The Middle East Inflamed

I’ve got midterms to study for and it’s virtually impossible to find time to write anything thoughtful. They’ll be over with soon but until then, here are a few current events in in the Middle East that you should familiarize yourself with if you haven’t already done so.

‘Palestine Papers’
We’re living in a WikiLeaks era. An unnamed source submitted to Al Jazeera a series of documents, dubbed the Palestine Papers, revealing secretive negotiations between Abbas’ Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government that involve relinquishing the Palestinian Right to Return as well as establishing at least seven major illegal Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem. The PA’s collaboration with Israel throughout the last decade has proven to be true yet the extent of the damage has yet to be assessed. The question then becomes, Who does the PA represent and what’s next for bilateral Palestinian unification?

Growing revolt in Egypt
The Egyptian government has a longstanding history of oppression and collusion with governments and movements notorious for standing in the way of human rights within Egypt as well as in the remainder of the Middle East, particularly in Palestine. Thousands of Egyptians have gathered in Cairo and in Alexandria to protest the government’s infringements on the rights and livelihood of Egypt’s population. Various reports state between two and four protesters have died at the hands of Egyptian riot police marking today, January 25, as Egypt’s first move across the line of fear. Down goes the PA, and with it Mubarak and his government cronies?

Tunisia spreading the heat
The power of a single action to spark an all-encompassing movement is still resonating in Tunisia but has now spread to much of the Middle East. A week after the Tunisian government collapsed and a month after Mohamed Bouazizi’s self-immolation catalyzed the first of a few expected uprisings, Egyptian and Moroccan citizens are following in Bouazizi’s path. Latest reports cited at least four attempted self-immolations in Morocco and the number in Egypt can’t be confirmed, although I’m only aware of one. Is the Middle East formally and collectively mobilizing against corruption and deception?

Sectarian unrest in Lebanon
Lebanon’s election, which concluded today, of former Prime Minister Najib Mikati to the office of presidency could spark violence between sectarian groups in the coming days. Already, violence between Shi’as and Sunnis have escalated under the pretense that Mikati’s Hezbollah-backed election struck a blow to the Sunni-dominated political sphere in Lebanon. But while everyone is focused on the United States’ relations with Lebanon’s newly shifted government, what will Israel’s reaction be now that there exists another formalized government openly willing to stand against the occupation of Palestine?

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