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Abraham Accords, a step towards a New Middle East: Part 1

The United States has emerged as a major architect of the new map of the Middle East while continuing its military disengagement. This aims to extricate itself from a military quagmire as much as to recover forces and concentrate them towards a new objective: The Indo-Pacific zone and China. Washington intends to leave the keys of regional security exclusively to local actors.

The arrival of Joe Biden in power should not cause a setback in the progress made. In fact, the talks that have begun may continue. But the new president promises to be less soft on Saudi Arabia and Israel than his predecessor. The resolution of the Iranian nuclear issue is also expected to become a large part of his diplomatic agenda. Even if it means offending his Israeli partners.

In addition to promising an era of Arab-Israeli collaboration for the good of the region, the Abraham Accords are extremely important both in delineating alliances and battle lines in the region and in reversing the failed modes of conflict management, mediation, and negotiation that have long stifled prospects for peace.[i]

In this regard, Alex Ryvchin[ii] argues in the European Eye on Radicalization:[iii]

“Aside from promising an era of Israeli-Arab collaboration for the good of the region, the Accords are highly significant both for delineating alliances and battle lines in the region and for upending failed modes of mediation and negotiation that have long stifled the prospects of peace. “

The myth of Abraham

Abraham, whose name literally means “father of a multitude“,[iv] is seen as a fundamental figure in the sacred texts of the three monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The patriarch is said to have been born in 1948 after the creation of the world according to Jewish tradition, around 1812 BC. He is said to have originated from Ur in Chaldea, a region located between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, today in Iraq.

There are no archaeological traces of the man. Nevertheless, it is likely that the traditions relating to Abraham, his son Isaac and his grandson Jacob were originally independent of each other before being assembled into a common genealogical narrative at a much later time, probably in the XVIIth century BC.

Abraham is a central figure in all three monotheistic religions. Jews, Christians, and Muslims recognize a common ancestor: Abraham, the founding figure of these three confessions.[v] The Midrash (traditional Jewish commentary on the Bible) tells us in great detail about the life of the patriarch: we see him breaking the idols of his father Terah, resisting the tyranny of Nimrod, being miraculously saved from the fiery furnace where he was thrown down at the latter’s behest; we see him always fighting and preaching for his faith. This faith is the exclusive and ardent love for one eminently righteous God – “Far be it from you to do such a thing–to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis, 18:25).[vi]  God is also eminently good, who makes Abraham a blessing for all the peoples of the earth. This immense love makes Abraham all the more aware of his smallness: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes“.[vii] But he dares to speak with God, to insist on obtaining forgiveness from others, for he himself wants justice above all: he makes war to free his captive nephew Lot, but refuses any share of the spoils or even any retribution for himself. Finally, in both Jewish and Arab tradition, Abraham is the very image of loyalty (Genesis, 23-24[viii]; Genesis 23, 11-16)[ix] [x]and the finest example of absolute respect for the rules of hospitality (Genesis 18).[xi]

Ibrâhîm (Arabic: إبراهيم) is a character from the Qur’ân. In Islam, he corresponds to the character of Abraham in Genesis. He has the nickname Hanif, and is commonly referred to as Khalîl Allah (God’s close friend) and Sayyiduna Ibrâhîm (our father/master Ibrahim). Ibrâhîm is one of the prophets of Islam, and he plays an essential role in the Muslim faith, as Islam sees itself as the continuity of Abraham’s faith. Ibrâhîm is generally presented to Muslims as the model of the believer, through his submission to Allah, and is commemorated annually by ‘Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice). Muslims also owe him the institution of circumcision and the construction of the Ka’ba Temple.

Like Judaism and Christianity, Islam claims Abraham (Ibrâhîm) as the model of the true believer.[xii] The figure of the patriarch appears gradually as Koranic preaching comes up against resistance from the surrounding poly and monotheistic religions.[xiii]. In Islam, Abraham is an exemplary figure of the believer, the witness of God’s original will for man. Abraham would have been the restorer of the Adamic monotheistic cult in Mecca. But after him, pilgrims turned away from the true faith and became pagans.

