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At a time when the two-state solution is experiencing what could be its last agonising convulsions and with negotiations seemingly unable to achieve anything other than perpetuating the status quo, Palestinians need to shift the current paradigm that has framed the conflict with Israel over the last two decades. This was recently highlighted during an ECFR roundtable with Nadia Hijab, the co-founder and director of the al-Shabaka policy network [see event audio below].
A new strategy is required that either acknowledges a one-state reality and engages in a popular struggle for equal rights within a bi-national state or uses that as a threat in order to challenge Israel and secure broader Palestinian aspirations through the creation of an independent Palestinian state and an end to the occupation. To achieve this, Palestinians are now more than ever in need of a revitalised
A few weeks ago, an important player backed out of Egypt’s negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Hany Kadry Dimian, former deputy finance minister and the IMF’s “go-to” man during the talks, left the ministry at the end of April, a warning sign for international policy makers and Egyptian officials who insist that they are on the cusp of signing an IMF loan worth $4.8 billion.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s Abdallah Shehata replaced Dimian, who had served as the deputy since 2007, weathering a storm of five different finance ministers in the two years since the revolution. Dimian also represented Egypt in his government’s dialogue with the European Union over the economy and co-ordinated the EU-Egypt Neighbourhood Policy Action Plan.
At the outset, his departure was seen as part of a wider cabinet re-shuffle that resulted in the appointment of nine new ministers
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At the end of April as Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika was flown to France for treatment, in my blog post "The perils of gerontocracy", I warned that these are testing times for the Algerian regime. It does not currently appear to have any alternatives to the current president to act as the public face of the different interest groups that hold up the Algerian regime – known as le pouvoir.
Over the weekend, the government laid bare just how nervous it is about this in a thinly veiled attempt to silence speculation about the health of Bouteflika. On Saturday, the Ministry of Communications pressured Hicham Aboud, editor of My Journal and Djaridati newspapers, to remove an article that suggested (on the basis of what he reported as reliable medical sources) that Bouteflika had fallen into a coma. Aboud has refused to do so and has instead notified the international press
Qatar’s gung-ho foreign policy (discussed in greater depth in ECFR’s latest Gulf Analysis) is so often depicted by big moves and big money. Before the Syrian uprising in 2011, Gulf powers, including Qatar, had sought a rapprochement of sorts with Damascus, hoping to move Syria out of Iran’s regional orbit and closer to itself. Since then, Qatar, more so than its heavyweight neighbour Saudi Arabia, has pursued a policy for Bashar al-Assad’s head at seemingly whatever cost. This has meant that, rather than actually delivering on humanitarian commitments and seeking a de-escalation of violence against Syria's people, Qatar’s insistence to continue arming opposition groups looks increasingly like dangerously amateurish brinksmanship.
Qatar may be vying for an endgame that outstrips the ambitions of any of its Gulf neighbours and allies, but they are not likely to defeat Assad
US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Rome from Moscow, where he convened with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to call for an international conference, possibly by the end of the month, to discuss a political solution for Syria to “end the bloodshed, the killing, and the massacres.” The diplomatic breakthrough aimed to recuperate the Geneva communiqué and to create a transitional government. (The implementation of the agreement, discussed back in June 2012, was blocked, however, because the question of the future of President Bashar al-Assad was left unsolved.)
This is Kerry's second visit to Italy since his appointment as secretary of state. The impression is that he has grasped the value of its historic role as a bridge between East and West, and between North and South. Italy's geographic and cultural proximity to the Mediterranean may now turn into a great diplomatic
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