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Analysis and News Bites from Al-Monitor Back to the Future for US Policy by Vali Nasr

Al-Monitor, a web-based publication that produces a daily report by top-notch journalists, and academics among others, featured two very interesting articles recently. Although we cannot print them in their entirety, we have been given permission to extract a few paragraphs and send people to their website, www.al-monitor.com.

These graphs are from Back to the Future for U.S. Policy In Egypt and Syria

By Vali Nasr, dean of the Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies and a contributor at Bloomberg View. He served as senior adviser to the U.S. special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, between 2009 and 2011. He is the author of The Dispensable Nation, Forces of Fortune and The Shia Revival.

In Egypt, Saudi Arabia stands with the military, but in Syria with the opposition. Saudi investment in Egypt now exceeds its commitment to Syria, and in Egypt, containing the Brotherhood is what matters. That imperative will trump the Saudis’ penchant for undoing Assad and diminishing Iran’s presence in the Levant. With Assad gone, Syria is likely to be ruled by the Brotherhood, and then Riyadh would face the same quandary it faced in Egypt. With the dye cast in Cairo, and the Brotherhood now an enemy of Riyadh, the Saudi position on Syria is bound to shift away from bringing down Assad to preventing the rise of the Brotherhood.

President Vladimir Putin sees Syria through the prism of Chechnya—a violent jihadi insurrection that has to be put down at all cost. Just as Russia defeated Islamic radicalism in Chechnya, Assad could do the same in Syria. Putin has lost no opportunity to remind U.S. officials who visit him that the case for ditching Assad is Western folly. He argues that Syria is not about to become a democracy, but a bastion of Islamic extremism if Assad falls. The West is foolishly supporting the very menace that it has been fighting for more than a decade.

To read more about this, visit http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/07/back-to-future-for-us-policy-in-egypt-and-syria.html

Palestinians Still Buying Settlement Goods

By Naela Khalil for Al-Monitor Palestine

Naela Khalil is a reporter for the Palestinian daily newspaper Al-Ayyam. She has reported for the UN humanitarian news and analysis agency IRIN, the UAE magazine Al Maraa el-Muslema, the Jordanian daily Al-Dustur and the AnNajah Office for Media and Journalism.

[Regarding the Palestinian laws to boycott Israeli settlements]: The primary shortcoming faced by the PA and Fayyad’s government emanated from their call on Palestinians to stop working inside the [Israeli] settlements, futilely promising to provide them with alternatives. “Despite the millions of dollars given to the PA by donor countries, it failed to provide a source of income to approximately 40,000 Palestinians who gained their livelihoods by working in the settlements,” [said a PA official.]

Working in the settlements goes against the national project to build a Palestinian contiguous state. But this is not the only contradiction faced by Palestinians, for the Palestinian people’s appetite for settlement goods and — even worse — their going to the settlements to shop, both embody the height of illogicalities.

Each month, hundreds of Palestinians visit the shopping centers owned by Israeli businessman Rami Levy in the settlements of Kfar Etzion in Hebron and Ma’alie Mikhmas, near Ramallah, in search of the cheapest prices and offers. Mother of five, Dalal al-Kuwaiti, shops at Rami Levy twice a month, spending 1,000 shekels [$280], or one-third of her husband’s salary, who is a PA employee. “I would need at least twice that amount if I were to shop at the local Palestinian market. There are always offers and sales on food items, which is unheard of in local markets.”

Read more at http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/07/eu-sanctions-israel-settlements-palestinians-boycott.html

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