Blog entries from: MEI Editor's Blog

A Blog by the Editor of the Middle East Journal

1 to 10 of 282

July 24 2014

From MEI Editor's Blog Thu Jul 24 2014, 08:17:00

Israeli analyst Shlomi Eldar has a sobering assessment a Al-Monitor's Israel Pulse: "Hamas: the first Palestinian army." While the title may underrate the operations of Fawzi al-Qawuqji and 'Abd al-Qadir al-Husseini's forces in 1948, it does notice the increasing professionalism and fighting skills of Hamas, even if their tactics remain objectionable. For one, Israel's casualties among the IDF is already much greater than in Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009, though Operation Protective Edge  has not lasted as long.

In fact the growing number of non-state actor and irregular forces showing professional skill is a subject of interest and, for state actors, perhaps a cause for concern. Hizbullah in Syria has reportedly borne the brunt of some of the heaviest fighting, surpassing their ...

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July 23 2014

From MEI Editor's Blog Wed Jul 23 2014, 16:41:00

Today marks the 62nd anniversary of the 1952 coup in Egypt that toppled King Farouq and brought Muhammad Naguib (and Nasser).

And once again, as in all but one year of those 62, the President is a military man.

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From MEI Editor's Blog Wed Jul 23 2014, 08:31:00

Yes, Part II of Hester Stanhope is coming. Meanwhile, back to the present century.

This is several years old, but I'm sorry to say it's not out of date. It dates from 2012 and is by Jewish-American cartoonist Nina Paley. I'm stunned I never ran this before.

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From MEI Editor's Blog Wed Jul 23 2014, 08:00:00

Twice-weekly bus tours from Raqqa into Anbar!

Let the neighbors top that one! (Tour price does not include jizya.)

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July 22 2014

From MEI Editor's Blog Tue Jul 22 2014, 19:46:00

Bigger post aere coming,eanwhile, amid so much bad news, some good news from The Daily Star: "AUB joins NYU to digitize 100,000 Arabic volumes."

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July 21 2014

From MEI Editor's Blog Mon Jul 21 2014, 18:25:00

Part II of the Hester Stanhope post is coming later, but I wanted to comment on recent developments in Mosul.

Christianity arrived in Mosul as early as the Second Century AD, from the early Christian center at Edessa, and is said to have been the third-ranking Metropolitanate in the Assyrian Church by about 300. It has remained a major center of both the Assyrian Church of the East and the Chaldean Catholic Church, with other denominations such as Syriac Orthodox also present. Confronted with a declaration by ISIS that Christians must either convert to Islam, pay a jizya tax, or face death (a very strict interpretation of Islamic law), most or all of Mosul's Christian population has reportedly fled to Erbil. Dohuk, or other cities under Kurdish control. The fate of Mosul's ancient churches ...

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July 18 2014

From MEI Editor's Blog Fri Jul 18 2014, 20:59:00

The second part of the Hester Stanhope post is taking a while and probably won't go up until Monday. I thought I'd leve you for the weekend with a historical video (though it doesn't count as nostalgic: it's a grim reminder of the present). UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold visits Gaza in 1956 after  flare-up along the border, before the outbreak of the 1956 Suez war. Gaza was then administered by Egypt.

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From MEI Editor's Blog Fri Jul 18 2014, 16:54:00

This McClatchy article in Stars and Stripes leaks the assessment of the Iraqi Army reportedly sent to the Pentagon by the teams of US advisers sent to assess the situation. It isn't pretty:

Four Iraqi army divisions have simply disappeared and won't be easily resurrected.

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From MEI Editor's Blog Fri Jul 18 2014, 16:38:00

Part II of the post on Hester Stanhope is coming later today. But first, this thought.

"History doesn't repeat itself, but sometimes it rhymes," is an aphorism oftn attributed to Mark Twain, though like many attributed to him, no one seems to be able to locate it in his writings. Reflecting on the range of conflicts in the region today, not just the tit-for-tat cycle of retribution we are witnessing in Gaza, a war provoked by individual murders, but the disintegration of Syria and Iraq, I find the timing ironic in this July of 2014.

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July 17 2014

From MEI Editor's Blog Thu Jul 17 2014, 20:15:00

The ground operations in Israel's Operation Protective Edge  have begun. The casualty figures are likely to rise proportionately. But how long is the incursion likely to last? Israel isn't saying, but its previous operations in 2008-9, with major round operations as compared to the conflict in 2012, where a ground incursion was forestalled by a ceasefire, may give some indications.

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