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Raghida Dergham Guest on Al Jazeera's Min Washington
02/11/2014

فيلتمان لـ«الحياة»: عدم انعقاد المؤتمر يعني ترشح الأسد للرئاسة السنة المقبلة

10/24/2013

Interview: Raghida with Jeffrey Feltman
10/24/2013


وزير خارجية البحرين لـ«الحياة»: كيري أبلغنا ان التركيز مع إيران سيكون على الملف النووي

2013/10/01

القربي لـ«الحياة»: «حزب الله» وإيران يقدمان الدعم المادي والمعنوي للبيض
2013/10/01

سليمان لـ«الحياة»: لا تسرب لأسلحة كيماوية إلى لبنان ونيات انفتاح بين السعودية وإيران تبشر بانفراج عام

2013/09/27

المرزوقي لـ«الحياة»: 4500 تونسي منعناهم من السفر إلى سورية للقتال

2013/09/26

العطية لـ «الحياة»: مجلس التعاون يدرس آليات للتحرك في الأمم المتحدة في شأن سورية

2013/09/25

زيباري لـ «الحياة»: الأسد باق ولا حل بلا تدخل دولي مسؤول

2013/09/25

وزير الخارجية المصري لـ«الحياة»: قرارنا لن يتأثر بالمساعدات الأميركية

2013/09/24

العربي لـ«الحياة»: الحل في سورية يجب أن يكون سياسياً ومؤتمر السلام للبحث في هيئة حكومية انتقالية بصلاحيات كاملة
10/03/2013


الزياني لـ «الحياة»: اقتراحات سترفع إلى القمة في شأن اقتراحات التحول إلى كيان موحد
10/03/2013

أوغلو لـ«الحياة»: التفاهمات الدولية محصورة بالملف الكيماوي ومن السابق لأوانه التكهن بنتائج الحوار الأميركي - الإيراني
10/03/2013

ناس و ناس مع كبيرة المراسلين راغدة درغام

FutureTV Society & Lifestyle
2013/06/02


Ethics and Politics: Response to the Plight of Refugees
Raghida Dergham - Beirut Institute - April 13, 2013

Beirut Al Yawm - Raghida Dergham
MTV - Lebanon - 05/17/2013

Faith in the Future
Article - Bespoke Magazine

Writer: Raya Jalabi - Photo: Thierry van Biesen
October 2012

Beirut’s New Think Tank
Talking to Raghida Dergham
Hanin Ghaddar, July 3, 2012


Web-Exclusive Video:

بانوراما: هل يسقط المشروع بالفيتو الروسي
02/01/2012


Raghida Dergham @ Murex D'or 2012
2012 Journalism Award for the Arab Region

Raghida's Acceptance Speech (@27mins:30sec)


Interview: Raghida Dergham  with Mahmoud Abbas
09/23/2011

Raghida Dergham Speaks at The Worldwide Alumni
Association of the American University of Beirut
Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel - Montreal - 10/09/2009


راغدة درغام: حاربت من أجل حياتي
2009/09/02



Photo: david abdalla

Weekly Column - 08/15/2014
Translation  - Karim Traboulsi
(Updated every Friday)
ISIS Turns Into a Catalyst for
Reviving Sunni Moderation

 

The events in Iraq this week may represent the entryway to a new approach in Saudi-Iranian ties, with the removal of the obstacle represented by Nouri al-Maliki, and the deal to appoint Haidar Abadi as prime minister to form a consensus, non-exclusionary government in Iraq.  This is an important step that opens up the possibility of Iraq serving as a gateway to broader agreements in Iraq, but also to regional agreements, specifically as regards Saudi-Iranian relations. But this is one step rather than a comprehensive strategy to overturn the state of this bilateral relationship. The path to that is long, and mutual trust will not be borne suddenly out of the Iraqi womb as soon as the Maliki obstacle is removed or an agreement is reached to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and its terrorism. It is also hoped that events in Iraq over the past few weeks, from ISIS’s onslaught to Maliki’s theatrics, are not part of a tactical ploy by a certain party or a group of parties. Tactics do not amount to a strategy after all, and are sometimes deliberately deceptive, using temporary surprises while continuing preparations to revive the original strategy. Instead, it is hoped that events in Iraq would lead to a new beginning for Iraq itself to emerge out of the hegemony of this side or the grip of that side, and proceed toward healthy federalism and not necessarily a confederation that would be based on partition. There are indications that the Iraqi events could bring about a positive change in regional and international understandings for a variety of reasons. So far, whether temporarily or whether there are indications of its sustainability, moderation is climbing into a new position, after having been trampled before by extremist movements and regimes with external help, especially from the United States, segments in which have supported both the Shiite theocracy in Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood and its theocratic project for the Sunnis out of Egypt.

