The Middle East Channel

U.N. Proposal for Aleppo Ceasefire Gains Tentative Momentum

Both the Syrian regime and the opposition coalition have committed to studying U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura’s plan for a "freeze" to the fighting in the northern city of Aleppo. The U.N. envoy – who envisions the proposal as a first step toward a de-escalation of violence and an eventual political reconciliation in the country ...

Both the Syrian regime and the opposition coalition have committed to studying U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura’s plan for a "freeze" to the fighting in the northern city of Aleppo. The U.N. envoy – who envisions the proposal as a first step toward a de-escalation of violence and an eventual political reconciliation in the country – met with President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus earlier this week, who said the plan "merits consideration." Meanwhile, the opposition coalition released a statement saying the freeze plans "should be part of a comprehensive, political solution to end the conflict." Speaking to the BBC, de Mistura expressed hope that there was a new opportunity to reduce the violence.

Bombings strike Iraq

11 people were killed and 23 were injured today in Baghdad when a car bomb struck a busy square in the Iraqi capital, and a suicide bomber targeted a police station.

Headlines

 

  • A Canadian-born woman who immigrated to Israel joined Kurdish militias fighting the Islamic State in northern Syria.
  • Israel is struggling to contain a Palestinian uprising that seems largely leaderless.
  • Libya’s sovereign wealth fund is suing a French bank for allegedly channeling bribes to Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, the son of deposed dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi.
  • A suspected U.S. drone strike killed seven alleged al Qaeda fighters in southern Yemen.
  • A bomb targeted Shiite militiamen in central Yemen, leaving dozens dead.

 

Arguments and Analysis

 

"Is Algeria’s dialogue initiative for Libya still viable?" (Omar Shabbi, al-Monitor)

 

"The focus of some Libyans and others interested in Libyan affairs turned toward Algeria in September, when the government announced its intention to host a dialogue in late October among Libya’s warring parties. October passed, however, without the dialogue taking place. Libya’s fate became even murkier on Nov. 6 after the Supreme Constitutional Court invalidated the Council of Representatives, the Tobruk-based elected legislature recognized by the international community.

 

There are multiple reasons for the failed effort at a dialogue, but the result is the same: the conflicting parties in Libya must meet around the same table to discuss sparing the country more bloody conflict. In this respect, Bernardino Leon, special representative of the UN secretary-general, has sought to hold new meetings with influential figures following the court’s decision on the legislature."

 

"Freud and the Middle East" (Thomas Friedman, New York Times)

 

"When trying to make sense of the Middle East, one of the most important rules to keep in mind is this: What politicians here tell you in private is usually irrelevant. What matters most, and what explains their behavior more times than not, is what they say in public in their own language to their own people. As President Obama dispatches more U.S. advisers to help Iraqis defeat the Islamic State, or ISIS, it is vital that we listen carefully to what the key players are saying in public in their own language about each other and their own aspirations.

 

 

For instance, the Middle East Media Research Institute, or Memri, recently posted an excerpt from an interview given by Mohammad Sadeq al-Hosseini, a former adviser to Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, which aired on Mayadeen TV on Sept. 24, in which he pointed out that Shiite Iran, through its surrogates, has taken de facto control over four Arab capitals: Beirut, through the Shiite militia Hezbollah; Damascus, through the Shiite/Alawite regime of Bashar al-Assad; Baghdad, through the Shiite-led government there; and – while few in the West were paying attention – Sana, where the pro-Iranian-Yemeni-Shiite offshoot sect, the Houthi, recently swept into the capital of Yemen and are now dominating the Sunnis."

 

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