After decades of war, and especially after the removal of the fundamentalist Taliban regime in 2001, the Country has undertaken in this last decade an important process of political and economic stabilization, especially thanks to the support of the international community, of foreign aid, and particularly of the Nato’s ISAF mission which has been playing an important role in terms of enabling the Afghan authorities to provide effective security across the country (in order to free it from terrorists’ hands).
This week Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrein closed all diplomatic relations with Qatar. Within a few hours, these four countries were joined by Yemen and the Maldives. This is not just an interruption of diplomatic relations, as took place in 2014, but an actual geographic isolation of Qatar, that calls for the expulsion of all its citizens currently located in the participating countries, a stop to all air and sea traffic and the closure of all borders. According to the official motivation, the closing of relations is due to "support for terrorist activities" provided by Qatar to terrorists in the region. The accusation of "supporting terrorists" in actual fact means that the countries of the Gulf coalition want to bring Qatar back in line with Saudi politics, straining the power relations in the region.
The Great Wall in the desert will run for 950 kilometers along the Iraqi border and an already existing seven meters high sand berm with eight kilometers of ‘no-mans-land'. The Northern Border Security Project is designed to prevent infiltrations by ISIL or ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham — or Levant) , whose stated goal is to extend the Islamic State, or caliphate, over the entire region of “al-Sham”, that is, from southern Turkey to Egypt, including Syria, Jordan, the Palestinian territories, Lebanon and Israel.
As the international community is focused on the Middle East, where crises and conflicts follow one another with an unprecedented pace, few people seem to have realized that Pakistan and Afghanistan are experiencing a very delicate phase of transition, whose outcome will certainly contribute to determining future international balances. We spoke about that with Ahmed Rashid, one of the most prominent scholars of the region.
More than a year after the elections, Afghanistan has finally managed to form a government. We interviewed Thomas Ruttig, co-founder of Afghanistan Analysts Network, on the situation of the country and the prospects that the new executive branch can make to solve national and dramatic problems of the region.
"Lebanon, the bin-Republic": that is how the French daily L'Orient Le Jour entitled the article published on its front page on Thursday, August 20. It is not so frequent that a city gets to experience the failings of government quite so literally pungently. But Beirut, the Lebanese capital, the same that until mid 70’s was used to be dubbed the Switzerland of the Middle East, has been drowning in garbage for over a month.
Since Russia has been declared officially in the Middle East, and following the extended presence of its military in all forms in Syria, speculations splashed media platforms across the globe. Observers saw in Russia’s decision to enter Syria a long-term strategy, albeit the abrupt announcement of Russian President Vladimir Putin to withdraw most of the Russian forces from Syria put friends and foes alike in bewilderment.
Saudi Arabia has bought Islam. For over 200 years, the al-Saud family has promoted fundamentalist Wahhabi theology, mostly through warfare inside the Arabian Peninsula; but in the last 50 years it has instead been able to continue this project by using oil money to pay for a worldwide revolution in Sunni Islam.
Syrian crisis hit Lebanon as well. In the country one person out of three is a refugee, in a territory with only the size of Kosovo. Low salaries, high rents and the rising cost of living are the challenges faced by Lebanese and Palestinian. 25% of the Lebanese population was already under the level of poverty and since 2011 the situation deteriorated.