April 12 to 16, 2010

– In Yemen, the tragedies associated with early marriage emphasize their destructive effect (Au Yémen, des drames liés aux mariages précoces soulignent leur effet dévastateur ) (15/4/2010) – Le Monde

The death of a 13 year old girl following sexual assault on April 2 last week was followed by the hospitalization of a 11 year old girl who suffered the same violence. These dramas are reopening the debate on rising the minimum age of marriage in Yemen. The NGOs advocating human rights in the country are mobilizing, but have to face the conservatives and Islamists who argue that the Qur’an does not allow an age limit. The article also highlights the negative impact of early marriage on illiteracy and by extension on the country’s development.

– Fuelling the Middle East arms race (14/4/2010) – The Guardian

Israeli President Shimon Peres threw “set the cat among the pigeons” this week by revealing the delivery of Scud missiles from Syria to Hezbollah. The risk is not great for Israel, whose arsenal of protection is strong enough to cope with this threat, but the danger comes from the political consequences of this act. Relations between Israel and Syria could meet new tensions, which can strengthen the position of U.S. Republicans against the diplomatic rapprochement policy advocated by Obama. But such a risk does not have much impact on Bashar Al-Assad who was able to notice American weaknesses vis-à-vis Israel these days.

– Obama’s speech signals a change in the U.S. on the Middle East (Obama Speech Signals Shift to U.S. on Middle East) (14/4/2010) – NY Times

Tuesday during a news conference, Obama said that resolving the conflict in the Middle East “vital national security interest of the United States”. The President argues that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be beneficial to the action of U.S. troops elsewhere in the Middle East. From now on Obama himself seized control of the Middle East file and he seems likely to propose a pre-made solution for the creation of a Palestinian state with the inability of Israelis and Palestinians to advance the process of peace. This Statement of Barack Obama is simultaneous with the publication by AIPAC letter signed by 76 senators and 333 members of the House to defuse tensions between the U.S. administration and the Israeli government.

– UPM: Failed water conference (UPM : Échec de la conférence sur l’eau) (13/4/2010) – EcoNostrum

The Fourth Conference of the Union for the Mediterranean (UPM) on the theme of water which took place in Barcelona last April 13 ended in failure due to a disagreement between Israelis and Arabs on the expression  » occupied territories”. This setback suggests nothing good for the young Union for the Mediterranean, but also for the management of water in the Mediterranean, a scarce resource in the region.

– Kuwait: family stories, names and reputations. How to sort out the sheep from the goats. (Koweït : des histoires de famille(s), de noms et de renoms. Ou comment ne pas confondre les serviettes et les torchons) (10/4/2010) – Blog « Pays du Golfe » (Courrier International)

As the French-speaking world has its particle names, the Arab Gulf have the « Al- names » . More and more false names or added « Al » are appearing in Gulf societies, to the great displeasure of the families of notables whom « Al » is authentic. Forgeries are prosecuted, denied, to preserve the pure character of this mark of the upper class.