The Qur’ân gives an important place to Abraham, the father of believers and the friend (khalîl) of Allah. He is one of the four great messengers, along with Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad. In fact, biologically speaking, he is the father of these last three prophets, hence his crucial importance in the history of revelation. In particular, it is the verses revealed in the second period of the prophet’s life, after his emigration from Mecca to Madinah, that evoke his role in the prophetic tradition and the foundation of the belief in one God. These Medina verses also speak of his son Isma’îl, who restored the Ka’ba by his side.

Ibrâhîm is mentioned many times in the Qur’an. He appears in 25 suras. In sura 4, he is nicknamed Khalîl Allah (the intimate friend of God), which evokes a name found in Talmudic writings. In the Qur’an, he is the son of Azar (although biblical genealogy is known to post-Qur’anic commentators), a “fervent idolater”. A number of Qur’anic narratives related to Abraham come from inter-testamentary or haggadic traditions.[xiv]

A new peace dynamic

The “Abraham Accords” generated a peace dynamic that goes far beyond the two small Middle Eastern monarchies (UAE and Bahrain) that initiated it and their 11 million inhabitants. Thus, at the end of October 2020 Israel, in parallel with the signing of economic cooperation agreements, established diplomatic relations with Sudan,[xv] an immense Arab country with a population of 45 million inhabitants, whose surface area is three times that of France and a hundred times that of Israel. As a result, the United States granted a billion-dollar loan to Sudan and removed it from the list of states supporting terrorism on which it had been on since 1993, a sanction that hindered its relations with many countries. Unlike the two confetti states in the Gulf, Sudan, although far from the front lines, has participated in several of the Arab wars aimed at destroying Israel. Its capital, Khartoum, hosted the famous 1967 Arab League summit where the three “Nos” were decreed: No to peace. No to recognition. No to negotiation with the “Zionist enemy”.

Sudan, is back in line, having signed on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, the Abraham agreements normalizing its relations with Israel after receiving from the Americans a billion-dollar aid to repay its debt to the World Bank (WB). A month earlier, the United States had already removed the country from its blacklist of states accused of financing terrorism.

Already, the wind of peace is moving the lines unexpectedly to the land of the Cedar, whose territory at the gates of Israel is home to Hezbollah and its missiles, which, pointed at Haifa and Tel Aviv, represent the most dangerous threat to Israeli civilians. To everyone’s surprise, Israeli and Lebanese delegations met last fall, under the aegis of the UN, to discuss the delimitation of territorial waters on which the exploitation of recently discovered hydrocarbon deposits in the Mediterranean depends.

These contacts, described as “technical”, come at a time when within Lebanon a growing part of the population and the political class wishes to marginalize Hezbollah, whose pro-Iranian activism would endanger the entire country in the event of war with Israel. Eminent voices have been raised recently in favor of peace with Israel: that of Christian Claudine Aoun, daughter of the Lebanese president, and that of Sunni Bahaa Hariri, brother of the Prime Minister, who was long considered a hawk.

On this particular issue, Orna Mizrahi writes in INSS of October 15, 2020:[xvi]

“The start of negotiations between Israel and Lebanon on marking the maritime border is a milestone in the history of the relations between the two countries. It invites the question whether agreement on this issue might bring about a strategic change in relations between Israel and Lebanon, following the Abraham Accords and given the dire situation in Lebanon, which desperately needs external aid from the United States and other Western countries. An analysis of the internal balance of power in Lebanon, however, suggests that the prospects for such a change are at best slim at the present time, especially as long as Hezbollah maintains its special status as an independent military power in Lebanon and wields decisive influence in decision-making processes. Nevertheless, Israel should try to take advantage of the opportunity created by the change in Lebanon by urging that a roadmap for solving the dispute between Lebanon and Israel be a condition for Western aid, in order to create security stability in the region. In addition, a dialogue with all sectors of Lebanon’s population should be initiated, over the head of Hezbollah. “

Led initially by Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, the campaign to normalize relations with Israel is expected to continue with Oman, Indonesia, and Saudi Arabia. Riyadh is a choice piece for the U.S. However, King Salmane is historically very attached to the Palestinian question and considers himself accountable for the Abdallah plan of 2002 known as “Arab Peace Initiative”,[xvii] which provided for normalization after the recognition of a Palestinian state. Dealing with Israel always represents a red line that Crown Prince Mohammed Ben Salmane (MBS) should not cross. At least for the time being. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has gradually given way to another common enemy: Iran.

