In totale, sono 65.000 gli sfollati interni della Libia. Oltre ai tawarga, l’elenco comprende membri della tribù mashashya delle montagne di Nafusa, abitanti di Sirte e Bani Walid e tuareg di Ghadames. Ma i tawarga, libici neri, sono tra coloro che hanno patito le peggiori sofferenze.
Aumentano le critiche, anche fra gli egiziani “laici” che avevano visto con favore la stoppata della Fratellanza Musulmana da parte dei militari…
Egypt’s interim president, Adly Mansour, signed a new law restricting protests on November 24. Against the backdrop of widespread objections to the law (including within the cabinet), the government asserts that it will help the police maintain stability. A few days earlier, the constitutional committee had approved a draft constitution broadening the powers of the military. It is no coincidence that these steps come at the time when criticism of the military-backed transition is starting to spread.
Marches against the military’s removal of Muslim Brotherhood–backed Mohamed Morsi from the presidency in July 2013 have been surprisingly persistent. What’s more, recent conversations in Cairo showed that even secular Egyptians who were happy to see Morsi go were starting to express misgivings about the dominance of the military and internal security in the new arrangement.
The dominant narrative among Egypt’s secular elite is that Morsi’s removal, however undemocratically executed, was unavoidable. Many with whom I met last week believed there was now no alternative to allowing the military to call the shots. As the head of one secular political party said, “Once you accept military intervention, you have to play by their rules.” Several noted that for better or worse, most Egyptians are dawlati (statist) and still want the state, which at least for now means the military, to take care of them more than they want it to be accountable to them or to their elected representatives.
Many interlocutors portrayed the ongoing crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood—whose Freedom and Justice Party might soon be dissolved—as an unfortunate necessity. Former parliamentarian Amr El-Shobaki (now a member of the Constituent Assembly drafting the country’s constitution) said that it had not been possible to integrate the Brotherhood “safely” into political life for two reasons: Egypt had failed to develop ground rules for the political game. And the Egyptian Brotherhood was a “secret society” with an international presence and agenda, which El-Shobaki differentiated from the more successful experience of Islamist political parties in Turkey, Tunisia, and Morocco.
A youth activist who supported Morsi’s ouster was one of many others saying that the Brotherhood was somehow un-Egyptian or displayed dual loyalties—both of which are fears being fanned actively by the state media. “Even if in the end the military betrays” the liberals who supported Morsi’s ouster, he said, “we will still be better off than if the Brotherhood had stayed in power; at least we will preserve our national identity.”
Others were more practical in their criticism of the Brotherhood. “They ruined our best chance at democracy because of way they ruled,” said an adviser to the Constituent Assembly. “Now the whole process is surrounded by a thick cloud of doubt and lowered expectations.”
Objections Starting to Surface
But other secular voices are beginning to speak up and differ with the groupthink that emerged after the July 3 coup. In a small but highly symbolic move, young demonstrators defaced a new monument to victims of the revolution that overthrew strongman Hosni Mubarak on November 19. The transitional government had hastily erected the monument in Tahrir Square, the heart of the revolution, on the anniversary of clashes with security forces that left 47 dead on Mohamed Mahmoud Street two years ago.
Cairo has also been abuzz with discussion of—and disappointment at—the cancellation of satirist Bassem Youssef’s television program after its first broadcast, in which he poked fun at adulation of Defense Minister General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Dostour Party member Ahmad Harara’s strong comments against military rule on a talk show on November 13 were also much discussed. In private conversations but also increasingly in the media, some politicians and activists are rejecting the binary choice between military and Brotherhood rule, objecting to the ascendancy of the military and the reemergence of the secret police, and voicing dismay at the continuing media focus on demonizing the Brotherhood.
Recent columns by prominent secular commentators were emblematic of the shifting debate. Journalist Amr Khafagy tasked “those who wanted to get rid of Mubarak but not the tools of his rule” with the current morass in a November 20 column in the newspaper al-Shorouk. “All those who wanted to get rid of Mubarak but then to use his tools can never win the revolutionaries’ love or allegiance,” he warned, “because the revolution was against Mubarak and all his tools; and the latter hate the revolution no matter what they might say to the contrary.”
