October 19 to 23, 2009

– « La Syrie veut ‘réviser’ l’accord d’association avec l’UE avant la signature »(Syria wishes to ‘revise the association agreement with the EU before signing) (22/10/2009) Libération

The Association Agreement between the EU and Syria was confronted with yet another obstacle, which has postponed its signing sine die, although the EU had agreed to carry this agreement through which Syria seemed to support enthusiastically. This was the result of Syrian President Bachar al-Assad’s decision to ‘revise’ the agreement whose ratification was due on October 26th. The Syrian President points to a need for greater efficiency in EU-Syrian relations, which remains, according to al-Assad, a crucial question before the signing of any form of agreement with the Union.

– “King highlights Jordan’s investment potential” (23/10/2009) – The Jordan Times

King Abdullah and Queen Rania of Jordania attended the Jordanian-Italian Business Forum held this week in Milan, during which the King underlined the importance of closer economic ties between Jordan and European partners, as well as the necessity of resolving as soon as possible the situation in the Middle East.

– “Le Koweït serait ‘fier’ d’avoir des Rafale” (Kuwait would be ‘proud’ of owning the Rafale) (21/10/2009) Le Monde

What if Kuwait could help French aviation? The Raphale, one of France’s iconic fighting planes which had previously failed to attract the interest of foreign investors, may well become a part of the Kuwaiti military arsenal. The signing of a contract between France and Kuwait would in fact confirm the recent rapprochement of France and Europe with the Gulf States.

– “Tunisia prepares for 23rd year of democracy, Ben Ali style” (22/10/2009) –Guardian

Ben Ali, 73, seems to be heading for a 5th mandate at the head of the Tunisian Republic. He should indeed be preserving his place after 22 years spent as president – only Libyan President Qaddafi (40) and Egypt’s Mubarak (28) have remained in power longer than him. While Tunisia is regarded as one of the most stable states in the region – a place where secularism and gender equality are strongly respected – the county remains, nevertheless, stained by an important democratic deficit. The repressive regime of the past two decades thus seems ready to stay.