Listen to Fresh Air from NPR today at 3pm EDT to hear Robert Malley, our Middle East and North Africa Program Director, discuss the conflict in Syria with Terry Gross.
Showing posts tagged as "Robert Malley"
Showing posts tagged Robert Malley
Too Close for Comfort: Syrians in Lebanon
Beirut/Washington | 13 May 2013
As the Syrian conflict increasingly implicates and spills over into Lebanon, a priority for its government and international partners must be to tackle the refugee crisis, lest it ignite domestic conflict that a weak state and volatile region can ill afford.
In its latest report, Too Close for Comfort: Syrians in Lebanon, the International Crisis Group examines the impact of Syria’s war on its most fragile neighbour. It focuses on the presence of over a million Syrians, half of them refugees – a figure that is a quarter as great as the state’s citizen population of four million. The influx of refugees aggravates state dysfunction, taxes Lebanon’s already limited resources and, by reigniting fears of a shift in the sensitive confessional make-up, risks renewing violent conflict in a state still recovering from its devastating civil war of the 1970s and 1980s.
The report’s major findings and recommendations are:
- Porous boundaries, weapons smuggling, deepening involvement by Sunni Islamists opposed to the Syrian regime on one side and, especially, the pro-regime Hizbollah on the other, and cross-border skirmishes are drawing Lebanon ever more deeply into its neighbour’s conflict which, in turn, increasingly morphs into a regional and international confrontation between opposing axes.
- Lebanon is reaching a breaking point: the refugee influx rises daily and likely will soar if and when the battle for Damascus is fully joined; this Syrian presence is fueling pre-existing political, social and communal tensions and exposing Lebanon’s dysfunctions and declining economy; the government, divided and polarised, has been slow to meet the resulting challenges.
- Once Lebanon’s factions negotiate a replacement for the government that fell in March, the new cabinet needs to tackle the refugee question head-on. Together with the political parties, it should plan the establishment of refugee camps, while exploring with security and military authorities how to ensure their safety without excessively intrusive measures.
- The international donor community should give Lebanon, UN agencies and their partners the funds they need to address the refugee crisis.
“Lebanon’s fate historically has been deeply intertwined with Syria’s”, says Sahar Atrache, Middle East and North Africa Analyst. “As Syria heads even more steadily toward catastrophe, there is every reason for Lebanese of all persuasions to worry about their own country — and to do something about it”.
“It is too late for Lebanon to wind back the clock and adopt a genuine policy of non-interference. But if the country’s various political forces cannot agree on what to do in Syria, at least they might agree on a sensible approach toward the refugee tragedy”, says Program Director Robert Malley. “Such a population influx would be staggering anywhere, but with Lebanon’s institutional frailty, scant resources and highly sensitive sectarian balance, it is a nightmare”.
"Their peaceful nature may have damaged Al Qaeda and its allies ideologically, but logistically, in terms of the new porousness of borders, the expansion of ungoverned areas, the proliferation of weapons, the disorganization of police and security services in all these countries — it’s been a real boon to jihadists."
—Robert Malley, Crisis Group’s Middle East and North Africa Program Director, on Arab uprisings and Al Qaeda in The New York Times, “Jihadists’ Surge in North Africa Reveals Grim Side of Arab Spring”
"Those in power will have to learn that even though they had a majority at the ballot box , it does not mean they get to decide everything"
—Robert Malley, Crisis Group’s Middle East and North Africa Program Director, in CNN’s Defterios: Why Egypt’s transition from its Arab Spring is so painful
U.S. Challenges in a Changed Middle East | Council on Foreign Relations
by Bernard Gwertzman
The events in the Middle East continue to rapidly unfold, providing difficulties for U.S. policy in the region, whether it is the decades-long conflict between Israel and Palestine, the rise of Islamists, the conflict in Syria, or tensions with Iran. Middle East expert Robert Malley says, “With Islamists in power in Egypt, with Hamas more powerful than it was the last time it was at war with Israel [2008-09], the United States is trying to figure out its place in a region that is no longer the one it was accustomed to.” And in Syria, although a negotiated end to Bashar al-Assad’s regime is preferable, “unfortunately, it almost certainly is not the most likely” way the conflict will end. He says the United States is conflicted over accepting Egyptian help in ending the recent Israel-Hamas attacks while it is also uncomfortable with the domestic policies of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Photo: Talk Radio News Service/Flickr
Analysis: The next stop for Palestinians could be global courts | Reuters
By Joseph Schuman
(Reuters) - The U.N. General Assembly’s overwhelming vote to recognize Palestine as a non-member state offers little prospect for greater clout in world politics but it could make a difference in the international courts.
The formal recognition of statehood, even without full U.N. membership, could be enough for the Palestinians to achieve membership at the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC), where member states have the power to refer for investigation alleged war crimes or crimes against humanity.
US, Israel low key as France announces support for Palestinian UN bid | Al-Monitor
By Laura Rozen
The United States, in consultations with Israeli negotiator Yitzhak Molho in Washington in recent days, has urged Israel not to overreact to Palestinian plans to seek upgraded status at the United Nations on Thursday, advice Israel seemed inclined to take.
Photo: Michele Benericetti/Flickr
"That camp has more assets that it can share than Iran — politically, diplomatically, materially,” said Robert Malley, the Middle East program director for the International Crisis Group. “The Muslim Brotherhood is their world much more so than Iran."
—Robert Malley, Crisis Group’s Middle East North Africa Project Director, in The New York Times: Sunni Leaders Gaining Clout in Mideast
U.S. needs rethink of Mideast peace plan: experts | AFP
By Jo Biddle
WASHINGTON — The US administration must radically rethink ways to achieve a sustainable Israeli-Arab peace deal or risk seeing the goal of a two-state solution slip away, experts have warned.
New realities in the Middle East, including the changes wrought by the Arab Spring and the rise of the militant Palestinian group Hamas, meant the old ways of doing business had to be shelved, they told a Washington symposium.
"If we don’t seize whatever opportunity there is in the present, the prospects for negotiating a solution anytime in the near future are really very slim," said William Quandt, who as a member of the National Security Council was deeply involved in reaching the historic 1978 Camp David accords.