FRANCIS MATTHEW: Rouhani’s new and pragmatic approach will give Obama another test, as it will force the administration to be clear about whether its real goal is a nuclear settlement…
As the Muslim world celebrates Eid Al Fitr to mark the end of Ramadan, some Muslims in Jalalabad in Afghanistan will find it very hard to celebrate anything. These will include the wives and children of the Afghan policemen who died while successfully stopping three cars of suicide bombers trying to attack the Indian consulate. These will include the families of the eight children who were killed by the bombers while at a Quran class in a nearby mosque.
FRANCIS MATTHEW: Muslims in Jalalabad in Afghanistan will find it very hard to celebrate anything this Eid, especially the wives and children of the policemen who died stopping the cars of suicide bombers.
China is taking a close interest in the Arab world as a source of its oil. It cares little about the politics of the region and cares less about who is in charge of Syria, but it desperately wants secure supplies of oil since 51 per cent — an astonishingly high quantity — of all its crude imports come from the Middle East.
FRANCIS MATTHEW: China is taking a close interest in the Arab world as a source of its oil. It cares little about the politics of the region and cares less about who is in charge of Syria, but it desperately wants secure supplies.
It is disturbing that the crisis in North Korea is moving forward with very little comment from the Arab world.
FRANCIS MATTHEW: It is disturbing that the crisis in North Korea is moving forward with very little comment from the Arab world.
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has got itself into the confused position of fighting Sunni fighters in Iraq, but supporting some of them in Syria.
FRANCIS MATTHEW: The CIA is in the position of fighting Sunni fighters in Iraq, but supporting them in Syria.
Iran and the US have growing technical agreement over the nuclear dispute, which will only become useful if the political leaders on both sides want to make a deal.
FRANCIS MATTHEW: A technical agreement over the nuclear dispute will only be useful if leaders on both sides want to make a deal.
The attempts by President George W. Bush to justify the American-led invasion of Iraq followed so many wildly different reasons with no coherent link that the liveliest of conspiracy theories have flourished. This has been fuelled by the obvious political failure that has caused no pain to Bush and his neo-conservative allies who launched the war, while the companies with links to those same neo-conservatives have taken a significant share in the billions spent in reconstructing Iraq.
In the aftermath of the terrible attack on the World Trade Centre on 9/11, the first reason given was that Saddam Hussain supported Al Qaida, although Saddam had been ruthless in suppressing Islamists. Then Bush and Blair used Saddam’s alleged plan to manufacture and prepare to use weapons of mass destruction. When eventually this reason […]
The positive side of continual political change has got lost in the Arab world. Fear of uncertainty has killed the joy of new political life emerging in so many Arab states. The grim weekly numbers of people killed in political and sectarian violence dominate the new burgeoning of political life at national and local levels.
FRANCIS MATTHEW: The positive side of continual political change has got lost in the Arab world. Fear of uncertainty has killed the joy of new political life.
FRANCIS MATTHEW: The problem with this approach is that by going gently, it allows Al Assad to think that he might still win by fighting. And it also places a huge strain on the opposition not ready to fight a long war of attrition.
If the UAE wants to continue to attract foreign investment, it will need to open up its corporate ownership structures. This is the way to create new jobs that can be taken up by the growing number of young UAE nationals.
FRANCIS MATTHEW: The real political drivers today are not heads of government or ideologies. Despite the politician’s speeches, what really drives change is society itself.
FRANCIS MATTHEW:Obama failed to deliver this vision in his first term, and sadly, it is unlikely that he will use his second term to re-find his sense of purpose in the world.
FRANCIS MATTHEW: The Gulf states need a population which is educated to take its proper place in the global economy, and to take part in multinational endeavours to help run the world.
FRANCIS MATTHEW: Now that they have been elected into power they are being forced to demonstrate their commitment to pluralism. This is a challenge they did not plan for.
FRANCIS MATTHEW: Lack of political inclusion, and the lack of regular statements, offers an opening to criticism of the country. But this should not ignore its liberal social agenda.
FRANCIS MATTHEW: The continuing fighting in Syria is a golden opportunity for foreign governments to put military forces on the ground in advance of any political end-game.
FRANCIS MATTHEW: US Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is suggesting a dangerous return to a simplistic foreign policy in which foreigners are divided simply into friends and foes.
FRANCIS MATTHEW: This question is working deep into your mind, and leaving you sleepless at night with worry. Can you refuse to fire on fellow Syrians?
FRANCIS MATTHEW: Arab concerns are largely irrelevant to the Chinese as Beijing looks to reinforce its self-perception as the premier Asian power.