News

The Floods in Pakistan

Last month, Pakistan’s monsoon season announced itself with the worst flooding the country has seen in almost a decade. The floods have now enveloped most of the country and affected over 4 million people. 1600 citizens have died while thousands more are still stranded without food or drinking water (The New York Times). This natural disaster will continue to adversely affect the Pakistani people and their economy for years to come. To deal with this catastrophe, the United States, the United Nations, and the Pakistani government must take action. There are four major aspects to this situation and each must...

Read more...

The Gaza Flotilla and Gilad Shilit

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is meeting with President Obama this week to discuss the sanctions on Iran, the peace process, and the Gaza blockade. This meeting will be a stark contrast from their most recent one in which relations between the two leaders were reported to be tense and no photos were taken. This is an opportunity for both sides to express their positions and to show the international community that their diplomatic relationship is still intact despite policy disagreements. After last month’s flotilla incident and the harsh criticism that Israel received in the aftermath, Israel has put forth...

Read more...

Saudi Arabia and Women’s Rights

A recent article in the Jerusalem Post described an incident in which a Saudi Arabian woman beat up a religious policeman. The woman was at an amusement park in the company of a male friend when they were approached by the policeman. After he interrogated them, she began kicking him and it resulted in his hospitalization. This episode received national coverage and reinvigorated a debate about women’s rights in Saudi Arabia. This incident is remarkable for several reasons. It illustrates that Saudi Arabian women may be growing tired of the restrictions enforced on them and are ready to take action...

Read more...

The Road to Peace

This week, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton addressed the American Jewish Committee, a Jewish advocacy organization, in Washington D.C. Her remarks came at a critical point in the stalled Middle East peace process. George Mitchell, the United States special envoy to the Middle East, is attempting to once again restart proximity talks and will be making another trip to Jerusalem next week. More importantly, both the Israeli and Palestinian leadership have recently stated that they are ready to make concessions in order to jumpstart the negotiations. The Palestinian Authority is willing to accept temporary borders while the Israeli Prime Minister...

Read more...

President Obama’s summit meeting on nuclear non-proliferation and its impact on the global community

This past week the largest international summit meeting on nuclear proliferation was held in Washington. President Obama hosted 46 world leaders in order to discuss nuclear weapons, nuclear technology, proliferation, and unsecure stockpiles of enriched uranium and plutonium. Emphasizing the threat of nuclear terrorism, the American president sought to illuminate this growing problem and garner international cooperation to prevent it. President Obama is attempting to gain international support for imposing harsher sanctions on Iran. In the coming month, the United Nations Security Council will meet to vote on this matter. However, this decision necessitates obtaining Chinese agreement since up to...

Read more...

Israel, Palestine, and the United States: What’s next?

Two weeks ago, diplomatic relations between the United States and Israel took an unexpected turn. During Vice President Biden’s trip to Israel, the Israeli government announced a plan to construct 1600 new housing units in East Jerusalem. This move embarrassed the Obama administration, which was attempting to restart proximity talks, while simultaneously angering Palestinians. It led to Palestinian demonstrations in the Old City and East Jerusalem and culminated with Israel deploying 3,000 troops to the area. Fears of a third Palestinian intifada, or uprising, were alleviated last Wednesday as tension began to dissipate. However, a highly public disagreement ensued between...

Read more...

Whats going on with Syria?

Earlier this week, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad held a joint press conference with Iran’s leader Ahmadinejad in which he criticized US policy in the Middle East and reaffirmed the Iranian-Syrian relationship (Washington Post). These statements follow recent American efforts to open up diplomatic relations with Syria. On February 17th, President Obama announced that he was appointing Robert S. Ford as the new Ambassador to Syria. This appointment is the first since 2005, when America withdrew its ambassador in the wake of the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. Was this press conference Syria’s way of responding to US...

Read more...

Israel & Iran’s Quest for Nuclear Weapons

In a press conference earlier this week the Israeli Vice Premier Moshe Ya’alon stated his opinion regarding Iran obtaining nuclear weapons. He stated that “the plan is to stop it, be it through regime change in Iran or through, with no other choice, the use of force in order to remove Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons” (Jerusalem Post). The bottom line is that allowing Iran to become a nuclear power is not an option for Israel. However, this quote illustrates questions that Israel is now facing concerning the topic of a nuclear Iran. First, considering the continuing protests of...

Read more...

Meet our Intern!

Meet Alissa Aronovici, our newest intern. We are so excited to have Alissa join us! Alissa earned her bachelors degree in International Relations from the College of William and Mary in 2006. She is currently a graduate student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and is pursuing a master’s degree in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies. She speaks Spanish and French and is studying Hebrew and Arabic as part of her degree program. She has traveled throughout Europe and the Middle East. Upon graduation she hopes to work for the US government or with an international non-governmental organization. Alissa will...

Read more...

Pakistan’s Educational System: Dysfunction & Extremism

According to the World Bank, nearly half of the adult population of Pakistan can’t read, and primary enrollment remains the lowest in South Asia. Extremist groups are recruiting impoverished Pakistani children by offering free education, thereby indoctrinating the next generation, by exploiting the lack of educational opportunity. While some efforts by the Pakistani government have been put forth, there are still many challenges ahead. One problem: the government-mandated curriculum. All registered public & private schools are required to teach Islamiyat [Islamic studies], using material that directly contradicts the goals and values of a progressive, moderate, and democratic Pakistan. The curriculum...

Read more...