Near & Middle East

Despite the drama, it looks like a done deal. John Kerry and Chuck Hagel will likely receive Senate confirmation for their new cabinet posts. Assuming there are no last minute challenges to their appointments, there is little to look forward to. A second term Obama Administration is unlikely to take any new risks in the Middle East. (More…)

The current Israeli election season has been surprisingly eventful. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu jumpstarted the process by joining forces with ex-Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s party. So far, it hasn’t worked. The kindest polls show the Likud-Yisrael Beitenu combo losing at least seven seats from what it has now. Say what? (More…)

“When a real and final catastrophe should befall us in Palestine the first responsible for it would be the British and the second responsible for it the terrorist organisations build [sic] up from our own ranks.” So wrote Albert Einstein, in a letter to Shepard Rifkin in Spring, 1948. (More…)

2012 is just about done. A good deal has transpired in the Israel-Palestine conflict in this year, to put it mildly. In many ways, the events of the past twelve months have paved the way for significant developments in 2013. Let’s take a look at what some of those events might be. (More…)

It’s easy not to notice silence. Particularly in diplomacy, where the most recognizable forms are easy to spot, but  the more subtle ones likely to go unobserved. Sometimes that silence can carry considerable weight. Sometimes the implications are less profound than they should be. (More…)

Bibi has seen better days. Election dramas, victories for  Fatah and Hamas, and a diplomatic backlash have kept Netanyahu busy. “E-1,” the name of the thin strip of land that connects Jerusalem with the eastern settlement of Ma’ale Adumim has once again become a prominent phrase after he announced that Israel would move forward with construction plans there. (More…)

The UN vote on Palestinian statehood went pretty much as expected, with overwhelming agreement on supporting the proposed resolution. And today, Palestinians woke up just as stateless, just as occupied as they were before the vote. Does that mean that the whole episode was, as Israel has been trying to claim these past few days, much ado about nothing? (More…)

After an ugly week between Israel and Gaza, a cease fire has been put in place and seems to be holding. I suspect it’s going to hold for a good while, despite a natural cynicism born of years of watching cease fires fall apart. Only time will tell who came out ahead. However, it’s not too early to make an assessment of winners and losers. (More…)

On Sunday November 11th, people all over Britain pinned the famous blood-red emblem of remembrance to their clothing in honor of those who fought and died for the country. In particular, during a conflict few outside the UK remember quite the same way: the First World War. (More…)

After Barack Obama secured his second term Tuesday, there were a lot of questions about what it will look like. For those of us focused on the US government’s Mideast policy, the main question was whether Obama was going to exact revenge on Benjamin Netanyahu for his support of Mitt Romney. Bibi’s interference in American politics was unprecedented for any foreign leader. No amount of denial will change that. (More…)

The plum in the pocket of the Israel Lobby (not, one must point out, the “pro-Israel Lobby”) is its hold on Congressional Democrats. Republicans don’t have to answer to a liberal constituency that struggles to reconcile Israel’s occupation and policies with their own values. The rest of the Lobby’s influence on Capitol Hill flows from their decisive influence in Congress. (More…)

Following Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement that he was forming a joint list for the upcoming election with Avigdor Lieberman’s fascist Yisrael Beiteinu party, there was no shortage of analyses of what this would mean. Indeed, there had been plenty of projections and polls, even more so than usual, in recent weeks. (More…)