Esta semana, el Observador del Mundo Árabe hablará sobre el papel clave de Europa en la primavera árabe; sobre si se ha convertido en un otoño islámico o todavía se mantiene en flor; la situación de inseguridad que se vive en la frontera entre Israel y Egipto; el discurso de Benjamin Netanyahu en la ONU; los primeros cien días de la diplomacia de Morsi; los salafistas marroquíes y su replanteamiento de la política de partidos; la división laico-islamista en Túnez; las limitadas opciones de Mahmud Abbas tras su creciente aislamiento; sobre el estrechamiento en las relaciones entre América Latina e Irán; y los riesgos de conflicto con Israel
In this piece, first appearing on CNN’s Global Public Square, ECFR Senior Policy Fellow Nick Witney argues that Europe has a key role to play in the Arab Spring:
The EU has always felt most comfortable working on its neighbors with the instruments of trade and aid. In this way it has bound them closer, helped them to become more like European societies – and often, in the end, brought them into the Union. That will not work for North Africa, which has no “European vocation” – and especially at a time of economic crisis, when Europe has little money to spare, and little readiness to open its markets. So Europe needs to bring other assets – political, diplomatic, and military – to bear.
In the weekly L’Espresso, the Director of Limes, Lucio Caracciolo, argues that the Arab Spring might turn into an “Islamic autumn” (In Italian):
Summary in English: The anger against Americans, Westerners and Israelis shaking squares from North Africa to Indonesia – not excluding some Western cities with a strong presence of Muslims – firstly affects the Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood has to maintain a semblance of order in the Arab Spring countries and prevent the rise of Salafis.
In this piece for The New York Times, Tunisia’s President Moncef Marzouki writes that the Arab Spring still blooms:
The Arab revolutions have not turned anti-Western. Nor are they pro-Western. They are simply not about the West. They remain fundamentally about social justice and democracy — not about religion or establishing Shariah law.
In Haaretz, Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff examine the increasingly worsening security situation on the Israel-Egypt border:
Israel is also caught in a trap. It has very limited freedom to act in Sinai, due to fears of a conflagration with Egypt’s government. Should Israeli officials gain information about plans to launch a terror attack from Sinai, the main plotters of which are situated in Gaza, they would prefer to strike against the Gazan militants before the action is initiated in Sinai. On the other hand, another killing of operatives in Gaza would escalate tensions with Hamas. Despite the basic interest shared by Israel and Hamas in the continuation of relative quiet, the chances of an eruption of violence on the Gaza border in the near future seem to be rising.
In this article in The Daily Beast, the director of ECFR’s MENA Programme Daniel Levy writes about Benjamin Netanyahu’s UN speech:
Netanyahu spent a long time outlining his version of the clash of civilizations meme—describing a struggle between Islamist medievalism and Israeli hi-tech modernity. But in so doing he appeared to be either forgetful of or intemperate towards a sizeable chunk of his own governing coalition.
Netanyahu described the “forces of medievalism” (something he ascribes as being exclusive to “radical Islam”) as seeking “a world in which women and minorities are subjugated, in which knowledge is suppressed… They want to drag humanity back to an age of unquestioning dogma.” (Full transcript not yet on UN site—see here for now.) One would be hard-pressed to more accurately describe the outlooks held by the ultra-orthodox parties (United Torah Judaism and Shas), on whom Netanyahu relies for his coalition and with whom he shares a Cabinet table.
In Le Monde, Christophe Ayad looks at the first hundred days of Egyptian diplomacy under Mohammed Morsi (In French):
Summary in English: Ayad argues that Morsi’s arrival did not lead to a complete U-turn, but to a fine realignment. Overall, Morsi has aimed for a balanced but active foreign policy. This intention has notably been pursued by pressuring the US to change their position on the Arab-Israeli conflict at the UN General Assembly, by making the first official visit outside of the Middle East to Beijing, or by strongly condemning the Syrian regime at the Non-Aligned Summit in Tehran. Morsi’s ambition is rather straightforward: to make Egypt an independent and strong regional power.
In this piece for Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Sanaa Karim analyses the country’s Salafis and wonders if they are possibly rethinking their approach to party politics:
Moroccan Salafis – like their counterparts elsewhere – have traditionally shunned party politics, arguing it leads to heretical innovation (bid’a). But the idea of involvement has gained momentum with the Arab Spring, with many Salafis having joined in protests with the February 20 Movement and the leftists. Furthermore, many Salafi figures decided to take part in the legislative elections.
In Time, Vivienne Walt writes about the deep divide between the secular, liberal President Moncef Marzouki and Rachid Ghannouchi, the leader of the ruling moderate Islamic party, Ennahda:
Marzouki, at 67, is in no mood to temper his words—even when he recognizes he does not have mass support back home. The president—who returned from exile in Paris after the revolution drove out dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali—was installed in a power-sharing agreement after last October’s democratic elections, which the party of Ghannouchi, himself back from exile in London, won. And although the U.S. has trumpeted the Tunisian election as an Arab Spring success, up close, the two men have struggled to find common ground.
In this piece in The Jordan Times, Osama Al Sharif analyses the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ grim options:
Abbas’ options are limited. He has vowed to leave, but that would only exacerbate the plight of Palestinians who will be unable to agree on a new leader. His inner circle is also divided on other paths, such as abrogating the Oslo Accords or holding immediate elections in the West Bank only. Some have called for a Palestinian Spring directed at Israeli occupation, but others have warned that this would invite back Israeli soldiers to autonomous areas.
In this article published by L’Institut français des relations internationals (IFRI), Jean-Jacques Kourliandsky writes that the relationship between different Latin American states and Iran has intensified over the last few years (In French):
Summary in English: Diplomatic, economic and cultural exchanges between Iran and Latin American countries have significantly increased lately. This can be explained by their common search for a multipolar world order free from Western unilateralism. Part of their strategy to achieve this goal has been to increase their links with non-Western U.N. Security Council members such as Russia and China. While Venezuela has been particularly committed to increasing its links with Iran, other Latin American countries have chosen to act as mediators between Iran and countries such as Venezuela on the one side, and Western countries on the other side.
In this piece for Affari Internazionali, Nicola Pedde, Director of The Institute for Global Studies, outlines the risks of an open conflict between Israel and Iran in the case of a negotiation failure (In Italian):
Summary in English: Sanctions have severely hit Iran, having an impact on every corner of day-to-day life. Despite the disparaging remarks made by President Ahmadinejad and other local politicians, the government needs to ease the pressure of sanctions.