The Mideastwire Blog

Excerpts from the Arab and Iranian Media & Analysis of US Policy in the Region

Sihem Ben Sedrine, President of the Tunisian Truth and Dignity Commission, to Keynote Beirut Exchange Anniversary Event June 22

After years of bringing researchers to her office in Tunis, it is an honor for us to finally host Sihem Ben Sedrine for her first speech outside of Tunisia after having ended her tenure as President of the Tunisian Truth & Dignity Commission. Join us June 22 in Beirut!
 
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Written by nickbiddlenoe

June 5, 2019 at 3:03 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Register Now: Celebrating A Decade Of The Exchange Politics Conference In The Middle East & North Africa

The Mideastwire Blog

* June 21-23, 2019
* @ Crowne Plaza Hamra
* Request a registration form via info@thebeirutexchange.com

Overview: Friday, June 21, from 7pm-9pm we will open with a reception for participants and selected guests – including previous Exchange speakers – at Mezyan Restaurant in Hamra. Our full day conference starts the next morning at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Saturday, June 22 at 9am and will include sessions led by prominent alumni, politicians and experts on politics and human rights in the Middle East & North Africa. On Sunday, June 23, we will embark on a bus at 10am in order to drive to the Bekaa Valley where will have lunch and later tour the Chouf region, returning to Crowne Plaza by 5pm.

Conference Schedule – June 22 @ Crowne Plaza Hamra
9:00Welcome & Remarks On A Decade Of The Exchange
Yamen Soukkarieh & Nicholas Noe…

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Written by nickbiddlenoe

May 26, 2019 at 12:39 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Register Now: Celebrating A Decade Of The Exchange Politics Conference In The Middle East & North Africa

* June 21-23, 2019
* @ Crowne Plaza Hamra
* Request a registration form via info@thebeirutexchange.com

Overview: Friday, June 21, from 7pm-9pm we will open with a reception for participants and selected guests – including previous Exchange speakers – at Mezyan Restaurant in Hamra. Our full day conference starts the next morning at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Saturday, June 22 at 9am and will include sessions led by prominent alumni, politicians and experts on politics and human rights in the Middle East & North Africa. On Sunday, June 23, we will embark on a bus at 10am in order to drive to the Bekaa Valley where will have lunch and later tour the Chouf region, returning to Crowne Plaza by 5pm.

Conference Schedule – June 22 @ Crowne Plaza Hamra
9:00 Welcome & Remarks On A Decade Of The Exchange
Yamen Soukkarieh & Nicholas Noe, The Beirut Exchange
9:15 Maghreb Movements For Justice
Opening Speech: Sihem Ben Sidrine, President of The Tunisian Truth & Dignity Commission
Safa Belghith, University of Tunis El Manar
Walid Naame, Control Risks
Monica Marks, Harvard University
10:45 The Future Of Hezbollah In Lebanon & The Middle East
May Akl, Free Patriotic Movement
Walid Sharara, Political Analyst
Makram Rabah, American University of Beirut
Bashir Saade, University of Stirling
Mohanad Hage Ali, Carnegie Middle East Center
12:30 Ending The War In Syria
Vera Yammine, Marada Party
Bassel Kaghadou, ProPax
Rabie Nasr, Syrian Center for Policy Research
Sam Heller, International Crisis Group
Nir Rosen, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue
Cengiz Candar, Swedish Institute for International Affairs
14:30 LUNCH
15:30 Speech & Discussion On Libya: Omeyya Seddik, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue
16:30 Can Lebanon Reform Itself?
Maya Sukar, Lebanese Forces
Gilbert Doumit, Beyond Reform & Development
Ayman Mhanna, Samir Kassir Foundation
Jawad Adra, Information International
Shadi Karam, Astro Bank
18:00 Closing Speech & Discussion on Yemen: Farea Muslimi, Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies
19:00 END

 

Conference Note: Although we have not organized an Exchange in or around Palestine/Israel – and therefore have not convened a specific panel – we expect that several of the discussions during the day will address the forthcoming American “peace plan” as well as the broader question of Palestine and the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Conference Format: As with all of The Exchanges, discussions will be held confidentially, without public reporting, comment or media interaction. We will accordingly also ask all participants to strictly observe the same practices. Simultaneous translation into English will be available for speakers and sessions conducted in Arabic.

