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EMER's rise from a small A5, black and white publication to the glossy magazine published last year has been fast and has taken many by surprise. Yet neither has one ounce of the scholarly rigour that fuelled the early editions, nor the internationalism of its contributors and readers, been lost on the way.

Now, EMER has taken its greatest step and broken out onto the international plane in a new guise: EMERglobal. Providing clients with Briefings, Archive access, Alerts and a range of other services, we urge our readers to follow us across the web to EMER's online international edition at emerglobal.com.



Charlotte Alfred

William Montgomery Watt - 14th March 19o9 - October 24th 2oo6

Leading Islamic scholar, whose remarkable legacy is encountered at the University of Edinburgh, and across the Muslim world.

Professor Watt became interested in Islam while lecturing in moral philosophy at the University of Edinburgh in the 193os. His mother had just died, and in order to pay for the housekeeper he invited an Indian Muslim to live as a paying guest in his house. Over breakfast and evening meals, passionate discussions between the two ignited his interest in Islam and the Arab world. This interest was to lead him all over the Muslim world, including working for the Bishop of Jerusalem from 1944 to 1946. His outstanding Islamic scholarship is world-renowned, and the University of Edinburgh was one of its major beneficiaries. Between 1947 and 1979 he worked in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, contributing to its development into one of the most highly regarded departments in its field. He has written over 3o books, and bestowed his exceptional personal collection of 1,4oo titles on the Edinburgh University library, covering Qur’ānic commentary, mysticism and Islamic law, the history of the Arab world, and Arabic literature.

Professor Watt first came to Edinburgh to study Classics, and continued his studies in Philosophy and Ancient History at Oxford. He returned to Edinburgh to lecture in moral philosophy from 1934 until 1938, when he decided to complete a PhD on freewill and predestination in early Islam under Richard Bell, the pre-eminent Qur’ānic scholar and Reader of Arabic at the University. His interest led him to Palestine, where he worked for the Bishop of Jerusalem from 1944 to 1946 as an Arabic specialist, on the topic of Muslim-Christian relations. He was frustrated by the lack of opportunities for intellectual exchange with Muslims at that time in Jerusalem and, when he lost a friend in the bombing of the King David Hotel, he decided to return to Edinburgh. From lecturer in Ancient Philosophy from 1946-1947, he became Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and then Reader in Arabic from 1947-1964. In 1964, he was offered the personal Chair of the department, at that time named the Muir Institute, and oversaw its development into a centre of excellence for the study of the Muslim world. The departments of Arabic, Turkish and Persian were amalgamated into the Department of Islamic and Middle-Eastern Studies. His leadership and academic renown played no small part in the development of this centre of learning at the university. The department professes that “Edinburgh's present international reputation in the field of Islamic Studies is inseparable from the name of William Montgomery Watt.” He retired in 1979, but continued to publish titles into the late 199os.

Professor Watt was highly regarded throughout the academic world. He held visiting professorships at the University of Toronto, the Collège de France, Paris, and Georgetown University and was awarded an honorary Doctorate by the University of Aberdeen. He was also ordained into the Scottish Episcopalian Church in 1939 and became a member of the ecumenical community of Iona in 196o. The community’s focus on ecumenism, as well as peace and justice issues, accord with his view that “the Christian aim for the foreseeable future should be to bring the religions together in friendly dialogue and, where possible, in cooperation, for there is a sense in which all are threatened by the rising tide of secularism and materialism”.

His views on Islam and Christianity have at times been controversial. He rejects the infallibility of both the Bible and the Qur’ān, but regards each as divinely inspired. He has argued that the Muslim and Judaeo-Christian traditions have much to teach each other, personally commenting that his study of Islam deepened his understanding of the oneness of God. He has written extensively on Islamic politics, history and the role of women in Islam, amongst other topics. His works include Muhammad: Prophet and Statesman (1961), Muslim-Christian Encounters: Perceptions and Misconceptions (1991) and Muslim Intellectual: a study of al-Ghazali (1963). Professor Carole Hillenbrand, the current head of the Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, attests to his remarkable legacy: “Professor Watt was probably the foremost Western scholar on Islam in the twentieth century and he always sought to build bridges between Christianity and Islam”.

He died, at the age of 97, at his home in Dalkeith, survived by his wife Jean, their children, grandchildren and great-grand children.
CHARLOTTE ALFRED is a student Religious Studies and Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh, and specialises in Islam. She has lived in Cairo and speaks Arabic.


Jess McConnell

Having mined every last nugget of scandal from the recent crisis surrounding Jack Straw’s comments over the veil, this country as a whole seems in desperate need of a little more understanding and basic knowledge of the subject. The controversy surrounding Mr. Straw’s views was almost purely a media creation, with newspapers eagerly taking his words out of context and busying themselves with creating sensationalist headlines.

All the while, the seeds of an important debate were ignored. Throughout the weeks that followed, print media, television and radio stations devoted unprecedented airtime to the story, yet failed to conduct a sustainable debate, much less produce a single constructive conclusion. Extreme views from both Muslims and non-Muslims made for juicy reporting. While it seemed that every man and his dog were approached for their own two cents’ worth.

This episode proved both worrying and frustrating. The extent of this country’s ignorance and prejudice has been revealed and is truly astounding. Of the countless opinions put forward, almost all were mis- or entirely uninformed. The situation was exacerbated by the fact that hardly a single article or programme gave time to a factual exploration of the history behind the veil or the reality of its position in the Islamic faith today.

This is not to say that we should all be experts or that one must be an expert before discussing the topic. Rather, that the lack of effort in seeking better understanding, instead of provoking a highly-charged and overly subjective debate, was shameful.

Perhaps this imbalance could be partially addressed by focusing here on a particular country in the Middle East. Yemen is a nation where veil-wearing is as big a part of life as going to work or having breakfast. It is one of the few remaining Islamic states where close to 1oo% of women wear the niqab - the veil covering the whole body except for the eyes. A large proportion of older women wear black gloves as well, and in more isolated rural areas women often cover their eyes with a thin black mesh. While this custom is normal for Yemenis, it is certainly not without controversy of its own. Yemenis, for the most part, are happy to discuss the veil but rarely will two people, male or female, express the same opinion. Reasons for its dominance seem few and far between, with even the most traditional Yemenis often unable to account for its popular resurgence in recent decades.

