Reflecting on the Middle East at Christmastide

By Harry Hagopian
December 24, 2012

We are so close to the joy of Christmas. My thoughts and prayers are therefore with countless friends, Christian and otherwise, across the Middle East and North Africa region.

Here are three reflections from the media on Iraq, Armenia-Azerbaijan and Israel-Palestine published over the past week and inspired by the ICG reports.

"Jalal Talabani is a crucial joining-link between Iraqi Kurdistan and Baghdad. [He] has been crucial in mediating between the two sides and ensuring the continuation of dialogue between Kurds and the central government.”
Maria Fantappie, Iraq Analyst, The Times of India, 20 December

There are now offensive missile systems capable of hitting Baku and Yerevan, the capitals of Azerbaijan and Armenia [...]. This is a conflict which has the danger of pulling in major regional powers.”
Lawrence Sheets, Caucasus Project Director, about the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, BBC, 18 December

"Legitimacy of the Palestinian Authority is at an extremely low point. And they are out of options—even though [Israel] doesn't want the PA to collapse, they are allowing it to flirt with the edge of collapse. You have members of the civil service not showing up to work. It's a fragile situation right now.”
Nathan Thrall, Middle East Analyst, The Wall Street Journal, 18 December.

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© Harry Hagopian is an international lawyer, ecumenist and EU political consultant. He also acts as a Middle East and inter-faith advisor to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales and as Middle East consultant to ACEP (Christians in Politics) in Paris. He is an Ekklesia associate and regular contributor (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/HarryHagopian). Formerly an Executive Secretary of the Jerusalem Inter-Church Committee and Executive Director of the Middle East Council of Churches, he is now an international fellow, Sorbonne III University, Paris, consultant to the Campaign for Recognition of the Armenian Genocide (UK), Ecumenical consultant to the Primate of Armenian Church in UK & Ireland, and author of The Armenian Church in the Holy Land. Dr Hagopian’s own website is www.epektasis.net Follow him on Twitter here: @harryhagopian

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