As part of a series of satirical articles entitled “Things I Got Wrong,” former parliamentarian Amr Hamzawy wrote on November 20:
Young Popular Front activist Hossam Munis was more straightforward, writing in al-Masry al-Youm that “whoever wants to honor the legacy of Mohamed Mahmoud Street and keep its spirit alive must act immediately to counteract spreading disappointment and despair . . . to construct an alternative to get Egyptians out of this binary conflict and to deliver them from those who killed their sons.”
In private conversations, Egyptian secularists indicated that there was much division within families about whether military dominance, the return of an invasive internal security apparatus, and the Brotherhood crackdown were necessary. A leftist political leader said that “public opinion is changing quickly and sharply; the pro-coup alliance is deteriorating.” A founder of the Egypt Freedom Party indicated that many secular activists had held back until recently on criticism of the military because “we don’t want to be used again by the Brotherhood as it attempts to get back into power.” But such considerations may be now dissipating.
Does the Military Have the Answers?
On one point many Egyptians seemed to agree: the 2011 revolution expressed a fundamental change in the society. Citizens would not be patient long with a state that failed to deliver services, abused human rights, and monopolized economic benefits. Many also said that the few “democrats” (as they are called, with Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Bahaa El-Din in the lead) in the current transitional cabinet were fighting a noble, uphill battle to inject progressive thinking into government decisionmaking and to protect basic freedoms.
But no one expressed confidence that the current military-democratic alliance would be able to find or implement solutions to Egypt’s mounting economic, social, and security problems. A prominent secular intellectual who has thrown his lot in with the transitional arrangement said he was “not sure how long the military-democratic partnership will last; it is uncomfortable and even nasty, and we are taking it day by day. The big question is whether we can bring anything positive out of it.” A political party leader worried that “we have already lost momentum and failed to create hope, as well as to divert attention from the Brotherhood protests.”
The months ahead will be extremely challenging, with a hectic schedule of political events. The first is the holding of a referendum on the constitution amid continuing and perhaps escalating security and economic problems.
The referendum to pass the new document will be widely seen as a vote on the July 3 coup against Mohamed Morsi, and many said that the military is determined to get better voter turnout and a higher yes vote than the Brotherhood got during the December 2012 constitutional referendum. Then, a total of 18 million voters took to the polls, two-thirds of whom approved the text. There is little prospect that a new referendum would be voted down, but a low turnout would be seen as a sign of weak support for the military-backed transition. The more savvy and well-organized political parties, such as the Salafi al-Nour, are well aware of this fact and are using their presumed ability to mobilize voters (or prevent them from mobilizing) as leverage regarding what the constitution will say on issues important to them.
Beyond immediate issues such as the transition road map, many Egyptians are increasingly concerned about much larger problems: the need to rebuild a crumbling state and the possibility of state failure if urgent problems cannot be addressed for several more years because of political turmoil. Former Shura Council member Sameh Fawzy complained in al-Shorouk that public discourse remains obsessed with the Brotherhood to the detriment of these broader problems, saying “any discussion of rebuilding the state economically, socially, and culturally is absent or at most extremely limited.”
And indeed, there is no evidence of a vision for such rebuilding within the new order, at least so far. A prominent young politician said, “Egyptians trust military officers to save the state, but no one expects them to be able to develop it.” A young researcher confessed his concern that Egypt might be headed for state failure, saying what he saw in neighboring countries frightened him because “I am not sure that we are any better than the Syrians or Libyans.”
November’s Fateful Events
During a conversation with me, Egyptian analyst Mohamed El Agati half-jokingly pointed to the fateful events that have taken place in the month of November for the last few years: Corrupt parliamentary elections in November 2010 sharpened disgust with the Mubarak regime. Killings of protesters on Mohamed Mahmoud Street in 2011 spurred a campaign of resistance against the then ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. And the November 2012 constitutional declaration ignited widespread opposition to Mohamed Morsi.
This year, the set of constitutional articles was approved on November 20 that granted the military broad powers to try civilians in military courts and to veto the president’s choice of defense minister for at least the next eight years. On November 24, the president signed the law restricting rights of protest that gives security agencies like the police the right to disperse protests by force if necessary. It is not yet clear whether these moves will eventually be seen as the same kind of overreach that characterized the last three Novembers. But if the current military leadership proves no more able to address Egypt’s major problems than the Supreme Council of Armed Forces or the Brotherhood was, Egyptians might look back and see the powers they have just given to the military and police in November 2013 as a wall to scale as massive as the stone barriers that now block access from Cairo boulevards to Tahrir Square.