Early last century, the veil was much less prevalent in the country and women often wore no headscarf at all. No doubt the British presence in Aden helped to foster a more liberal and more secular culture, the absence of which, since 197o, is a sign of Yemenis actively reclaiming their Islamic heritage. However, older men and women will occasionally reminisce fondly about times gone by, when there was less of a divide between the sexes, and freely admit that life has since become more difficult. In short, although the niqab is held as an important symbol of modesty and protection for today’s Yemenis, few see it as entirely positive.

Often, when speaking to Yemeni men, a clear divide is detectable between what they say in general terms and any references to their own families. Ideally, yes, the veil would be less of an unresolved issue, but realistically, to abandon it would be unthinkable.

A Yemeni, whom I met while travelling in the country, told me of his experience as he tried to explain the contradictions he encounters in his own life. A religious man, who walks each morning at sunrise to his local mosque and even abstains from the national pastime of chewing the mildly intoxicating qat leaf, he was married recently to a family friend, some years his junior. They drove to Aden together, after a long and strictly traditional wedding ceremony, to spend some time alone, but when my friend suggested his new wife uncover her face in the car, she refused. Motorways do not exist in Yemen, and so their route South took them through quiet, mountain roads and maybe the odd, ramshackle village. In addition, he told me, the temperature in his old land-cruiser was almost stifling, rising even further as they travelled deeper into the desert. The story was told with a look of sadness and at times guilt. This man regards himself as entirely true to his faith and yet he feels he may have insulted his wife without even meaning to. The veil remained and my friend, having lived a traditional Yemeni life for over twenty-five years, was left with a new kind of restriction to deal with, a deeper and more affecting sort of divide.

Communities in Yemen exist within strict social boundaries, which, if crossed, can bring incalculable shame upon an entire family. Although not a small state, extended family groups are usually spread out among small villages all over the countryside. This, the result of the loyal preservation of an ancient tribal system, renders change on any level a monumental occurrence. If one relative living in Sana’a, the capital, begins to draw unusual attention, news will spread down the street, into the local area and before long out into the country, to that family’s home-village and the tribe as a whole. One person alone could not bear such pressure. The Yemeni ‘guilt-culture’ is a powerful concept that limits discussion of progression or reforms to the theoretical. So, despite rational, even regretful, debate, there is simply no room for change.

Another story thrust into the spotlight following Jack Straw’s comments was that of Aishah Azmi, a classroom assistant in West Yorkshire. This young Muslim woman wears the niqab and refused to remove it in front of male staff at the school where she worked. The attitude with which Azmi approached the question of her behaviour is mirrored in Yemen.

Seeming to contradict the Western stereotypes of Muslim male dominance and oppression, in reality Yemeni women are the staunchest supporters of their traditional attire. It is seen as a symbol of maturity and self-respect and its arrival is to be welcomed. Young girls prepare for their first veil as British girls might for their future wedding-dress. Leaving wider issues of education and equality aside for the purposes of this brief discussion, the veil itself is, for Yemeni women, a cherished item. One woman compared covering her body to protecting a precious jewel, something that no one else is allowed to touch or spoil.

While Yemeni men may struggle to rationalise the veil’s place in society, women, for their part, are more likely to espouse full support. But when questioned on the accompanying limitations of the veil, they often become uncomfortable and distant, sometimes even confused. When asked whether it stops women finding work or meeting new people, reactions suggest that such thoughts had never crossed their minds. It is simply not a consideration.

Most important for Britain and its media to keep in mind, however, is the refreshing discovery that, in Yemen, neither men nor women judge the veil against other culture’s traditions. While we in Britain consistently reduce talk of the veil to a meaningless exchange of opinion, in Yemen they seem to have accepted the counter-productivity of this long ago. Steps are being made, albeit slowly, to open up career opportunities to women in both private and state-run industries. A look at Yemen’s statute book reveals that, in theory at least, men and women have equal rights of ownership, voting and many other fundamental elements of society. Personal views on the wearing of the veil can only be truly meaningful after in depth exposure to a society where the practice is accepted as normal, not demonised as something akin to a Halloween costume. Even such informed views may not ease the existing conflicts.

It is clear, having only touched on the superficial reactions of Yemenis to their beloved yet contentious tradition, that a simplification of the issue would immediately invalidate any subsequent argument. Exploration into what place the veil has in our own secular and individualistic society should continue but must do so unhindered by vacuous media scandalising and uninformed judgment. Only if focus is realigned to tolerance and acceptance rather than judgemental subjectivity, will we find ourselves enlightened along the way, not having to stumble through confused and repetitive debates. Perhaps if we take our lead from Yemenis and remove self-centred opinion from the debate entirely, prejudice would loosen its grip and any worsening of inter-cultural relations would finally come to a halt.

JESS McCONNELL is a student of Arabic at the University of Edinburgh. She has worked for the Yemeni Times and lived in the Gulf.


Tim May

Rashad and Rachael are both 18, both Lebanese, and both just starting higher education. Like all Lebanese they were deeply affected by the summer of violence and left Lebanon for England in August. I spoke to them both about their experiences of leaving Lebanon and embarking on university education.

Rachael is now studying Arabic and Arabic Translation at Salford University in Manchester, and however frightened and bemused she is by Manchester’s nightlife, she is happy and grateful to be continuing her education where she is. I asked her why she is studying, “I am at university not because I have to, but simply because I believe in the importance of education and what changes it can make in a person's life.”

Rashad spent this summer in Bristol. He enjoys England and feels at home here. I asked Rashad what he thought students could achieve in Lebanese society? “If we as students put aside all political and religious discrimination and the will to resort to conflict, I think we will then be able to help our country out of the mess it’s in. I think the new generation of students can make a difference if they intend to, but as long as we group people according to their religions or their beliefs, then we will not get anywhere.”

“Every job nowadays requires a degree from university. It proves someone's intellectual ability and capability to do the job, so I consider going to university the main step into my future, plus we are witnessing how much some people who couldn't finish their education are struggling to find a proper job.”

