Entries by Sami Moubayed

Opening of 1967 Israeli archives disturbs old Arab wounds

Taking historians and Arab politicians completely by surprise, Israel last week released 150,000 “confidential documents” on the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War of 1967. Scholars are still scrolling through the piles and piles of paper, which represent only a fraction of the 400 million documents stored in Tel Aviv. While academics have long desired […]

1967 defeat left huge imprint on Syrian psyche

“Prepare for lunch in Tel Aviv” boomed Syrian Television in the early hours of the 1967 War. “I believed them,” recalled pioneer Syrian comedian Duraid Lahham, who was working at Syrian TV back in 1967. Speaking on the war’s 50th anniversary to Gulf News, he added: “I was 33 years old, restless and ambitious. I […]

Tel Aviv releases classified documents of the Six Day War

On the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War, the Israeli government has released 150,000 pages of previously classified material dating back to the early summer of 1967. The releases were made public under mounting pressure from a recently established center by Israeli scholars, lawyers, and activists, aimed at promoting transparency and human rights. Netanyahu was […]

Qatar, Saudi Arabia open crack in united front against Iran

A nasty war of words has broken out between two bittersweet allies and economic heavyweights in the Persian Gulf. Beneath a veneer of normality, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are reft by animosity and rivalry, which surfaced last week after the Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, visited Saudi Arabia. In meetings involving the heads […]

Russia strives to present itself as the rebuilder of Aleppo

The Mufti of Chechnya, Salah Mezhiev, toured Syria in April. He visited Damascus and the war-torn city of Aleppo, a city recaptured by Syrian troops and their Russian allies in December after vicious fighting. Mezhiev met Chechen troops serving in a military police contingent deployed by Russia this year. He expressed the desire of the Chechen […]

Ottoman ghosts still Damascus

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas could hardly hold back his astonishment when visiting Turkey in 2015 at the dramatic reception in his honour at the presidential palace, a 1,150-room mansion constructed in Ottoman spirit and splendour, with all its iconography and calligraphy, at a cost of no less than $500 million. Decorating the royal staircase were […]

From the grave, Qabbani’s poems lay bare Syria’s agony

During Lebanon’s civil war, local radio sta­tions affiliated with the various feuding militias would broadcast endless hours of sectarian vitriol through the night, calling young men to arms, only to then collectively switch to the music of Fairuz to start the day with songs for an hour before the main morning news bul­letin. The Lebanese […]

The drums are beating for a third Lebanon war

Ever since its creation in the spring of 1948, the state of Israel has rarely “not won” a war with the Arabs. One exception was the 34-day Lebanon war of 2006, which was supposed to annihilate the Iran-backed “party of God,” Hezbollah. That feat was never accomplished and 11 years later not only is Hezbollah […]

Syria’s medical tourism industry booming

As Syrians continue fleeing the brutal six-year conflict, Damascus has seen a massive boom in plastic surgery tourism as the devaluation of the Syrian pound has made the destination extremely popular for those who want to save money on expensive surgeries. There are no official numbers available from the Syrian Ministry of Health in this […]

Sadr’s U-turn on Syria

In mid-2012, prominent Iraqi Shiite leader Moqtada Al Sadr visited Damascus where he was decorated with the Order of the Syrian Republic, in “gratitude” for his friendship. The Syrians never imagined that this cleric-turned politician — a long-time admirer of Hassan Nasrallah and protege of Iran — would turn against them, coming out with a […]