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Middle East

A Sea Change In The Middle East

The White House ceremony on September 15 at which Israel, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates formalized their normalization agreements could well herald the dawn of a new era in the Middle East, as President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu both declared in separate speeches. Counting its 1979 and 1994 treaties with Egypt […]

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Middle East

Israel’s Covert Relations With Bahrain Blossom Into Normalization

The announcement from U.S. President Donald Trump on September 11 that the tiny pro-American Persian Gulf kingdom of Bahrain would normalize relations with Israel was yet another milestone in Israel’s dogged campaign to win regional recognition and acceptance from conservative Arab states. Bahrain, an archipelago of islands near Saudi Arabia and Iran, was the second […]

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Middle East

A Breath Of Fresh Air From Lebanon

A sober voice of reason was heard in Lebanon a few days ago, debunking sacred myths and misconceptions about Israel that some Lebanese hold dear. Sejaan Azizi, Lebanon’s former minister of labor and a leading member the mainly Christian Kataeb Party, conveyed two major truths to his fellow Lebanese citizens: Israel seeks peace with Lebanon […]

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Middle East

Gaza — The Albatross Around Israel’s Neck

We have seen this movie before, but it’s the only one in town. Israel and Hamas have agreed to abide by yet another truce, the latest in a long line of ceasefires. It went into effect on August 31, ending several weeks of cross-border fighting in and around the Gaza Strip. It was brokered by Qatar in […]

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Middle East

U.S. Funding Of Lebanon’s Armed Forces Triggers Debate

American funding of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) has become a source of heated debate in the U.S. Congress. Republicans in the House of Representatives and Senate, such as Lee Zeldin (New York) and Ted Cruz (Texas), contend that aid should be curtailed or cut altogether unless LAF rids itself of Hezbollah influence or acts […]

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Middle East

Ayatollah Khamenei’s Antisemitic Narrative

On his English-language Twitter feed a few days ago, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, predictably lambasted the United Arab Emirates’ normalization agreement with Israel. He accused the UAE of betraying Islam, the Arab world and the Palestinians. “The UAE rulers opened the door of the region to the Zionists,” he tweeted angrily. And […]

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Middle East

The Sale of The F-35 Jet To The UAE Could Be Problematic

As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu exulted in the news that the United Arab Emirates would normalize relations with Israel, the third Arab country to do so, the Israeli daily newspaper Yediot Ahronot reported that the United States intends to sell the highly regarded F-35 stealth fighter jet to that Gulf nation. It suggested that the […]

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Middle East

Jared Kushner’s Script For A “New Middle East”

Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s senior advisor and son-in-law, declared yesterday that a script for a “new Middle East” is currently being written. This is not a freshly-minted expression. It was coined by the late Shimon Peres after the Olso accords were signed in August 1993. Peres, Israel’s former defence minister, foreign minister, prime minister […]

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Middle East

Israeli-Arab Normalization Will Be A Lengthy Process

A few days after the United States announced that Israel and the United Arab Emirates would normalize relations, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu triumphantly spoke of a new spirit in the Middle East that would break down barriers between Israel and Arab states and eventually lead to an Israeli accommodation with the Palestinians. The new doctrine, […]

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Middle East

Israel Will Probably Defer West Bank Settlement Plan

In 1999, the Israeli government approved a master plan to build thousands of housing units in the strategically important E-1 area of the West Bank. Twenty one years on, the ambitious project continues to languish due to the objections of Israel’s chief ally, the United States. A succession of U.S. presidents have come out against […]