Registration:

Alumni are invited to request a registration form via info@thebeirutexchange.com. The conference fee covering the Friday reception, Saturday’s conference and Sunday’s lunch/tour is $299.

Non-Alumni are invited to request a short application form via info@thebeirutexchange.com. The conference fee covering the Friday cocktail event, Saturday’s proceedings and Sunday’s lunch and tour is $399.

Students & Unaffiliated Individuals (including alumni that also fall within these two categories) are invited to request a registration form via info@thebeirutexchange.com. The conference fee covering the Friday cocktail event, Saturday’s proceedings and Sunday’s lunch and tour is $150.

About The Exchange:

The Exchange is an effort to promote professional and academic enrichment through a variety of small group, direct engagement conferences in the Middle East and North Africa.

During their stay, typically lasting five days to one week, participants from around the world listen to and question leading intellectuals, activists and politicians representing an array of different points of view in a specific country.

The first Exchange was launched in June 2008 in Beirut, Lebanon. Now, more than a decade on, 750 people from 51 different countries have attended 35 different Exchanges in the region.

Crucially, all of our programs are funded on the basis of fees paid by the participants themselves: There is no government, private or non-profit support, an aspect that we believe provides a relatively neutral platform for dialogue and understanding.

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Written by nickbiddlenoe

April 25, 2019 at 9:44 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Celebrating a Decade of The Exchange in MENA: Join Us in Beirut!

* June 21-23, 2019
* @ Crowne Plaza Hamra
* Open to our Alumni as well as non-Alumni

Overview: Friday, June 21, from 7pm-10pm we will kick off with a reception for participants and selected guests – including previous Exchange speakers – on the top floor of the event venue, Crowne Plaza Hamra. Our full day conference starts the next morning at the hotel, Saturday June 22 at 9am and will include sessions led by prominent alumni, politicians and experts on politics in the Middle East & North Africa. On Sunday, June 23, we will embark on buses at 10am for a lunch in Moukhtara and a tour of the Chouf region, returning to Crowne Plaza by 5pm.

Invited Speakers: (NOTE: A full schedule of confirmed speakers will be announced April 1)

* Walid Jumblatt, Former MP, The Progressive Socialist Party

* Alain Aoun, MP, The Free Patriotic Movement

* Yassine Jabber, MP, The Liberation & Development Bloc

* Mustafa Alloush, Former MP, The Future Movement

* Abdallah Dardari, World Bank

* Shadi Karam, Former Senior Adviser to the Prime Minister

* Karim Makdisi, American University of Beirut

* Omar Nashabe, Consultant for Defense Counsel, Special Tribunal for Lebanon

* Ayman Mhanna, Samir Kassir Foundation

* Bashir Saade, Stirling University

Registering: Alumni of the Exchange are invited to request a registration form via info@thebeirutexchange.com. The conference fee covering the Friday cocktail event, Saturday’s proceedings and Sunday’s lunch and tour is $299.

Registering: Non-Alumni are invited to request a short application form via info@thebeirutexchange.com. The conference fee covering the Friday cocktail event, Saturday’s proceedings and Sunday’s lunch and tour is $399.

Written by nickbiddlenoe

February 20, 2019 at 3:20 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

The 12th Tunis Exchange: Meet Key Leaders Across Tunisia

*June 9-June 16, 2019
*Registration Deadline I April 15/Registration II May 15, 2019
*22 slots only/Rolling acceptance

The 12th Tunis Exchange will be held in Association with the Democracy and Governance Program at Georgetown University June 9-16 and will engage participants 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 this Summer:

Who Should Register:

— Foreign diplomats;

— NGO practitioners;

— Researchers, analysts and journalists;

— Academics working on the region.

