Washington’s Dilemma over Hamas in Qatar

A handout picture released by the Palestinian president's office (PPO) shows Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas (C-L) meeting with Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani (C) and Hamas exiled leader Khaled Meshaal (C-R) in the capital Doha on August 21, 2014. AFP PHOTO/ PPO / THAER GHANEM === RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO/ PPO / THAER GHANEM" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS === (Photo by HO / AFP)

“Tell Hamas that they must deliver on a hostage and ceasefire deal that would halt the war in Gaza or risk getting kicked out of the Qatari capital of Doha.” That was U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s message to Qatar in early March, according to a report by CNN five months into Israel’s war… Continue reading Washington’s Dilemma over Hamas in Qatar

Genocidal Starvation in Gaza and the Responsibility of Third-Party States

Judges at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) rule on emergency measures against Israel following accusations by South Africa that the Israeli military operation in Gaza is a state-led genocide, in The Hague, Netherlands, January 26, 2024. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw - RC2OP5A77N72

The extraordinary scene of U.S. military cargo planes dropping 38,000 ready-to-eat meals to beleaguered and malnourished Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, while 2,000 aid trucks queued, stranded, outside the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, recently underscored the desperate plight of Gaza’s civilians and the world’s willful failure to help them.   The airdrop represented a tiny… Continue reading Genocidal Starvation in Gaza and the Responsibility of Third-Party States

Regional Diplomacy Amid the War in Gaza 

RAFAH, GAZA - FEBRUARY 27: Dozens of Palestinian children and teens, taking refuge in Rafah from Gaza, hold banners as they gather to hold a protest the scarcity of food and water under the ongoing Israeli attacks in Rafah, Gaza on February 27, 2024. The children marched in the streets of Gaza City holding banners with some written on them 'bread becomes my dream' and 'we want food,' among others. Abed Zagout / Anadolu (Photo by Abed Zagout / ANADOLU / Anadolu via AFP)

Over the past four months, Middle Eastern nations have been dismayed by the near-unconditional support from Western governments to Israel as it has bombarded and besieged the Gaza Strip and is now ramping up an assault on Rafah—a sliver of territory where more than a million displaced civilians have gathered. As a result, some have… Continue reading Regional Diplomacy Amid the War in Gaza 

US in the Red Sea: Security Concerns or Power Play?

Members of the Yemeni Coast Guard affiliated with the Houthi group patrol the sea as demonstrators march through the Red Sea port city of Hodeida in solidarity with the people of Gaza on January 4, 2024, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the militant Hamas group in Gaza. (Photo by AFP)

The waters of the Red Sea are heating up. In recent weeks, the United States has intensified efforts to clamp down on actions taken by the Houthis, a Yemen-based movement otherwise known as Ansar Allah, to disrupt maritime shipping believed to be connected to Israel as a retaliation for its near-total destruction of the Gaza… Continue reading US in the Red Sea: Security Concerns or Power Play?

Gaza and its impact three months on – Council Views

A Palestinian man is carrying the body of a child after it was unearthed from the rubble of a building following an Israeli strike on the Zawayda area of the central Gaza Strip on December 30, 2023, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Hamas movement. (Photo by Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto) (Photo by MAJDI FATHI / NurPhoto / NurPhoto via AFP)

Israel’s military campaign in Gaza is entering its fourth month with no end in sight and with the most devastating consequences imaginable for the 2.2 million Palestinian civilians living there, for which Israel is now facing charges of genocide at the International Court of Justice. The effects of this are also being felt well beyond… Continue reading Gaza and its impact three months on – Council Views

Washington Must Do More to Tackle West Bank Settler Violence

Israeli soldiers scuffle with Jewish settlers from the nearby Einav settlement, trying to storm the town of Deir Sharaf in the Nablus governorate of the occupied West Bank on November 2, 2023, after an Israeli was killed when his car came under fire. - For several months, the West Bank has seen increasing Israeli army raids, attacks on Palestinians by Israeli settlers and Palestinian assaults against Israeli settlers and security forces. (Photo by Jaafar ASHTIYEH / AFP)

While the world’s attention has rightly been focused on the tragedy underway in Gaza, another deadly drama has been playing out nearby in the occupied West Bank. Since October 7, Jewish settlers have significantly escalated violent attacks against Palestinians, displacing hundreds from their villages and claiming more land for Israel. In the first month and… Continue reading Washington Must Do More to Tackle West Bank Settler Violence

Myth-Makers Cannot Hide Palestine’s Truth

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / People search for survivors following Israeli bombardment on Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip on November 22, 2023, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement. (Photo by MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)

The latest round of the Palestine-Israel conflict has lasted more than three weeks and, judging by the reluctance on the Israeli side for a truce, will continue for a long time. Despite the uncertainties of the endgame, the implications are already visible, one of which is that the Palestine issue has come back to the… Continue reading Myth-Makers Cannot Hide Palestine’s Truth

Qatar’s Next Diplomatic Step in Latin America?