Iraq witnessed a fresh string of deadly bomb attacks and shootings this week, with over a hundred people reportedly killed.
On Thursday, medical officials confirmed that at least 48 people died in this week’s deadliest attack when a bomb exploded at an outdoor vegetable market in the northeastern town of Sadiya.
Meanwhile, in the town of Taji, north of Baghdad, a suicide bomber set off his belt laden with explosives at an army checkpoint, leaving 6 soldiers dead and 12 wounded.
A number of other car bombs went off in busy commercial areas of northern and western Baghdad, killing a total of 9 people and wounding dozens more. In Baghdad’s southeastern neighbourhood of Bayaa, gunmen attacked a supermarket, killing its two owners and wounding 2 shoppers.
On Friday, shortly after midday prayers, two roadside bombs went off near Sunni mosques in the southern and western outskirts of Baghdad, killing 3 worshippers and wounding 12, according to local police.
On Saturday, a car bomb and suicide bomber killed at least 9 people and left a further 54 wounded in the town of Tuz Khurmato in northern Iraq. Police and medical sources reported that the car bomb was detonated in a busy market close to a Shi’ite mosque and was followed shortly after by a suicide bombing.
While no group has claimed responsibility for these attacks, the Iraqi government has blamed Sunni militias, including al Qaeda, for trying to enflame sectarian tension between Sunnis and Shi’as.
Sunni militant groups have certainly stepped up attacks across the country in recent months, killing scores of Iraqi civilians and soldiers. These attacks are partly fuelled by resentment among Iraq’s Sunni population against its government and partly due to external influence emanating from the ongoing civil war in Syria.
Meanwhile, many fear former Shi‘a militias, which have mostly joined the national security forces since giving up their arms, will be pushed to rearm and revamp their activities in the face of a growing and worsening Sunni insurgency.
A council of senior clerics called on Sunni mosques to close in protest against the lack of security for their communities, blaming government security forces for not doing enough to keep Sunni areas safe. On Saturday a number of Sunni mosques in Baghdad did in fact close, while others in the city centre remained open.
According to the United Nations, 979 people, including police and military personnel, have been killed in violent attacks in October, while more than 6,500 civilians have died since January. This makes 2013 the deadliest year in Iraq since 2008.
Growing sectarian tensions and continuing spillover from the Syrian conflict do not bode well for reaching a peaceful solution to this ongoing violence. One can only hope that the violence does not escalate to levels witnessed during Iraq’s civil war period of 2006-7 and that the Iraqi population pushes back against minority militia groups attempting to instigate further violence between different sects.
From Muftah Org.
The town of Arsal risks being caught in the vortex of the civil war raging across the border.
Arsal, Lebanon – For more than a week, thousands of Syrian refugees have poured into this hilltop town. They are fleeing the Syrian army takeover of Qara in the mountainous Qalamoun region along Lebanon’s eastern border, and the highway linking Damascus with the city of Homs.
Aala Hamid, a soft-spoken 20-year-old mother, has recently arrived from Qara. She cradled her son in a crowded downtown clinic as she patiently waited to hear about vaccination shots.
On November 15, Aala’s family hid in their dark basement as shells bombarded Qara and struck part of their home. During a brief ceasefire they, along with their neighbors, piled into a van and drove along worn smuggling paths through the night, and across the border to Arsal.
“There were bombs and shelling,” she said. “I know many people who were injured by shrapnel, or who lost their husbands. One woman died because her roof fell on top of her.”
|Aala, her husband and two young children now sleep with 15 other refugees in one room. There are no mattresses on the floor, and she said they brought nothing with them. “We don’t have food or money, and we know the owner will ask us for rent. We’d rather go home than live in a tent.”|
But for the time being, Aala, like thousands of others, will remain. “People won’t go back because it’s too dangerous,” said Claire Lansard, a worker in the area with medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres. “And they might not have a home to return to.”
Arsal has seen its predominantly Sunni Muslim population of 35,000 double this year. The town is largely supportive of the rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad’s government, but lies within a mainly Shia region that favours Hezbollah, which has pledged military allegiance to the Syrian regime. More than 120,000 people have died in the Syrian conflict so far, and Arsal has been targeted by sporadic cross-border shelling like much of Lebanon’s northern frontier.