Professional & Academic:

Participants will attend a series of lectures led by prominent academics, analysts and activists from Tunisia and the wider region. Themes will include, among others:

– The history and internal transformations of Ennahda, including organizational and ideological evolution since the revolution;

– The post-revolutionary evolution of the UGTT, Tunisia’s powerful labor union, and its role in politics (including implications of its role as primary mediator in the National Dialogue of late 2013);

– The composition, platforms of, and alliances between major parties (including Jebha Chaabia, Nidaa Tounes and Afeq Tounes, among others);

– The state of the Tunisian economy, including regional inequalities, budget transparency and decentralization, etc.;

– Security sector reform and the response to terrorism;

– Institutional and legislative reform needs following the passage of Tunisia’s constitution, focusing particularly on reform of the Ministry of Interior (security sector) and Ministry of Justice (judicial sector), Tunisia’s two most problematic ministries;

– Human rights in the new Tunisia (addressing issues such as freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, status of women, use of torture and the terrorism debate);

– Salafism, its composition (political, quietist, jihadi) in Tunisia and its relationship to and implications for party politics, stability, and governance moving forward;

– Taking stock of what Tunisia has done regarding transitional justice, what steps are planned to realize the recently passed transitional justice law, and what more needs to be done;

– The role of the media and civil society organizations;

– Youth politics and activism within and outside formal party structure;

– The scope and underlying causes of recent protest movements.

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.

**********

THE COMPLETED SCHEDULE OF THE ELEVENTH TUNIS EXCHANGE:

NOTE: Accepted applicants will receive the full list of confirmed speakers prior to the opening of the Exchange, as well as readings pertinent to the sessions.