GEORGETOWN, GUYANA - SEPTEMBER 13: (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY - MANDATORY CREDIT - 'AMIRI DIWAN OF THE STATE OF QATAR' / HANDOUT' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani (3rd L) meets President of Guyana Mohamed Irfaan Ali (3rd R) in Georgetown, Guyana on September 13, 2023. Amiri Diwan of the State of Qatar / Handout / Anadolu Agency (Photo by Amiri Diwan of the State of Qata / ANADOLU AGENCY / Anadolu via AFP)

Qatar has garnered significant global attention for its role in negotiating the release of hostages held by Hamas after its attack on Israel on October 7. The Gulf state’s recent mediation efforts have also extended beyond the borders of its own region, particularly in Latin America where its economic and diplomatic channels are widening.    On… Continue reading Qatar’s Next Diplomatic Step in Latin America?

Hamas’ ‘Al-Aqsa Flood’ Operation Will Leave Nothing Untouched

GAZA CITY, GAZA - OCTOBER 07: Hamas' armed wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades enter the Israeli side of the fence in Gaza City, Gaza on October 07, 2023. Hani Alshaer / Anadolu Agency (Photo by Hani Alshaer / ANADOLU AGENCY / Anadolu Agency via AFP)

In the early morning hours of October 7, scores of Hamas fighters launched a dramatic and unprecedented land, air, and sea attack on Israel. Coming a day after the 50th anniversary of Egypt and Syria’s 1973 surprise attack on Israel, the Hamas operation likewise caught the Israeli military and intelligence apparatus completely off-guard, with fighters… Continue reading Hamas’ ‘Al-Aqsa Flood’ Operation Will Leave Nothing Untouched

Mediating Multipolarity: Qatar’s Role in U.S.-Venezuela Negotiations

In this handout picture released by the Venezuelan Presidency, Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro (L) is received by the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, at the Royal Palace (Emiri Diwan), in Doha, on June 15, 2022. (Photo by Marcelo GARCIA / Venezuelan Presidency / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / VENEZUELAN PRESIDENCY / MARCELO GARCIA " - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS - RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / VENEZUELAN PRESIDENCY / Marcelo GARCIA " - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS /

In June, Qatar hosted secret talks between Venezuela and the United States. Doha has an extensive track record of assisting the United States in sensitive negotiations, including a recent prisoner swap with Iran and U.S.-Taliban backchanneling. Qatar’s emergence as a mediator in Venezuela has filled a void left by the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and other regional… Continue reading Mediating Multipolarity: Qatar’s Role in U.S.-Venezuela Negotiations

MENA States’ Assertive Approach in the Era of Emerging Multipolarity

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 02: (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY – MANDATORY CREDIT - 'BRICS / HANDOUT' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhanbir (R) attends the "BRICS Foreign Ministers Meeting" in Cape Town, South Africa on June 2, 2023. Brazilian Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhanbir, United Arab Emirates (UAE) Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdullahiyan also attend the meeting was hosted by South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor. BRICS / Handout / Anadolu Agency (Photo by BRICS / Handout / ANADOLU AGENCY / Anadolu Agency via AFP)

As American dominance of the Middle East and North Africa wanes and other world powers step up their efforts to win friends and influence there, long-time U.S. allies are becoming more assertive towards Washington and recalibrating their other ties to better secure their own interests.   The growing U.S.-China strategic rivalry will profoundly impact the region… Continue reading MENA States’ Assertive Approach in the Era of Emerging Multipolarity

Sudan Conflict: Regional Implications – Council Views

A man walks while smoke rises above buildings after aerial bombardment, during clashes between the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces and the army in Khartoum North, Sudan, May 1, 2023. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RC2OP0AR0DBV

