June 22, 2013 |
CAIRO - Hezbollah's march into the Syrian civil war on behalf of President Bashar Assad is adding to tension along sectarian fault lines in a region increasingly roused by geopolitical maneuverings that are fueled by religious passions. Popular uprisings that overthrew secular autocrats in Egypt and other countries once enthralled Shiite and Sunni Muslims alike. But the replacement of fallen leaders by Islamist parties has further provoked the age-old vitriol between the sects, threatening to turn the Syrian battleground into a wider religious war. Hezbollah, long a proxy for Shiite-dominated Iran, is helping battle largely Sunni rebel forces seeking to overthrow Assad, a fellow ally of Iran whose Alawite faith is a spinoff of Shiite Islam.
May 14, 2013 |
Director Ziad Doueiri hoped his movie “The Attack” might start meaningful conversations about terrorism, especially in the Middle East, where the film is set. Instead, the Lebanese-born filmmaker has seen his drama banned in almost every Arab country, a consequence, he says, of filming in Israel. Doueiri, whose film premiered at the Telluride Film Festival last year, said “The Attack” was scheduled to roll out in nearly two dozen Arab countries in the weeks ahead of its U.S. premiere on June 21. But last week he said the League of Arab States, also known as the Arab League, asked all of its 22 member nations to boycott the film.
April 20, 2013 |
The great Yogi Berra is said to have observed, "Predictions are difficult, particularly about the future" (or something very close to that). When UCLA history professor James Gelvin quoted Berra to that effect on Saturday, it served as a capstone to a wide-ranging discussion of the Middle East in the aftermath of the Arab Spring. Wait, scratch that. The term preferred by the panel of Mideast experts speaking at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books was Arab Uprisings, not Arab Spring.
March 24, 2013
Re "Israel needs a new map," Opinion, March 21 Ian S. Lustick suggests that early Israeli Zionist goal of building a "modern secular democracy" that would eventually exist in an Arab region that had also become modern and secular hasn't been met. Anyone who studies the history of Israel knows that it was built by the exigencies of political brutality, not a plan. The Russian Jews escaping the pogroms and the European Jews escaping Hitler had only one plan in mind: survival.
June 23, 2012
Re "Two states for two peoples," Opinion, June 18 Israeli President Shimon Peres says the "defining moment" for his people is their exodus from Egypt "and journey to freedom in our homeland. " Similarly, he cites "the Pilgrims who sailed aboard the Mayflower" and "sought freedom in their new promised land. " Peoples define themselves by their own narratives. These two foundation myths are powerful ones for Jews and Americans. On Passover and on the Fourth of July, I myself celebrate these milestones that define my identity.
March 1, 2012 |
For the better part of the last century, three Arab states - Egypt, Iraq and Syria - dominated Middle East politics in matters of war and peacemaking and shaped the region's relations with the great powers. The kings of Jordan and Morocco - and, of course, Saudi Arabia (and the Persian Gulf states) when it came to oil - had their say too. But it was the three pseudo-republics, authoritarian military regimes really, that threw their collective weight around. Not anymore.