diplomacy

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THE SAUDIS AND IRANIANS NEED TO TALK:

AND WE NEED TO MAKE IT HAPPEN

 

In recent years I have worked deeply on quiet conflict management interventions from Afghanistan to Iran, but mostly in Syria. I have watched the unnecessary suffering of countless people, the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Syrians, the greatest civilian displacement in Middle Eastern history, and I have watched it up close through the lives of my students and friends.

 

As an analyst my job is to study, inquire and reflect. Everything we conflict analysts, peace builders and trainers–Western, Muslim, Arab, Christian and Jewish–are learning from experience in the field, and from our students and friends all over the Middle East, is that we are caught in a deepening maelstrom of violent disasters due to the perpetual state of war between two states with radical philosophies that have been at loggerheads since 1979, Saudi …

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Of Gods, Tribes, and Battles

by mgopin on September 16, 2014 · 6 comments

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GOD
If you cannot find God,
Find the persecuted,
Then you are home.

TRIBE
Tribalism is an infectious disease
Human rights is the antidote
But force feeding can kill the patient

BATTLES
Some battles that you want to win,
Will defeat you if you win.
Some battles if you lose,
Then you will win.
Think.
Blessed be reason.

hug

 

(Photo: A Different Angle)

 …

{ 6 comments }

Deus Ex Machina

by mgopin on September 2, 2014 · 3 comments

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Men who represent governments are not entitled to their own opinions nor do they control absolutely anything. Therefore those who are risking their lives around the world and ask government officials for their opinion are not only wasting their time, they are also putting themselves in danger. Do not make revolutions or rebellions or demonstrations based on external promises. Ever ever ever.

 …

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Washington (CNN) — An ancient Persian symbol of freedom, tolerance and coexistence has joined documents like the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and the Emancipation Proclamation in Washington.

The Cyrus Cylinder represents the spirit and ideals of Cyrus, the leader of the Achaemenid Empire in the sixth century B.C. After peacefully conquering Babylon in 539 B.C.and declaring his principles on the cylinder, Cyrus freed the Jewish population of Babylon from long bondage and rebuilt the Temple in Jerusalem.

The Cyrus Cylinder inspired many throughout history — in particular 18th century Enlightenment philosophers, historians and politicians in Europe and America — as a source of their thinking on human rights, settling conflicts and leadership.

Thomas Jefferson reportedly owned two copies of the Cyropaedia, Xenophon’s biography of Cyrus, and carried it for inspiration and guidance.

Today — far from ancient Persia and the Enlightenment, in a different, far more

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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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U.S. support for Israel is decreasing, new poll shows – Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News.

I am shocked, just shocked by these numbers! And think of it, these were pro-Israel pollsters. I know the response, more propaganda campaigns and greater efforts to intimidate opposition into silence both in the U.S. and in Israel. Essentially we are all being treated like we are at checkpoints, because it is the only thing Lieberman is trained to do.

Benjy, you want to save Israel’s last remaining supportive population, Americans? You want to go down in history as something less than a disaster?  Make a new government.…

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Folks, many of you may have seen this, but we have friends in the world who cannot directly access the Jerusalem Post piece. So here it is. Lauren is an amazing interviewer. She interviewed me for nine hours, longest interview of my life:

The lonely man of peace

lonelymanofpeace

By LAUREN GELFOND FELDINGER

21/01/2010

This week, Orthodox American rabbi Marc Gopin saw his coexistence work in Syria bear fruit. What turns a Soloveitchik disciple into an unofficial diplomat to the Arab…Somewhere between the shtetls of Eastern Europe and sites across the Levant, Rabbi Dr. Marc Gopin, 52, has found his calling.

Heading the George Mason University Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution in Arlington, Virginia, he is not waiting for a peace treaty to cause change. Gopin gets on a plane and heads for trouble spots wherever he can find openings. He meets with sheikhs, heads of state …

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A Young Israeli Reflects on Gaza

by mgopin on July 8, 2009 · 4 comments

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By Kobi Skolnick

food-aid-gaza1

It has been six months since Israel launched an incursion into Gaza, and the anniversary has prompted the Red Cross to release a report on life since the operation.

According to the report, 1.5 million Palestinians living in Gaza are “trapped in despair” because of the continuing Israeli blockade, and since April 2007 there has been an 80% decrease in the number of truckloads allowed through the boarder. With the population of Gaza being made up mainly of teenagers and children, this means many children are suffering from malnourishment and poor health. Furthermore, the Red Cross reports the people of Gaza are powerless to restore their lives and are sliding deeper into hopelessness. (See the full report here.)

Nor has the situation in Gaza left Israel’s soldiers unaffected. After the Israeli operation in December, there were alarming cases of immorality among our finest soldiers. According to

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In another very interesting official American diplomatic gesture in the Age of Obama, a cable has been sent to all U.S. Embassies to invite Iranian officials to participate in July 4 parties that are held at each embassy. What a brilliant move, especially before the elections. It is open-ended, unilateral, quietly dispersed to hundreds of embassies to avoid a centralized response, and it is announced right before the elections.

But the traditional fare of these parties,  hamburgers and hot dogs, should  be hallal, acceptable for Orthodox Muslims. I am serious. The gesture mutatis mutandis is great, but it should be inclusive so that the President of Iran and others cannot say it is an attempt to corrupt Muslims. It could make some hallal meat contractor very happy.…

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The Children of Afghanistan

The Children of Afghanistan

This important exchange took place at ICAR, my school, in recent days. This debate addresses a topic we must think about which is how and whether to engage extremists who have committed massive war crimes. Inevitably it devolves into questions of what we know and who we know it from, which also gets into issues of trust and distrust of prevailing sources of information in the West and elsewhere. I have come to see in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, especially the Israeli/Hamas conflict and the Hamas/Fatah conflict, that reliable information is very hard to come by. This is where we need to listen to each other, listen to victims, agree on core principles, and move forward with plans that attack the problem from several directions. It begins with Saira Yamin’s letter to NYT, continues with Professor Richard Rubenstein’s response and then Saira’s response:

More Force in

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