Politics

IS supporters in Mosul on 16 June 2014 (photo: picture-alliance/AP)

Shifting alliances in the Middle East

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My enemy's enemy is my friend

The successes of IS militias are turning the West's established concept of friend and foe on its head. Former rogue nations are emerging as strategic partners, and declared terrorists are becoming allies. By Karim El-GawharyMore

UN observers in Syria (photo: Reuters)

Iraqi crisis

A UN protection force, not arms shipments

If the threat of genocide in northern Iraq is to be averted and the advance of IS militias stopped, an international protection force must be dispatched to the region, says security expert Andreas ZumachMore

Symbolic graffiti: relay runners from Libya, Egypt and Tunisia prepare to hand over the flame of freedom to Yemen and Syria (photo: picture-alliance/dpa)

Three years after the Arab Spring

Self-criticism and genuine dialogue required

Arab Islamists and secularists fought alongside each other in the Arab Spring revolutions. But once they had removed the hated despots from power, they became embroiled in political trench warfare and revealed an astonishing lack of democratic maturity, says renowned Moroccan analyst Ali AnouzlaMore

Kurdish Peshmerga fighters stand guard at Mosul Dam in northern Iraq, 21 August 2014 (photo: Reuters)

Iraqi crisis

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The expected death of a nation

Iraq has always been an artificial country, an entity created and beset by outside influences. However, Iraq is not currently being threatened by outside influences alone; discord is now flourishing within the country itself – with devastating consequences. A commentary by Rudolph ChimelliMore

Peshmerga fighters in Iraq (photo: Reuters)

The Peshmerga fight against IS militia

An unpredictable enemy

The Kurdish Peshmerga have limited tools in hand for their fight against the IS terror militia: they are for the most part poorly equipped, military co-ordination with the Americans is sluggish and US air strikes have thus far had little impact. By Karim El-Gawhary in IraqMore

US President Barack Obama speaking in the White House about the humanitarian relief situation in Iraq, 7 August 2014 (photo: Reuters)

The Middle East policies of Europe and the US

Mistakes must not be repeated

For years, the West's foreign policy approach to the Middle East has been short sighted and counterproductive. A shrewd blend of engagement and restraint in the region is now required. However, where there is a threat of genocide at the hands of terrorists or regimes, civilians must be protected using all available means, writes Kristin HelbergMore

Yukiya Amano, head of the IAEA, and President Hassan Rouhani of Iran during a meeting in Tehran on 17 August 2014 (photo: IRNA)

The Iranian president and his political opponents

Rouhani under fire and on fire

One year into his tenure, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has entered the first precarious phase of his presidency. The challenges at home are becoming more urgent, his political adversaries more outspoken and the setbacks more frequent and severe. The turf war within Iran's political establishment is intensifying. By Adnan TabatabaiMore

Germany's foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier at the gathering of EU foreign ministers in Brussels on 22 July 2014 (photo: picture-alliance/dpa)

Germany's shared responsibility for the Gaza conflict and its end

Déjà vu in Gaza

For months, there has been an intense debate about whether Germany should assume greater foreign policy responsibility. Yet when it came to the conflict in Gaza, Germany's politicians have once again slipped into the role of the horrified bystander. By Muriel Asseburg und René WildangelMore

Yehuda Shaul, co-founder of the Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence (photo: Quique Kierszenbaum)

Interview with Yehuda Shaul

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"The treatment of the Palestinians is the biggest threat to Israel"

Yehuda Shaul, a former soldier in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), is one of the founders of the Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence. Marian Brehmer talked to him about Operation Protective Edge and the link between the Gaza war and the occupation of the Palestinian territoriesMore

Erdogan supporters celebrating in Ankara after the announcement of his election victory (photo: Reuters)

Erdogan elected president of Turkey

What Erdogan did next

Election results can bring political stability. In the case of Turkey, however, Erdogan's election as president is likely to bring the country the exact opposite: some serious domestic political conflicts are now on the cards. A commentary by Omer Erzeren in IstanbulMore

Joko Widodo (photo: Getty Images)

