Lebanon

The Arab Spring Awakens in Palestine

by mgopin on May 19, 2011 · 7 comments

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Here are two interviews that I did with Fox News and Russia TV on Tuesday, regarding thousands of Palestinian refugees who attempted to nonviolently cross Israeli borders from the Syrian, Lebanese, and Palestinian border last weekend, resulting in several deaths and dozens injured.

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There has been a great deal of heightened activity around Israel/Lebanon/Hezbollah. There is a sense of inevitability that Israel will be challenging Hezbollah again, based on evidence of its massive rearmament. Hezbollah keeps gaining politically with every war, Iran and Israel seem to benefit politically by the distraction from concessions the world is demanding from them. Who loses? Civilians. What else is new since World War II? Anyone with any ideas on stopping this cycle of madness? I am fresh out.

Though I long for the success of the brave revolutionaries in Tehran. That would be a game changer for the entire region, for Islam, for the world. Hezbollah would have to grow up and join the Lebanese in a truly agreed upon set of national interests, Israel would be fresh out of excuses, the Saudis would be challenged to reform, and we would have a positive Shi’ite sphere of …

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This is wonderful news. Michel is a proud Syrian patriot and a pioneer of nonviolent approaches to change in the Middle East. He deserves all the honors that can be bestowed on him for his courageous stances and his reputation as a man of great integrity and generosity. All he did was have the foresight to describe where Syria is going anyway in the age of Obama. I understand the nervousness of the regime in the age of Cheney and Rumsfeld, but our nonviolent citizens are the greatest assets of every civilization, not a danger. This is the lesson of reform that needs to come to every society in the Middle East, including the so-called democracies.

Syrian writer and pro-democracy campaigner Michel Kilo has been released from prison after serving a three-year sentence…While he was in prison, Syria established diplomatic relations with Lebanon and exchanged ambassadors….He said he was in

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Landis on American Middle East Policy So Far

by mgopin on February 6, 2009 · 1 comment

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As usual, Josh Landis is brief, brilliant and right on target. The Obama White House should study every word. It is time for a diplomatic revolution if they want to save themselves a massive upheaval in the Middle East in the next few years. Listening to where the Arab world really is at is going to be the key to a successful American intervention in the region. The rage and shock that has spread across the Arab world could lead to a new regional confrontation with Israel. But if Obama coordinates a systematic engagement with all regional powers and players, including Syria and Turkey, in addition to a new kind of engagement and negotiation with outside powers such as Russia and China, we may see an emerging consensus on both what Israel must do, what Iran must do, and what Hamas must do, in order to step back from …

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Waltz with Bashir

by mgopin on February 3, 2009 · 7 comments

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A Movie About 1982 and the Soul of Israel

A Movie About 1982 and the Soul of Israel

Here is a must read from an Israeli patriot who was devastated by the movie and his own depression over leadership and the endless cycle of war and revenge. Please read and react.  I have been devastated and cleansed by the movie for a week. While much of Burston’s analysis is powerful and convincing I do not think that ‘we live in post-moral world’. Israelis, and Palestinians, are indeed caught in a web of terrible leadership, with choices between corruption on the one side, and uncorrupted, clear unadulterated violence–and suicide–on the other. But this is not a post-moral world. It seems that way to those inside this insanity, but to those outside morality is alive and well, and the answers are not as complicated as leadership on all sides has made them out to be: Respect your enemy, never surround an …

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President Assad of Syria with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in Damascus

President Assad of Syria with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in Damascus

Reporting from Jerusalem this month:

An astonishing statement from Benjamin Netanyahu. Not only does he have a plan to topple Hamas in Gaza through assassinations (as if that was not already tried and aborted by warriors more talented and experienced than he), but he also plans to proceed with diplomacy in his region by making clear to President Assad that the Golan will stay in Jewish hands:

“It should be clear to the Syrians and to the world, the Golan Heights will stay in our hands,” Netanyahu said.

This is a fascinating position. Either Mr. Netanyahu is delusional in terms of his understanding of Syria and the political realities of the moment, or he holds the Israeli right-wing voting public in contempt. My hunch is the latter, and I felt the same way about McCain’s contempt for …

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Mepeace.org

by mgopin on July 21, 2008 · 4 comments

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Mepeace.org burst onto the scene of Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking very recently. This is a crowded field of many fledgling and worthy groups, each seeking to make change in their own way. These groups have one overriding challenge in this most lasting Middle East conflict. That is the challenge of equality and equal voice. There is no greater or more important task today than to create a platform and envision a space in which Jews and Palestinians can engage in equality as they struggle to make positive change. There has been a lot of language thrown around in this conflict, language about coexistence, about dialogue, and about reconciliation. All good words. But we have come to understand that much of this framing is inadequate to addressing the deepest roots of the conflict, as well as a methodology of change that will really make a difference.

The platform provided by mepeace.org, the …

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Excellent progress has been made in the Middle East due to the clever replacement of the United States as a third party. First Turkey, which helped engineer the official channel of a rapprochement between Syria and Israel, and now France in terms of a rapprochement of Syria and Lebanon. They have both played pivotal roles in dramatically changing the possibilities on the ground. I heard through the grapevine that Syrian officials had said over a year ago, “If you see us moving toward Iran it means war, if we move toward Turkey it is peace.” This does not mean that Syria does not maintain a deep relationship with Iran, but all its major public moves of late are moving Syria toward Turkey and France.

Most significant is that for the first time in modern history there is a real chance that Syria and Lebanon will engage in an amicable separation

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