US will bomb Syria…to achieve what?

Sami Hamdi Middle East/North Africa

Donald Trump is beating the war drums over Syria following reports of Assad using chemical weapons. Frustrated at Assad’s resurgence, however limited, and Russia and Iran’s unwavering support for the regime that has dented Washington’s carefully constructed image as an uncontestable superpower, the US has been re-assessing its options in Syria for some time. Chronic indecision First, Obama wrestled with …

Ghouta: The tragic price of indecision

Sami Hamdi Middle East/North Africa

Haunted by Libya, Obama was reluctant to intervene directly. Wary of Islamism, Europe were keen to see the composition of the Syrian Opposition Council before committing any resources. Saudi Arabia and Qatar then engaged in an almighty feud over the Muslim Brotherhood that spilled over into the conflict while Erdogan wrangled over the breakdown of the peace talks brought about by the renewed vigour of the PKK and YPG in establishing a state brought about by the chaos in Syria.

Ghouta is but a symptom of a much deeper and complex disease that has plagued the Syria conflict from the outset.

Yemen War: An Agonising Catch-22

Sami Hamdi Middle East/North Africa, Yemen

The Yemen war shows no sign of ending despite witnessing a humanitarian crisis that could be described as one of the worst in modern times, as well as widespread destruction of basic infrastructure, compounded by the absence of an environment conducive to a genuine peace process. Moreover, instead of a traditional war of two sides, the already fractured social fabric …

What does the UAE want in Tunisia?

Sami Hamdi Middle East/North Africa

UAE involvement in Tunisia has increasingly been making headlines across the Magreb. Already involved in Libya, the UAE has been accused of supporting Tunisian President Beji Caid al-Sibsi during his presidential campaign, and is now accused of supporting his rival Mohsen Marzoug, who fell out with the President over the latter’s attempts to bolster his son’s position as a possible …

What exactly is the problem between Jordan and Saudi Arabia?

Sami Hamdi Middle East/North Africa

The Jordanian King’s decision to retire his brothers Prince Ali bin Hussein and Prince Faisal bin Hussein, along with their cousin Prince Talal bin Mohammed from the army was so sudden and so immediate that many were left reeling at the prospect that one of the most stable governments in the region could now finally be rocked by wider regional …

Why it is too early to call Saudi’s ‘Hariri’ gamble on Lebanon a failure

Sami Hamdi Middle East/North Africa

When Saad al-Hariri was ‘recalled’ to Riyadh to subsequently announce his shock resignation, there was little doubt that the indignation felt by many Lebanese was warranted. If anyone needed a clearer example that Lebanon is flapping helplessly in a sea of opposing Saudi and Iranian currents, then Hariri all but confirmed this. However, Hariri soon left Riyadh for Paris and …

Trump’s Jerusalem declaration is a result of a golden opportunity

Sami Hamdi Middle East/North Africa

The Middle East peace process has been the bane of many US presidents. Each comes in with their own ‘unique’ approach, navigating the lobbying of AIPAC, Israel’s constant tantrums, the relentless fervour of Hamas, and the inconsistency of Fatah. The problem in and of itself is not complex. Israel is an occupying force on Palestinian territory. What complicates the issue …

What prevents a Turkey-Saudi alliance?

Sami Hamdi Middle East/North Africa

It makes sense. Both wanted Assad out. Both committed funds, military training and logistics to the various armed movements that sprung from the Syrian revolution to topple the government. Both hosted Syrian opposition parties and both publicly denounced Assad and lobbied the West for greater support for the Syrian revolution. Both are sensitive to Iran and have the power to …

Saudi’s ‘Night Of Long Knives’ Makes Sense

Sami Hamdi Middle East/North Africa, Uncategorized

Put yourself in Mohamed Bin Salman’s shoes. You want to be king. You survived the nerve-racking succession struggle instigated by Prince Miteb Bin Abdullah of the National Guard in the last days of his father King Abdullah as he sought to oust your father and install himself as Crown Prince. You saw the way he easily removed the veteran Prince …