Tag - Middle East

Israel and Saudi Ambitions

Israel-Palestine: When the Map Lies

The US and Iran are negotiating to end the over 33 years of lack of diplomatic recognition and the US-led sanction on Iran. This effort causes the Right Wing Israeli Government to scream “Nooooooo…”.

Consequently AIPAC is putting pressure, successfully we’d assert, on the US congress to pass laws which say ‘We’ll have none of that, in THIS house, thank you,” like some dowager aunt, who has an unshakable belief in her own moral values, after being a libertine in her youth.

To us it makes good sense for Iran to have a nuclear program for two reasons, first to counter Israel’s nuclear program with which it threatens its close neighbors, including Iran, and second to provide a lever to force the US to negotiate; without an Iranian nuclear program, the US and Iran would probably not be negotiating anything.

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Russia turns its attention to Syria – and the rest of the Middle East as well

Shortly after Vladimir Putin and Secretary of State John Kerry agreed to seek a negotiated settlement to the Syrian civil war, the Russian president bolstered his support for the embattled Assad government. He announced an impending transfer of anti-ship and surface-to-air missiles to the Syrian military. It was a bold move that signals Putin’s intent to restore his country’s influence in the world, which, to the former KGB officer, had been gravely damaged by the fall of communism in 1991. The move also demonstrates considerable strategic vision.
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Allow me to introduce myself.

Profile picture of Jeff Wegerson

I’m a second generation Chicagoan. Live on the north side and work on the west side. I was around in the 70’s as a hippy. What little of Marx I understood then I liked. So when governments are democratic l tend to prefer them especially, of course, over corporations. My standards for democracy are extremely high. At the moment I don’t really count the plutocratic U.S. I believe that the bigger an organization is the more regulations it needs to follow. To me “to big to fail” means way more than big enough to nationalize.

I miss the diary system here at the Agonist….

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The next world war will be fought over water, not ideology or religion

While we here in America rest secure in our homes, largely free from the scourge of want or shortage, we’ve become immune from and blissfully ignorant of what may well be the cause of future wars around the world: water. Joe Sixpack, when he turns on the faucet at his kitchen sink, doesn’t often think about what a precious commodity water is. We can do without many things- beer, chocolate, Fox News Channel- but no human will last long without water. In some parts of the world, particularly the Middle East, the scarcity of water is about to become an issue that exceeds religion and ideology in terms of its potential to foment armed conflict.

The bellwether in this scenario is Yemen, a country few Americans could find on a map if their life depended on it. Yemen’s inability to manage its growth, politics, and natural resources has left the country’s water supply in grave danger. The early returns are not good; in Yemen the conflicts are no longer about ideology or religion; they’re about water. In that sense, Yemen represents what the future holds for the Middle East, as regimes who have mismanaged their natural resources will soon find themselves unable to supply the water their populations require in sufficient quantity.

The next wars in the Middle East won’t be religious conflicts; they’ll be about survival.

(Read the full post at What Would Jack Do?)

Talkin’ Gaza on Up With Chris Hayes

Via HuffPo:

For Americans following the Israel-Gaza conflict through mainstream television news, Sunday marked a welcome departure from the frequent unbalanced analysis that has long prevented any meaningful understanding of the situation. MSNBC’s Up With Chris devoted a lengthy segment to the conflict with a guest lineup that actually lent itself to an informative and balanced conversation about the escalating conflict.


Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

h/t Jamila Aisha

AJE: Gaza: How can the US manage the crisis?


To Hamas and other Palestinian groups, the US president sent a strong condemnation, saying there is no justification for “the cowardly acts” of launching rockets into Israel.

To the Israeli prime minister, Benyamin Netanyahu, he sent a message of support and simply urged him to “avoid” civilian casualties.

[As of Friday] around two dozen Palestinians have been killed including six children and a pregnant woman. Three Israeli civilians have been killed.


Was David Rothkopf Channeling Michael Oren?