Rashad and Rachael are part of the first generation to grow up since the civil war ended in 199o. They share great optimism about the potential for future success but when it comes to Lebanon and its political realities they are pessimistic and increasingly frustrated. This summer’s events show good reason for such sentiment. The route to obtaining the life they want points away from staying in Lebanon. There is one major difference between Rashad and Rachael. While Rachael has all the money and visa support necessary for her study at Salford, after two months of trying, Rashad was unable to find the escalating funds needed for British university fees, and the elusive prospect of a work visa seemed so unlikely that he returned to Lebanon in mid-October. He now hopes to start at a Lebanese university in January, as long as there are no further disruptions.

The wish to leave Lebanon is a deeply rooted feature of Lebanese society. The tiny country is smaller than Wales and has a population of approximately 3.8 million. The latest figures suggest that the diaspora of Lebanon is over 1o million, some sources say over 15. This is the second largest diaspora in the world, after the Jews. Small country, loud voice.

In fact, second only to the Irish, the Lebanese were the most numerous inhabitants of the third-class cabins aboard the Titanic. For 15o years, when the going gets tough the Lebanese go, start a lucrative business, and settle, very successfully. It is estimated that more Lebanese live in Brazil then in Lebanon.

Sitting in a café in Beirut last summer (now reduced to ashes after the Israeli attack), a friend of mine said to me, “The best leave and the shit floats to the top.” As a British student, I am part of a privileged minority. As soon as we enter university, we assume our right to education, to liberty, to freedom. We enter into a life of over-choice: the multitude of social, academic and recreational opportunities scream for our attention. Student life without the constant thrusting of flyers, promotions and opportunities seems unimaginable. Our society is becoming solely concerned with the liberty of the individual. However, most of the world’s individuals have no rights to their own liberty. I asked Rachael why she left Lebanon.

“I have thought about leaving Lebanon ever since I was in Grade 6. There was no specific reason behind that, but it was just that I couldn't see myself living there and I have to admit that so far there can be no fruitful future in Lebanon! I used to travel abroad on holidays but still I knew this was not enough. I then realized that travelling and living abroad is what I really wanted. I have considered leaving to several countries but I chose England simply because I love it and it’s where I always wanted to be.”

I find this sentiment hard to swallow. I cannot look down or oppose Rachael’s desire for the best education and opportunities she can get, and while Lebanon remains an unstable place, the educated and wealthy classes will always leave. As a result, the country has little hope of changing the perennial problems that have surrounded it since its official creation in 1943. It is imperative that the educated class returns to Lebanon. Unlike Rachael, Britons have no need to flee their country for safety reasons or even to obtain a world-class education. Do we really see education as just another step to financial security, necessary to obtaining or maintaining a certain social standing? Or does education have a deeper purpose for human success?

TIM MAY studies Theology and Arabic at the University of Edinburgh. He has taught English in Lebanon and misses the mountains.



Antonia House

The extent and intensity of the attacks and destruction inflicted on Lebanon this summer captivated the world’s attention and dominated international headlines. The month-long conflict understandably overshadowed any other news in the region. But today, more than two months after the ceasefire, an equally brutal conflict continues, only a few hundred kilometers away. News from Gaza, which had made the headlines for two weeks, disappeared when the war in Lebanon broke out, and still no one is talking about it.

The conflict in Gaza is sometimes presented as if it started on 25 June, when a group of Palestinian militants captured an Israeli soldier. The reality is quite different. It is useful to look back at least to September 2oo5 when Israel unilaterally withdrew from the Gaza Strip. The withdrawal was heralded by the international community as a “courageous decision”1 and a “real contribution towards peace”2, on the part of the Israeli government, and Israel’s then-Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon. However, the withdrawal was openly and avowedly part of a strategy both to strengthen Israel’s control of the West Bank, and to create ‘facts on the ground’ - facts which would then influence any final status negotiations - by moving all the Gaza settlements and settlers to Palestinian territory in the West Bank.

Indeed, even ignoring the increased settlement (read, colonization) of the West Bank, the withdrawal from Gaza was far from a courageous contribution towards peace. Retaining direct control of the Gaza Strip through occupation and settlements was economically, militarily and demographically disadvantageous for Israel. Furthermore, whilst handing over nominal authority to the Palestinians, Israel continued to control the Gazan borders, and therefore effectively maintained complete control of Gaza’s economy. The right to import and export, the right to work inside Israel (on which many Palestinian families depended for basic sustenance), and even the right of fishermen to fish in the Mediterranean Sea, are under the direct control of the Israeli military, and these rights were often denied. Since the end of June, they have been denied completely. What is more, Gazans have been totally cut off from the rest of Palestine, from the West Bank. They are consistently denied permission to visit their relatives, seek medical treatment, or study in the universities there. With frequent closures of the borders, many would argue that rather than becoming an independent territory, Gaza has not only sunk further into poverty, but it has also become the world’s biggest and most densely populated open-air prison.

It is unsurprising then, that the launching of Qassam missiles by Palestinians into Israeli territory did not cease with the withdrawal. Between September 2oo5 and June 2oo6, approximately 1,ooo missiles were launched into Israel, bringing up the number of people killed by Qassams in the past five years to 8. Israeli reprisals during that period consisted of between 7,ooo to 9,ooo heavy artillery missiles launched into Gaza, killing 8o people in the first six months of 2oo6 alone. In addition, during the Beit Hanoun raid between 1 and 6 November, 55 people were killed and 15o injured.

On 25 June, a group of armed Palestinians crossed the border through a tunnel they had dug. They raided a military outpost, killing 2 Israeli soldiers and capturing Corporal Gilad Shalit. The captors’ demands for his release was the release of all Palestinian female prisoners and Palestinian prisoners under the age of 18 held in Israeli jails. Currently, there are 9,ooo Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, 1,ooo of whom are administrative detainees, and have had no charges brought against them.

On 28 June, the Israeli forces entered southern Gaza, ostensibly to search for the captured soldier. However, several civilian areas were targeted during these early hours of the invasion. Bridges were bombed, effectively cutting off Northern and Southern Gaza, and Gaza’s only power station was hit with at least 8 missiles, cutting off electricity to two-thirds of Gaza’s 1.4 million inhabitants. That evening, the army entered Northern Gaza, targeting Qassam rocket locations. The next day, 29 June, the Islamic University in Gaza City was destroyed, and thousands of leaflets were dropped telling civilians to leave their homes. But with the bridges bombed and Egypt having sealed off the Southern border with 2,5oo soldiers, it was unclear where the residents were meant to go.

