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Rami Khouri

Rami Khouri

Senior Fellow, Middle East Initiative

Contact:
Email: rgkhouri@gmail.com

 

 

By Date

 

2011 (continued)

May 11, 2011

The Arab Spring Confuses Non-Arabs

Op-Ed, Agence Global

By Rami Khouri, Senior Fellow, Middle East Initiative

BEIRUT -- The region-wide Arab Spring has elicited different responses from incumbent regimes across the region, indicating that this is going to be either a short-lived Spring or a very protracted one that drags on for years. Three fascinating circles of political players have emerged that deserve tracking: the Arab countries, the non-Arab neighbors, and major foreign powers. Among all three, there is plenty of bafflement and little certitude, a sure sign that something important is going on that is refreshingly being driven and defined by Arab popular will rather than by local or foreign thugs.

 

 

May 9, 2011

Palestinians Drop America-Israel -- For Now

Op-Ed, Agence Global

By Rami Khouri, Senior Fellow, Middle East Initiative

BEIRUT -- Much of the American-Israeli reaction to the reconciliation agreement that the leading Palestinian movements Fateh and Hamas signed last week has focused on what this means for the peace process with Israel. Not surprisingly, much of this same American-Israeli reaction to Palestinian issues once again misses the point. This is mainly because there is no peace process with Israel, and Palestinian leaders aresignaling that they have essentially stopped playing the game of Middle East diplomacy according to the American-Israeli rules, and instead wish to focus on the internal development and national unity needs of the Palestinian people they serve.

 

 

May 2, 2011

Bin Laden’s Legacy of Failure

Op-Ed, Agence Global

By Rami Khouri, Senior Fellow, Middle East Initiative

BEIRUT -- The death of Osama bin Laden coincides and contrasts with several other historic developments throughout the Middle East that collectively highlight the overriding issue that has preoccupied local citizens for the past generation: How does a dehumanized person regain his or her humanity? How do disaffected, angry, subjugated, vulnerable and humiliated men and women go about dealing with their condition, and fixing the problems or relieving the pressures that can ultimately crush them?

 

 

May 2, 2011

Work to be Done in a Post-Bin Laden World

Op-Ed, Agence Global

By Rami Khouri, Senior Fellow, Middle East Initiative

BEIRUT -- Osama Bin Laden is dead, a killer has been killed, and justice has been done -- but Bin Ladenism persists, because the conditions that created it remain prevalent in much of the Arab-Asian region. The United States and allies will justifiably enjoy a sense of political vindication, and intelligence and operational success. Tens of thousands of families around the world, in the Islamic and Western realms, have suffered the pain of Al-Qaeda’s criminal attacks, and now they will feel a small but vital sense of relief. We should all rejoice at their satisfaction.

 

 

April 29, 2011

Egypt Shifts the Region

Op-Ed, Agence Global

By Rami Khouri, Senior Fellow, Middle East Initiative

BEIRUT -- Sometimes you can almost physically feel the political earth shifting beneath your feet. One of those moments occurred in Cairo a few days ago, when the main Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas signed the Egyptian-brokered reconciliation agreement to reconstitute a single Palestinian government. This will be seen in retrospect as a historic turning point in the contemporary history of the Middle East -- not so much for what it means for the Palestinians, but more for what it tells us about the return of Egypt to its natural role in regional diplomacy. This is the first tangible sign of the return of sanity and dignity to the affairs of state and diplomacy in Cairo's foreign policy, after decades of emasculation, subservience, and marginalization. Others will follow quickly, including opening the Gaza-Rafah border, resuming normal relations with Iran, rational relations along the Nile Valley, more effective and realistic regional nuclear policies, and greater regional trade and economic complementarities.

 

 

April 26, 2011

The Epic Arab Battle Reaches Syria

Op-Ed, Agence Global

By Rami Khouri, Senior Fellow, Middle East Initiative

BEIRUT -- Syria is now the critical country to watch in the Arab world, after the home-grown regime changes in Tunisia and Egypt, and the imminent changes in Yemen and Libya. The Syrian regime headed by President Bashar Assad is now seriously challenged by a combination of strong forces within and outside the country. His current policy of using force to quell demonstrators and making minimal reform promises has lost him credibility with many of his own citizens, largely due to his inability to respond to his citizens’ reasonable demands for democratic governance. His downfall is not imminent, but is now a real possibility.

 

 

April 25, 2011

Lessons from the Women of Sharjah

Op-Ed, Agence Global

By Rami Khouri, Senior Fellow, Middle East Initiative

SHARJAH, UAE -- The ongoing citizen revolts across the Arab world make me feel good, but what I encountered earlier this week at the Sharjah Women’s Higher College of Technology makes me feel even more confident that the Arab future is in good hands -- if Arabs are allowed to shape that future for themselves, without the distortions and ravages that come from foreign invasions and manipulations, Israeli colonization, and Arab corruption and security states. The constitutional and governance macro-changes that will emerge in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen Syria and other Arab countries in the midst of historic change are only part of the story. The other half of the determinants of the Arab future comprises micro-changes that occur in the minds and lives of individual men and women, and local institutions that have the courage and develop the capacity to break out of the constraints of the past and forge ahead into a bold future.

 

 

April 20, 2011

Wrath of the Rural Poor

Op-Ed, Agence Global

By Rami Khouri, Senior Fellow, Middle East Initiative

BEIRUT -- One of the important common features of many of the current uprisings against Arab governments by their own people has been the fact that poor and rural populations have often led the challenge to existing power structures that are dominated by wealthy urban elites. Poverty in itself usually is not a sufficient reason for populations to revolt and seek to overthrow existing regimes. But when poverty combines with a brand of abuse of power and accumulation of wealth by urban rulers that leads to large swaths of the rural and provincial populations being pauperized, marginalized and effectively disenfranchised, a volatile situation develops and ultimately explodes if it is not redressed.

 

 

April 18, 2011

Goldstone: Person and Process

Op-Ed, Agence Global

By Rami Khouri, Senior Fellow, Middle East Initiative

BEIRUT -- Controversy is good if it helps to promote truth and justice, and this is what we have now in relation to the 2010 “Goldstone Report” about the conduct of Israel and Hamas during the 2008-09 Gaza war. It continues to generate fresh controversy in light of recent statements by the four members of the original fact-finding commission established by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). Now as then, the important issue is not the personality of any single commissioner or the political winds that blow through the Council. Rather, the core issue that has always given the Goldstone process such importance is the quest for justice and truth by holding accountable those states or political movements that use military force against civilians in a manner that contravenes international humanitarian law.

 

 

April 13, 2011

Spring Always Follows Winter

Op-Ed, Agence Global

By Rami Khouri, Senior Fellow, Middle East Initiative

BEIRUT -- One of the great misconceptions about the current revolts for freedom, citizen rights and human dignity that continue to spread across the Arab world is that they came as a surprise, emerging from nowhere, with no advance warning that Arab people had it in them to challenge their own power structures and security regimes. The truth is otherwise. Those who have been taken by surprise by this Arab Spring obviously were asleep during the Arab Summer, Winter and Autumn that came before. More likely, they simply did not make the effort in the past two generations -- since the 1970s -- to look beneath the surface of events in the Arab world to explore the sentiments of ordinary people. The Arabs and their states were defined by a series of one-dimensional caricatures -- anti-Israeli, anti-American, Islamic, extremist, violent, emotional, and corrupt -- that left no room for more probing, nuanced and accurate perceptions of the actual values of our societies and the sentiments of our citizens.

 
Events Calendar

We host a busy schedule of events throughout the fall, winter and spring. Past guests include: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former Vice President Al Gore, and former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev.