Mideastwire.com and its partners – Université Paris-Dauphine I Tunis and Tunisia Live – are pleased to announce the Fourth Tunis Exchange January 4-January 18, 2014.
The two-week course will immerse our participants in the politics of Tunisia, with a particular emphasis on direct engagement with high-level academic, political, intellectual and religious figures active across the spectrum.
TO REQUEST AN APPLICATION for this Winter’s Tunis Exchange, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
APPLY BY NOVEMBER 20, 2013 (applicants are accepted on a rolling basis and spaces are limited).
Note that tuition discounts are available for those applicants with demonstrated need as well as alumni of our previous Exchanges. For more information, please email email@example.com
Learn Arabic in Tunis!
For more information about our new series of Arabic Language classes – including private lessons – offered at several different levels, visit:
All classes take place at our Hotel – Villa 78 – located at 78 Avenue Mohammad V in Downtown Tunis (www.villa78tunis.com).
Background on Five Years of the Exchange in the MENA Region:
The Exchange is an effort by Mideastwire.com and its partners to promote direct engagement and understanding through a variety of city-focused politics conferences.
The First Exchange was launched in June 2008 in Beirut, Lebanon. Now, several years on, over 325 students from 44 different countries have participated in 18 different Exchange programs across the region, with many going on to work as diplomats in their home countries, for NGOs serving the region and as social entrepreneurs.
The Exchange welcomes applications from current students as well as professionals and post-professionals interested in better understanding the Middle East and North Africa, and, we hope, their own country’s involvement in the region.
To view previous Exchange itineraries in Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Tunis and the Gulf, as well as media coverage of our efforts, visit http://www.thebeirutexchange.com
THE FOURTH TUNIS EXCHANGE
January 4-18, 2014/Application deadline November 20, 2013
Limited spaces available/Rolling acceptance
As with our other Exchanges, the two-week program January 4-18 will engage students from around the world in a multifaceted discussion of some of the key issues facing Tunisia and the wider region. The Tunis Exchange program specifically rests on two tracks:
Academic – Participants will attend a series of lectures led by leading professors and public intellectuals in Tunisia. Topics will include, among others: Economic challenges facing Tunisia and North Africa; Political Islam and electoral politics; The status of women in Tunisia and the MENA region; Media coverage of the Arab revolts; Trade union politics in the post Ben Ali era; Emerging security challenges in the MENA region, as well as a range of other topics.
Dialogue with Leaders – Participants will have the opportunity to meet, listen and engage leading social, political, religious and economic leaders from across the spectrum in Tunisia.
Program Format – The Tunis Exchange will be held over fourteen days total at the conference room of the Le Pacha hotel in downtown Tunis. Students are expected to stay at our hotel, Villa 78 (located across the street from the Pacha) or at the Pacha hotel itself, unless permission for offsite stay at alternative hotels or accommodations is requested, since most meetings will take place in the conference room at Le Pacha.
Off-site meetings will entail bus travel as a group in and around Tunis. At least three days of the program will entail travel to other cities and regions in Tunisia for meetings with local activists, intellectuals, academics and political/religious leaders, including in Sidi Bouzid, Sfax and Gafsa.
Previous Institutional Participants in the Tunis Exchange (Partial list only):
Congress for the Republic Party
Constitutional Democratic Rally Party
The Democratic Modernist Pole Party
Worker’s Communist Party
Progressive Democratic Party
Tunisian General Trade Union
Union of Tunisian Journalists
The Central Bank of Tunisia
Ministry of Women’s Affairs
Ministry of Human Rights
Association of Democratic Women
Tunisian Network for Social Economy
Tunisian Observatory for a Democratic Transition
Tunisian League of Human Rights
Tunisian-American Chamber of Commerce
Tunisian Association of Young Entrepreneurs
Committee to Protect Journalists
To view a schedule for a previous Tunis Exchange, visit:
Tuition – $2000; Partial financial aid is available for those students and individuals that can demonstrate need as well as alumni of our previous programs.