On 3o June, targeted bombardments began, mostly hitting government buildings, but on 12 July, hitting a residential building and killing a family of 9. Despite all this, Qassam rockets continued to be launched, causing light damage and wounding 8 civilians in Southern Israel. Consequently, in early July, the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) reoccupied Northern Gaza, to push those who launched the missiles out of range of Israeli towns. It was a ground operation backed by Israeli Air Force jets and artillery fire, and followed by helicopter gun-ships and tanks. Palestinian combatants responded with automatic weapons.

And the attacks have continued for the past four months. In September, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) reported that between 28 June and 27 August 2oo6, Gaza had sustained 46 million USD worth of damages, not including the cost of repairs. Over 5o% of this destruction, 23.5 million USD worth, was suffered by the agriculture industry. The crops which constitute the basis of Gaza’s economy have been destroyed. And it does not include the 18o million USD damage to the electric grid.

Gideon Levy reported in the Israeli daily Haaretz, “More than half the electricity supply will be cut off for at least another year. There's hardly any water. Since there is no electricity, supplying homes with water is nearly impossible. Gaza is filthier and smellier than ever… [It] is also poorer and hungrier than ever before.”3 The lack of electricity means food in the refrigerator has long since spoiled. It means no lights, no television, radios or mobile phones, no contact with the outside world. It means hospitals treating hundreds of people can no longer function, and it means no clean water: in Gaza, water is pumped and purified with electricity. One million people in Gaza are now living without regular access to drinking water. And unlike Lebanon, where Hezbollah compensates war victims who have lost their homes, there is no one in Gaza to pick up the bill.

The situation is only exacerbated by the international embargo imposed on the Hamas government, which has caused the tens of thousands of civil servants (belonging to all political parties) to be largely deprived of their salaries since early 2oo6 (they represent the majority of the mere 33% of Gazans who are employed). This has led to a public employee strike, which has in turn reduced public services to a bare minimum. Approximately two-thirds of Gaza’s 1.4 million population are now living below the poverty line of 2 USD per day.

Moreover, Gaza’s borders are almost permanently closed, making it even more like a prison. People can neither leave nor enter, though tens thousands have tried, some waiting months on end. Because some were ill or wounded, they did not survive the wait. In late August, the Rafah crossing was opened for two days. Some got through, some didn’t.

“There are signs of desperation everywhere,” Patrick Cockburn writes. “Crime is increasing. People do anything to feed their families.”4 When the Israeli army entered Gaza to search for tunnels, they kicked out the Palestinian police. And when they left, it was not the police who took their place, but looters. With the extra violence due to internal political tensions between the rival factions Fatah and Hamas, the level of anarchy is comparable to Iraq.

Since 25 June, approximately 3oo Palestinians (of which around 25% are women and children) have been killed in Gaza by the occupation forces. Well over 1,ooo have been injured, most of whom are civilians, a third of them children. In August alone, 76 people were killed; more than half of them were noncombatants. In October, over 3o people were killed. And, although it is not easily quantifiable, the psychological damage inflicted on the entire population by four months of indiscriminate “killing and demolishing, bombing and shelling” undoubtedly dwarfs any physical and material losses. Levy cites a Spanish journalist, “a veteran of war and disaster zones around the world,” who, having spent the summer in Gaza, “said he had never been exposed to scenes as horrific as the ones he saw and documented over the last two months.”5 It is difficult to see how the Qassam rockets could possibly justify such massive destruction. And still Corporal Shalit has not been released.

Indeed, as Levy presciently concludes, “Gilad Shalit will not be released and the Qassams will not cease. On the contrary, there is a horror taking place in Gaza, and while it might prevent a few terror attacks in the short run, it is bound to give birth to much more murderous terror.”6

  1. Kofi Annan, 18 August 2oo5, UN News Centre, “Annan Commends Israeli Withdrawal from Gaza”.
  2. George W. Bush, 14 April 2oo4, Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, “Disengagement Factsheet No. 2”, http://www.pchrgaza.org.
  3. Gideon Levy, “Gaza’s Darkness”, http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/757768.html.
  4. Patrick Cockburn, “Gaza is a jail. Nobody is allowed to leave. We are all starving now,” The Independent, 8 September 2oo6.
  5. Gideon Levy, “Gaza’s Darkness”, http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/757768.html.
  6. Ibid.
ANTONIA HOUSE studies Arabic and Human Geography at the University of Edinburgh, and currently attends Birzeit University in Palestine. She lives in Ramallah.


Leif Nadbornik

The average Joe, watching the news, would hardly have given a second thought to the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers on 12 July. “Those crazy Middle Easterners” would have been his first reflection, just before changing channels or waiting patiently for something “more interesting” to come on the news. Little did he expect that this kidnapping would end up completely dominating the news for the rest of that cursed summer.

Israel, equipped with one of the most modern, motivated and well prepared armies in the world was not able to fulfill the objectives Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had set for the mission inside Lebanon, Operation Gishmei Kaitz - Summer Rains.

The reasons behind the operation were clearly not sinister and pre-planned, but rather – as shown by the force of the initial strikes on Lebanon – to stop further kidnappings of Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah operatives. Olmert wanted to show them that it’s just not worth it, and, along the way, get back the soldiers; as opposed to the official spin, which was simply “to get back the soldiers”.

Whether the operation that ended up escalating into all-out war achieved that is questionable. In an interview, Hassan Nasrallah said that he would not have ordered the kidnapping of the soldiers had he known the extent of the damage the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) would inflict on Lebanon.

To understand the results of the war, one must peer into the minds and capabilities of the leadership, as well as the apparatus that carried out the operations.

Prime Minister Olmert is, to all intents and purposes, a brilliant politician. Anyone who manages to climb to the top of the stormy, ever-changing mountain of Israeli politics has to be a political magician. The problem is that he is not much of anything else.

Trying to swim through corruption charges and a horrendous track record of 12 years as Mayor of unified Jerusalem, Olmert did serve as Minister of Trade and Industry under the previous government led by Ariel Sharon, but the success of the economic policies of his own government that rose to power only this year, is largely due to good macroeconomic conditions, the desperately needed reforms carried out by Benyamin Netanyahu – Minister of Finance during Sharon’s last government, and the Governor of the Bank of Israel – internationally renowned economist, Stanley Fischer.

