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What the Gaza deal (really) means for Hamas and Israel

This article was first published by Your Middle East.

After 49 days of fighting it appears that Israel and Hamas have finally agreed on a ceasefire that will put an end to what has become the bloodiest round of violence yet between them. But despite talk of avoiding a return to the status quo, this is exactly what has seemingly happened. Far from solving the underlying causes behind recent flare-ups, the current ceasefire risks sacrificing long term stability for short term calm, guaranteeing only a limited period of quiet while sowing the seeds for yet another round of violence.

This comes despite recent rounds of negotiations having steadily forced a serious discussion amongst policy makers on meaningful ways of alleviating the siege on Gaza while guaranteeing permanent calm along Israel’s border. Over the last weeks such discussions have focussed on providing Palestinians with

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Who will stop Libya’s implosion?

Libya has two governments and two parliaments, one in Tobruk and the other in Tripoli, the capital. But both are governments in name only, and the resulting power vacuum both reflects, and deepens, Libya’s status as another battlefield for regional powers. Despite Libya’s neighbors declaring in Cairo on Monday, that they refuse to intervene in the troubled country, hours later The New York Times reported that U.S. officials revealed that the mysterious air force that last week bombed militias from Misrata in the remains of Tripoli’s international airport was from the United Arab Emirates, flying from bases in Egypt.

If confirmed, the Times report would underscore the connection between Libya’s increasingly deadly internal unraveling — Libya Body Count reports there were more violent deaths in July than in the previous six months combined — and the regional power struggle that pits

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An alternative to intifada

This article was originally published by Cairo Review.

Whenever the Occupied Palestinian Territories flare up, predictions of a new Palestinian intifada generally follow. But with memories of the second intifada from 2000-2005 still raw, Palestinians have demonstrated no appetite for large-scale social upheaval. Even when Israel triggers serious confrontations, the status quo has prevailed. Each conflict has remained isolated and ultimately short-lived. Despite three conflicts with Hamas in Gaza, recent years have witnessed relatively low levels of Palestinian violence.

The current state of affairs will not last indefinitely. It would be wrong to think that a new generation of Palestinians will continue to tolerate Israel’s policy of dispossession and humiliation. The use of indiscriminate force once again against Gaza’s civilians has already caused an uptick in violence in East

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Fighting the Islamic State in Iraq

US President Barack Obama announces he has authorised military strikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), 7 August 2014. © DPA Picture Alliance/ Alamy

It is clear that military action will ultimately be needed to defeat IS, but if this is to have any chance of success it will have to be accompanied by concerted action against IS by local Sunni actors. IS is not operating within a vacuum – it has forged critical alliances with Sunni groups on the ground aggrieved at the marginalising policies of the Maliki government – and these actors must turn against it if there is to be any prospect of defeating it. This shift can only come about on the back of a new governing pact offering aggrieved Sunnis a meaningful stake in the system.

For the moment, however, the prospect of significant political reform in Baghdad remain slim at best, despite the concerted pressure

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With crises in Ukraine, Iraq and Gaza still raging, why should Europeans care about Libya?

For several reasons. First of all the countries that supported the 2011 intervention (among them the UK, France and Italy) have an obligation to Libyans because theirs is the only country of the so-called Arab Spring in which we intervened militarily. It's not just immoral to abandon the Libyans now, it also fundamentally undermines our credibility in a region where credibility is currently scarce. Secondly, there’s the issue of security in the Mediterranean. We can’t afford to have Libya become another Somalia because geographically it’s so close to Europe - just 350 km south of Italy and Malta. If government authority collapses completely, Libya could become a safe-haven for smuggling and human trafficking. Some countries are also concerned that it may become a base for extremist groups such as Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb. Thirdly there’s the energy dimension. If we want to

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