Accommodation – Eleven nights of the program will be spent at our facilities in downtown Tunis, while at least three nights will be spent at hotels outside of Tunis. Room rates vary depending on arrangements, but generally fall within the range of $600-$700 total for a shared double room during the duration of the program (breakfast is included). Alternative accommodation, including in a single room, is available upon request.
Airfare – $450, approximate from the European Union.
REQUEST AN APPLICATION via firstname.lastname@example.org
For more about Université Paris-Dauphine I Tunis, visit http://www.tunisdauphine.tn/
For more about Tunisia Live, visit http://www.tunisia-live.net
For more about Le Pacha Hotel, visit http://www.lepacha.com.tn/
Where this goes: have we entered a post WMD stage? A broad resistance front, a new resistance strategy?
Actually – we must consider maybe the “strategic” aspect of syrian WMDs was far overrated. Consider this new logic emerging in the arabic media, attributed to hizbullah:
(translated by mideastwire.com today)
“Commenting on the plan by which the regime of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is to hand in its chemical weapons, the officials said that “the era of trying to find a military balance by brandishing the issue of the chemical weapons is long gone.” They considered that “the will of the resistance is now the basis to achieving balances and is therefore the real force of deterrence in the face of any offensive.” They also indicated that “Syria is proceeding down the path of building an effective Resistance force. This will be one consequence of the ongoing war and this force will reveal its existence in due time.”
– There is a lot to say on this – but this seems likely as the new trend.
– I doubt the russians or the americans understand this yet – and I suspect the israelis are still living in the old wmd logic. Is it possible that this logic can and is being surpassed?
What does this look like in the next 6 months to a year?
I was struck by this comment noted in the NYT. It suggests the US is utterly convinced that Hizbullah now has scuds… Indeed that they had it as early as 2009…!
This means Kerry is saying that Hizbullah had such weapons for 4 years…. and that Israel has lived with this fact?
“..Mr. Kerry said that he confronted Mr. Assad about intelligence confirming that Syria had transferred Scud missiles to Hezbollah.
Mr. Kerry said that Mr. Assad had “denied it to my face,” adding, “This is a man without credibility.”
This is of course michael young’s moment: the war he has been itching for over the past decade to remove Assad and strike a major blow against Hizbullah – he calls the approach a “liberal” war since it uses massive violence to clarify freedom – is almost here.
In his euphoria, he demonstrates his “Neo-LiberalCon” love for using violence as the main way to achieve freedom with this very unfortunate phrasing:
“…Some may speculate that the best way to neutralize Hezbollah and Iran would be to push the Lebanese into a sectarian war that diverts their attention and depletes their resources. But that view is shortsighted. Worsening Sunni-Shiite conflict spreading outward from Iraq, Syria and Lebanon would only exacerbate religious extremism everywhere, engulfing or threatening key American allies, and perhaps America itself.”
Michael I know of course loves lebanon, especially since he is comfortably placed to live well in beirut and leave with another passport: but how could he have the detachment to call provoking sectarian war as a “shortsighted” strategy rather than the 1) stupid 2) morally reprehensible 3) plain evil?
Anyway, his Wall Street Journal piece yesterday is the culmination of his analysis and demonstrates how intensely illiberal he is at his core, first as champion for the Iraq war and then as champion of strategies to use violence and force throughout the region to advance his version of freedom.
BUT – he also serves up the best, over used and just illogical analysis which summarizes the neo liberalcon position:
“…Mr. Obama never seemed to appreciate that the uprising in Syria provided an opportunity for him to reduce Iranian power in the Levant. In failing to exploit that opening by assisting the Syrian opposition, he allowed the Iranians to regroup after early gains by the rebels and, with Russia, prop up the Assad regime. One result is that any U.S. intervention today would be vastly more complicated than it might have been when the uprising against Assad began in 2011.”