Sunday, June 17

7:00pm – Introductions, House Rules & Safety: Nicholas Noe & Monica Marks

8:00pm – Ouiem Chettaoui, USIP & Mohamed Dhia-Hammami, Wesleyan University

Monday, June 18

9:30am – Monica Marks, Oxford University

11:30pm – Lunch

12:30pm – Tarek Kahlaoui, Al-Irada

2:00pm – Moncef Marzouki, Al-Irada

3:00pm – Amine Ghali, Al-Kawakibi Democracy Transition Center

4:00pm – Ahlem Belhaj, Tunisian Association of Democratic Women

5:00pm – Radwan Masmoudi, Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy

6:30pm – Huda Mzioudet, Carnegie Endowment

Tuesday, June 19

9:30am – Stefan Buchmayer, Democratic Control of Armed Forces

11:00am – Nicolas Kaczorowski, International Foundation Electoral Systems

12:30pm – Fadhel Ben Omrane, Nidaa Tounes

2:00pm – Lunch

3:00pm – Houda Slim, Machroua Tounes

4:30pm – Chawki Tabibi & Mohamed Ayadi, INLUCC

6:00pm – Mahmoud Mezoughi, Retired Military Officers Association

Wednesday, June 20

9:30am – Salwa Gantri, International Center for Transitional Justice

10:30am – Chaima Bouhlel, Barr al-Aman

12:00pm – Yamina Thabet, Tunisian Association for Support of Minorities

1:00pm – Robert Blotevogel, International Monetary Fund

3:00pm – Yassine Brahim, Afek Tounes

6:00pm – Yassine Ayari, Independent MP

Thursday, June 21

11:00am – Mohamed Ben Salem & Adil al-Maize, Truth & Dignity Commission

12:45pm – Lunch

2:00pm – Zied Boussen, Jamaity

3:00pm – Rached Ghannoucjhi, Mehrezia Laabidi, Ossama Sghir, Amal Soud

6:00pm – Mouheb Garoui, Co-founder I-Watch

8:00pm – Bus leaves for Sidi Bouzid

Friday, June 22

9:30am – Moncef Hamdouni, The Tunisian Union of Agriculture and Fishing

11:00am – Souha Bouazizi, WeDo NGO

1:00pm – Lunch

3:00pm – Ikram Nsiri, Lingare NGO

5:00pm – Amel Dhafouli, Manich Sekta @ Popular Front HQ

7:00pm – Check in Gafsa

Saturday, June 23

10:00am – Rabeh Ben Othman, Tunisian Forum for Economic & Social Rights

1:00pm – Ayoub Edaoui, An-Nahdha Youth

3:00pm – Myriam Bribri, Activist

6:00pm – Ayman Bouhajeb, Machroua Tunis

8:30pm – Check in Sfax

Sunday, June 24

9:30am – Mekki Jaziri, Nidaa Tounes

11:00am – Abdul Hedi Ben Jemaa, UGTT

2:00pm – Tunis Airport/End Program

*********

Program Format:

The Tunis Exchange will open at the Novotel/IBIS Hotel in downtown Tunis with an orientation and security briefing at 6pm on Sunday, June 9 (the timing may change to accommodate late arrivals). On June 13 at 6pm, the group will travel south for two days of meetings in the interior regions. We will return from the south by 1pm on Sunday, June 16 to Novotel/IBIS and close The Exchange (we therefore recommend booking departure flights after 4pm on Sunday, June 16). In order to promote small group dynamics, the number of participants will be capped at 22. Sessions themselves will be conducted on an individual rather than a panel basis for all speakers and will generally allow ample opportunity for question time (consecutive translation into English will be provided when necessary). All sessions will also be held under the Chatham House rule, although we customarily work with our speakers to approve any quotes/references that participants may need for their own work.

Costs:

Participation Fee  – $950; Note that participation fee discounts are available for participants who wish to attend multiple Exchanges. For more information, please email us here. Furthermore, all our programs are funded on the basis of fees paid by the participants themselves: There is no government, private or non-profit support, an aspect that we believe provides a relatively neutral platform for dialogue and understanding.

Accommodation – A single room at IBIS is available upon request for $70 per night inclusive of all taxes and breakfast. Participants are welcome to arrange for their own housing, although all participants are required to pay $120 for the two nights stay in the south.

Airfare – $300, approximate from the European Union.

About the Co-Directors:

Monica Marks is a Raphael Morrison Dorman Memorial Postdoctoral Fellow, Weatherhead Scholars Program at Harvard University. Her work, which focuses on politics, institutional reform, and Islamist movements in Tunisia and Turkey, has appeared in peer-reviewed books and journals, news outlets including The Guardian, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, and The Washington Post, and for think tanks including the Carnegie Endowment, the Brookings Institute, and The Century Foundation.

Daniel Brumberg is associate professor of Government at Georgetown University and acting director of USIP’s Muslim World Initiative in the Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention, where he focuses on issues of democratization and political reform in the Middle East and wider Islamic world.

Safa Belghith is an International Relations graduate from the Higher Institute of Human Sciences at Al-Manar University where the focus of her research thesis is Media and Politics. She also has a degree in English Linguistics, Literature and Civilization from the University of Manouba. She works as a freelance journalist and research consultant on issues related to Tunisian politics and women’s rights.

REQUEST A REGISTRATION FORM here

Written by nickbiddlenoe

February 20, 2019 at 3:17 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Leila Hatoum Interviews UAE’s Economy Minister, Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori: Tolerance, The Pope’s Visit & Regional Politics

Beirut — In a turbulent region marred by conflicts, civil wars, and uprisings, there is a need to find common grounds to combat radicalism, terrorism and racism which, at any given point, negatively impact countries and their economies. In that context tolerance is a must, if the Arab world wishes to see social, economic and political stability.

That was the key message which United Arab Emirates’s Economy Minister Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori deeply believes in.

