16th – 22th March

France, the United Kingdom and the United States will ask to the UN General Secretary, Ban Ki-moon to send a fact-finding mission to Syria to verify the charges citing the use of chemical weapons. It will be «a survey of the whole (syrian) territory to shed light on all the allegations » coming from Damascus and the opposition, said the French ambassador, Gerard Araud.

President Barack Obama did not bring a new peace plan to Jerusalem but his speech, to a mainly young audience, was about as strong a message he could give that the status quo is intolerable and that peace has to be given a renewed chance. His mission in Jerusalem was twofold; firstly, to « connect » with the Israeli youth, secondly, to rescue « the two-state solution ».

Police brutality was a big reason why angry Egyptians took to the streets on January 25th 2011, the first day of their revolution. For months afterwards the country’s omnipresent security services promised to mend their ways. But, two years later, it is increasingly evident that little has really changed. In recent months several cases of kidnappings of prominent activists, some of whom have died after being beaten, have been attributed to the security service.

Kurdish separatists in Turkey are poised today to take the most critical step yet in efforts to end a 30-year conflict with the Turkish state when they call a ceasefire. Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK), is due to use the Kurdish new year’s celebrations to announce a truce, according to Kurdish politicians who recently visited the Turkish prison island of Imrali, where Ocalan has been held for the past 14 years.

Attention has gradually turned to the geopolitical implications of the Arab spring. It is broadly recognised that ongoing processes of change in the Middle East and North Africa are not just about domestic level political reform but also regional security dynamics. But no strategic framework yet fully captures incipient dynamics in the region. Both the United States and the EU frequently repeat that they are committed to shaping their policies around local, Arab expectations and views. In the current MENA scenario, the US and the EU must equip themselves to deal with a far more diverse geopolitics.