The Sultanate of Oman, for its part, quickly welcomed the Israeli-Emirati agreement. But at the same time, it reaffirmed its attachment to the “rights” of the Palestinians to a “state with East Jerusalem as its capital“. The map of neutrality therefore coupled with mediation, Muscat also practicing balanced relations with both the United States and Iran. It should be noted, however, that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu had paid a visit to Oman at the invitation of the late Sultan Qaboos. Today, would his successor, Sultan Haitham, be in the same state of mind?

Kristian Coates Ulrichsen and Giorgio Cafiero argue in The Middle East Institute that though Oman does not reject the normalization with Israel yet it wants to play it safe in quite a balancing act:[xviii]

“Omani diplomats constantly work to help actors around the Middle East find peaceful solutions to regional crises. The sultanate’s position as the volatile region’s “island of neutrality” has long made Muscat a credible diplomatic bridge between Israelis and Palestinians, the U.S. and Iran, and Arab states and Iran. Ultimately, in order to continue playing this constructive peacemaker role, Oman must strike a delicate balance and signing an accord with Israel could throw this off in various ways — chiefly by burning bridges with certain Palestinian factions. While Oman contends with several regional and domestic challenges, Muscat will likely wait longer before formalizing relations with the Jewish state. “

As for the emirate of Qatar, for the time being, no reaction yet, but it should be remembered that from 1996 to 2000 it hosted a trade office with the Hebrew state. Moreover, Doha has great proximity to the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip. It is involved in the Palestinian question, but as it stands, as long as the peace process is blocked, it seems unlikely to expect a normalization with Tel Aviv.[xix] As for Kuwait, although it is an ally of the United States, it has always opposed normalization. The agreement between the Emirates and Israel has been debated, denounced by some, but defended by others. However, hostility to Israel remains in the majority.[xx]

It is widely accepted that other countries, particularly in the Gulf, could follow the path set out by Abu Dhabi and Manama. What will Riyadh decide? Saudi Arabia authorized, at the end of August 2020, a Boeing 737 of the Israeli company El Al to cross its airspace to head towards the U.A.E. What next? King Salmane recently reaffirmed “the Kingdom’s desire to achieve a lasting and just solution for the Palestinian cause in order to achieve peace“. But isn’t he, in fact, in his role? The country is home to the Holy Places of Islam and has 34 million inhabitants, the impact of normalization with Tel Aviv would have caused great electroshock. However, the U.A.E. had the best “profile”, so to speak, to be the first to dare to take the step. With a population of 11 million, the country is ruled in an authoritarian manner and locked by Sheikh Mohamed Ben Zayed al Nahyane. Finally, it is a modern country, open to globalization and somehow modernity.

On the Maghrebi side, the question is posed in different terms with regard to Mauritania. This country welcomed the normalization with Israel and said it was “convinced that the Emirates take into account the interests of the Arab nation and the Palestinian people“. Nouakchott had already established diplomatic relations with Tel Aviv in 1999, which were broken off in 2010. Will the new president, Mohamed Ould-El Ghazouani, in office since August 1, 2019, finally fit into this gradual process of normalization? He will then have to face a double pressure: that of the street and that of the Islamists under the leadership of the Tewassoul party.[xxi]

Peace with Morocco

After Sudan came the turn of Morocco, another great Arab country whose king, amîr al-mu’minînCommander of the Faithful,” is not an outsider in Islam. The resumption of diplomatic relations with Israel was announced by Donald Trump himself on December 10, 2020. In exchange, the former U.S. president offered the Sherifian kingdom a major gift: the recognition of its sovereignty over Western Sahara.[xxii] Away from the Middle Eastern front, Rabat had never cut bridges with Tel Aviv. Liaison offices between the two countries had even existed in their respective capitals between 1994 and 2002. Contested by Moroccan Islamists, the current reconciliation rests on a strong human ground: the presence in Israel of nearly a million citizens of Moroccan origin and the maintenance in this country of a community of a few thousand Jews, which has always been protected by the monarchy. Unique in the Arab world, one of the members of this community, André Azoulay, has been the principal advisor for three decades to successive monarchs: Hassan II and then his son Mohammed VI.[xxiii]

On the other hand, the fact that Morocco is normalizing its relations with the Hebrew state is important. For France and Europe, it would be impossible to ignore the strategic situation of this country, at the crossroads of the Maghreb, the Sahara, and West Africa. In return, Morocco obtains from the United States the recognition of its sovereignty over the “Southern Provinces”, i.e. Western Sahara (December 10, 2020), a major diplomatic breakthrough and political development warmly welcomed by all Moroccan citizens. Indeed, Rabat does not lack solid arguments to justify its position, whether it is the long history of the Sherifian monarchy with sub-Saharan Africa, the enormous investments made there, or the autonomy program proposed to its southern provinces.