Sitting in the lobby of the Phoenicia intercontinental Hotel in Beirut, overlooking clear skies after a heavy storm hit Lebanon and its capital days earlier, Al Mansoori laid out for Mideastwire.com several elements hindering economic activity and growth in the Arab world, and addressed regional discord from an economic perspective. He also opened up about the Pontifex’s upcoming visit to the UAE, a first of its kind in the history of Arab Gulf nations.

To him, it is “vital to reach common grounds with others in the region and abroad. Building real strong bridges and healthy economic and social ties can only happen when we are truly accepting of one another, wanting to listen to what the other has to say, and coexisting.”

As an economy minister, Al Mansoori’s perspective is always akin to that of someone whose chief concern is how to maintain his country’s economic growth, and promote openness to build healthy ties with new markets from the Far East to Africa and Latin America. “Tolerance helps in supporting economic activity including trade to a large extent. I will give you an example: As a Minister of Economy, I travel a lot and when I talk to people I like to have fruitful discussions with them where I can reach a common point with them, and build bridges,” he says.

During one of his side discussions in South Korea, Al Mansoori discovered that Arabs reached the country as far back as the 8th century, built economic and social ties based on mutual respect and trust, and established trade routes with the Koreans.

Such trade ties would not have been possible had it not been for the fact that both sides opened up to one another and were adamant at reaching common grounds.

Religious tolerance and acceptance can also be beneficial to people from any religion, stresses Al Mansoori.

“Take Halal business and Halal food for example; we have built an economic structure that is based not only on religion when it comes to creating, packaging and selling food that caters to Muslims and those who prefer Halal food worldwide, but is also based on mutual understanding and tolerance of others, as we explain about these products and how others, including non-Muslims can benefit from them too. We also point out that the UAE has a certified center that endorses such products and explain to them how they can be members of such a center.”

The Pope Is Coming

This constant promoting of tolerance over the past few years, leading to announcing 2019 as the “Year of Tolerance” in the UAE, will be crowned on February 5th, with The Pontifex’s visit the country.

Never has any past Pope visited the UAE or any other Arab Gulf country before, despite the presence of hundreds of thousands of Christians who follow the Catholic faith across the GCC, including in the UAE, which has become the melting pot for nearly 200 nationalities from all walks of life, faiths, and cultures.

To Al Mansoori the Pope’s upcoming visit “conveys a positive message to the world that the UAE, the Arab and Muslim worlds are all a region that is accepting of the other, irrespective of differences. At the end of the day religion links us with God and we should not be linking an individual’s act to religion. Some individuals unfortunately commit unacceptable acts that are not part of religion, which reflects negatively against that religion and that shouldn’t be the case.

When it comes to sectarianism, the minister believes that the unawareness of what the other person is creates fear of that person, and fear leads to conflicts. “Once I sit down with that person and we talk, the barriers will fall and we will find common factors and grounds that link us rather than separate us,” he says, further stressing that “tolerance and coexistence lead to economic, political, security and social stability and lift barriers between societies.”

A Hopeful Summit

I have known Al Mansoori for a decade now, and his message could not have come at a better time. Once shattered by a long and devastating civil war, Beirut is hosting the 4th Arab Economic and Social Development Summit (18-20 January) that has seen the absence of more than 90% of the invited Arab leaders, a historic first as well.

Instead, the representation was mostly limited to the level of Foreign, Economy and Finance ministers from across the region, in a clear political message to Lebanon to sort out its stagnant political scene if it wishes to grow economically and socially. The country has been run by a caretaker government for the past 8 months, as political bickering between all parties and sub-factions have rendered the political system stagnant.

This political impasse and bickering, to a large extent, is the fault of leading internal political parties whose decision-making is also tied to regional and international decision makers. The overflow of Syrian refugees from war-torn neighboring Syria, in devastating numbers that were close, at one point, to nearly half the Lebanese population in the country, has – by some estimates – cost Lebanon’s economy more than $11 billion over the past eight years, significantly adding to its economic woes.

