The Bahraini activist Jassim Buhejji was a quiet figure who nonetheless played a formative role in sustaining the best of his country’s political traditions. Jassim Buhejji’s passing comes at another time of trial for Bahrain. The island is today in need of such level-headed voices that identify themselves as members of an inclusive nation rather than according to sect. Read more »
Archives for February 2012
A favorite topic of contemporary political punditry concerns the role of social media in facilitating the revolutions of the Arab Spring. At the front line of this pioneering activism is Sultan al-Qassemi, the Emirati columnist, blogger and royal family member whose Twitter feed —read by over 100,000 followers—was named by Time Magazine as one of last year’s top 140. Qassemi spoke to NOW Lebanon about his part in the historic upheavals in the region, and where he thinks we are heading. Read more »
I was invited to meet leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood following an opinion article I had written for Egypt Independent earlier this month. The piece included for the first time explicit requests made from an Arab Gulf State foreign minister to the Brotherhood for relations between them to be normalized. This offer was in return for assurances that the Brotherhood would not seek to “export the revolution” to the Gulf, that it would not compromise on Gulf security and that future governments develop a systemic economic plan so the Gulf states could commit to further investments in Egypt. Read more »
As the Muslim Brotherhood ascends to power, a question remains on how the once “banned” group will handle the issue of ties with the Arab Gulf states. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are today the two states in the Gulf that are most skeptical of the Muslim Brotherhood. And yet these are precisely the two countries that Egypt’s Brotherhood must try its best to build bridges with. Read more »
Tribal connections in the region once formed a powerful force of resistance to colonial powers and contributed to a collective Arab peninsular identity. Historically, this network formed through tribal affiliations assured a layer of trust among its members that was vital for survival. Today, however, tribalism is perhaps second only to religion as the greatest obstacle standing in the way of a civil and democratic state in the Arabian Peninsula. Lately, tribalism has been a component of the so-called exceptionalism theory of the Gulf States monarchies that have weathered the Arab uprisings through a variety of means.
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