Olmert is, in contrast to Prime Minister Sharon, whom he succeeded, equipped with no significant military experience. Additionally, he bowed to political pressure and appointed Amir Peretz, a former trade union leader as his Minister of Defence. Peretz, like Olmert, is not a military man.

The IDF, on the other hand, while armed to the teeth, has been bogged down for years in operations in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Here, the IDF conducts high-level intelligence, launching frequent aerial and ground surveillance operations and usnig Palestinian informants to give warning of impending terrorist attacks on Israeli civilian targets and any other political and military developments in the region. Aerial missions in the Gaza Strip have been scaled up since to the withdrawal of Israeli settlements and IDF troops from the area. On the other hand, operations in Judea and Samaria – as the West Bank is known in Israel – require significant expertise in urban warfare.

This mixture of incompetent and corrupt political leadership with an army that has not seen conventional warfare since Operation Peace for Galilee in 1982 – as the First Lebanon War is known in Israel - is the cause for the military failure of the Second Lebanon War.

While some, especially Arab, opinion leaders would be keen to predict the rapidly approaching demise of Israel on the back of its failure in the latest war, we must keep in mind that the war’s aftermath will see those named responsible for the fiasco lose their political heads or have military honours and stripes ripped from their shirts.

After this, the army will undoubtedly be refocused on classical warfare as well as on keeping up with the military challenges that Palestinians continue to pose. Funds are already being redirected to developing defence systems against short-range surface-to-surface missiles to prevent future damage on the scale of last summer’s Hezbollah missile rain.

While the war did cause significant material damage to Northern Israel, economic growth and foreign investment has continued almost as strongly as before the war. The Bank of Israel estimates that the war in the North caused an aggregate revenue loss of 23oo million NIS (537 million USD) (Globes, 9 November 2oo6) to the government coffers, and that despite this, economic growth is expected to continue robustly and with a stronger than expected tax inflow.

Hezbollah, on the other hand, if it refuses to change its modus operandi in Lebanon and end armed resistance against Israel, will have to face a more determined and much better prepared IDF the next time around.

As regards Lebanon, there seems to be no happy ending when, roaming free within her borders, there is a powerful militia, acting as a political party, that incidentally controls a whole region and whose declared intention is to inflict harm on a neighbouring country.

LEIF NADBORNIK is a recent graduate of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, with a BA in International Relations and Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies. He is currently living in Cairo.


Camilla Hall

November’s ruling by the Egyptian Court of Cassation revealed electoral fraud in various constituencies during the 2oo5 Egyptian parliamentary elections. The ruling has re-ignited the debate over the elections’ legitimacy. If, as the Court recommends, the results are annulled, the National Democratic Party (NDP) majority could be in jeopardy.

The most blatant signs of vote-rigging and electoral fraud were seen in the presidential elections on 7 September 2oo5, Egypt’s first contested presidential elections. A year on, it is now clear that the real battle that took place on 7 September was not between President Hosni Mubarak and the now imprisoned Ayman Nour (Ghad Party) or Noman Gomaa (Wafd Party) but between the regime and Egyptian civil society.

“It was at this point that the contest shifted, and was no longer between the 77-year old incumbent and his other rivals, but between the Mubarak regime and Egypt’s civil society,” said Dr. Saad Eddin Ibrahim, a famous Egyptian human rights activist. The weakness of an official secular opposition, timed with the access of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to foreign funding, meant that the real battle for democratisation was between Egyptian NGO ‘monitors’ and Mubarak’s corrupt regime.

With the support of foreign agencies such as the US government-affiliated National Democratic Institute (NDI), International Republican Institute (IRI) and the most generous donor, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Egyptian NGOs were pumped with dollars to act as ‘independent’ monitors for the elections. These international NGO bankrollers ignored the regime’s calls to ban international and domestic monitors. The ‘monitoring process’ gave these US agencies an open invitation to observe Egypt’s political climate and pay lip service to limiting Mubarak’s authoritarianism.

The US has so far shown an inconsistent policy towards promoting ‘democracy’ in Egypt. The Bush administration is simultaneously funding the monitoring of the elections and underpinning Mubarak’s oppressive regime. The US’ phoney commitment to forwarding democracy in Egypt is laughable. Compare Washington’s funding of Egyptian election monitors with the amount of money received in loans and in kind by Mubarak. As a key Middle East ally since the signing of Camp David, Egypt receives the most US funding after Israel. The loss of Mubarak and the democratisation of Egypt would signal an end to any US/Egyptian alliance – a price too high to pay in the name of democracy. What Washington really wants is a democratic, pro-US government in Egypt. The problem is that this is not conducive to the democratic process. Genuine democracy would most probably result in the election of the Muslim Brotherhood, the last opposition group the US want to see in power.

Nonetheless, some Egyptian NGOs were more than happy to rise to the challenge of monitoring the elections and enjoy this free-flowing funding. Three NGO alliances, made up of established human rights groups, were formed alongside a new body, Shayfeencom. The election ‘monitors’ promised a neutral monitoring service but in reality they launched a political attack on the Mubarak regime and another battle in the war between Cairo’s civil society and the NDP government. One could ask why the NGOs failed to unite and form one strong monitoring team. The reason for this is not sheer logistics. The three ‘neutral’ NGO alliances all hold different political stances. Muhammad Zarea’s National Campaign for Election Monitoring would not ally with Saad Eddin Ibrahim’s Independent Commission for Election Monitoring, fearing political association with the extreme Leftist NGOs within Zarea’s group.

These election monitors, with the foreign funding they were receiving, were able to attract far more press attention than the opposition parties who lacked the same charisma and enthusiasm. For the first time, Egypt’s civil society had easy access to the international arena, and the international press could finally hear something other than the official line. During the short campaigning session, these NGOs were met by inconsistent statements from the regime, permitting and then disallowing monitoring, in an attempt to make their work as difficult as possible. On election day, many monitors were forcibly forbidden from entering polling stations, some were kidnapped and others arrested as their work was deemed a threat to the regime. On election day, I saw the will for democratic change in the faces of the monitors, not the will to observe an election. With the clear danger of opposition politics highlighted by the imprisonment of both Noman Gomaa and Ayman Nour, the secular opposition look to NGOs to provide a freer political platform.