Amid all of this, and despite a travel embargo to Lebanon set by the UAE on its citizens since three years, for “security reasons,” as well as Emirati displeasure with what they see as Iran-linked political parties running Lebanon, the Emirati leadership wanted to show that it will not cut ties with this politically divided Mediterranean country.

In this context, Al Mansoori, being the lead federal economic figure in the UAE, was designated to head his country’s delegation to the summit, another message by the UAE that it still supports Lebanon, despite political differences. The presence of Arab Economy ministers at an Arab economic summit, is positive, according to Al Mansoori. Irrespective of the level of representation at the summit, he considers it “successful because it discusses key economic matters, and if they get adopted (by the attendees) then they will be taken into account in upcoming summit that will be held in Tunisia.”

One very important topic that will be adopted on Sunday is “Digital Economy”, says Al Mansoori, and the agenda has other important issues including “new clauses that were added to the greater Arab trade system, which is positive.”

On a different note, the issue of allowing UAE citizens to visit Lebanon was also brought up with the minister who says he wishes that the file gets resolved soon. “I am the economy minister, and I am one of the ministers who push on solving this issue as soon as possible. I hope it is resolved soon.”

Forecasts, (Gexit), reforms and Saudi Arabia

Amid such rapid and turbulent regional and international changes, and an expected global economic slowdown I couldn’t let the minister go without asking him about his forecast for economic growth in 2019, and his take on the new reforms and economic revamp introduced by both Dubai and the UAE.

“By next month we will have the finalized numbers with regard to UAE’s economic growth for 2018, but I expect it that number be around 2.5%, which is a positive and good,” says Al Mansoori. This comes in tow with regional growth at 2% as well, which has itself slowed down over the past year, impacted by regional tension and international changes be it in fluctuating oil prices that have dropped. Though the UAE has vastly diversified its economy away from oil revenues over the past two decades, its oil revenues still account for 30% of its overall economic revenue.

Of course, the EU economic woes and Brexit saga have strained regional growth, as well as the U.S. President Donald Trump’s economic crusade against China and more recently against his own public sector with a government shutdown exceeding a month with no wages that has started to strain the world’s largest economy, and subsequently the world.

Still, the UAE’s economic growth should be stable in 2019, as the country’s newly adopted economic measures kick in, believes the minister, despite saying he expects this year to be a “hard year.”

“The world’s economy will slow down this year, and I hope it wont progress. We remain positive. As for inflation, the minister does not expect it exceed “1.5% to 2% since several sectors have cut down their prices and with that inflation would fall to that number.”

With the introduction of taxes across a number of GCC nations a year ago, and no solid information or promises of not adding future taxes, hundreds of investors and thousands of workers have exited the region looking for cheaper production and cost of living elsewhere, or sent their families back to their countries due to rising living expenses. In the wake of such a migration outwards, the UAE was quick to take measures to ensure its attractiveness to investors.

Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum was quick to establish a work plan to revamping and restructuring Dubai’s existing vision of positioning the emirate as a main logistics hub in terms of maritime, air and land transport. The new work plan included new products and services, new trade routes, as well as maximizing existing routs and tying them to the Silk Road and China belt projects.

The minister said both Dubai and the UAE are further cementing ties with India, which is growing at an impressive 7% rate annually, as well as enhancing UAE’s position in terms of cooperating with its neighbors in the GCC, Iraq and Lebanon, which allows it to maintain and grow its “strategic and geographic dimensions in the region and elsewhere.” Supporting innovation which the UAE wants to adopt cross-board from “education, research and training” is expected to “contribute up to 5% of UAE’s GDP by 2021.”

When asked about the UAE turning into a hub servicing Saudi Arabia’s economic growth and projects, the minister was quick to smile and say they were “proud to be a contributing party in terms of the development and growth of the whole region, and not only Saudi Arabia.” Both countries have established a joint council that oversees economic, political and security ties. The minister had attended a meeting the day before he flew in to Beirut and revealed that there were up to 175 initiatives that were discussed that day, including 44 initiatives that are considered top priority, including land customs, civil aviation, and security.

