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Itxaso


Spanish idealist expert in international relations (or at least tries to be), and particularly in Middle East affairs.

Discovering MENA: Bahrain’s Political Crisis

Discovering MENA: Bahrain’s Political Crisis

On Nov. 22, Bahrain held a first round of legislative and local elections. Similar to what has happened with the majority of events that have taken place in the country throughout the last few years, few in the media refer to both the vote itself and the circumstances surrounding it. Bahrain sets itself as a […]

Discovering MENA – Turkey and IS: Calculated Ambivalence or Uncontrollable Fear?

Discovering MENA – Turkey and IS: Calculated Ambivalence or Uncontrollable Fear?

“This counter-terrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist, using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground. This strategy […] is consistent with the approach I outlined earlier this year: to use force against anyone who threatens America’s core interests, but […]

Discovering MENA: The Palestinian Reconciliation House of Cards

Discovering MENA: The Palestinian Reconciliation House of Cards

“You have to be careful when choosing your enemies because sooner or later you will end up resembling them,” Jorge Luis Borges said once. When your main enemy is your teammate who is deeply embedded with your very raison d’être, it’s no wonder how difficult it may be for you to move forward and fight […]

12 Things You Need to Know about ISIS

12 Things You Need to Know about ISIS

Tracking the events in Iraq – in the whole region, actually – might be a colossal task. Particularly so during the summer, when it is sometimes even difficult to grasp a single headline. We all are aware about something called ISIS – or IS, as of lately – that seems to be messing around from […]

Discovering MENA – Lebanon: a Presidential Vacuum and a Recurrent Candidate

Discovering MENA – Lebanon: a Presidential Vacuum and a Recurrent Candidate

A year ago I wrote a piece on Lebanon’s political mess that focused on how the country was still functioning – to say the least – without a proper government in place. Four months ago and countless rounds of negotiations afterwards, the state finally got itself a new Prime Minister – the Sunni leader Tammam […]

Discovering MENA: On Assad’s Electoral Campaign ‘Together’

Discovering MENA: On Assad’s Electoral Campaign ‘Together’

Syria officially opened its presidential campaign on Sunday May 11, and the cities and towns under the regime’s control are filled with billboards and posters presenting portraits of President Bashar Al-Assad. Others, such as the ones hung in Thawra Street in the center of the capital, show either his portrait dressed in a grey suit […]

Discovering MENA: How to Hold Elections in a War-Torn Country

Discovering MENA: How to Hold Elections in a War-Torn Country

There is no doubt about it. A presidential election will be held on June 3 in Syria and Bashar Al Assad is going to win. The only question is by how much. Regardless of byzantine debates about whether this vote should take place or not, the truth is that the electoral scenario in Syria could […]

Discovering MENA: Egypt’s Presidential Elections

Discovering MENA: Egypt’s Presidential Elections

Now that both the EU and the Carter Centre have announced they will not be electoral observers in the presidential vote scheduled in Egypt for May 26-27, the tone is set for murmuring and gossiping. Although both organizations have cited different reasons behind their decisions, the truth is that many others are possible: 1. “Administrative […]

Discovering MENA: How Libya Finds Itself on the Verge of Collapse

Discovering MENA: How Libya Finds Itself on the Verge of Collapse

What's the story, Morning Glory?

Even though the news has gone unnoticed because Ukraine and the Malayan plane are still swamping our screens, Libya is not faring that well. First, a Panamanian-flagged North Korean tanker (beautifully called “Morning Glory”) took illegal cargo of crude oil from rebels in the east of the country and safely left the port, ignoring the […]

Discovering MENA: Elections that Will Shape the Middle East in 2014

Discovering MENA: Elections that Will Shape the Middle East in 2014

Sometimes, it seems as though most of the factors shaping the future of the Middle East are out of the control of citizens, from sectarianism and repression to foreign intervention and coups (or non-coups). Yet even though democracy continues to elude the region until now, several elections are scheduled to take place in the near […]

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