What was seen in September 2oo5 and what followed in the parliamentary elections was a powerful call for democracy, not from the Wafd or Ghad Parties but from these advocacy NGOs, the strongest secular opposition in Egypt. Civil society is powerful, in contrast to the official political opposition, but still too weak to take on the regime. Despite generous foreign funding, civil society’s optimism for real political change in Egypt is unfounded, without sincere pressure from the US, Mubarak’s regime will not die before he does.

CAMILLA HALL is a member of the Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Edinburgh. She has written for Reuters and the Khaleej Times.


Alex Campbell

Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria have both been regarded as beacons of hope for the African continent. spent the latter part of the twentieth century as a benchmark for unity and prosperity; Nigeria’s massive oil reserves indicate that Africa’s most populous nation can reach unprecedented economic heights. However, strong religious division and tension have severely impeded the promise that these two countries have shown, and threaten to jeopardise what was once a bright future.

National hero and longtime benevolent dictator, Felix Houphouet-Boigny, preached harmony and tolerance to Côte d’Ivoire’s population strictly divided the Muslim North and Christian South. For his 32 years in power, Ivorians listened, and their country became well known for its culture and stability - the coastal city of Abidjan was known as the ‘Paris of Africa’. Unfortunately, after Houphouet-Boigny’s death in 1993, the bond between North and South became more and more brittle. Tensions rose during a military coup in 1999 by General Robert Guei, who was soon usurped by the openly anti-Muslim Laurent Gbagbo. Events culminated in 2oo2 when Northern rebels seized control of half of the country, resulting in a civil war that, despite a 2oo5 peace treaty, certainly does not appear to have ended.

For Nigerians, ‘civil war’ evokes memories of the 196os, when the Biafran tribe that resides near the oil-rich Niger Delta tried to secede and become its own nation. After the war came an awful cycle of military coups and brutal dictatorships that ended in 1999, when Olusegun Obasanjo was elected democratically. While Obasanjo has made courageous efforts to reform the country’s system of government, civilian rule has done little to improve the extremely frail relationship between its some 7o million Muslims and 55 million Christians, who are similarly divided between North and South. While its constitution stresses the importance of a secular state, 12 of Nigeria’s 36 states have implemented Islamic law causing many Christians and indigenous people to flee to the South. Violence continues to gradually escalate and shows no signs of ceasing.

Both countries have reached major crossroads. was due to have elections this October, but these have been postponed to October 2oo7, while a United Nations (UN) resolution has shifted power from President Gbagbo to the prime minister, Charles Konan Banny. At a time when the need for strong leadership is so high, the Côte d’Ivoire’s only recent unifying force has been its football team, which caused a temporary agreement between the feuding factions in the summer to allow the nation to watch the World Cup in peace. An appalling and tragic oil dumping fiasco has led to large-scale protests against the government, and shined the spotlight on Gbagbo’s inept and intolerant regime. While the UN resolution is apparently somewhat watered down, Konan Banny still holds the absolutely crucial power of setting up next year’s election; there is severe doubt that a civil and bloodless election can be held.

Nigeria is also stumbling towards an election in 2oo7. The promise of free and fair elections looks doubtful, as Obasanjo, who cannot constitutionally run again, appears intent on preventing Vice President Atiku Abubakar from attaining the presidency; Abubakar’s supporters have been jailed and his headquarters broken into. Each claims the other is corrupt, which should be no surprise in a country where 33 of 36 state governors are currently under investigation for corruption. Partisanship continues to be the trend, and there is evidence that it will be very difficult to have a peaceful election. The press, which has been liberalised by Obasanjo, has been hit by violence that, according to Reporters Sans Frontières, has created a “prevailing culture of brutality.”

The stress of poverty has certainly exacerbated the situation in both countries. Nigeria has suffered from a gross mismanagement of oil, and despite possessing 1o% of the world’s oil reserves, its population still lives in staggering poverty, while widespread corruption is severely hindering reform plans. In Côte d’Ivoire, staunch nationalism, which has come hand in hand with the ethnic conflict, has ripped apart its famed cocoa producing industry, driving away working-class immigrants, particularly from Burkina Faso and Mali, and leaving the economy severely unstable. Poor conditions and intolerance tend to feed off of one another; this makes the push for unification among Christians and Muslims decidedly more complex.

Both countries are in desperate need of tolerant and diplomatic leadership in the upcoming months. Onee reason why the rebel forces in Côte d’Ivoire mutinied was that their main representative, Alassane Ouattara, was not allowed to run for election in 2ooo, and has since been ostracised from the political scene. Whether he is able to run in 2oo7 will be a major issue that could make or break the tense peace. Konan Banny appears most able to instill stability, as both sides recognise and respect him. Whether the former banker’s neutrality will be enough to protect both sides remains to be seen. In Nigeria, the responsibility lies on Obasanjo’s shoulders. While Obasanjo has shown the will and desire to improve economic and political conditions, his row with Abubakar is certainly troubling; Ivorians will be the first to tell you that oppression of the opposition is extremely detrimental to relations in a divided country. The recent death of the Sultan of Sokoto, the spiritual leader of Nigerian Muslims who has often mediated when Islam and Christianity have quarreled, also hurts. His son, Mohammadu Sada Abubakar, has assumed his father’s spiritual role; his initiative will be essential, as Northern Nigerian Muslims need guidance at a time when their President is a Southern Christian.

These are extremely nervy times in West Africa. Neither Nigeria nor Côte d’Ivoire can afford anything other than peaceful, democratic elections in the upcoming year. For self-belief, clemency, and composure to overcome hatred, a lot must occur. The good news is that both nations have seen enough turmoil since the end of colonial rule to understand what is at stake; time will tell whether their leaders will do enough for cooler heads to prevail.


‘L’ONU Pourrait Donner les Pleins Pouvoirs au Premier Ministre Ivoirien,’ Le Monde, 24 October 2oo6.
‘Capping the Well-Heads of Corruption,’ The Economist, 19 October 2oo6.
‘Falling Out, But Not Yet Apart’, The Economist, 2o May 2oo4.
‘Destroying the Inheritance’, The Economist, 7 December 2ooo.
‘Nigeria Gets New Islamic Leader’, BBC, 2 November 2oo6.
‘Ivorian Leader Hails UN “Victory’”, BBC, 2 November 2oo6.