There has been a lot of fascination with ISIS for several months now, particularly when ISIS appeared to have the momentum and the element of surprise while the Iraqi army shockingly retreated before its advance in a way that remains quite mysterious in its features, background, and logic. There are many theories regarding the identity of ISIS and of those behind it. One theory considers it an infernal combination of a group of intelligence services from multiple countries, from the Middle East and Western and Eastern powers. Another theory holds that it is an Iranian instrument to spread chaos as part of reinforcing the need for Iranian control over Iraq to control the situation and deter extremist terrorism there. And of course, there is the theory that considers ISIS to be the making of Sunni Salafism and Wahhabism with support from Qatari and Saudi families and parties, with a view to confront Iran and its allies using the language of “fire for fire” in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

In the view of some, ISIS resembles the character of Rajeh in the Fairuz play, that is, a fictional character that only exists in the imaginations of those intimidated by him, making it a reality. But the reality left behind by ISIS, with its atrocities, brutal violence, and overt terrorism makes it a reality rather than an illusion.

The discussion also focuses on whether ISIS is a transient phenomenon – in the sense that, thanks to its appalling cruelty, it would not be able to survive because it lacks a support base on the long run – or whether it is the product of a support base that it already has in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon in the context of fighting cruelty with cruelty, extremism with extremism, and bullying with bullying in the same measure or more.

ISIS is a combination of the two in terms of the support base that helped it take off and made it the terrifying catalyst it is today, but also in terms of its non-sustainability because it would not be able to keep its support base after causing the shock it has caused.

Perhaps history will note later what some now only whisper, that ISIS is a necessary evil as a “correction” of Iran’s excessive domination over Iraq, the fate of Syria, and the fate of Lebanon. Perhaps history will also note that ISIS thwarted the Iranian project, supported by the neocons in the Bush administration, dubbed the Shiite Crescent, by reshaping the Iraq-Syrian border along Sunni lines instead of Shiite-centric contiguity. But history will not forgive ISIS and its supporters or sympathizers for the atrocities against Christians, Yezidis, Kurds, Shiites, and other minorities. Certainly, the moderation brought to the fore by ISIS’s extremist brutality will not prevail if its popular base fails to tell ISIS firmly that it will not be a nurturing environment for it.

ISIS’s crimes has dwarfed the terrorism of others and overshadowed the crimes of others. ISIS is now the new focal point of counterterrorism, while at the same time becoming, as a done deal, a major catalyst in reviving Sunni moderation and rallying Sunnis from Iraq to Lebanon with a Saudi decision.

In Iraq, both ISIS and former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki have succeeded in rallying opponents to agree to remove them from the Iraqi scene. The American, Saudi, Iranian, and European leaderships all agreed to get rid of the two threats, with important Iraqi attitudes voiced against the two. Perhaps this inadvertently contributed to strengthening moderation against extremism, not only in Iraq , but also in the battle taking place within Iran between the hardliners led by Qassem Soleimani and the Revolutionary Guard, and the moderate camp led by President Hassan Rohani.

Currently, Soleimani’s retreat and Rohani’s rise are clear through the stances expressed by the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, who has supported Abadi as prime minister of Iraq and made it clear that Maliki had to step down. This was a blow to Soleimani, who clang to Maliki and who wanted to take advantage of the chaos unleashed by ISIS in Iraq to impose Iraq’s need for Maliki. But it is not clear whether this is all part of a tactic and distribution of roles as Ayatollah Khamenei has ordained, or whether it was a serious retreat by the hardliners controlled by Soleimani’s faction at the behest of Ayatollah Khamenei, as is being said.

If the rise of moderation within Iran is a serious development at the decision of the supreme leader, rather than a tactic based on the distribution of roles, the events in Iraq will prove to be extremely important, because they would be indicative of  ....

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