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The Briefing

 
 

We're pleased to present this week's round-up of Middle East insight and analysis from
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Gail Reiss, President & CEO


Volume IV, Number 9:
March 17, 2017


Tel Aviv Notes

"Nostalgia for the Monarchy in Egypt" by Joyce van de Bildt-de Jong
King Faruq has recently been appearing on Facebook pages that romanticize the Egyptian monarchal period (1805-1953). This sentimental yearning for the monarchy is a reaction to current grievances — in particular, the lack of stability, security, freedom, and economic opportunities. The nostalgia selectively highlights positive aspects that present the Egyptian monarchy through decidedly rose-colored glasses.
Source: Tel Aviv Notes/The Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, Tel Aviv University — March 14, 2017


Turkeyscope

Moshe Kamhi from the Economic Affairs division of the Israeli Foreign Ministry analyzes trade ties between Israel and Turkey; and Hay Eytan Cohen Yanarocak discusses the impact of the recent Turkish soap opera Payitaht on Turkish society and the government's desire to reshape the country's historical narrative.
Source: Turkeyscope: Insights on Turkish Affairs/Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, Tel Aviv University — March 2017


Middle East News Brief

The Middle East News Brief is a selection of editorial commentary and analysis from the Middle East and Africa. The inclusion of any item does not imply that the Moshe Dayan Center endorses the opinions or arguments expressed therein.

Ethiopia — Worku Aberra: Extremism and the struggle for unity and democracy in Ethiopia
Ethiopia is home to both moderate and extremist ethnic nationalism. Moderates are willing to forgive past injustices against ethnic groups, but extremists hold grudges, using the wounds of the past as weapons in political battles that threaten the integrity of the country. The current political structure is based on an extremist ethnic nationalism, essentially undemocratic. Hegemonic groups could better serve Ethiopia by acknowledging the historical oppression of others and using that acknowledgement to maintain unity and contribute to peace, equality and democracy. At the same time, non-hegemonic groups should move past their own divisive and separatist rhetoric. Political elites should learn from ordinary Ethiopians how to work together and reject hostility.
Source: ZeHabesha (Minnesota) — March 12, 2017

Kenya — Editorial: Elections: why we ought to keep the peace and what each one can do
Kenya is in many respects an incredibly diverse country, but this diversity is threatened by some political players who are now competing for electoral advantage. Kenyans have to push back against those who want to divide the country. They have to embrace the cautionary example of the bloody 2007-2008 elections and maintain a balance between extremes. The responsibility for respecting ethnic and religious diversity, and the safety of all Kenyans and their property, has to be shared by all citizens.
Source: Standard Digital (Nairobi) — March 10, 2017

Egypt — Mohamed Samir: Women and their day
The United Nations Day for Women's Rights and International Peace has become an international symbol of the struggle for women's rights. Many Egyptian women are still the victims of patriarchal discrimination resulting from misunderstood traditions and religious beliefs. Nevertheless, there has been some improvement since the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination agreement was signed in 1981. In the years that followed, Egypt established the National Council for Women, launched several women's rights campaigns, and witnessed the emergence of women's groups that promote equal access and campaign against sexual harassment and female genital mutilation.
Source: Daily News Egypt (Cairo) — March 11, 2017

Egypt — Amar Ali Hassan: To the President: which comes first, cement or education?
The Egyptian government has wasted 130 billion Egyptian pounds (about $7 billion US) in pouring reinforced concrete for projects that reclaim farmland or pave roads, rather than creating revenue-generating projects funded by the army or other Gulf countries. This government waste has given rise to rhetoric about national poverty and led to demands for austerity. But economic policy is a prisoner to entrenched business interests and the dramatic underspending on education. The current regime is continuing the tactics of political marginalization and narrow-mindedness that weakened the economy, saw the ouster of Hosni Mubarak and left average Egyptians to suffer.
Source: Egypt Independent (Cairo) — March 8, 2017