ALEX CAMPBELL, from Andover, Mass., USA, and will soon begin journalism school at Northwestern University.


George Richards

“The Democrat policy is, ‘Get out of Iraq’. Our policy is, ‘Win Iraq’” – the words President Bush bellowed over a loudspeaker during a Republican party rally in the run up to the American Congressional Elections on 7 November. Yes, once again, Iraq is on the political agenda, and this time the war is topping the bill in America and Britain simultaneously. In a parliamentary debate in the House of Commons, the British Foreign Secretary, Margaret Beckett, launched a staunch defence against the opposition Conservative Party over the Government’s conduct of the war in Iraq.

On 7 November, the Democrats swept to victory in the House of Representatives – the lower house of Congress – snatching 28 seats from the Republicans, and in the Senate they managed to hold their incumbent posts and win an extra six, ending Republican political dominance since the 2ooo presidential elections. President Bush admitted his party had taken a “thumping”, and he now faces a tough last two years in office – the phrase “lame duck” is being uttered on Capitol Hill. The Democrat Party’s success came from its attack on the Bush administration’s conduct of the war in Iraq. It seems to have done the trick.

There was only one issue in both parties’ campaigns – Iraq. October had borne witness to America’s fourth worst number of casualties since the war began – 1o5 killed, and this was not lost on the American public. Other concerns that had surfaced in the run up to the last stages of campaigning – including Republican sleaze, corruption and sex scandals – became less important as the casualty rate rose and finally passed the psychologically-important 1oo mark. President Bush’s reference to the Tet Offensive in Vietnam, stung by a trap in a George Stephanopoulos interview, raised eyebrows, as did senior generals’ admissions that the strategy in Baghdad was failing, and a new plan needed to be devised.

By the time the political campaigning had begun in earnest, the war was on everybody’s lips. Republicans, trying to skirt the issue, were accused of belittling soldiers’ deaths. President Bush found himself unwanted, as his party’s candidates asked that he not campaign in their constituencies. The Democrat line was far stronger than the confused message put about in the 2oo4 presidential elections, and disillusioned Republicans began deserting the sinking ship in growing numbers. Throwing a spanner in the works of the Democrat campaign machine, failed presidential candidate John Kerry, Senator for Massachusetts, cracked a joke in a school on 3o October, fumbled the punch-line and inadvertently insulted American servicemen’s intelligence: “If you study hard… you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq”.

The Republicans had found their target. Carl Rove, mastermind of Bush’s re-election, rekindled the Republican Party’s campaign furnace, and with only one week to go, including the all-important final long-weekend, President Bush was brought out of hiding and shuttled around the country. Wherever possible, the Republicans produced television adverts linking Democrat candidates to Senator Kerry and his comments, and despite the American establishment press playing down the incident, the Republicans seemed to be experiencing a late renaissance.

It was to no avail. On election night, district after district and state after state turned blue, and the Democrats realised their dream of taking both Houses of Congress. In response to his country’s unambiguous verdict on the war in Iraq, under-fire Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld resigned and was replaced by a former Central Intelligence Agency director, Robert Gates. Even once the polling stations had closed and the votes were counted, the war was driving political developments.

In a country with a slowing economy and serious social issues to be discussed, Iraq has dominated the political arena for a solid fortnight. But America is not alone. Its ally in the war, Britain, has found its own debating chamber, the House of Commons, shifting its focus to Iraq for the first time since 2oo3. A parliamentary debate on the war was held on 31 October, tabled by Members of Parliament (MPs) from the Scottish National Party and its Welsh counterpart, Plaid Cymru. The motion, calling for an inquiry into the war, was debated fiercely for much of the day, and while prominent members spoke – including the Foreign Secretary, Margaret Beckett, and the former Conservative leader and Guards officer Iain Duncan Smith – the Prime Minister was notable in his absence.

Despite support from the Conservative Party and the rebellion of 12 Labour MPs, the motion was defeated and the Government line, that an inquiry would show weakness to Britain’s enemies in Iraq, triumphed. When the Speaker forbade the topic of Tony Blair’s succession in Prime Minister’s Questions on 1 November, he confirmed the return of Iraq to the forefront of British political debate. Both America and Britain, closest of allies in President Bush’s “war on terror”, have turned their attention back to Iraq. Senior generals on both sides of the water have admitted that the current strategy is failing, and the calls for a retreat are growing louder daily. The situation in Iraq is dire, and it is surprising that political discussion has strayed so far from the war in recent months. Perhaps all parties will realise that the political leverage brought by the war is dangerously unpredictable. Whatever the new make-up of Congress may be, the looming presidential elections, coupled with Britain’s general election, may force the hands of both countries’ administrations to extricate themselves from Iraq and wipe clean the political agenda. Despite Bush’s Manichaean outlook, Iraq is not a dichromatic issue, and he and Blair would do well to pay attention to the debates raging in their countries.

GEORGE RICHARDS is a member of the Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Edinburgh. He has written for Middle East Economic Digest and Al Ahram Weekly.


David Barrett and Merav Pinchasoff

The Gaza Strip, although no longer officially occupied, has continued to be subject to attacks by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) as Israel intensified its military campaign in Gaza following the capture of Corporal Shalit on 25 June. The Strip has been cut off from the outside world for long periods of time and, deprived of aid and funds, has descended into civil turmoil. Since the end of June 2oo6, more than 3oo Palestinians have been killed in Israeli army operations in Gaza and the West Bank, according to Israeli human rights group B'Tselem.

Last month, a team of investigative journalists at the Italian television group RAI reported that Israel had been using a new weapon in the Gaza Strip, similar to Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME). The American version is still in the testing stage and had not been used on the battlefield at that time. It is likely that the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) has acquired these weapons, or at least the technology, from the US where DIME is said to be “uniquely suited for Low Collateral Damage.” This means that it results in extreme but concentrated injuries (usually resulting in amputation below the waist).