Relations between the two countries are not totally watertight: far from it. First, the human dimension with some 800,000 Israelis of Moroccan origin.[xxiv] This community today is very attached to Morocco where it had its roots. The photo of Sultan Mohammed V, yellowed by time, and that of King Hassan II are present in most Moroccan Jewish homes. Mohammed VI is greeted and considered in a special way, not only because he is on the throne of his father and grandfather, but because he has consecrated in the Moroccan identity and culture, the part of the Hebrew heritage in the Constitution of July 2011.[xxv] On the economic level, for the years 2014-2017, the trade flow was in the order of 150 million dollars. Today, it is around $50 million per year. At the forefront, for more than 20 years, has been the agricultural technology sector of the Israeli giant NEFATIM, which created a Moroccan subsidiary, REGAFIM, in 1994. Trade flows use complex channels that do not allow precise traceability of exchanges.

It is necessary to add cultural cooperation with the participation of artists and orchestras (Festival of Atlantic Andalusia, etc.) and even sports in international meetings. On the military level, there are media reports of some strictly confidential cooperation. The Israeli site Israel Valley, referring to the Israeli Center for Statistics, revealed in 2018 arms sales, in particular the Tavor X95 9 mm, an assault rifle equipping the IDF infantry forces of Tsahal. Recently, some specialized media have also reported that Israeli drones have been delivered. To this, we must add a tourist flow of 50,000 Israelis, not only for religious reasons.

Finally, on the diplomatic level, Morocco acts as a kind of interface between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, but on the basis of fundamentals: As Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said, “we must not be more Palestinian than the Palestinians” about the “Agreement of the Century”. Morocco did not agree with this while declaring that the American plan contains principles – including the two-state solution – that are in line with Rabat’s position. Moreover, it should be recalled that the Kingdom has always mobilized in the concert of nations to explicitly reject the transfer of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. A strong message was sent on this occasion, in December 2017, by the King to President Trump, stressing that the legal status of Al-Quds was at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In November 2019, the Sovereign reiterated this principled position in a message to the Chairman of the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. The voice of King Mohammed VI is international, especially since he is chairman of the Al-Quds Committee and he is vigilant and challenging to ensure that the integrity of the Holy City, as well as its civilizational character, are preserved.

You can follow Professor Mohamed Chtatou on Twitter: @Ayurinu

 Endnotes:

[i] Maria Abi-Habib. “U.S., Middle East Allies Explore Arab Military Coalition.” Wall Street Journal dated February 15, 2017. https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-middle-east-allies-explore-arab-military-coalition-1487154600

“Trump administration officials have said they want to revitalize American alliances in the area and take new steps to constrain the regional influence wielded by Iran, though they didn’t respond to requests for comment on the plan. A spokesman for Israel’s prime minister didn’t respond to a request for comment. “

[ii] Alex Ryvchin, author of Zionism: The Concise History and the Co-Chief Executive Officer of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry.

Alex Ryvchin. Zionism: The Concise History. Brisbane, Queensland, Australia: Connor Court Publishing, 2019.

The story of Zionism, the Jewish movement of national liberation that led to the founding of modern Israel, is animated by leaders possessed with rare vision and political genius. It is also a story of tragedy, false dawns, and suffering on an incomprehensible scale. Above all, it is a story without precedent, that saw an ancient, scattered, persecuted people who had limped from one disaster to the next, achieving a return to freedom in the lands of their ancestors nearly two millennia after their exile. In this extraordinary feat of narrative history, Alex Ryvchin tells the gripping story of Zionism, a movement that has become one of the most controversial and least understood political concepts of our time, one that remains central to modern Jewish identity and to war and peace in the Middle East.

