Category Archives: Current Affairs

Exclusive to The Middle East Online . . . ALGERIA: A brewing crisis

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By Ed Blanche Algeria’s most infamous and politically explosive corruption scandal went to trial in Algiers on 15 March, five years after it burst wide open in a power struggle involving long-serving President Abdelaziz Boutelfika and the widely feared head … Continue reading

Category: Current Affairs

TUNISIA: A blow against democracy

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  What does it mean when fanatics attack relics and mosaics? Simply put, a jihadist front may be expanding to engulf Tunisia in chaos as it has done in neighbouring Libya. There are three possible explanations. It would be easy … Continue reading

Category: Current Affairs

Exclusive to The Middle East Online . . .   The Bear is back!

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Russia uses arms sales to challenge the West in Middle East By Ed Blanche Russia, its relations with the West deteriorating sharply over the conflict in Ukraine, is stepping up its drive to restore Moscow’s former influence in the Arab … Continue reading

Category: Current Affairs

ISIL feeds on regional chaos

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Several months of fighting have done little to dislodge ISIL. The Pentagon acknowledged in January that the jihadist group had only lost 1 per cent of its territory in Iraq. Meanwhile, the group which acquired some following in North Africa, … Continue reading

Category: Current Affairs

Syrian minister hits out at UN

Omran al-Zoub

The anti-Assad lobby at the United Nations is using the chemical weapons scare as a new way to exert political and economic pressure on the Syrian government, the country’s information minister Omran Ahed al-Zouabi (right) accused. “First of all, I … Continue reading

Category: Current Affairs

EXCLUSIVE TO THE MIDDLE EAST ONLINE: IRAN/SYRIA/ISRAEL

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Iran opens new front in Syria – with eye on Israel Ed Blanche reports from Beirut   Iranian-led forces, spearheaded by seasoned Hizbullah fighters (right) backed by Iraqi and Afghan Shiites, have launched an offensive in southern Syrian, along with … Continue reading

Category: Current Affairs

US & IRAN: A dangerous fait accompli?

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif before a meeting in Geneva

The U.S. looks set to present its allies with a dangerous fait accompli on Iran’s nuclear program. The joint statement by Secretary of State Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif that there will be no extension of the talks between the … Continue reading

Category: Current Affairs

Divisions between Arab states impede the fight against ISIS

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 The diplomatic spat that emerged between Egypt and Qatar following this week’s Arab League meeting is only the latest example of the political incoherence among Arab states confronted by the common threat of the Islamic State. While Arab governments have … Continue reading

Category: Current Affairs

Libya: beyond easy solutions

Libyans celebrate death of dictator

On the international level, there’s more debate than action when it comes to managing the security threats emanating from the country. On 17 February Libya marked four years since the uprising that toppled Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, and ignited the country’s … Continue reading

Category: Current Affairs

Exclusive to The Middle East Online. . .

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Simmering Lebanon braces for jihadist offensive Ed Blanche reports from Beirut The Lebanese army took delivery of a $25m shipment of US weapons, including 70 M198 155mm howitzers and 26 million rounds of ammunition of various calibres, on 8 February … Continue reading

Category: Current Affairs