Last week, after it appeared that the warmongering from Israel had died down, an article appeared in Foreign Policy by David Rothkopf, its editor. It was widely tweeted, and some reporters I respect seemed to be taking it seriously. I found that hard to do after this statement, about halfway through the article:

Indeed, according to a source close to the discussions, the action that participants currently see as most likely is a joint U.S.-Israeli surgical strike targeting Iranian enrichment facilities.

I would have thought that, after the discussions by military experts saying that no way could anything that would have any effect on Iran be called a “surgical strike,” someone like Rothkopf would have had better sense than to use that phrase, and the rest of the commentariat would have had better sense than to take him seriously. Read More

Turkey: Public Support Low for Possible Fight Against Syria

by Dorian Jones

(Originally published by EurasiaNet.org, republished by permission)

The chances of a war erupting between Turkey and Syria appear to be rising. But the heated rhetoric of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government does not seem to be matched by public enthusiasm for conflict.

The escalation in tension follows an incident October 3, when Syrian shelling killed two women and three children in the Turkish border town of Akcakale. The Turkish parliament responded on October 4 with a motion sanctioning military intervention into “foreign countries.” In the days since, Turkish artillery has been returning fire at the Syrian army.

“We have retaliated [for Syrian shelling] and if it continues, we’ll respond more strongly,” Turkish media outlets have quoted the armed forces chief of staff, Gen. Necdet Ozel, as saying.

While the Turkish Foreign Ministry has warned that “enough is enough,” opinion polls suggest a hardening and ever-increasing majority of Turks oppose armed intervention in the Syrian conflict.  Read More

Khaled Meshal and Hamas Go Their Separate Ways

by Ali Younes

(Originally posted by Foreign Policy in Focus, republished under a Creative Commons license)

The news that Hamas leader Khaled Meshal is resigning his leadership post is an ominous sign that Hamas is heading toward more confrontation with its Palestinian rival Fatah and the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the near future.  Meshal is reported as seeking a bigger role for himself within the PLO even perhaps as its leader replacing the ageing and discredited Mahmoud Abbas.

As a leader of Gaza-based Hamas, Meshal should have been leading his organization from Gaza, which is free of Israeli control, and work to improve the lives of the people of Gaza, which his organization has been controlling since 2007. Instead Meshal has opted to place himself in the mold of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat taking comfort in hoping from this Arab capital to one day replace Arafat as a “symbol” of the Palestinian struggle against Israel albeit with very little results.

Even though Meshal lacks the personal charisma Arafat enjoyed for over 40 years, which later proved to be a disastrous trait for Palestinians leaders, he might find the regional alignment in his favor, especially in Egypt and Iran, should he decide to pursue plans to lead the PLO later on.  Read More

Our fallible prophet

Sara Azmeh Rasmussen

(Originally posted by openDemocracy, republished under a Creative Commons license)

In a brief interlude between two debates at a culture festival, I encountered the film ”Innocence of Muslims”. Fast-forwarding through the trailer, three minutes was sufficient to make up my mind: an amateurish mishmash of overplayed, parodic scenes unworthy of notice.

But notice it got. Anger is boiling in the Muslim world, with mass mobilisation to restore the honour of the prophet in East and West. In a few days an intricate picture emerged, too complicated for anyone to pretend they have grasped its complexities. Suicide bombings and attacks on embassies have led to the loss of many lives. Large demonstrations are held daily. We’re flooded with news and analysis. We see, hear and are tormented by the riddle of how a low budget flick of this calibre can trigger an international crisis. After all our efforts at drawing acceptable borders between freedom of religion and freedom of speech, we should have progressed further than this. But here we are again: conflict and strife.

Some attempt to explain the new wave of protest by pointing to the post-revolutionary chaos in the Arab world, the rampant unemployment and widespread anti-American attitudes. One notes the growth of right wing extremist groups and increasing scepticism, or outright hostility, towards Muslims in the west. Experts have covered all these economic and political aspects. But where did the religious perspective go, in a conflict triggered by criticism of religion and festering because of the defence of it? It seems the analysts’ judgement is coloured by their local atmosphere, where the liberal version of religions has long since buried all memory of religious wars. As someone whose background is in Muslim culture and faith, I find these analyses good, but inadequate.  Read More