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October 6, 2015
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Tag: Juan Cole

Facing Islamic State Propaganda, Russia Denies Its Campaign in Syria Is a ‘Holy War’ (Video)

Remember when George W. Bush lapsed and called his Iraq War a “crusade”? He had to back off that religious rhetoric really quickly because he needed Muslim allies.

Posted on Oct 6, 2015 READ MORE

Is There a Russian-Iranian Dispute Over the Fate of Syria’s Bashar Assad? (Video)

Russia and Iran may not see eye to eye about the future of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad after their military intervention in the civil war.

Posted on Oct 6, 2015 READ MORE

Why Does the U.S. Care If Russia Bombs al-Qaida and Its Allies in Syria? (Video)

President Obama on Friday pledged not to turn Syria into an arena for a proxy war between the U.S. and the Russian Federation. But he went on to criticize President Vladimir Putin for attempting to prop up Syrian ruler Bashar Assad.

Posted on Oct 5, 2015 READ MORE

It Is Israel That Abrogated Oslo Peace Accords, as Netanyahu Boasted (Video)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas renounced the Oslo Peace accords last week on the grounds that Israel itself has long since reneged on every key provision in the agreement.

Posted on Oct 4, 2015 READ MORE

The Final Collapse of Bush’s Nation-Building: Kunduz Falls to Taliban

On Monday, the Taliban swept into the provincial capital of Kunduz, taking it in half a day from a large and well-equipped Afghan National Army force.

Posted on Sep 30, 2015 READ MORE

Syria Is Now Flying Russia-Supplied Drones and Fighter Jets Against Islamic State (Video)

There are signs that Russian arms supplies to the Bashar al-Assad regime are beginning to make an impact in the fighting.

Posted on Sep 29, 2015 READ MORE

Is Bashar Assad Winning the Diplomatic War? Syrian Rebels Fret (Video)

Syrian President Bashar Assad, widely regarded as a war criminal with tens of thousands of deaths on his hands, is nevertheless on a roll.

Posted on Sep 28, 2015 READ MORE

Things Like Ted Cruz’s Threat to Kill Iran’s Ayatollah Are Why Iranians Don’t Trust the U.S.

Ted Cruz said Friday at the Value Voters Summit conference in Washington, D.C., “If you vote for me, under no circumstances will Iran be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons. And if the ayatollah doesn’t understand that, we may have to help introduce him to his 72 virgins.”

Posted on Sep 27, 2015 READ MORE

With the Iran Deal and Russia in Syria, Is Israel Being Boxed In?

With the success of the Iran deal virtually assured and with Russia moving into Syria, Israel’s hawks are facing an unprecedented setback.

Posted on Sep 27, 2015 READ MORE

Holland’s Wind-Driven Trains and 4 Other Hopeful Green Energy Stories for Today (Video)

In three years, all Dutch electric trains will be powered by wind turbines, either turbines in the Netherlands itself or in nearby Belgium or Scandinavia.

Posted on Sep 22, 2015 READ MORE

VIDEO: Carson and Trump on Muslims, Latinos: Has the GOP Given Up on Winning the Presidency?

Ben Carson’s and Donald Trump’s comments about Muslims over the weekend again showed the GOP as the party of exclusion, not inclusion.

Posted on Sep 21, 2015 READ MORE

Benjamin Netanyahu Wants Israeli Forces to Use Live Fire Against Rock-Throwing Demonstrators (Video)

Thousands of demonstrators came out in Jordan on Friday to protest what appears to be a new Israeli assertion of authority over Muslim sacred space in Jerusalem, which includes the third-holiest place in the world for Muslims, the Al-Aqsa mosque complex.

Posted on Sep 20, 2015 READ MORE

What Trump’s Reaction to Claims of Muslim-American Terror Camps Says About Him and the GOP (Videos)

The presidential candidate is just a rich white racialist bigot who enjoys bullying people he considers inferior. And that seems to be what many Republicans want.

