Just days after the fall of Mosul, chaos is spreading in Iraq. The New York Times reports that:
Sunni militants extended their control over parts of northern and western Iraq on Wednesday as Iraqi government forces crumbled in disarray. The militants overran the city of Tikrit, seized facilities in the strategic oil refining town of Baiji, and threatened an important Shiite shrine in Samarra as they moved south toward Baghdad. Read more »
The fall of Mosul, Iraq to a terrorist group should change the American perceptions of developments in the Middle East. Although the Obama administration has spent its efforts in the region on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, that front is actually stable: no one is predicting or expecting a massive collapse into violence. Read more »
In this week’ s edition of The Weekly Standard, an article entitled “Dangerous Unity,” I discuss the new Palestinian government. Here’s the basic argument:
The new PA government is a non-party, “technocratic” cabinet– and not a Hamas government or one with Hamas participation. For that reason I think the Israeli official reaction is a mistake: it treats this government exactly as it would treat a true coalition government of Fatah and Hamas, where Hamas held seats in the PA parliament and held ministerial or vice-ministerial positions in the government. Read more »
The administration’s decision to release five high-ranking and dangerous Taliban detainees is controversial. To the argument that the United States should not negotiate with terrorists, defenders of the decision sometimes cite Israel. The Wall Street Journal discussed the argument this way: Read more »
The new prime minister was elected to the nation’s top office in his sixties after many years in politics. He had been an opposition leader while another party, tied to the nation’s very creation, ruled most of the time and claimed to be the ‘natural’ party of government. His victory was heralded as creating a new era in politics, with the hold of the old political clique apparently broken for good. Read more »
Egypt’s next president, sure to be Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, will have a monumental task handling Egypt’s economy.
More bad news was reported yesterday regarding the tourism sector. Al Ahram reported that tourist visits were down 32 percent, but that figure actually understates the problem. Visits were also shorter, so the number of tourist visitor nights was down 43.6 percent.Tourism revenues were down 43 percent overall. Read more »
Pressure Points tracks developments in the Middle East and democratization and human rights issues globally.