The town is still struggling to cope with the wave of 20,000 refugees that arrived after the Syrian government and Hezbollah forces laid siege to the city of Qusayr this spring. According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the town has received 18,000 more refugees from Qara since November 15.
But as the Syrian government seeks to seal off all cross-border rebel supply routes with Lebanon and consolidate access from Damascus to the coast, Arsal’s local government fears the worst is yet to come. “We know that the battle for Qalamoun has started, and it’s going to be one village to the next like dominos,” said Ahmad Hassan Al Filiti, Arsal’s deputy mayor. “If the Syrian army is going to hit Yabrud, this will be a humanitarian disaster. People can’t go to Homs or Damascus. So either they will go to Arsal or they will stay there. There is no other alternative.”
The Ministry of Social Affairs has just approved a plan with UNHCR to establish an official temporary camp for up to 250 tents, and a plot of land for the first 50 has been found. “This is the first agreement like it with the government for this many tents,” said UNHCR spokesperson Dana Sleiman. “This is part of a joint contingency plan with the government and as long as the tents are needed, they should be there.”
Filiti singled out shelter as their top concern. “It’s hard to find empty land in Arsal,” he said. “The government wants the camps inside the checkpoints, to control the area.”
Syrian refugees, their financial situation worsened by Lebanon’s high rents, are desperate for work and settle for low wages. They cannot afford health care. Many families quickly run out of savings.
A November survey of refugees’ livelihoods by Oxfam and the Beirut Research and Innovation Center said: “When expressing their greatest concerns and fears, respondents listed issues such as poverty, remaining in refugee status, lack of dignified work, missing out on an education for their children and losing a loved one during war. Sectarian strife and illegal status in Lebanon were viewed as lesser concerns.”
The influx of refugees, the cross-border shelling, intensified clashes in Tripoli, hard-line Sunni armed groups and Hezbollah’s pro-Assad stance has dangerously polarised Lebanon along sectarian lines.
“This week’s suicide bombing of the Iranian embassy is directly related to the attack that is waged by the Syrian regime and Hezbollah on the Qalamoun area,” said Sami Nader, a professor of international relations at Saint Joseph University in Beirut. “This is the first time Hezbollah has been targeted by a suicide bombing by [Sunni] jihadists. What we are seeing is a Shiite and Sunni war taking place across the whole Levant.”
Control of Qalamoun is one part of the wider picture. “Whoever controls Qalamoun can control the Lebanese border, and the Sunni presence in the Bekaa Valley and in the north,” said Nader.
At a private field hospital in downtown Arsal, surgeon Mohammed Ammar is tired. He calls the three-day trip he made from Qusayr to Arsal, with medical staff and hundreds of injured patients, “the journey of death”.
“The people arriving here now are feeling very desperate,” he said. “The tragedy is ongoing. People who fled Qusayr went to Qara, and now to Lebanon. The psychological effect is tremendous because every family has lost someone. The word ‘hopelessness’ is coming up a lot – they don’t feel secure here, and they don’t know when they have to leave.”
In a hospital bed next door, 25-year-old Mohammed from Homs – his real name has not been used for his protection – is recuperating from shrapnel wounds. He was taken to Qara for treatment, only to be evacuated to Arsal during the army’s assault.
“I will return to Syria – I will not stay here,” he said. “I can’t wait to go back. I want the regime to fall.”
Somewhere along the way, security for Israeli Jews became utopia: it will never be achieved, but it exacts an infinite price of destruction for its own sake, on the road to nowhere.
Isaiah Berlin’s seminal critique of utopia holds that no matter how noble the idea at hand, the assumption that one truth can be universal and overriding denies the reality of conflicting, but equally vital, human truths. We may believe all humans agree on the right to life and physical security. But we also cherish other human rights and freedoms, and sometimes these are in conflict. Acknowledging and struggling with that tension makes us human; automatically trampling one value for the other results in disaster.
The notion of perfection requires us to suspend other basic human and political values to achieve it. This is Berlin’s point in the famous metaphor: to make the perfect omelet, there is no such thing as too many broken eggs.
Nineteenth century ideologies of both the right and the left based on utopian visions led to Nazism and Communism, which perpetrated grand-scale destruction of human lives and minds.