It is described as having a smaller ‘kill zone’ - 12-25 feet - but the weapon's lethality within that zone has been amplified by new carbon/tungsten micro-shrapnel. It is more precise (just), but kills "better" or more intensively, and seems to leave only tell-tale pock marks and barely perceptible entrance wounds while wreaking havoc with the body's internal organs. According to the Israeli daily Haaretz, the weapon was launched from drones in the summer of 2oo6, mostly in July, and led to "abnormally serious" physical injuries. Its use was first noticed by physicians in the Gaza Strip who noted that the pattern of wounds they were treating was unusual, with severed legs that showed signs of severe heat at the point of amputation but no metal shrapnel. The documentary was aired on Italian television last month. The IDF has not commented on the reports except to repeat that "Israel uses no weapons that are not legal under international law" which of course does not exclude DIME-type weapons as international law has not had an opportunity to make a judgment on the newly developed weapon’s legality.

In a separate incident that nonetheless prompted the same response from the IDF spokesperson, Israel has admitted to the use of phosphorus weapons in Lebanon. Again, this was first suspected by doctors treating the unusual chemical burns in Southern Lebanon where Lebanese civilians carried injuries characteristic of attacks with phosphorus, a substance that burns when it comes to contact with air. Elsewhere, corpses were found entirely shrivelled with black-green skin - a phenomenon characteristic of phosphorus injuries. Some believe that phosphorus munitions should be termed Chemical Weapon (CW) because of the way the weapons burn and attack the respiratory system. As a CW, phosphorus would become a clearly illegal weapon. But it is not currently defined as such under international law, despite the outcry following the same Italian investigative journalists’ revelation of its use by American troops in Falluja, Iraq, in 2oo4.

Sadly, given the continued transgression and erosion of the basic human rights of Palestinians within Israel and the occupied territories, these new abuses of power and military prowess over its neighbours and the particularly brutal slaughter of Arab civilians is hardly surprising. It seems that there is no limit to the disregard and wilful malfeasance Israel is prepared to perpetrate on its hated and feared neighbours. To make matters worse, this attitude shows little sign of being reformed as the extreme right-winger Avigdor Lieberman joins the coalition in a final attempt to salvage the Knesset from dissolution. He becomes Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Strategic Threats - primarily those presented by Iran's nuclear ambition, begging the question of what precedents Israel’s recent ‘not illegal’ actions may have provided. Lieberman’s appointment prompted the resignation of Ophir Pines-Paz, Minister of Culture and Sport. Lieberman, himself a West Bank settler has advocated the expulsion of Arabs from the land the Israeli state has and continues to expropriate in contravention of several United Nations (UN) resolutions and international law, which has contributed to his labelling as a fascist in the Israeli media.

As has so often been the case in Israel’s history, there appears to be little ground for anything other than utter despair, which the Palestinians have miraculously resisted over the years in an outstanding display of determination and perseverance. However, their impotence has only highlighted the need for international pressure if any progress is to be made. Israel depends heavily on the US but also on the support of international Jewry who have so far failed to question the worthiness of the Zionist entity, which is fast becoming virtually indistinguishable from an apartheid regime.

Like all truly revolutionary movements, the impetus must first come from within. At the forefront is the emergence of the New Historians’ revisionist account of the origins and causes of the continuing intensification of the Israel-Palestine conflict, which has taken far too long to gain the credibility and prevalence it warrants, and still has some way to go, ironically meeting the greatest resistance from diaspora Jewry, who seem unable to relinquish their perception of the Israeli state as morally superior and having a greater right to be the colonisers of ‘the land without a people’ as their traditional narrative goes. But, thankfully, Israel’s younger generation are less prepared to stand by and watch their leaders perpetrate the crimes and oppression of minorities that Israel was created to save them from, and peace and refusnik movements are emerging with ever stronger and more united voices.

Every Friday since February 2oo5, Palestinians, Israelis and internationals have converged on the West Bank village of Bil‘in to demonstrate against the barrier that Israel is building there, as part of the chain of walls and fences (the Wall) that the Israeli government hopes will be Israel’s unilaterally declared eastern border. This self-styled popular movement which defines itself as non-violent, is among the most effective and sustained protests of any in the occupied territories and Bil‘in has become a symbol of the civil resistance. Unfortunately the reaction of the IDF has not been as peaceful, and tear gas and other weapons including force and firearms have been used to disband these peaceful protests. Settler movements, who have been accused by human rights observers of attacking their poverty stricken Palestinian neighbours, have also provoked clashes. The settlements have long been known to foster racism and support for the oppression of the Palestinians.

These activists in Israel are a rare source of hope for onlookers in the international community. But their task is far from easy. Mandatory conscription for both men and women from the age of seventeen and the climate of fear, together with the aggressively defensive mind-set enforced by the media, makes dissent within Israeli society an understandably difficult choice. Nonetheless, some sections of society and brave individuals have been able to see beyond the bunkers and checkpoints. Some of the more outspoken critics of Israeli policy and action, many of whom are academics, are advocating boycotts as a means of applying economic pressure – broadly seen as the only remaining tool which may be more effective than ‘condemnation’ and ‘outrage’ from the international community. Among these are Ilan Pappe, the Israeli historian who recently spoke at the Liberal Book Fair in Leith organised by Word Power Books, and Jonathan Rosenhead of the London School of Economics, who addressed a conference in Canada last month on the lessons learnt from the motion proposed last year by the Association of University Teachers (AUT) in favour of an academic boycott of Israeli Universities. There is said to be growing support amongst British trade unionists for a boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign to be launched against Israel in a bid to halt the increasingly apartheid-like and expansionist regime. Popular support movements around the world were able to isolate the comparable South African regime.

One such motion was put forward at the Edinburgh University Student Association (EUSA) Annual General Meeting on 8 November, to force EUSA to break off its contract with Eden Springs on ethical grounds. Eden Springs is an Israeli water company based in the still illegally-occupied Golan Heights, which has recently joined with Danone Group to launch a range of products in Europe. This move once again places Edinburgh at the forefront of the ethical trading debate and will be a reminder to Edinburgh’s students of the commitment they affirmed last year to Palestinian students and welfare.

The debate over ethical claims and human rights issues in Israel/Palestine is ongoing and will be central to any resolution of the conflict. If you would like to contribute or comment on any events or reports regarding Israel and Palestine please write to us at emer_israel.palestine@yahoo.co.uk.

DAVID BARRETT is President of the Edinburgh University Middle East Society and has worked for Al Jazeera in Qatar.
MERAV PINCHASOFF is a member of the Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Edinburgh.