The eruption of violent conflict in Sudan on April 15 has cast the country into, perhaps, the darkest period yet in its five-year transition toward civilian rule, which began with nationwide protests in 2018 and the toppling of Omar al-Bashir a year later, after three decades in power. The recent outbreak of fighting between the… Continue reading Sudan Conflict: Regional Implications – Council Views

Biden’s Strategic Neglect of Palestine is Bound to Backfire

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands during a press conference, on January 30, 2023 in Jerusalem. RONALDO SCHEMIDT/Pool via REUTERS - RC241Z9O0NLG

Since the start of its term, the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden has been reluctant to engage substantively with the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Instead, it has focused its limited efforts on perpetuating the status quo, on the pretext that circumstances are not conducive to initiatives to change it. What can be described as a policy… Continue reading Biden’s Strategic Neglect of Palestine is Bound to Backfire

The Iraq War 20 Years On – Council Views

A U.S. Marine covers the face of a statue of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein with a U.S. flag in Baghdad April 9, 2003. U.S. troops briefly draped an American flag over the face of a giant statue of President Saddam Hussein in central Baghdad on Wednesday as they prepared to topple it in front of a crowd of Iraqis.The gesture, likely to be highly provocative in much of the Arab world where the U.S. invasion of Iraq has stirred widespread anger, was quickly reversed and an Iraqi flag was tied instead to the statue's neck.Local residents had earlier scaled the 20-foot (six metre) statue and slipped a noose around its neck to drag it down. PP03040026 REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic GOT/AA - RP3DRIGNTWAA

Still No U.S. Accountability Adel Abdel Ghafar The 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq was a terrible calamity, unleashing disastrous consequences that continue to reverberate across the Middle East. First and foremost, the war resulted in the deaths of an estimated 300,000 Iraqis and the displacement of millions. Saddam Hussein’s regime was brutal, and the legacy… Continue reading The Iraq War 20 Years On – Council Views

What Can the Next World Cup Hosts Learn from Qatar 2022?

HE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, HE US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, and American and Qatari delegations at the fifth US-Qatar Strategic Dialogue in Doha, Qatar. November 22, 2022. MoFA Qatar.

As 2022 drew to a close, the sporting world relished in a riveting FIFA World Cup full of historical firsts. Going forward, policymakers have a chance to reflect on the lessons learned from the organization of that event, which was the first time it was held in the Middle East. With the United States, Mexico,… Continue reading What Can the Next World Cup Hosts Learn from Qatar 2022?

MENA Outlook 2023 – Council Views

Beirut, Lebanon - July 3 2021: Tens of cars line up near the very few open gas stations in Lebanon. Drivers wait for hours due to fuel shortage.

In various ways, 2022 was arguably a positive year in much of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The COVID-19 pandemic subsided in many states and the intensity of violence ebbed in several conflict zones. Competition between regional powers receded and gave way to an increase in diplomacy and rapprochement. However, with a… Continue reading MENA Outlook 2023 – Council Views

For Nations Abroad, U.S. Midterm Elections Are of Increasing Importance

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Shutterstock (13056644a) Former US President Donald Trump (L), Saudi businessman Yasir bin Othman Al-Rumayyan (C), and Jared Kushner (R) watch the first round of the LIV Golf Bedminster invitational, part of the new LIV Golf Invitational Series, at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, USA, 29 July 2022. The tournament will be held from 29 - 31 July. Former US President Donald Trump at LIV Golf Bedminster invitational Pro-Am, Bedminster, New Jersey, USA - 29 Jul 2022

The elections held in the United States on November 8 were billed as the most crucial midterms in a generation. In a country deeply divided along ideological and party lines, the implications of such polls go well beyond domestic affairs. Polarization at home is seeping into Washington’s policy abroad, meaning that even congressional polls, once… Continue reading For Nations Abroad, U.S. Midterm Elections Are of Increasing Importance

Why the U.S. Congressional Effort to Pressure Algeria on Russia Could Backfire

In a letter addressed to United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken on September 29, U.S. Congresswoman Lisa McClain (R-MI) and 26 of her colleagues called for imposing sanctions on Algeria through the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). The move is ostensibly connected to the war in Ukraine and the intensifying competition between… Continue reading Why the U.S. Congressional Effort to Pressure Algeria on Russia Could Backfire