In 21st century Israel, a utopian notion of security has evolved, perhaps as a natural outcome of Jewish history. Utopian security in this vision is the total absence of Arab-on-Jewish violence or even anger. In utopian security, there would never be attacks from rogue cells, unbalanced individuals, or borderline ethno/national-cum-criminal/hooliganism. No non-Jewish adult or child would ever throw a stone at an Israeli, nor at Jews anywhere in the entire world. No scrap of anti-Semitic literature would ever be found in any Palestinian hands. Naturally, this serves the interests of the right and often mainstream centrists, who argue that Israel must not make peace or even negotiate as long as our security is threatened, including psychologically.
On a personal level, I dream of a world where nobody hurts anyone, Jew or non-Jew, for any reason.
But to place utopia at the center of a political project, to predicate political solutions on a fantasy and end all creative debate by pulling out perfect security as a trump card – usually as proof of why the search for peace is in vain – is a grave historic mistake and an injustice to all people in the region. It is shamelessly hypocritical, because Jewish Israeli security in this vision is, of course, unidirectional. The fantasy rests on an absurd denial of human nature the world over.
Expectations have gone overboard as a result. Daily conversations over coffee often end with some version of “how we can negotiate when their textbooks don’t even show Israel on the map?” because that too, is a breach of utopian – psychological – security.
The zero sum complex: Either utopian security or total destruction
In current Israeli Jewish discourse there are only two options: utopian security, or full-on existential destruction. There is nothing in between. A reserve soldier expressed this well in a recent op ed in Ynet (Hebrew), explaining that he was “proud to serve in Judea and Samaria,” because he helped people celebrate the Seder without getting murdered, prevented the stabber or the suicide-bomb-belt [sic] from crossing the Green Line, prevented murder and harm to human life. The entire article was hypothetical, as I understood it – he never told an anecdote or referred to real-life events. Yet he knew that his presence had saved Jews, because there had been massacres in 1929. In his mind, the fact that there had been no attacks while he served was the same as saying he prevented a scenario of certain and total destruction. This despite the sharp decline in terror-related casualties and attacks over the last seven years to the point where the numbers can be measured in dozens, if that. By comparison, road accidents kill between 370-600 Israelis annually. Criminal murders number between 100-200 annually.
Yes, there are very real security violations from external enemies. But these are not an existential threat. Yes, there is an Iranian nuclear threat – just like the one I grew up with under the shadow of the USSR, which actually had the bomb. When I was in third grade, after a particularly impressive social studies class, my friends and I discussed somberly in the school lunchroom that we probably wouldn’t live to see the turn of the millennium; we were told there were enough nuclear weapons to blow the whole world up 10 times over. There were nuclear fallout shelter signs everywhere.
I lived with it then, and I can live with it now. This is unrelated to the increasingly desperate need to reach a political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
It’s ironic therefore that the right has succeeded in branding the left as naïve. What’s truly dismaying is that the left has fallen for it.
It’s time to inject some unapologetic realism into the debate.
Sacrifices at the altar of utopia
When security for Israel became utopia, there were two profound ramifications: the paralysis of the peace process and the simultaneous de-legitimization of the broad left camp (inside Israel and in the diaspora), particularly over the last decade – with the left’s stuttering acquiescence.
Peace process sacrificed to security. Since the outbreak of the Second Intifada (and in truth, beginning in the Oslo years of the mid-1990s), Israelis have come to believe that peace – an umbrella term that they frequently confuse with the process (the Oslo Accords, Camp David negotiations) – actually harms security. The notion was injected by the hard right, those responsible for the infamous “Bring Oslo criminals to justice!” narrative. The notion that peace-related policy causes terror caught on in the mainstream, and then stuck.
In the 2000s, the players changed slightly but the paradigm remained. The 1990s notion of ‘peace’ was replaced in Israeli minds by unilateral Israeli withdrawals. The 2000 IDF withdrawal from Lebanon was viewed as the cause of rocket fire in the north (as if Israel didn’t suffer casualties and rockets for 18 years before that). Dismantling settlements from Gaza became the reason for the electoral victory of the Hamas, rocket fire from Gaza, and the capture of Gilad Shalit – all violations of non-existent, utopian security and the basis for the policy that Israel does not talk while under fire.
Before he was murdered, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin coined a pithy notion of advancing the peace process as if there is no terrorism and fighting terrorism as if there is no peace process. But the concept died with him. What seemed so logical to Rabin – rejecting the interdependence of peace and security – seems impossible for Israelis to comprehend 17 years later.
