The only thing arguably more horrible than events in the Middle East is how large elements of Western academia, and sometimes the media, present the region. The other day, I remarked to a Syrian dissident in a position to know both sides very well that a lot of the writing and teaching on the region in the United States was very close to how it is presented at the University of Damascus. He concurred.
Mahmoud Abbas is now the elected head of the Palestinian movement, but he is far from being its leader.What is indeed striking, behind all the international hoopla, is how little power he actually possesses. The focus has been mainly on Abbas’s personal views and leadership style, a welcome contrast to those of his predecessor, Yasser Arafat.The
Last weekend’s Likud party defeat of Prime Minister Sharon’s Gaza withdrawal proposal has thrown Israeli politics into confusion. With no road map to go by, the country is busy trying to guess the wily old general’s next move.Sharon has already dismissed calls for him to resign or to withdraw the plan. Instead, he will take a little time