Ian Speigel

Pakistan’s Musharraf in Crisis

cc Flickr Andrew Griffin, modified, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Impeachment proceedings against Pervez Musharraf are gaining momentum. Once he is replaced, however, the parliamentary infighting will continue as a new power structure coalesces. In the meantime, Pakistan lists as its economy implodes and lawlessness spreads in the provinces.

Pakistan Taliban, Al-Qaeda Problems Worsen

Pakistan and major cities

Al Qaeda and the Taliban have carved out Pakistani havens for themselves near the Afghan border and continue to gain political and military strength.

US Presidential Race Changes Middle East Calculus

Mccain, cc Flickr Gage Skidmore, modified, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

As American presidential campaigning intensifies, we are seeing a convergence between the candidates and the Bush administration on the issues of Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan. 

Syria-Israel Peace More Likely in Wake of Summit

MerkelGraffiti cc thierry ehrmann Flickr

Last week’s Paris Summit for the Mediterranean confirmed the likelihood of EU primacy over any future Mediterranean Union. More importantly however, the Summit was notable for the inclusion of Syrian President, Bashar Al-Assad, which marks a major thaw in Euro-Syrian relations.

Dangerous Brinkmanship between Iran & the West

Iran Nuclear Program, cc wikicommons David Monniaux, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:AH-64_dsc04577.jpg

This past week, Iran noticeably softened its anti-West rhetoric, and European negotiators hinted that Iran may cooperate and abandon its nuclear program. Meanwhile, Israel conducted a massive military exercise simulating a mock attack on Iran, and the Bush administration has begun funneling $500m towards Iranian insurgency groups.

Turkey’s Secularists Attempt to Oust AKP

AK Party logo

This past week, Turkey’s Constitutional Court began hearing a trial that could see the governing AKP (Justice and Development Party) outlawed, and its members banned from politics for five years. Meanwhile, two days ago, the government detained 21 people on grounds of coup-plotting.

Taliban Attack Foreshadows Further Fighting

Karzai, cc Flickr OpenDemocracy, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/, modified,

This week’s spectacular attack on a prison in Kandahar demonstrates the Taliban’s reconstitution in southern Afghanistan and presages a violent summer fighting season. NATO and the Afghan army will reduce the Taliban’s capabilities, but the Taliban will remain a robust force until their sanctuary across the border in Pakistan is eliminated – an unlikely event in 2008.

Israeli Prime Minister’s Peace-Talk Strategy

Israel Flag painting, public domain.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is being investigated for bribery and tax evasion. His popularity has plummeted, and he may be indicted within the month in which case he has pledged to resign.

China Securing Access to Middle East Oil

Oil pipeline

Dubai recently announced its partnership with China in the creation of a billion dollar investment fund. Saudi Arabia recently announced its commitment to double oil exports to China by 2010.

Syria and Israel’s Hollow Peace Talks

two stars and stripes

Syria announced last week the existence of back-channel peace negotiations with Israel.

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