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INSIGHT: Year Four of the Arab Awakening

How will history judge the uprisings that started in many parts of the Arab world in 2011? The label “Arab Spring” proved too simplistic from the beginning. Transformational processes defy black-and-white expectations, but in the end, will the awakenings be more reminiscent of what happened in Europe in 1848, when several uprisings took place More »

INSIGHT: Hamas in Crisis – Isolation and Internal Strife

As Hamas voices raise predictable objections to the just-announced resumption of Israeli-Palestinian talks, the group is in the throes of one of its most testing crises ever. Over the past year, all of its major pillars of support have eroded to one degree or another, while internally the movement is split by acute policy More »

INSIGHT: Three Major Challenges for Israeli-Palestinian Talks

Israeli and Palestinian peace negotiations have resumed after a prolonged hiatus. Six Middle East trips, and tireless efforts by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry made this resumption possible. The talks face three major challenges as a new chapter begins in the twenty year-long saga of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Diplomatic Ambiguity. One fundamental challenge will be More »

INSIGHT: Youth Unemployment in Middle East, North Africa

As the graph below makes painfully clear, the Middle East and North Africa face significant challenges when it comes to youth unemployment. A World Economic Forum report from 2012 notes, “Unemployment in the MENA region is the highest in the world…and largely a youth phenomenon.” I’ve previously highlighted troubling trends in youth employment, including the More »

QUICKTAKE: PLO’s Envoy to US Says Arab Land Swap Initiative Nothing New

In a fresh bid to jumpstart long-stalled Middle East Peace talks, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Arab League officials in Washington this week to discuss possible changes in the 2002 Peace Initiative that might attract the parties back to the negotiating table.  Following the meeting Monday, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, More »

INSIGHT: Women in the Workforce in the Arab World

A great debate has been raging over whether the so-called Arab Spring has been good or bad for the women of the region. Some argue that the rise of Islamist governments in places like Egypt and Tunisia has led to a stark reversal of women’s rights. Others believe that the vibrant social and political More »

INSIGHT: Takeaways from Obama’s Visit to Israel, the West Bank

The main news story of President Obama’s Middle East trip was his intensive focus on engineering an emotional reset with both the leadership and people of Israel. His two prepared texts (the speech to Israeli youths at the Jerusalem Convention Center and his toast to President Shimon Peres upon receiving Israel’s Medal of Distinction) More »

QUICKTAKE: What’s Really Stalling Middle East Peace?

New U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in the Middle East; President Barack Obama is scheduled to make his own trip to the region soon. Syria and Iran are high on the U.S. agenda but the Middle East peace process is not off the table. Kerry would even want to move it higher More »

‘Harlem Shaking’ It Up Across the Middle East

Just when the Gangnam Style craze began to fizzle, and we thought that the world would be spared another viral dance phenomenon, enter the Harlem Shake.   It began as a 2012 heavy bass instrumental music track produced by Baauer, the stage name of American music producer Harry Rodrigues,  uploaded to YouTube in August 2012.  More »

QUICKTAKE: Israeli-Palestinian Peace During Obama’s 2nd Term?

The new U.S. secretary of state, John Kerry, has openly affirmed his commitment to achieving peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. Iran and the Syrian crisis may be topping the agenda his current visit to the region, but most analysts believe he will use his first trip as America’s top diplomat to signal his More »

INSIGHT: The ‘Chicken and Egg’ of Skills, Jobs in the Arab World

A new report from the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) – Rethinking Economic Growth: Towards Productive and Inclusive Arab Societies – examines employment issues, the relative lack of dynamic private sectors, broken social contracts, and more in the Arab world. The chapter on education is particularly interesting. The report More »

QUICKTAKE: 3 Things Obama Could Do to Better US Image

With fresh anti-American sentiment growing in some parts of the Middle East and North Africa, Economist Intelligence Unit expert Robert Powell offers some thoughts on what President Barack Obama could do to counter the trend. Powell spoke with VOA’s Susan Yackee. Yackee: What does President Obama need to do to improve his image in the More »

INSIGHT: Bolstering Education and Science in the Arab World

A decade ago, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) shone a spotlight on the sorry state of education in the Arab world with its inaugural Arab Human Development Report in 2002, and its 2003 follow-on report, “Building a Knowledge Society.” The reports’ statistics still shock: in one year, Spain translates the same number of More »

VOICES: Snow, With a Small Chance of Peace

Children building snowmen and palm trees sprinkled with snowflakes were just some of the many pictures that filtered through my Facebook news feed last week when Jerusalem experienced its heaviest snowfall in more than 20 years. As I clicked on photo after photo of the snow-covered holy city and its surrounding white-laced hilltops, I was More »

Ramallah – Palestinians React to UN Vote

Ramallah, West Bank. Nov. 30 after the UN vote for increased status. Photo by Rebecca Collard

Last night, Palestinians cheered their new United Nations status. In Ramallah, the headquarters of President Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority, thousands gathered in a central square to hear Abbas speak and wait for the results of the General Assembly vote. Many were excited for the new recognition, and some were confused about the meaning of More »

INSIGHT: ‘Palestine’ Becomes UN Observer State

On November 29, ‘Palestine’ was recognized as a State by the U.N. General Assembly, albeit as an observer rather than a full member. A total of 138 countries voted in favor, with nine voting against and 41 abstaining. Exasperated by the failure of two decades of sporadic and mainly U.S.-mediated peace negotiations, and the continued More »

QUICKTAKE: A Middle East Roadmap for Obama

As U.S. President Barack Obama approaches the beginning of his second term, experts caution that his Administration must radically rethink its strategy to achieve an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal or risk seeing its stated goal of a two-state solution slip away. Such was the conclusion of a Washington symposium organized by the Carnegie Endowment for International More »

SOCIAL STREAM: Palestinians Win UN Bid

The United Nations General Assembly has overwhelmingly endorsed a Palestinian Authority bid to upgrade its status of “non-member observer entity” to that of a “non-member observer state.” The Palestinians sought the upgrade despite stiff opposition from Israel and the United States. Both countries have insisted that the move will not advance peace or change More »

Middle East Monitor: A Fragile Truce

-        There has been a shooting at the border separating Israel and the Gaza Strip -        Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi gives himself almost total power -        Increasing pressure on China to help end the violence in More »

Middle East Monitor: The Israeli-Hamas Truce Holds

- The truce between Israel and the main force in the Gaza Strip seems to be holding - The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations defends herself on what she knew about the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi - Syrian rebels take control of a key military base in eastern More »