[iii] Alex Ryvchin. “Abraham Accords Reframe Conflict and Isolate Regional Extremists. “European Eye on Radicalization dated October 12, 2020. https://eeradicalization.com/abraham-accords-reframe-conflict-and-isolate-regional-extremists/

[iv] Jeremy Breland. “Abram to Abraham? Why did He do it? / Faith. “Walterboro Live dated June 28, 2020. https://walterborolive.com/stories/abram-to-abraham-why-did-he-do-it-faith,32425#:~:text=In%20the%20original%20Hebrew%20language,of%20a%20multitude.%E2%80%9D%20Most%20modern

“In the original Hebrew language of the Torah, which is the first five books of our Old Testament, the name Abram literally means “exalted father.” The name Abraham, however, contains another unused root word, which roughly means “multitude.” Abraham translated literally, then, means “father of a multitude.” Most modern Bibles that contain footnotes will annotate this literal meaning of the Hebrew in the margin.

[v] David Vauclaire. Les religions d’Abraham : Judaïsme, christianisme, islam. Paris: Editions Eyrolles, 2010.

Jews, Christians, and Muslims recognise a common ancestor: Abraham, the founding figure of these three confessions. Historical, pedagogical, and impartial, this book offers a general introduction to the religious culture that one out of every two human beings claims to be. It does this by making a comparative reading of the Abrahamic religions, identifying their points of contact and their respective positions on the main questions of society. More than ever topical, this book sheds light on what distinguishes these three religions and what brings them together.

[vi] https://biblehub.com/genesis/18-25.htm

[vii] https://biblehub.com/genesis/18-27.htm

[viii] https://biblehub.com/genesis/21-23.htm

[ix] https://biblehub.com/genesis/23-11.htm

[x]https://biblehub.com/genesis/23-16.htm

[xi]https://biblehub.com/genesis/18-1.htm

[xii] Kaltner John. “Abraham’s Sons: how the Bible and the Qur’an see the same story differently. “Bible Review, 45-46, 18-2, 2002: 16-23.

[xiii] The Book of Jubilees, writes Millar, “retells the story of Abraham, Sarah, Hagar and Ishmael, the Covenant and the circumcision of Isaac. It also records that Ishmael was then circumcised too […]. But it continues by proclaiming with great emphasis that the Covenant was to be solely for those circumcised at eight days, and categorically excludes Ishmael and his descendants “(Millar Fergus, 1993, “Hagar, Ishmael, Josephus and the Origins of Islam. “Journal of Jewish Studies, 44-1, pp. 23-45. 1993: 37).

[xiv] Pierre Lory. “Abraham. “ In Dictionnaire du Coran, Mohammed Ali Amir-Moezzi (Direction). Paris : Bouquins, Robert Laffon, 2007 : 9-14.

[xv] Yehudit Ronen. “Israel’s Clandestine Diplomacy with Sudan: Two Rounds of Extraordinary Collaboration “

in Clive Jones et Tore T. Petersen, Israel’s Clandestine Diplomacies. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013: 153-168.

[xvi] Orna Mizrahi. “Is a Strategic Change in Lebanon-Israel Relations Possible at the Present Time? “INSS Insight No. 1390 dated October 15, 2020. https://www.inss.org.il/publication/israel-lebanon-normalization/

[xvii] Arab Peace Initiative. https://www.kas.de/wf/doc/kas_3659-1442-2-30.pdf?110513133418

[xviii] Kristian Coates Ulrichsen & Giorgio Cafiero. “Oman plays it safe on Israel. “Middle East institute dated October 27, 2020. https://www.mei.edu/publications/oman-plays-it-safe-israel

[xix] The Economic Times. “Qatar rules out normalization of Israel ties for now. “The Economic Times dated December 4, 2020. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/uae/qatar-rules-out-normalisation-of-israel-ties-for-now/articleshow/79568573.cms

“Qatar’s foreign minister said Friday that his country remains committed to the creation of a Palestinian state with its capital in east Jerusalem, and that progress on that front would need to be “at the core” of any agreement to normalize relations with Israel. “Right now, I don’t see that the normalization of Qatar and Israel is going to add value to the Palestinian people,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said at Italy’s annual Mediterranean Dialogue. “