Indonesian President-elect Joko Widodo

Comfortable among the people

Indonesians have chosen Joko Widodo, commonly known as Jokowi, to be their next president. He won more than 53 per cent of the vote in July's election. His rival Prabowo Subianto refuses to concede defeat and has taken the matter to the Constitutional Court. Observers doubt the court will accept his claim that the election was stolen. By Edith KoesoemawiriaMore

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas with his new government of national unity (Photo: Reuters)

Europe and the Gaza conflict

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"The Europeans must conduct a direct dialogue with Hamas"

In light of the inability of those involved in the Gaza conflict to make peace, Europe cannot just stand on the sidelines and watch. If it does, the conflict will come here. The ostracisation of Hamas has proved counter-productive. A commentary by Abdel Mottaleb El HusseiniMore

Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority President (photo: picture alliance/dpa)

The EU and the Gaza conflict

"Effective diplomacy needs engagement with all sides"

While Europeans are focusing on Ukraine and Iraq, the oldest of the Middle East issues will haunt them for some time. The wider Israel–Palestinian conflict needs the full attention of Europe, writes Mattia ToaldoMore

A Syrian family sitting outside a home for asylum seekers run by the Central Authority for Foreign Residents in the German state of Brandenburg (photo: dpa/picture-alliance)

Book review: Stefan Buchen on Syrian "escape helpers"

Germany's new public enemies?

Germany is proud of its culture of democracy and the rule of law. But how proud should it be of the way it treats those who help Syrian refugees threatened by starvation and mass murder at home to enter the country? In 2013 and 2014, several German-based Syrians have been tried in court for helping their compatriots to flee to Europe. Stefan Buchen has written a book about the matter. By Martina SabraMore

Members of an Islamist militia firing rockets at Tripoli Airport (photo: AP/dpa)

Clashes between rival militias in Libya

The battle for Tripoli

Like Benghazi before it, the Libyan capital, Tripoli, is now mired in chaos and violence. General elections held a month ago were not able to prevent the escalation in the conflict between rival militias. What triggered this development and what does the future hold for this troubled North African nation? By Valerie StockerMore

Muslims demonstrating after Friday prayers in Brooklyn, New York, to show their solidarity with the US after the 9/11 attacks (photo: Reuters)

Snowden revelations

NSA spied on prominent US Muslims

After 9/11, every Muslim was a potential suspect. Under President George W. Bush, the FBI and NSA read the e-mails of Muslim lawyers and activists even though they had no convictions and there was no evidence that any of them had committed a crime, called for jihad or sympathised with al-Qaida. Even a Department of Homeland Security employee was under surveillance. By Matthias KolbMore

Amos Oz (photo: picture-alliance/ZB)

Interview with Amos Oz

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"For Israel, it is a lose-lose situation"

Israel's ground offensive against Gaza is justified but excessive, says Amos Oz in this interview with Dennis Stute. However, the Israeli writer is also critical of the Hamas strategy of attacking Israel from within civilian areasMore

A Palestinian boy sweeping up rubble outside a bombed-out building in Gaza (photo: AFP/Getty Images)

The Israeli–Palestinian conflict in Gaza

Propaganda war

The escalating conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas has been accompanied on both sides by massive propaganda drives. According to Joseph Croitoru, each side is attempting to speak directly to the opposing side through its propagandaMore

The High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs & Security Policy Catherine Ashton, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif (photo: Reuters)

Iran's nuclear programme

Hope Must Go On

In view of the stubborn hurdles on the path to a permanent nuclear treaty, Iran and the five UN veto powers plus Germany have agreed to continue their talks. Hope for a settlement remains. Yet the risks are not necessarily getting any smaller. By Ulrich von SchwerinMore

Ruined buildings in the Gaza Strip, 19 July 2014 (photo: DW/Shawgy el Farra)

Israeli military offensive in Gaza

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Israel cannot win

All those whose opinions differ from the prevailing view are considered saboteurs. In this guest commentary, the Israeli writer Etgar Keret describes how the thought police are dominating his homeland and explains why the problems Israel faces cannot simply be bombed awayMore

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