September 23, 2019

May 4, 2012

Iran: Why This Time Is Different

Both sides of the Iran nuclear negotiations have a new vested interest in making the ‎talks work, writes Richard Javad Heydarian of Foreign Policy in Focus.‎

The Iranian leadership is aware that both the short-term and long-term costs of ‎Western sanctions are tremendous. Iran has one of the largest reserves of oil and ‎gas in the world, but its aging refinery infrastructure has faced significant problems ‎keeping up with demand. Without significant new investments, Iran’s long-term ‎exports are set to decrease. Moreover, Iran’s largely untapped gas reserves also ‎need major investments, making Western energy companies crucial to Iran’s long-‎term viability in energy markets. The sanctions are affecting short-term output too. ‎According to Vienna-based JBC Energy GmbH, Iran’s output is currently at its lowest ‎level in almost two decades.‎

Egypt’s surprising front-runner

Eric Cunningham of the Global Post takes a look at Abdel Meneim Aboul Fotouh, the ‎moderate former Muslim Brotherhood member, who is winning support from both ‎liberals and conservatives.

Fotouh, once a member of the Brotherhood’s Supreme Guidance Council, was ‎suspended by the movement in May 2011 when he announced his intention to make ‎a bid for the presidency. The Brotherhood and its party refused to support him. But ‎since then, he has built a swell of ground-level support by campaigning for the right ‎to education and healthcare for all Egyptians, ending all military trials for civilians ‎and boosting foreign tourism to save the ailing economy. ‎

London Jews’ Labour Problem

Labour’s mayoral candidate for London and his anti-Semitic outbursts has long been a ‎source of concern for the Jewish community, a fact that seems to have eluded the party’s ‎leadership, writes James Kirchick in Tablet. ‎

Livingstone’s views about Jews combine those of an unreconstructed ‎Marxist with the pub-hall pugilist. “He sees Jews who are not socialists ‎as reactionary, bourgeois anti-revolutionary,” said [an] anonymous ‎Jewish organization official, noting Livingstone’s remarks about Jews ‎being “rich.” Livingstone’s stereotypes about Jews are an element of ‎his timeworn electoral strategy of identity politics and part of his ‎appeal to the Islamist far right. Perhaps the most controversial move ‎Livingstone made as mayor was his 2004 City Hall invitation to, and ‎public embrace of, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a “moderate” (to use ‎Livingstone’s description) Egyptian cleric whose alleged moderation ‎has not prevented him from endorsing wife beating, the murder of ‎homosexuals, and Palestinian suicide bombing.‎

Islam’s European Hope

Young Muslims in Europe are by and large not turning to radical Islam, but are ‎rather a part of the societies into which they were born, writes Shlomo Ben-Ami for ‎Project Syndicate. ‎

The massive influx of Muslims into Europe in the last two generations, it should be ‎remembered, is the largest encounter between Islam and modernity in human ‎history, and it has yielded invaluable benefits, such as a growing Muslim middle ‎class, an emerging intelligentsia, and greater freedom for Muslim women. Polls in ‎France – where the rate of intermarriages is the highest in Europe – have shown that ‎the majority of Muslims do accept laïcité, gender equality, and other key republican ‎values.‎

Palestinian Christians are disappearing

Governments across the Middle East much take steps to ensure that the fast ‎diminishing Christian populations do not disappear altogether, writes Saliba Sarsar ‎in the Daily Star.‎

The Palestinian Christian cause is truly a cause for everyone who inhabits the Holy ‎Land. As an indigenous population, Palestinian Christians have contributed to the ‎region’s character and significance religiously, spiritually, culturally, socially and ‎economically. The impoverishment and marginalization of Palestinian Christians not ‎only reflects badly on Israeli Jews and Palestinian Muslims, it also diminishes the ‎cultural richness and diversity of their societies.‎