Monday Morning Headlines
France Moves To Talk Iranian Talks, But Why?
Raphael Aren of the Times of Israel examines some of the reasons why France decided to break from Europe to put the brakes on talks with Iran and why their actions were not so unexpected.
“Paris aspires to play a larger role in world affairs; after the US, France has the highest number of diplomatic offices across the globe, she noted, adding that the Middle East is seen as a “high-priority” area. Since America’s clout in the region appears to be waning — following the Obama administration’s perceived serial weakness in dealing with Egypt, Syria and Iran — France is more than happy to step in and extend its sphere of influence, she said.
“Furthermore, France has high stakes in Sunni countries in the region that are fiercely opposed to Iran becoming a nuclear power. Saudi Arabia, for instance, is the region’s foremost buyer of French arms,” he notes.
The Women Of Arlington
Greg Jaffe of The Washington Post profiles the women who make a weekly pilgrimage to Arlington National Cemetery’s Section 60 to honor those who gave their lives in service to the nation.
Freedom Of Speech Key To Freeing Middle East
If you seek to change the Middle East, you must do so by changing Arab minds first, says Rami G. Khouri of Lebanon’s Daily Star.
“Every other democratic practice in society – free media, voting, civil society activism – relies on the foundation of freedom of expression. One of the reasons the Arab world has endured a steady cycle of public incompetence, corruption, waste and stagnation since the 1950s is that it has denied itself the power and creativity of its several hundred million citizens. The fact that this trend continues in some of the Arab world’s most influential countries is disheartening – but the robust resistance to the Arab state’s intellectual oppression is equally real, and gives us hope that the merchants of darkness and listless citizenship will be defeated in due course,” advises Khouri.
Syrian Peace Talks
Syrian opposition groups announced on Monday that they planned to attend future peace talks in Geneva, but will only do so with certain preconditions. Al-Jazeera reports that the Syrian National Coalition wants to ensure aid agencies have access to besieged areas and that the goal of any talks should be to produce guidelines for a political transition.