[xx] Tyler B. Parker. “Why Kuwait Rejects Normalization With Israel. “Fair Observer dated August 18, 2020. https://www.fairobserver.com/region/middle_east_north_africa/tyler-parker-kuwait-news-israel-relations-uae-gulf-arab-news-international-media-news-79163/

“Kuwait’s most unique aspect is its semi-democratic institutions. The national assembly wields significant power and channels public sentiment against normalization. Notably, Speaker Marzouq al-Ghanim chastised Israeli Knesset members in 2017 as “occupiers and murderers of children.” Parliamentarian Osama al-Shaheen declared in late April 2020 that “Kuwait is against any cultural, political, or social normalization with the ‘Zionist entity.’” This statement is emblematic of the relative autonomy of Kuwait‘s Islamist political opposition and their position in parliament. As of August 18, 39 of Kuwait’s 50 parliamentarians signed a statement stressing their view against normalization with Israel. “

[xxi] Middle East Monitor. “Mauritania MPs call for criminalizing normalization with Israel. “Middle East Monitor dated January 6, 2020. https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20210106-mauritania-mps-call-for-criminalising-normalisation-with-israel/

“Mauritanian MPs called to enact legislation criminalizing the normalization of relations with the Israeli occupation.

 In a joint statement the Union of Forces of Progress (UFP), People’s Progressive Alliance (APP), and the Alliance for Justice and Democracy (AJD) opposition parties said: “In light of the expanding circle of political and economic normalization with Israel and its echo reaching the Maghreb region and African states, it is no longer a secret that normalization advocates are exerting many pressures, both overtly and in secret, to get more countries aboard this sinister train.”

 The statement called on all parliamentary blocs to make an urgent effort to reflect the reality of the permanent historical national consensus held since the establishment of the Mauritanian state to fully support just and emancipation causes, the most prominent of which is the Palestinian issue.

 The statement added that “the crime of normalisation, apart from constituting a violation of the consensus of the peoples of the world who advocate for peace, freedom, and anti-colonialism, stands for accepting all the crimes on which the brutal Zionist entity was founded and continues to commit on a daily basis.” “

[xxii] Mohamed Chtatou. “Triangular Friendship: USA, Morocco, and Israel. “Jewish Website dated January 4, 2021. https://jewishwebsite.com/opinion/triangular-friendship-usa-morocco-and-israel/64686/

[xxiii] Mohamed Chtatou. “Understanding Moroccan “Normalization” with Israel. “Washington Institute dated January 5, 2021. https://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/understanding-moroccan-normalization-israel

[xxiv] Mohamed Chtatou. “Emigration Of Jews Of Morocco To Israel In 20th Century – Analysis. “Eurasia Review dated March 5, 2018. https://www.eurasiareview.com/05032018-emigration-of-jews-of-morocco-to-israel-in-20th-century-analysis/

[xxv] Moroccan Constitution of 2011. https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Morocco_2011.pdf

The Moroccan constitution of 2011 makes a clear reference to the Moroccan Jewish legacy and historical identity, in the Preamble.

About the Author
Dr. Mohamed Chtatou is a Professor of “MENA region area studies” at Université Internationale de Rabat -UIR- and of “Education” at Université Mohammed V in Rabat, as well. Besides, he is currently a political analyst with Moroccan, American, Gulf, French, Italian and British media on politics and culture in the Middle East, Islamism and religious terrorism. He is, also, a specialist on political Islam in the MENA region with interest in the roots of terrorism and religious extremism. During 2015 he worked as Program Director with the USAID/CHEMONICS educational project entitled: “Reading for Success: A Small Scale Experimentation” in cooperation with the Moroccan Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training (MENFP). He recently taught cultural studies to Semester abroad students with AMIDEAST, IES and CIEE study abroad programs in Morocco insuring such courses as: “Introduction to Moroccan Culture,” “Contemporary North African History,” “Arab Spring,” “Amazigh Culture,” “Moroccan Jewish Legacy,” “Community-Based Learning” (internship with civil society organizations). He is, also, currently teaching “Communication Skills” and “Translation and Interpreting” to master students at The Institute for Leadership and Communication Studies –ILCS- in Rabat, Morocco and supervising several Fulbright students in areas of religion and culture in Morocco. He has taught in the past some courses in universities in the USA, Spain, France, Italy, England and Greece.
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