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Middle East

Mark N. Katz

Far from being on the verge of collapse as many in the West and the Arab World had hoped, it now appears that the Assad regime in Syria has gained the upper hand against its internal opponents.  With Russia, Iran, and the Lebanese Shi’a movement Hezbollah all strongly backing Assad while the opposition is only receiving mainly light arms from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, perhaps this was inevitable.  The European Union allowed its arms embargo on Syria to lapse and could now aid the Syrian opposition, but it seems unlikely that any European government will do so unless the U.S. takes the lead.

Ran HaCohen (PhD), Middle East Correspondent

 Voluntariness is a tricky concept in Jewish religious tradition. A classical case is divorce rules: when a Jewish woman wants a divorce, her husband is the only one who can give her that. But if he refuses, the Rabbis can pressure him to give a divorce until he says: “I am willing”. The pressure may include anything from fine through imprisonment to physical punishment.

A new party led by a populist new-comer has got elected two Israelis of Ethiopian origin. What will be next is a curious case

Ran HaCohen (PhD), Middle East Correspondent


The military attack on Gaza last November, what I called here “Operation unseat Barak “, ended in yet another Israeli victory – if you ask the Israeli on the street that is; indeed the results of the January 22nd general election show that the big fiasco led to Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s retirement, at least for the time being.