November 30 to December 4, 2009

– Thinking through Arab Unity, by Prince Khalid al-Faisal (02/12/2009) – The Guardian

In an effort to re-establish Arab economic and social unity in the region, Kuwait will host the Fikr8 gathering of the Arab Thought Foundation. Recently overshadowed by the global economic downturn, questions of Arab economic unity and regional initiatives will be re-established at the heart of discussions. The eighth Arab Thought Foundation meeting seeks to demonstrate that progress and development in the region are vital if ambitions of Arab economic unity are to become a well-established reality.


– Un pas en avant pour l’Union pour la Méditerranée : le CdR installera le 21 janvier 2010 l’Assemblée régionale et locale euro-méditerranéenne (ARLEM) (A step forward for the Union for the Mediterranean : the CoR will install the Regional and Local Euro-Mediterranean Assembly on January 21 2010) (02/12/2009) –Committee of Regions

Luc Van den Brande, president of the CoR, announced this Tuesday that the first official gathering of the Regional and Local Euro-Mediterranean Assembly will be held in Barcelona on the 21st of January 2010. The main objective of the assembly is the revival of a struggling Barcelona Process launched in 1995, requiring “the support of all its partners”, reports the president of the CoR.


– Le clair-obscur de la diplomatie algérienne (The night-and-day of Algerian diplomacy) (03/12/2009) – El Watan

Bad communication, political differences and declarations lacking in clarity were the ingredients of a belated Algerian response to Egyptian accusations following violent incidents that saw supporters of both national football teams clash during qualifying games for the World Cup 2010. Rapidly politicized, these events aggravated tensions between Egyptian and Algerian governments. Questions have now been raised regarding the ability of the Algerian government to intervene efficiently and, most of all, promptly in the political bickering between Cairo and Algiers.


– Israel in a row with European Jerusalem (01/12/2009) – Gulf Times

EU-Israeli relations suffered a severe blow following the recent news that a draft EU proposal to recognise East Jerusalem as the official capital of a future Palestinian state. The Swedish presidency of the EU, targeted by Israeli critics, has pledged for the creation of a Palestinian state “comprising the West Bank and Gaza and East Jerusalem as its capital”. Israeli have subsequently questioned the validity of the EU as a central mediator in re-launching the peace process in the Middle East.


– Debt crisis tests Dubai’s ruler, by R.F. Worth and H. Timmons (03/12/2009) –New York Times

Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, ruler of the city-state of Dubai, silenced all critics by successfully creating what this article describes as a “21st century Xanadu in the desert”. Dubai has in effect become an embodiment of economic success, which the Sheik modestly describes to represent “just 10% of his vision”. Events unfolding over the past week, at a time when Dubai struggles under debts exceeding 80$ billion, may have, however, jeopardized the Sheik’s ambitious plans for the future. How will the Dubai ruler cope with this bleak financial phase? Can this financial oasis emerge unharmed, if not stronger? The coming days will undoubtedly be crucial for Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum … let’s just wait and see.


– A droite, la crispation contre l’Islam s’exprime librement (To the right, tensions against Islam are expressed freely), by S. Le Bars (04/12/2009) – Le Monde

Debates over the anti-minaret vote in Switzerland have started to reverberate beyond the Alps, installing itself as a controversial subject on the French political scene. Comments and political support for this vote have underlined clear tensions within French society and political spectrum regarding Islam and the integration of Muslim communities in the Hexagon, at a time when the question of French national identity is becoming an increasingly criticized issue for the French government.