Part 1 of this seven-part series is here.
One of the enduring myths of the Arab uprisings is that it was primarily a brave, noble but ultimately vain attempt by young liberals to overthrow the old authoritarian order in the Middle East. Many observers now dismiss the uprisings as a passing episode
In Manila this week Prime Minister Turnbull, echoing the language of other Western leaders of late, spoke of the need for pragmatism when it comes to Syria:
...what we need there is a political settlement. And it is clear that the principal determinants of, the people that will decide who can be
The Australian Government has finally announced that it will increase its humanitarian intake by 12,000 places in the wake of the Syrian crisis. Amid the cacophony over which refugees are most in need of refuge, and the unhelpful 'Muslim versus Christian' discourse, there is a community that has
The crisis over garbage collection in Lebanon continues to pile up. This weekend thousands of Lebanese gathered again in downtown Beirut to denounce politicians for their failure to resolve this problem and the myriad others that Lebanon faces. These include, but are not limited to: constant water
Over the weekend an Egypt court found Al-Jazeera journalists Peter Greste, Mohammed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed guilty on charges of operating in Egypt without a press licence and of ‘spreading false news’. Greste and Fahmy were given sentences of three years in prison; Mohamed was given three years
Late last month, in conjunction with attacks at a beach resort in Tunisia and a 'lone wolf' attack in eastern France, a suicide bomber struck the Imam Al-Sadeq mosque in Kuwait City, killing 27 and injuring 222 people. In the days after the suicide attack, Government-sponsored billboards began
Islamist insurrection has returned to Egypt. There has been a significant growth in the sophistication of the targeting, conduct and lethality of terrorist acts, a crisis of political legitimacy for the Egyptian Government, and the virtual abandonment of any separation of executive and judicial
It is not yet possible to say whether, when and how the Syrian regime may fall. But recent military setbacks, and an objective analysis of the challenges the regime faces in the longer term, strongly suggest that its future is increasingly precarious.
The momentum of the military conflict has
When you look at the global response to the threat of ISIS, a glaring gap is the cyber domain.
The internet has been critical to the terrorist group's success. It allows it to communicate unfiltered to the rest of the world, for onward mass dissemination by the media. It helps the group radicalise
Even for long-time watchers of the Middle East like myself, the region's enmities and alliances have become very difficult to keep track of.
This has just been taken to a mind-bogglingly new level by Saudi Arabia's decision to launch a military campaign in Yemen against the Houthi movement.
The deliberate recruitment of women by ISIS certainly brings a new twist to radicalism. It is something that al Qaeda never quite got the hang of. It is worrisome, because it reveals the long-term ambitions of the group – to create a new generation of radicalised men and women.
Why is it
In an excellent exploratory piece by Graeme Woods in The Atlantic this month, he notes in passing the similarities between ISIS and the Khmer Rouge. It’s a worthy comparison – further highlighted by ISIS’ destruction of antiquities as reported last week – and something that merits a
The Australian Government's announcement that 300 additional troops will be sent to Iraq to help train the Iraqi Army has brought forth the usual public commentators, myself included. My view is that all those who see ISIS as evil should be prepared to commit military and other resources to oppose
Syrian friends here in Lebanon often tell me that some Syrian refugees have chosen to leave Lebanon and return to parts of Syria that are under ISIS control. These anecdotes usually emerge as part of a larger conversation about why ISIS still receives support in some Arab countries, albeit often
At a forum held at the Parliament of New South Wales last Tuesday evening, the General Secretary of Lebanon's Future Movement party, Ahmad Hariri, forcefully condemned terrorism in the name of Islam. Flanked by pictures of two former Lebanese prime ministers, the slain Rafik Hariri and his son Saad
When the video of the murder of Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasasbeh was released, the King of Jordan was in Washington. This brutal act led directly to discussions about the need to resolve delays to existing US arms deliveries to Jordan.
King Abdullah of Jordan attends the funeral of Jordanian
Despite China's long-standing diplomatic principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other states, Beijing cannot completely control its citizens' involvement in terrorist activity abroad. Whether China likes it or not, it is being drawn into the conflict against ISIS.
The uprisings that swept across the Arab world from late 2010 are, to put it mildly, faltering.
Egypt has returned to authoritarianism. Syria is a bloodbath. It is getting harder to decipher what is actually going on in Libya and Yemen. We cling to Tunisia as a glimmer of hope, but the outcomes for
When King Salman bin Abdulaziz succeeded King Abdullah last month, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia edged one step closer towards a succession crisis.
US Secretary of State John Kerry with Omanu Sultan Qaboos bin Said, May 2013. (Flickr/US State Dept.)
There remain two more sons in the house of
On 21 December 2014, Tunisians elected a president by universal suffrage for the first time in their history.
The election marked the success of a democratic transition initiated when a popular uprising sparked by the death of a young street vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi, in Sidi Bouzid (central
In the last week, digital graphic designers such as Isaku Ogura have suddenly found themselves in strong demand for media commentary on the plight of two fellow Japanese taken hostage by ISIS. Broadcast media have given exhaustive attention to doubts over the authenticity of several disturbing
I picked up my tickets for tomorrow's AFL Grand Final the other day. My team, the Sydney Swans, is playing and I should be excited to be going. Instead, I have been infected by the unease gripping Melbourne. I ask myself, am I taking a risk by attending the game?
We are told by our political
Judging from President Obama's 10 September speech announcing the expanded operation against ISIS and the Jeddah Communique that John Kerry hammered out last week, Obama is expecting a lot from Egypt, Jordan and Gulf states like Saudi Arabia.
At a minimum, the Communique (which is hardly binding)
Though the US President will be the last to trumpet it, a revelation from the Edward Snowden National Security Agency dossier unveiled late last month might provide some context for the difficulties he faces in plotting a course of action to counter the threat of the Islamic State (IS) movement
Below are photos taken by journalist Lisa Main in Cairo over recent days of the opposition to presumptive new president Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi. We published Lisa's post on the Egyptian elections earlier today.
Ahmed Harara, a former dentist who was blinded by gunfire in the 2011 uprising. His
It goes something like this: over the next two days, Egyptians will elect the former head of the military, Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, as Egypt's new president. His sole challenger, Hamdeen Sabahi, may do a little better than expected, perhaps denying Sisi his landslide. But by hook or by crook, Sisi will
As Syria stumbles into its third year of conflict, President Assad continues to bank on his belief that the longer he remains in power, the more likely that the opposition will be seen as a combination of Islamists, carpetbaggers, proxies and miscreants, and that the West will somehow reluctantly