As many of us have long argued, the idea that it would have been better, easier, smarter, less bloody etc to start a hotter war early on is really not serious. The US military laughed this idea out of the room in 2011 and 2012 FOR VERY GOOD REASONS. It is simply illogical to think more violence earlier on WITH A MANIFESTLY STRONGER REGIME AND ALLIES would have yielded better results. But they keep saying it anyway…
Another Redline, falling: Transfer of weapons to Hizbullah…. the geopolitical border has already fallen
One of the least discussed, but perhaps most vital field developments of the past few months, and especially the past few weeks, is that Israel has yet another serious problem on its hand vis-a-vis Hizbullah: With Hizbullah fighting in Syria, and “reports” and speculations and off record comments from Hizbullah “sources” saying a counter strike would likely come from WITHIN syria, but with Hizbullah manpower and expertise and command and control, there is no longer really an effective distinction between Syria and so called Hizbullah controlled areas when considered from several angles.
This means the geo-political discourse long pursued by the Israelis to keep things contained – i.e. if syria transfers advanced weapons to Hizbullah IN LEBANON, then this could lead (and has led in syria at least!) to an Israeli strike(s), is all effectively dead as both an effective deterrent and as a tactic of international relations.
Hizbullah is fighting IN SYRIA
Hizbullah now presumably has access (or easy pathways should push come to shove) to most if not all weaponry in sryia
There is no longer as much of a NEED to “transfer” material to Lebanon proper. Indeed, it is much more attractive now for Hizbullah to exercise its hard power against Israel and the US VIA SYRIA, not least for the plausible deniability of it all!
This means that Israel’s potential “hot” areas of conflict and threat now decidedly extend with Hizbullah (as well as the regime of course) through syria AND lebanon.
What does this mean for the Israeli threats, for their posture and for their planning – much less the justification in international forums? It’s not a comfortable picture.
Should the US strike Syria and a focused response comes from southern syria into OCCUPIED territory it will be very hard to blame Hizbullah even though they would likely be involved at this point. Harder still will be convincing potentials allies in Lebanon that a strike WITHIN Lebanon is warranted (and lets leave aside international law, the UN etc).
The bottom line is the active battlefield has extended in an unprecedented way over the last year for Israel when just considering Hizbullah, only. This has weakened its position with its bitter enemy and given Hizbullah a range of new surprises available for the party to use in the field, at home with various constituencies and internationally.
Two pieces I put out from 2009 I think…. the Arab revolts changed the timing on all this, of course, delay matters for a bit and now accelerating things in a dangerous way… but this is how I view hizbullah’s strategic view in general… mainly extrapolating from Nasrallah’s own discourse (so beware of the limitations!)
Well it has finally come to this…. sadly since this situation of course could have been averted if the far far stronger power – the US – had forged a grand bargain with its far far weaker adversary – primarily syria in 2000 and of course iran in 2003… and Hizbullah in 2005
No matter: a great read in Al-Monitor.
This article sounds roughly correct in my view in assessing Hizbullah’s stance right now.
The problem – among many – is that even if US policymakers and the military “get it right” and somehow thread this very tight needle and fall within the safe zone of not provoking a massive escalation – as the article and may other sources now make clear is THEORETICALLY POSSIBLE – this is anything but a clean model context for testing out theories that depend on some many things to go exactly right!
The key point: There are simply too many actors on ALL side who want things to go wrong, push over boundaries etc.
This means that although in theory it is possible for a limited US strike to not entail escalation and regional war – and in theory it could offer some measure of deterrence while also exhausting the energies of the Resistance Axis to a degree that MAY pave the way towards a negotiated solution, especially if the US axis relaxes its position somewhat – this is just very very unlikely to work out!
When you have elements – strong elements – on all sides pushing for a clarifying war – Saudis of course, Gulfies (some), some in the Israeli establishment, some in Washington, some in turkey, many in Al-Qaeda, many in the FSA linked groups, some in Assad’s clique, some in Hizbullah, some in Iran…..and even possibly some in russia and china – well all of this means the chances of not opening the pandora’s box of a great war are slim at best.