Authors > Rouba al-Fattal

Rouba al-Fattal

Rouhani’s Nuclear Deal is Old Wine in a New Bottle

By Rouba al-Fattal on December 16, 2013

Al-Fatal_Ruba.jpgLost in Translation, seems to be a fitting title to describe the discrepancy between the Iranian and American understanding of the nuclear deal. On 24 November, an interim agreement was signed in Geneva between Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany). The White House published a ‘fact sheet’ on the agreement a day before the text of the pact was officially released, and the Iranian government also published its translated version of the pact. The American version claims that the agreement ‘halts the progress of Iran’s nuclear program’; while the Iranian version states that the US ‘concurs with Iran’s right to a nuclear energy’. Even on technicalities the two versions seem to clash that the only thing they seem to agree on is to disagree.

A Third-Way out of the Syrian Impasse

By Rouba al-Fattal on June 26, 2013

Al-Fatal_Ruba.jpgOttawa- The latest move by President Obama to arm Syrian rebel groups is a clear indication that his administration is wandering aimlessly in the dark when it comes to the Syrian crisis. But as most political analysts can tell you, arming rebels in these types of conflicts is a doubled-edged sword.
One might then ask, is there an alternative to arming the rebels, or should the US just stand idly by and do nothing while thousands of innocent people are killed every day in this conflict? Framing the questions in this black-and-white fashion, either support for Assad or for the Syrian rebels, is not only misleading but unproductive. There is a third-way solution to the Syrian crisis which, at first glance, might appear so simple that it gets overlooked.

Why the Arab Uprising Will Not Lead to Democracy Any Time Soon

By Rouba al-Fattal on May 7, 2013

Al-Fatal_Ruba.jpgDuring a break in a conference I attended recently I was asked by several pundits what I think about – what has been erroneously named – the “Arab Spring”, and whether the populations in these countries are ready for democracy. My short answer was, “No, they are not ready”. However, because this is a very timely and complex question, I have decided to give it here more than a terse, short answer.
Democracy, by definition, is “the rule of the people” from the Greek words “demos” (people) and “kratos” (rule). The will of the people is manifested most visibly through the electoral process.

A Marriage of Convenience: Iran, al-Qaeda and the VIA plot

By Rouba al-Fattal on April 30, 2013

Al-Fatal_Ruba.jpgA week ago two men were arrested in Canada on suspicion of planning what officials describe as an al-Qaeda-backed plot to derail a VIA passenger train traveling from Toronto to New York. Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officials said the alleged plot had support from al-Qaeda in Iran, although there was no sign of state sponsorship. The Iranian government quickly denied any links to the two men in question. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ramin Mehmanparast, also said “al-Qaeda's beliefs are in no way consistent with Tehran's”. 

The Road to Syria: Are We There Yet?

By Rouba al-Fattal on April 5, 2013

Al-Fatal_Ruba.jpgAl-Fatal_Ruba.jpgIt has been two years since the Syrian Government’s violent crackdown on protesters started. According to UN reports, the conflict has claimed more than 70,000 lives, displaced four million people internally and forced about million people to seek refuge in neighboring countries such as Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, where many opposition leaders have taken refuge. Thousands of civilians have also been detained arbitrarily and there are reports of executions and torture. Also since the uprising many schools were damaged or forced to close and Syrian civilians suffer the lack of basic services such as electricity, clean water and hospitals. Moreover, the situation in Syria has created a fertile ground for trans-national terrorism to rise.

What Do Egyptians Deserve from their Democracy?

By Rouba al-Fattal on October 29, 2012

Al-Fatal_Ruba.jpgEgyptian human rights activists recently criticized the human rights situation in the country after the first 100 days of President's Mohamed Morsi rule. The most prominent of these criticisms focused on the attempts of the new regime, which is dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) that Morsi belongs to, to reproduce the ‘state of emergency’ which the Egyptians suffered from during Mubarak’s era.

The Future of Syria

By Rouba al-Fattal on May 18, 2012

Al-Fatal_Ruba.jpgIn February the Russia Federation and the People’s Republic of China lay their cards on the table. They vetoed a UN Security Council draft resolution on the Arab League’s Plan for resolving the Syrian crisis which calls for President Bashar al-Assad to hand power to his vice-president, proposes the formation of a unity government,and holding free parliamentary elections within two months. Both China and Russia are putting their money on Mr. Assad, betting that he can overcome both the political opposition movement and growing rebel forces spreading across his country if he is given enough time.

Honest talk and mutual respect can make our health services tolerable

By Rouba al-Fattal on May 18, 2012

Having spent the last five years in Belgium doing doctoral research before returning to Quebec, I did not realize that going to the doctor nowadays is as challenging as going camping. As I was waiting in my silence for three hours, looking around me at the grim faces of the other tired expectant mothers, I could not help but think about how the natives of this country must have waited for hours to see the only doctor in the village.

The Myth of Non-Intervention in Syria

By Rouba al-Fattal on October 26, 2011

The crackdown on Syrian demonstrators continues, despite growing international condemnation of the Syrian government. More than 2000 civilians have been killed and approximately 3000 have been reported missing. But why is the international community not threatening military intervention as it did in the case of Libya?

Chaos theory for political order in the Arab world

By Rouba al-Fattal on June 10, 2011

Al-Fatal_Ruba.jpgAs a Board Member of the EuroArab Forum in Brussels and a “specialist” on the Arab world, I am asked daily of what I think is going to happen in the Middle East. Let me be frank, as much as I wish I could predict the future to my own satisfaction, nobody knows what the final outcomes will be. Political analysts and pundits may quench the public thirst for information by providing their sophisticated forecasts, but their chances of getting it right at this early stage are as good as playing the roulette.

Obama’s Recovery from Ahmadinejad’s Politics

By Rouba al-Fattal on December 27, 2010

Two are not fit for a political office: the religious man, if he is sincere, and the true intellectual. The religious system is based on sacred constants, while the political system is chaotic based on constantly changing variables. No compromise can exist on religious dogmas, but politics is the art of negotiation and settlement. Policy maneuvers are not void of plots and deceptions, while bargaining is off-limits to the true religious, either you accept all of God’s commands or you exit the circle of the pure faithful. So, how could a dogmatic cleric turn into a professional politician?

While the Arab League Slept: The EU and cooperation

By Rouba al-Fattal on September 9, 2010

There is no denying that the EU lacks a clear strategy when it comes to the Mediterranean in particular and the Arab world in general, as Abdullah Baabood posits. EU’s strategy has indeed oscillated over the past fifteen years between promoting free-trade and democracy multilaterally, to fostering bilateral cooperation with attached conditions, to lifting the conditionality all together and scraping the human rights and democracy questions off its wish-list in what can be described as a series of reactive policies in response to the oil crisis, EU’s own enlargement, and terrorism threats. It is also true that the EU’s policy towards the region was a factor in deepening divisions between the Mediterranean and the Gulf states, and that there is “much to gain by linking the EU’s various policy threads with different Arab countries”, even more in fostering a Euro-Arab agenda instead of the exclusive and divisive EU-Mediterranean vision. 

Visa to paradise

By Rouba al-Fattal on October 30, 2008

I stood for inspection at the gates of heaven
‘Passport and visa please’, a full armed angel demanded...

Beyond the Veil

By Rouba al-Fattal on May 1, 2008


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