12/03/2010

March 8 to 12, 2010

– Sweden labels mass killing of Armenians ‘genocide’ (12/3/2010) – Hürriyet(English) from AP

Only a week after the same measure passed in the American Congress, the Swedish Parliament adopted a law labeling as genocide the massacre of Armenians by the Ottomans in the early twentieth century. Since then Turkey recalled its ambassador in Stockholm and canceled the visit to Sweden of the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan scheduled for March 17. The Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Bildt, said he regretted the position taken by the Parliament which may complicate the normalization process at work between Turkey and Armenia.

– « Serve a greater cause » (« Servir une cause supérieure« ) (12/3/2010) – La Libre Belgique

Renee-Anne Gutter signs an illuminating analysis on the position of Benjamin Netanyahu. It shows how the issue of Jerusalem is important for this « son of the ultra-nationalist Zionism. » The one who is called « Bibi » by the Israelis is attached to the preservation of the spiritual and patriotic heritage of Israel. The country therefore also lives under a threat « from within », which is according to him the oblivion of the pioneers values of Zionism, considered as blasphemous for the ultra-Orthodox and non-existent for the Arab population of Israel. A month ago, at the annual conference of Herzelya, Netanyahu reiterated his fears of a national collapse.

– Maliki ahead in southern Iraq, Allawi mentioned frauds (Maliki en tête dans le sud en Irak, Allaoui évoque des fraudes) (11/3/2010) – The Express, from Reuters

At the end of Thursday’s recount of 30% of ballots, the dominant Shiite alliance of outgoing Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Malki laid just ahead of the Iraqi National Alliance, its main opponent. The alliance of the former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi obtained the third score, but far behind the two firts. The Special Representative of the United Nations stressed that the voting process had been « honest » and that he was « very important for the announcement of preliminary results to be accepted by all ». The Iraqi people have massively participated – 62% – in elections this Sunday despite a wave of attacks claimed by Al Qaeda and that killed forty persons in Baghdad.

– « More than just a charade? » (10/3/2010) – The Economist

The Vice-President of the United States, Joe Biden was on a visit this week to Israel and the Palestinian territories. He was greeted by the new construction of 1,600 new homes in a Jewish suburb of East Jerusalem, undermining at the beginning his work as a conciliator, and causing anger among Palestinians. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denied to have gift a green light to these new buildings but has also not yet expressed its willingness to see the creation of an independent Palestinian state. Seventeen years after the famous handshake between Rabin and Arafat, the negotiations will now take place indirectly, through intermediaries. While the first condition of Mahmoud Abbas is the cessation of colonization, the latter might also want to redraw new borders. Netanyahu could meanwhile give more power to the PA in 60% of the current Palestinian territory. But the failure of this attempt could mark the uprising of a new intifada, the loss of legitimacy of the United States in the Middle East and the withdrawal of the Peace Initiative proposed since 2002 on by the 22 Arab countries.

– Interview with Dr. Rola Dashti, Member of the Kuwaiti Parliament(9/3/2010) – Arab Reform Bulletin

The interview focuses on the better relations between Parliament and the government since elections in May 2009. In December the Prime Minister agreed for the first time to be questionned by the Parliament. Parliament is now focusing more on his legislative role than on its monitoring role. The interview also addresses the improved situation of women, mentionning the election of the first four women to Parliament. Rola Dashti noted that women are more diligent than men in their parliamentary work. According to her, the legislative branch of government enjoyed real power in Kuwait because the practice is deeply rooted in Kuwaiti culture. (Interview conducted by Michele Dunne, editor in ARB)
– What an effective Arab strategy for the EU should look like by Abdulla Baabood  (+ Commentary by Claire Spencer)(Spring 2010) – Europe’s World
Relations between the EU and the Arab world were conducted through various initiatives, but without coherence since the suspension of the Euro-Arab Dialogue. Some Arab countries such as Iraq and Yemen have been completely set aside. The EU should rethink its Euro-Mediterranean partnership and its relationship with the GCC. It should also find a way to link all initiatives that concern the Arab world, for example by combining the financial power of the Gulf and European expertise to develop the entire region. Countries neither from the Mediterranean nor from the GCC – Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea, Djibouti and the Comoros – should be included in this strategy, as well as Jordan and Mauritania, which are not Mediterranean. Abdulla Baabood suggests the Arab League as a partner for the EU, because this institution has persisted for over 60 years despite its flaws and helped to resolve numerous regional conflicts and to promote intra-Arab cooperation.