begins to lose ground in Syria and Iraq, regional and global powers are trying to carve out their own spheres of influence. The struggle is less military than political, and will hinge on negotiations to establish workable solutions, federal and otherwise, in both countries. But managing the endgame over the next 12-18 months will be tricky, and er...
Both sides lose out in Israel-Hamas war of attrition
A seven-week war of attrition escalated into a spiral of violence in Gaza and surroundings which did not serve the interests of either Israel or Hamas. Israel seems to have lost more in terms of international standing, sense of security and economically. Hamas suffered huge, devastating casualties but sees these as a sign of victory and its resilience, writes GIS g...