“Frankly it is one of the top cooperation councils among the Arab nations, and hopefully others will follow suite,” he says, adding that GCC states “are currently just like the Benelux countries and our nucleus hopefully will set pace for a larger and wider cooperation in the region and reflect positively on other countries.”

Iran & Qatar

On a regional level, the situation with Iran and its undying conflict with the GCC, as well as the US sanctions on Tehran have dented the trade that once stood between both countries on either side of the Gulf waters. “There was an impact to a certain extent on the UAE and Dubai because of the trade we have, and in that sense we are also looking for an alternative. Trade with Iran declined significantly two years ago, but it stabilized after that because the embargoed products have been set for some time now. We are talking about a decline of over $12 billion at one point. Iran is also looking for other markets for its products.”

When asked about the discourse with Doha and Iran and how it was impacting the GCC Al Mansoori indirectly hinted at hidden agendas played.

The UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain fell out with Qatar three years back with the former accusing Doha of funding and supporting terrorism —namely harboring Muslim Brotherhood members, an organization that is on the GCC terror list to which Doha is a party. They further accuse it of having an agenda that is adamant on destabilizing not only the GCC, but other Arab countries —accusations which Qatar vehemently denies.

“The UAE wishes for peace and stability in the region where there is no agenda to destabilize it. Security is a key factor because economy and stability rely on it. We do not agree with some countries whose agendas work against such principles and have a different path.” Still Al Mansoori believes the GCC as “the most successful Arab module on cooperation.”

By Leila Hatoum, co-founder Mideastwire.com Sarl

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Written by nickbiddlenoe

January 19, 2019 at 8:03 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

The Saga Continues: Nicholas Noe Responds to Schenker, Hokayem

It was almost exactly 9 years ago when David Schenker (unknowingly) revealed how he lied in regards to one of my NY Times op-eds on the Lebanese Army: “…One year and half on from that episode – which, it should be said, was followed by more responsible and helpful criticism from Emile Hokayem and Andrew Exum – Schenker seems to have finally come clean, acknowledging frankly in Forbes.com what I and countless others had long argued: essentially, that the US refuses to alter Israel’s QME vis-à-vis Lebanon – and, therefore, ultimately refuses a credible exploration of how such an alteration, along with others steps, might underpin a peaceful strategy of integrating Hizbullah under the authority of a truly democratic state in Lebanon. (For those interested in the subject, I would suggest reading the 2009 enacted legislation that finally enshrines Israel’s QME into law).

“While U.S. taxpayer generosity, currently slated at over $100 million this year, will enhance LAF domestic counterterrorism capabilities,” Schenker wrote recently, “it is not meant–and will never be meant–to help Lebanon deter or defend against Israeli strikes.”

In July 2008, however, Schenker wrote on MESH: “Washington has fully backed the LAF…contrary to Noe’s assertion.”

“This and subsequent assistance,” he continued, “has not been subject to Israeli veto, but rather is based on a careful assessment of LAF operational requirements carried out by the United States and France…” Read on at the link below.

Qifa Nabki

Nicholas Noe sent me this commentary to publish at QN; it’s a response to the debate about U.S. military funding for the Lebanese Army that we’ve hosted here over the past week. In other news, check out a preview of Jesse Aizenstat’s book on surfing in southern Lebanon. Also, the new Arab Reform Bulletin is out.

I’m off to beloved Beirut this afternoon, for a week. I will try to post between bites.

*

(Commentary for Qifa Nabki by Nicholas Noe, editor-in-chief of Mideastwire.com)

In July 2008, David Schenker posted a piece on Harvard’s MESH website that said: “The debate regarding U.S. support for the LAF has been fuelled by a contentious and factually inaccurate op-ed in the New York Times written by Nicholas Noe in mid-June. [As a result of] his article, “A Fair Fight for the Lebanese Army… No doubt, the Times received a flood of…

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Written by nickbiddlenoe

January 3, 2019 at 9:27 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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