Dr. Manuel Almeida, Arab News

Dr. Manuel Almeida

Arab News

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Past articles by Dr.:

Instability in Iraq shows liberalism’s bumpy road ahead

Following parliamentary elections in May that were marred by allegations of fraud, Iraq now finds itself in the middle of a constitutional crisis. A month-and-a-half of backstage talks between Sairoon, the alliance loyal to Shiite cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr that secured the larger slice of parliamentary seats, and other main blocks were insufficient to reach an agreement on the → Read More

Hodeidah assault puts port deal back on the table

If a large-scale assault by pro-government and Arab coalition forces on Yemen’s Hodeidah had looked increasingly likely since the beginning of the year, events over the past few days made it inevitable. Hundreds of casualties among Houthi militias were reported earlier this week, and aid groups were told to abandon the area ahead of the push by pro-government and Arab → Read More

Debunking the misconceptions surrounding the Gulf crisis

The Gulf Cooperation Council’s dispute with Qatar seems to have enough fuel to continue for the foreseeable future. The Qatari authorities recently responded to the commercial boycott imposed by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt by blocking commercial imports from all four countries. And a few days ago Doha made its clearest statement yet in opposition to any strong → Read More

Europeans in for a rough ride to keep nuclear deal alive

This spring’s political forecasts spelling rough weather for European diplomacy proved accurate. In early May, the months-long efforts by British, French and German officials to keep the US in the nuclear deal with Iran ended in resounding disappointment. With a deep transatlantic crisis in hand, European participants in the deal have now seen Tehran place full responsibility → Read More

Coming weeks will be critical for stability in the Middle East

Since the announcement late last week that John Bolton would replace Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, a torrent of reactions, news and analyses have cautioned about the beating drums of war within the White House. The appointment of Bolton, an active and vocal critic of the nuclear deal with Iran, also comes a little more than a → Read More

An assertive Russia in the Middle East suggests an eye on the post-Putin era

Following a well-choreographed act last weekend that landed him a record election victory, with more than 76 percent of the vote, Russian President Vladimir Putin is now preparing for his fourth, and final, term. By the end of it, in 2024, the former spy chief will have reached the age of 72 and become his country’s longest-serving leader since Stalin. → Read More

Syria lays bare the limits of Russia’s great-power responsibility

On Monday, Russia vetoed a draft UN Security Council resolution that would have condemned Iran’s transfer of missile and drone technology to the Houthis, as concluded by an investigation by a UN panel of experts on Yemen. Russia then submitted its own draft resolution to renew the expiring UN arms embargo targeting the pro-Iran militia. The new text was approved, but it made no mention of… → Read More

US and Europe must work together to thwart Iran

At the recent Munich Security Conference, United States National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster appealed to NATO and other US allies to look hard at their business ties with Iran and be sure to cut off funding to Hezbollah and other Iranian-led militias and armed groups in the Middle East: “When you invest in Iran, you’re investing in the IRGC. You might as well cut the Islamic Revolutionary… → Read More

Federation plan should be top priority in Yemen

This week has seen an atmosphere of relative normality return to Aden, following a few days of intense fighting between the separatist Southern Resistance Forces and army units and militias loyal to Yemen’s internationally-recognized government. The armed wing of the Southern Transitional Council took over most government buildings and infrastructure in the former capital of South Yemen, before… → Read More

Tehran’s radical adventurism abroad

For over a week now, Iranians have been witnessing the most significant demonstrations in their country since the Green Revolution of 2009. In the face of widespread discontent over pressing internal issues, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei was quick to blame “the enemies of Iran” for the protests, while Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif pointed the finger at “infiltrators.” At a time when the… → Read More

Iraq’s promising but fragile gains of 2017

The “chamber of horrors” that was Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, where state-sponsored killings, torture and forced disappearances were common practice, is described with chilling detail in “Republic of Fear.” Its author, the controversial British-Iraqi Kanan Makiya, was an influential voice in support of the US invasion. → Read More

There is no place for a Hezbollah clone in Yemen

The death of Ali Abdullah Saleh has opened a new chapter in Yemen’s conflict, depriving the Zaidi militants of their once powerful ally. More than the tragic humanitarian situation — including a massive cholera outbreak on top of acute shortages of food, water, medicine and fuel — it was last week’s execution of the former president by the Houthis that brought renewed international focus to… → Read More

Houthis may ultimately regret killing their old foe

It was from an uncharacteristic position of weakness that the late Ali Abdullah Saleh announced last Saturday the breakup of his three-year old pact with the Houthis. In a televised speech, the strongman who ruled for 33 years condemned the “recklessness” of the radical militia and declared his openness for dialogue with the Arab coalition. → Read More

Qatar’s Iran leap will lose it long-term leverage

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s visit to Qatar last week, his second this year, was the latest in a series of diplomatic moves that brought Doha and Tehran closer in recent months. In the highly transactional sphere of international politics, there are hardly points of no-return. Yet the latest Qatari leap toward Tehran could prove further down the line to have gone a step too… → Read More

What Corbynism’s rise could mean for GCC-UK ties

The uncertainties and quarrels afflicting the Conservatives in the UK were again on display this week during the party’s conference, as the party continues to struggle to define a consistent position on Brexit and convince its European counterparts that it is ready for meaningful negotiations. The Conservatives’ struggle with Brexit, the most consequential affair in the country’s recent history… → Read More

King Salman meets Russian realism

Five decades of broken diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and the Soviet Union (1938-1992) offer some perspective into the significance of King Salman’s expected visit to Moscow next week, the first ever by a Saudi monarch. → Read More

Iran’s military support for the Houthis is not the biggest threat

Earlier this week, Vice Adm. Kevin M. Donegan, America’s highest-ranking navy officer in the Middle East, warned of Iran’s evolving military support to the Houthis via the smuggling of increasingly potent and advanced weapons. Yet despite Iran’s worrying military support to the Yemeni militant group, the deeper threat to Saudi and Emirati security is the ideological affinity between Iran’s… → Read More

Macron’s problematic assumption on Iran

Last month, in a speech to the annual gathering of the French diplomatic corps at the Elysee Palace in Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron revisited his emerging foreign policy doctrine. Inevitably, much of it revolved around France’s Middle East policy, and key priorities of fighting “Islamist terrorism” and preserving regional stability. A sentence from Macron’s speech, which stood out in… → Read More

Can the plan for a neutral Hodeidah save Yemen?

The serious tensions between former President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s loyalists and the Houthi militias, which over the last few days both sides have unconvincingly tried to downplay, threaten to add yet more pressure to the tragic humanitarian situation in north Yemen. But a plan to place Hodeidah under the supervision of a neutral body has some promise, and could eventually be applied as a model… → Read More

The honeymoon is over for Saleh and the Houthis

Al-Sabeen Square in Sanaa was the venue on Thursday for the latest chapter of Ali Abdullah Saleh’s Machiavellian quest for political survival, which has already had tragic consequences for Yemen and its people. Thousands of the former president’s supporters demonstrated in Yemen’s capital on the 35th anniversary of the foundation of the General People’s Congress (GPC), holding posters and… → Read More