Iran Mulls Over Eurasian Security Organization

By Kaveh L. Afrasiabi* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

TEHRAN (IDN | Iran Review) – Although President Hassan Rouhani is scheduled to participate in next month’s summit of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek, the whole Iranian approach toward this regional, part economic, part security, organization is now under review in Tehran, as part and parcel of a “new foreign policy” promised by Rouhani and his foreign policy team headed by Javad Zarif.

Inducted as observer, along with India, Pakistan and Mongolia, since 2005, Iran has in fact sought full membership in the SCO since 2008, only to be rebuffed by the legalistic argument that the organization’s rules disallow membership by any country that is under the UN sanctions. Clearly, that is giving the UN sanctions too much importance and if China and Russia, the two leading SCO powers, really wanted they could come up with a creative solution, such as a “conditional acceptance” of Iran that would hinge on Iran’s resolution of its current problems with the UN atomic agency, the IAEA.

Turkey Tip Toes To Improve Ties with Iran

By Siamak Kakaei* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

TEHRAN (IDN | Iran Review) – Turkey is currently grappling in its domestic politics with widespread popular protests in a number of Turkish cities. Also, on a regional level, Ankara is dealing with the aftermath of another crisis in its southern neighbour, Syria, and is also looking for ways to give a proper response to the demands of its own Kurdish population. The question is: Will these domestic and regional developments have any important effect on the foreign policy of (Turkey’s Prime Minister) Recep Tayyip Erdogan? Will Ankara’s foreign policy, which has been known in recent years as the new regional and Middle Eastern policy of Turkey, undergo changes as a result of the aforesaid developments?

Iran and P5+1 Talk About New Nuclear Talks

By Jaya Ramachandran | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

BERLIN (IDN) – Preparations are afoot for a new, and perhaps a promising, round of talks between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) over Tehran’s nuclear energy program. According to Press TV, Kazakhstan is willing to host the negotiations for the third time in succession this year.

Undeterred by continued impasse at the talks in Almaty on April 6-7 and earlier on February 26-27, Kazakhstan’s Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov made the announcement during a phone conversation with new Director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi on August 18.

Egypt A Hard Nut To Crack, Not Only For Obama

By J. C. Suresh | IDN-InDepth NewsReport

TORNTO (IDN) – President Barack Obama is coming under growing pressure at home to order “an immediate suspension” of military aid to Egypt and work with the United Nations, the African Union and other international institutions as well as Europe and Arab countries to put concerted pressure on the Egyptian military government to reverse its current policies.

Such persistent appeals are coming at a point in time when analysts stress that since the military took control in July and ousted President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood in the aftermath of popular demand, the Gulf sheikdoms have stepped in with more than $12 billion of concessionary loans and critical energy deliveries with a view to backing General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s hard line. “The United States’ leverage pales in comparison: a mere $1.5 billion in annual assistance, $1.3 billion of which goes to the military,” says Isobel Coleman, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Egypt: Supporting Democracy the American Way

By Jeremy R. Hammond* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

TAIPEI (IDN) – When the Obama administration announced on July 25 that it was free to violate U.S. law by continuing to finance the Egyptian military to the tune of $1.5 billion annually, even though it was responsible for overthrowing the democratically elected president of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, in a coup d’tat on July 3, the message was understood loud and clear in Cairo. Two days later, the Egyptian military massacred over 70 demonstrators who were protesting Morsi’s ouster.

Iran: New President Faces Abundant Challenges

By Jamsheed K. Choksy* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

BLOOMINGTON (IDN | Yale Global) – Hassan Rouhani took charge of Iran with its socioeconomic safety nets unraveling, thanks to deleterious policies exacerbated by tightened sanctions from the West. Addressing the parliament on July 14, while president-elect, he acknowledged that the nuclear impasse is far from the only factor transforming the Islamic Republic of Iran negatively with impact on other countries. Iran’s challenges pose severe consequences at home and abroad.

Yemen: A Critical But Forgotten Front

By Suzane Mneimneh*

IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis | Geopolitical Monitor

DETROIT (IDN) – The struggle against al-Qaeda in Yemen stands as an unheralded though critical front in the global war against terrorism. This fight has taken the form of violent hit-and-run operations against the Yemen Army, itself backed by U.S. drones, and the establishment of territorial bases that are often in flux.

Most recently the battle has shifted to Hadramaut province, which was already largely controlled by al-Qaeda, after the Yemen Army managed to regain control of Abyan province and expel Ansar al-Sharia. Despite these ostensible gains, al-Qaeda forces have proven adept at moving in to fill gaps in central authority and capitalizing on endemic instability, poverty, unemployment, and political division in Yemen- the very factors that provide the most fertile ground for spreading the group’s extremist beliefs.

Egypt’s Ongoing Revolution: On Violence and the Path Ahead

By Ismail Serageldin* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint

ALEXANDIRA (IDN) – The Egyptian Revolution is ongoing. It got its second wind and corrected its path on June 30, 2013 when millions and millions took to the streets and said “No” to the rule of President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). Then after the first few days from June 30 to July 3, after President Morsi was toppled and the interim government was installed, vast numbers of the people began to abandon the streets, and were ready to turn the page, and start a new chapter. But the escalation in the rhetoric of the Islamist supporters of Morsi continued and calls were issued for fighting, violence and attacking the enemies of Islam, the enemies of Morsi.

Egypt: When Beards Become ‘Warning Lights’

By Maha Ezzat Elkholy and Lorenzo Kamel*

IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

CAIRO (IDN) – A huge amount of analysis on Egypt have been published by Western news outlets in the last few weeks. Most of them were focused on violent clashes: the country is facing a sort of war of “each against all” – government against opposition, lay against Islamists, Muslim Brotherhood against “literalist” salafis – in which only the army seems to remain a pillar of stability. What the TV and the main media networks do not show, however, is how this polarization is affecting the everyday life of Egyptian men and women.

While women as one of the most marginalized sectors of Egyptian society are suffering most from the precarious situation, – “women’s conditions were indeed better before the revolution”, Samah Anwar, a 24 years old young girl from Tahta (Sohag Governorate) told us – the story of the politicized situation in the country and its contamination of everyday life might best be told with another example, a seemingly trivial one, the example of the beard.

Egypt: A ‘Coup For Democracy’ By The Army?

By Jayantha Dhanapala* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

KANDY, Sri Lanka (IDN) – The dramatic and controversial military coup in Egypt on July 3 continues to have repercussions well beyond the borders of that ancient land.

One year ago, after a succession of Pharaohs, Kings and Army dictators in its rich five thousand year and more history, this major country in the Arab world elected Muhammad Morsi from the Muslim Brotherhood as President with 52% of the vote in an undisputed democratic process. A year later, the Muslim Brotherhood is out of power with its leader Morsi arrested by the Army, an interim Government put in place and fighting causing many deaths going on in the streets of major Egyptian cities between Morsi supporters and opponents.

How could the Arab Spring turn to winter so abruptly in one year and how can the Army and the Tahrir Square demonstrators accept a military coup so soon after overthrowing Mubarak?

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