The left assists its own de-legitimization. The left has completely failed to mount an effective argument on the question of security; the typical answers have probably done more damage than good. Intellectual, moral, legal, political, pragmatic or rational angles are smashed apart in daily conversations, by the inevitable silver bullet: how can we make peace when they conduct terror?
That was the question that defined the decade. The left failed to dispel the utopian paradigm, and instead became defensive. Failing to provide an adequate answer to the demand for perfect security, the left lost political relevance in Israel.
Instead, typical left-wing responses were reactive, never proactive – envision a whole figurative political camp trembling whenever the issue is raised, which is all the time.
When backed into a corner, the left usually proffers one of three main arguments: first, the occupation is the source of anger, hatred, poverty and hopelessness, which create the conditions for terror; second, that peace will advance security; and third, the rare argument, coming mainly from small pockets of the more radical left, that Israel has no right to expect security when it is the aggressor in an asymmetrical conflict.
When the right is right
Shooting these arguments down has been child’s play for the right. After years of lamenting that there’s no left left, it’s time to admit when the right is right: terror and violence against Israeli Jews (and other Jews) existed before the occupation, continued through the earliest advances and concessions for a peace process and continue today (as did Israeli violence against Palestinians). The first argument fails.
The notion that peace advances security is no match for the deeply entrenched interpretation of events described earlier. Worse, the hope that peace will bring security does nothing to dispel the utopian aspect and thus strengthens it; every lull that ends with a stone or a rocket is a victory for the utopists.
Left-wing groups have wracked their brains considering how to convince Israelis that the peace-causes-terror interpretation is wrong, one-sided, ignores the Palestinian reality, is biased by our media or missing critical facts. But of course: all human beings see their reality first. It’s natural. Trying to enlighten Israelis about the truth may be a worthy cause in itself, but it is hopeless to imagine that left-wing truths will cause people to give peace another chance or bring perfect security. The irresponsible, quixotic crusade to get Israelis to see the light, or put someone else’s narrative first has earned only accusations of arrogance or betrayal.
The notion that Israel as the aggressor cannot expect security is plainly immoral in my mind, because civilians always deserve security, Palestinians and Israelis. This line exposes the genuine hypocrisy of some within the camp that I call my own, which is personally painful for me. Perhaps the height of this argument was reached with the demented apologia for the horrific killing of a whole family, including tiny children, in the settlement of Itamar. Aside from being simply wrong, such commentary again advances the fatal notion: if we stop killing them, we can expect perfect security.
I am not writing this in order to conjure a brilliant strategic message, provide talking points, copywriting or slogans. This is my experience of a tragic reality. This is my analysis of why many mainstream, centrist and even some right-wing Israelis whom I am privileged to interview through my public opinion research – or whom I know as friends and family – actually seem as pained as I am: they genuinely want to reach a solution, but nobody is helping them cope with the security problem. This was the left’s job, and we have failed them.
Here’s how I view reality: there is no perfect world. Everyone lives with a security threat, even on remote islands in Norway, the state that symbolizes peace.
If there’s one thing I trust the military and intelligence establishment of Israel to do, it’s their job. The occupation is not their job. Keeping me as safe as possible under an imperfect, non-utopian political reality, under the best possible political compromise the Israeli and Palestinian people can reach, is. That’s what I call defense.
It is time to expose the fact that our prevailing notion of security is a dangerous fantastical nightmare perpetuating the conflict forever, by demanding that unacceptable deeds be committed in its name. But the right can hardly be expected to give up a vision that serves its political interests. Instead, the current leadership abuses that vision for rapacious gain, sacrificing the well-being of Israel as a country in the process.
The left must show people that they are being exploited and misled to dream of an unattainable myth. The left must admit that there is a permanent security threat instead of ignoring it. The left must make the case that an immediate political resolution to the conflict is not a formula for an impossible, flawless level of security, but for a better Israel – something we’ll be proud to protect.
After three rounds of talks in less than two months, Iran and six world powers have reached a preliminary agreement in Geneva on curbing Tehran’s nuclear programme in exchange for some sanctions relief. The breakthrough came amid a history of failed negotiations, and could be the first step towards a detente between Western powers and Iran after 35 years of hostility. Noticeably, the agreement came less than three months after Iran’s new President Hassan Rouhani committed to changing Iran’s relationship with the world.
Marwan Bishara is the senior political analyst at Al Jazeera.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.