I arrived in Tunis on January 1, only a few days after a wave of rallies had erupted due to the suicide of an unemployed college graduate, who torched himself after police confiscated his fruit cart, cutting off his only source of income. Mohammed Bouazizi, 26, sold fruit and vegetables without the necessary vendor's permit in the town of Sidi Bouzid, located 160 miles from the country's capital Tunis.
Relations between the United States and Pakistan have quickly soured following a helicopter strike on a border post that killed three Pakistani soldiers last week. The incident prompted Pakistan to close an important border crossing for NATO supplies into Afghanistan. Criticism of the U.S. and NATO has dominated the news in Pakistani media even after the U.S. apologized for the incident.
U.S. special envoy George Mitchell has been frantically shuttling between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem in order to salvage the month-old direct negotiations.
Somalia has not had an effective government for almost 20 years. The Somali government has struggled to gain relevancy, but it has been plagued by corruption and has been battling warlords and militant groups such as the al-Qaeda- linked al-Shabab.
Today, 1.5 billion Muslims across the globe celebrate Eid al-Fiter, a three-day holiday marking the end of Ramadan, however; one renegade pastor of a church, Rev. Terry Jones, with fewer than 50 members has cast a shadow on their festivities. For the past several weeks, the media has treated us to live theater of the absurd by amplifying a statement made by an unknown preacher from Gainesville, Florida proposing to burn Qurans on the ninth anniversary of 9/11.
Direct talks between Palestinians and Israelis are scheduled to commence in Washington on September 2, a decade after the last real final-status talks, and nearly two years after the last direct talks. Mahmoud Abbas and Benjamin Netanyahu will come face to face for dinner and talks in Washington as guests of President Obama after 18 months of shuttle diplomacy and indirect "proximity talks" headed by Special Envoy for Middle East Peace George Mitchell.
2010 could go down in history as the year of natural and environmental disasters. We’ve witnessed earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, wildfires and a drought in Russia, a devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and now one fifth of Pakistan is submerged under water due to floods leaving more than 20 million people without potable water, food, shelter and medicine.
There are remarkably few positive things to say about Iraq today. The country seems to be in perpetual upheaval since the U.S. invasion in 2003. Dozens of people were killed across Iraq just days ahead of the start of the holy month of Ramadan, and more will probably lose their lives in the coming few days when insurgents typically step up their attacks. Yet the Obama administration has recently announced that the U.S. is "on target to end the combat mission." The U.S. government plans to withdraw its combat troops by the end of August and to remove all troops by the end of 2011.
Will it be a strike against Iran by the U.S. and or Israel? Will there be political upheaval in Egypt after Mubarak's reign? And will Israel invade Lebanon or Gaza? These are some of the questions that can be heard on the streets of Cairo, Amman, and Beirut.
Mark my words, Gilad Shalit is coming home. He will soon be set free but not because of German mediations or the thousands of appeals made by his parents and their supporters. He's coming home because Bibi needs Gilad more than Gilad needs him.
The US treasury has recently expanded its blacklist on Iran to include another state-controlled bank, a shipping line, and more of its elite Revolutionary Guard Corps.
The latest move is the first step by the US in implementing new restrictions adopted by the UN Security Council last week. The Treasury also took a separate step to squeeze Iran's energy sector by identifying some 20 petroleum and petrochemical companies as being under Iranian government control--an action that puts them off limits to U.S. businesses under a general trade embargo.
First came the clash at Davos in January 2009, when Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan walked off the stage after an angry exchange with the Israeli president, Shimon Peres during a panel discussion on Gaza at the World Economic Forum.