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My latest Huffington Post piece examines democracy in the modern world:

Democracy is dead, long live democracy. Modi has won by a landslide in India. Touted everywhere as the world’s largest “democracy,” India will be ruled by a man who has never repudiated or apologized for the slaughter of Muslims in his state’s riots while he was in charge, a man who is the force behind the most ultranationalist and bigoted Indian political party in modern history. Right here in the USA, Princeton University demonstrates that most every policy and every piece of ‘democratic’ legislation is supporting the rise of an oligarchy and the disappearance of the middle class. From Russia to India to Israel, we have a problem with elected ultra-right leaders who basically embody what John Stuart Mill, one of the greatest modern architects of democracy, referred to as ‘the tyranny of the majority.’

In every case majority …

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Romney’s Bain Capital invested in companies that moved jobs overseas – The Washington Post.

The reports demonstrating Bain and Romney’s deep involvement in aiding the steady demise of American jobs for poor people by shipping them overseas and making enormous profits is a tale in American conflict generation. A society first and foremost must be a based on a social contract between in its richest and poorest citizens that they will all do their share for the increased prosperity and welfare of the society. This creates social harmony, this unifies and it is the basis of the peaceful vision of capitalism that Adam Smith had which required a moral sense, intuitions of empathy and compassion that accompanied the profit motive.

But this is nowhere to be found in the Wall Street of today which has no comprehension of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations. Bain and Romney symbolize this world …

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Syria’s Christian Conundrum

by mgopin on June 8, 2012 · 6 comments

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by Hind Kabawat, CRDC Senior Research Analyst and Expert on Conflict Resolution

This article was originally published by CNN here.

One of the most perplexing aspects of the Syrian revolution is the deep ambivalence felt by so many of the country’s Christians when faced with the prospect of freedom after four decades of authoritarian dictatorship. Some Christians have enthusiastically embraced the prospect of democratic change and a more open civil society, but many have not.

As a Christian, this provokes a great deal of sadness in me and others who are committed to transforming Syria into an open, democratic, inclusive, secular and religiously tolerant society. But the problem is that many, if not most, Christians in Syria do not believe that this will be the outcome of changing the regime.

On the contrary, they believe the present regime — corrupt and repressive as it has been — is the …

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By Hind Aboud Kabawat (Senior Research Analyst and Expert in Conflict Resolution, CRDC, George Mason University).

Damascus, Syria

May 20, 2011

Can our beloved Syria be saved from the brink of destruction? This is clearly the question on the minds of millions of our fellow countrymen (and countrywomen). And it is truly astonishing how quickly events have transformed the so-called “facts on the ground” in this country. One of the most locked-down societies in the Middle East quite suddenly erupted in rage, anger and frustration after forty years of political repression and economic stagnation. Just think of it: the first demonstration was on March 15, just a mere two months ago. But so much has changed in the minds, hearts and aspirations of the Syrian people that it is impossible to think that we can ever return to the status quo ante—the Syria of March 14th.

What the …

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Respect partyThe current European headlines are dominated by France and Belgium’s impending face-veil legislation, but there is another, more important, story that isn’t getting as much attention—that of a quiet revolution throughout Europe of Muslim women emerging onto the political scene.

One of the most prominent examples is that of Salma Yaqoob in the UK. Yaqoob, a prospective parliament candidate, is the most prominent Muslim woman in British public life today. She herself wears a headscarf, a powerful symbol of a faith she has accommodated with her passionate leftwing politics. She represents UK’s Respect party and has a pretty good chance of making history as one of the first British Muslim women MPs. There are other Muslim women running for seats in Birmingham, Bethnal Green, Bolton South and other cities.

Sadly, however, by virtue of being both Muslim and women, Yaqoob and others face opposition from all sides who don’t believe …

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Written by Aziz Abu Sarah

nine-families

“Netanyahu and Lieberman are asking the world to recognize Israel as a Jewish state – I say uphold Jewish values! After all, it was Habakkuk the Jewish prophet who said ‘Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed and establishes a town by crime!’”, notes Aziz Abu Sarah. (Read the complete article on Middle East Online.)

The Palestinians who have lost their homes, on the other hand, have not been able to rally enough people to draw constant, vehement support. Fatah, Hamas, and the PLO are too busy with their own conflicts to be of any real help to the Palestinians in Jerusalem, and the international community is fond of offering their condolences and condemnations from the safety of the “moral high ground,” so as not to soil their shoes. Of the hundreds of thousands of “pro-peace” Arabs, Israelis, Europeans, and Americans, I haven’t

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President Obama and President Abbas

President Obama and President Abbas

Iran threat pushing Arabs closer to normalization with Israel
By Akiva Eldar

…Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa notes that peace is not a light bulb easily switched on, but admits that the Arabs have made public-relations blunders. “An Israeli might be forgiven for thinking that every Muslim voice is raised in hatred,” he writes, “because that is usually the only one he hears. Just as an Arab might be forgiven for thinking every Israeli wants the destruction of every Palestinian.” Khalifa urges the Arabs to communicate directly with the Israelis and tell them their story.

If Olmert’s defense of the settlements was grist for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s mill, the Bahraini prince’s call for normalization made Obama’s weekend. The start of normalization between the nations is a key item on the president’s agenda. It’s the undertone intended to ease the creation of a blueprint for

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Peace is Not Magic

by mgopin on June 26, 2009 · 5 comments

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By Kobi Skolnick
In the last few weeks, there have been many developments in the Middle East conflict. People around the world have been following the speeches of President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu, as well as Hosni Mubarak’s essay in the Wall Street Journal. This high-level discussion signals a shift in policy and progress toward peace. However, some skeptics wonder if this is just another phase in a cycle of false hope. After all, it is not difficult to imagine another suicide bombing in one of Israel’s cities, or an ill-timed Israeli Defense Force operation in the Palestinian Territories, both of which would immediately make peace look like a mere fantasy.

This danger has always existed in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Even when top leaders sign treaties, on the ground there remains a deep enmity between Israelis, Palestinians, and the Arab world. With this in mind, …

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The tumultuous events of recent days have further confirmed just how destructive militant American thinking about Iran has been. As President Obama understood and said relentlessly in the past year, there are clearly a huge amount of people to engage in Iran, probably the majority. Of course, the overwhelming question will be how to reach them. But the damage has been done to the conservative regime, and events on the ground in Iran, in addition to events in Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, and Gaza, intimate a re-alignment is emerging across the Middle East, a move of Islamic political movements toward the center and away from radicalism, as Dr. Mahdi Abdul Hadi, the Palestinian scholar,  has wisely noted. A wise president, and a wise Congressional leadership, will not squander the opportunity to engage.

Reported in the Washington Post, this Rand study, a bastion of American military thinking, should be read by …

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1.5 Million Protest in Iran

by Aziz on June 15, 2009 · 2 comments

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6_3117_4297

By Aziz Abu Sarah

Al-arabiya news agency reported over 1.5 million came out to the streets today in support of presidential candidate Mr. Hossein Moussavi. This is the biggest protest by the Iranian people since the 1979 Iranian revolution. It is remarkable that this protest took a non-violent approach, which was called for by Mr. Moussavi who led the protest himself. The next few days will be very critical for the future of Iran and a potential for a democratic transformation.…

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