Jordan — Amer al Sabaileh: New economic model needed
Jordan faces increased economic challenges in the face of a shifting global political landscape. It can no longer remain dependent on foreign aid and donations, the high taxation will have an overall negative impact, and Jordan hasn't been able to transform itself into a financial hub many Jordanians want it to be. To avoid chaos, the Ministry of Planning should develop an economic strategy that focuses on rural zones, building on Jordan's economic development plan of the 1950s and 60s. Economic development in Jordan should focus more on its citizens, not just the regional situation, which will also help in the fight against radicalization.
Source: The Jordan Times (Amman) — March 12, 2017

Syria — Baria Alamuddin: The real consequences of Syria's lost generation
The enduring legacy of the Syrian civil war will be its effect on a generation of children. The epidemic levels of depression found among children, many of whom have never seen a day of security or peace, will be compounded by a lack of recognition of mental illnesses in the Middle East. Moreover, being exposed to this extreme violence has imprinted a desire to take vengeance for the deaths of their loved ones, which many express in graphic terms. In the long term, the international community's failure to effectively address this mass trauma will come back to haunt it.
Source: Arab News (Jeddah) — March 12, 2017

Iraq — Editorial: The battle for Mosul continues
Senior ISIL leaders, including Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, have reportedly fled to the Syrian capital of Raqqa, but the war against them is far from over. Several issues remain. 1) ISIL still retains control of several strongholds including Raqqa. 2) Thousands of refugees are being displaced from Mosul and other areas being liberated; and state, regional and international communities don't have a coordinated strategy to deal with them. 3) New sectarian grievances instigated by ISIL will require international and humanitarian cooperation and the implementation of a new government. If these issues aren't addressed, the extremism will continue to fester in Iraq regardless of whether ISIL holds territory or not.
Source: The National (Abu Dhabi) — March 11, 2017

Turkey — Cengiz Candar: Turkey's diplomatic relations with Europe take a nosedive
Turkey's EU relations have taken a beating this month, from Germany to the Netherlands. Dutch authorities denied requests from the Turkish Foreign Minister and the Turkish Family and Social Affairs Minister to speak Turkish citizens at pro-referendum events. The Dutch had warned Turkey that their ministers would not be afforded normal protections. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan responded, saying that the Dutch were akin to Nazis. This exchange could have lasting effects on elections in both countries. In the Netherlands, the far-right Prime Minister Geert Wilders is using it to showcase his nationalist agenda. In Turkey, Erdoğan needs the support of Turks abroad to win his presidential referendum. This represents Turkey's changing politics: joining the EU is no longer that desirable to a lot of the Turkish people. It will also be harder for the Turkish-European population if Turkey's European conflicts continue to increase.
Source: al-Monitor (Washington, D.C.) — March 12, 2017

Turkey — Yaya Bostan: The dream of Europe is dead
The Austrian, German and Dutch governments have restricted Turkish politicians' access to Turkish citizens living in those countries in the lead up to Turkey's controversial referendum. The Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) has also been intimidating venues that were to host these politicians. These are mafia tactics employed to hinder a "yes" vote in Turkey's referendum, and to satisfy European populist sentiments. The EU has revealed its hypocrisy, and Turks should recognize this moral crisis.
Source: Daily Sabah (Istanbul) — March 12, 2017

Kurdistan Region — Basdar Ishmaeel: Faced with a common enemy, a new front pitching Kurd against Kurd is a travesty
Two Kurdish factions are pitted against each other even though they are both fighting ISIS. Tensions escalated between the Sinjar Resistance Units backed by the PKK and the Peshmerga backed by the Kurdistan Regional Government after many died in a recent armed conflict. Many battlefronts already exist in Iraq, and it's a shame that these two Kurdish factions are fighting against each other and not with each other. If they were smart, they would form an alliance and work together to fight ISIS.
Source: Kurdistan 24 (Kurdistan) — March 8, 2017

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