Entries by Sami Moubayed

Erdogan snares an ancient port on the Red Sea – with funds from Qatar?

Shortly before Christmas, a highly controversial deal was struck in Khartoum between President Omar al-Bashir and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Turkey was given exclusive rights to rehabilitate the port island of Suakin in northeastern Sudan, with docking rights for Turkish civilian and military vessels on the west coast of the Red Sea. The […]

Exiled Fatah leader Dahlan planning political comeback

Influential Palestinian leader and former security chief Mohammad Dahlan is milking Donald Trump’s decision to transfer the US embassy to Jerusalem, seeing the move as a blessing in disguise. After years of carefully positioning himself as a friend of the United States and an advocate of peace with the Israelis, Dahlan addressed the Palestinians in […]

Christmas lights re-appear after dark years for Syria’s Christians

On 1 January 2010, al-Qaeda famously bombed the Saints Church in Alexandria, Egypt, killing 23 people and injuring 97. Syrian pundits argued back then that this could “never happen to Syria,” claiming that there was no serious jihadi threat like the one in Egypt or Iraq. Scores of Iraqi Christians had been arriving in Syria […]

Netanyahu continues to look the other way as pressure mounts

Thousands of young people marched in Tel Aviv over the weekend to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. For the second week in a row, Israelis expressed their frustration with the mounting corruption charges being levied against their 68-year old premier, who has dominated the political scene, on and off, since 1996. Some […]

Of Jerusalem and its chequered history

The Arab World is abuzz with United States President Donald Trump’s decision to transfer the US embassy from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem — an act that could take up to three years, according to US administration officials. Loud words are being heard on all four corners of the Arab world, with groups like Hezbollah […]

With his Jerusalem play, Trump grasps a nettle others feared

President Donald Trump made a historic announcement on Wednesday, recognizing Jerusalem — rather than Tel Aviv — as the “eternal capital” of the State of Israel. This will eventually mean transferring the US embassy to Jerusalem, an act that could take “at least three years,” according to Trump Administration officials. Arab leaders are furious, warning […]

Syria, the Saudis and Hariri’s resignation U-turn

fter a gripping three-week absence, Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri returned to Lebanon last week to take part in his country’s 74th Independence Day. Many still believe he was being “held against his will” in Saudi Arabia, from where he delivered a stunning resignation speech on November 4. The speech was televised on a popular Saudi […]

Kurdistan searches for a new leader

Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government President Masoud Barzani — the last of senior war veterans in the Middle East — stepped down on November 1, 2017. One of his aides via Twitter on October 28, said that the 71-year old Kurdish warrior turned president would not be seeking re-election, one month after he championed a controversial […]

Historic moment as ‘Kurdish Mandela’ Barzani stands aside

Emotions are running high in Iraqi Kurdistan, as the region’s veteran leader Masoud Barzani ends his presidential term on November 1. Millions of Kurds have known no other leader in their lives, seeing him as a founding figure and symbol of their cause. He is to them what Nelson Mandela was to the people of […]

مفقودات دمشق: مخطوطات ثمينة وثريات فاخرة وسجاد الأموي النادر أين المصير؟

عندما يأتي ذلك اليوم وتضع الحرب أوزارها سوف تدرك مدينة دمشق مدى الخراب والتشويه الذي حلَّ بها خلال السنوات الماضية، وعندها سيأتي جيلٌ جديد من السوريين ويسألنا بغضب: «ماذا فعلتم بدمشق؟» سيبحث هذا الجيل عن بقايا مدينة كانت الأجمل بين المدن، ولن يجدها إلاّ في كتب التاريخ وأشعار نزار قباني. سيكتشف هؤلاء بأن «مدينة الياسمين» […]