Late into the night of Friday October 3, 2008, in an effort to settle a dispute over whether Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has the power to extend his tenure as President and move elections for the next president of the Palestinian Authority until 2010, there was a meeting of high-level Palestinian officials, including Hamas' Nasser Eddin al-Shaer, the previous deputy prime minister of the PA and President Abbas himself, in Ramallah.
The Economist (07/17) quotes Peter Bergen on Al Qaeda's self destructive tendencies.
iStock Analyst (07/17) features Steve Clemons arguing against claims of success in Iraq.
The New York Observer (07/17) reviews Michael Cohen's new book, Live from the Campaign Trail.
The Moderate Voice (07/16) cites Daniel Levy on evolving aspects of the Israeli Palestinian divide.
The Newshour with Jim Lehrer (07/16) interviews Daniel Levy on Israel's controversial trade with Hamas.
Financial Times (07/16) quotes Steve Clemons on the Cheney's loss of influence in the Bush Administration.
Policy Innovations (07/14) features Flynt Leverett discussing the rise of China on global business and security.
The New Republic (05/28) features Peter Bergen analyzing the jihadist revolt against Osama Bin Laden.
Afrik.com (05/27) cites Steve Clemons on purges occurring in the Obama and McCain campaigns.
NewsHour (05/27) interviews Flynt Leveret on U.S. engagement with Iran.
Tehran Times (05/25) mentions Steve Clemons on negotiations with Hamas.
The Globalist (05/23) features Parag Khanna discussing the growing international influence of the E.U.
New York Times (05/16) cites Jeffrey Lewis on the danger of quake damage to Chinese nuclear facilities
Afrik.com (05/16) quotes Steve Clemons on the future of the McCain-Obama race.
The New Republic (05/15) cites Steve Clemons on McCain's efforts to purge unsavory campaign connections.
Time (05/15) mentions Daniel Levy in a discussion of Hamas' influence in the U.S. presidential election.
International Herald Tribune (05/14) features Daniel Levy analyzing the prospects for Middle East peace.
Inter Press Service (05/14) quotes Flynt Leverett on the internal politics of Lebanon.
Globe and Mail (05/10) reviews Parag Khanna's work on geopolitical dynamics in the Second World.
World Politics Review (5/12) cites Flynt Leverett on China's rising influence in the Middle East.
Toronto Star (5/11) discusses Steve Coll's book and the West's obsession with Osama Bin Laden.
Democracy Arsenal (5/9) quotes Ghaith al-Omari on U.S. and Israeli options for engaging Hamas.
TPM Cafe (5/7) Daniel Levy writes about Israel's stubborn commitment to roadblocks and checkpoints.
For the first time since the debut of this blog, Al Qaeda makes direct democracy news. In his newest release (a Q&A this time, because, apparently, the consultants thought the whole straightforward crazy address thing wasn't working), Al Qaeda's number two, Ayman al-Zawahiri, denounces Hamas for contemplating a voter referendum on seeking peace with Israel.
"As for peace agreements with Israel, they [Hamas] spoke of putting it to a referendum despite considering it a breach of the Sharia (Islamic law)," Zawahiri is quoted as saying, according to a translation. "How can they put a matter that violates Sharia to a referendum?"
Assuming the question isn't rhetorical, I'll answer. The Palestinian government could simply hold a referendum. You don't need signatures. Circulating in Gaza and West Bank might be tough duty even for the most rough-and-tumble California petition circulators, though, for $5 a signature, a few would make the trip, I'm quite sure.
The greater Middle East contains only six percent of the world's population but can keep the United States distracted from the bigger strategic issues: making globalization, the rise of Asia, and the American economy stable and sustainable, for instance. Writing in the American Prospect, Daniel Levy lays out a regional to-do list for the next president of the United States.
The American Prospect | April 2008
Listen carefully when a new president is inaugurated next January for the sigh of relief coming from most of those Middle Easterners whom President Bush embraced as allies. Conversely, Bush’s rivals in the region are likely to tune in to the occasion in a disgruntled mood. For them the Bush years have been good for business. The menu of grievances on which they’ve fed has become a veritable feast. Opposition to American designs in the region -- deployed with different emphases and with different goals by al-Qaeda, Iran, Hamas, Syria, and Hezbollah, to name but a few -- has been an easy sell and has won countless new adherents.
The Bush administration categorizes Hamas as a terrorist organization. Hamas controls the Gaza Strip. President Bush wants an Israeli-Palestinian deal inked by the time he leaves office. Something has to give.
Daniel Levy, director of the New America Foundation's Middle East Policy Initiative, says former Mossad Chief Efraim Halevy's recent interview with Laura Rozen indicates that at least some influential Israelis are willing to start cracking the door to Hamas, starting with popping the myth that the movement is equivalent to al-Qaeda or controlled by Tehran.