Posted on Sep 20, 2015 READ MORE

VIDEO: How GOP Candidates Would Deal With Syria (the Short Version)

In the course of the second GOP debate, CNN anchor Jake Tapper asked the candidates about Syria policy. For the most part, they did not actually answer the question, but occasionally said something.

Posted on Sep 17, 2015 READ MORE

VIDEO: Pope Francis Endorses the Iran Deal: Another Dilemma for GOP Catholic Candidates

Pope Francis is becoming an increasing problem for Republican Catholic presidential contenders because he keeps intervening directly and unambiguously on certain policy issues.

Posted on Sep 16, 2015 READ MORE

Mexican Tour Organizers and Buddhist Healers Baffled by Egyptian Army Attack (Video)

According to reports, the Egyptian military mistook a tourist convoy in the western desert near Siwa Oasis for terrorists and attacked them, killing 12 (including eight Mexicans) and wounding 10 others.

Posted on Sep 15, 2015 READ MORE

Germany Seeks Talks With Russia Over Syria as Putin Conducts Naval Maneuvers Off Tartous (Video)

Cypriot officials are reporting that Russia has asked them to alter airline routes this week because it is planning naval military maneuvers off the Syrian coast near its leased naval base, Tartous.

Posted on Sep 15, 2015 READ MORE

14 Years After 9/11, the U.S. and Israel Are Tempted to Ally With al-Qaida in Syria (Video)

Maybe I’m just funny that way, but I object to allying with allies of al-Qaida—the group responsible for killing nearly 3,000 Americans in a single day.

Posted on Sep 13, 2015 READ MORE

The Top 5 Reasons Obama Beat the GOP and Israel Lobby’s Effort to Kill the Iran Deal (Video)

Forty Democratic senators and two independent senators stood with President Obama on Thursday, preventing any congressional condemnation of the U.N. Security Council’s Vienna agreement with Iran over its civilian nuclear enrichment program.

Posted on Sep 13, 2015 READ MORE

VIDEO: Is Russia Ramping Up Its Military Involvement in Syria?

Reuters reports, based on sources in Beirut, that Russia is increasing its involvement in Syria, backing the military of beleaguered dictator Bashar al-Assad.

Posted on Sep 10, 2015 READ MORE

Unlike Israel’s Netanyahu, Saudi Arabia Now Says It Supports the Iran Deal

The Saudi-owned, pan-Arab London daily Asharq al-Awsat reported on the meeting Friday between King Salman of Saudi Arabia and President Obama and their top foreign policy and security teams.

Posted on Sep 9, 2015 READ MORE

VIDEO: From Jewish Refugees in the ’30s to Syrians Today, the U.S. Falls Short of Its Own Ideals

This grim American landscape of racism, religious prejudice, blaming the victim and racial exclusion from immigration is deja vu all over again.

Posted on Sep 8, 2015 READ MORE

On Israel’s Plans to Tear Down 13,000 Palestinian Buildings

Tearing down Palestinian buildings is one way that Israel constrains the Palestinian economy and encourages Palestinians to leave their homeland, in a kind of slow-motion ethnic cleansing.

Posted on Sep 8, 2015 READ MORE

Pope Francis’ Call to Host Refugees Contrasts With America’s Anti-Immigrant ‘Religious Right’

Not all American Christian leaders have covered themselves in glory when it comes to the issue of Syrian refugees being accepted by the U.S.

Posted on Sep 7, 2015 READ MORE

Will Lebanon’s ‘Garbage Revolution’ Usher In a Secular State?

The country’s youths are taking to the streets, demanding restoration of trash collection and other public services and an end to government corruption. At the root of the turmoil: the politics of religious identity.

Posted on Sep 4, 2015 READ MORE

VIDEO: Obama 1, Netanyahu 0, as Democrats and Public Rally on Iran Deal

The Israel lobbies don’t win every fight on Capitol Hill, but they have tended to win the big ones in recent decades. This time, they are going down.

Posted on Sep 2, 2015 READ MORE

Enter the Bear: Is Russia Planning Airstrikes on Islamic State in Syria? (Video)

The Israeli press is reporting that Iran has made a firmer military alliance with the Russian Federation in Syria and that Moscow is sending pilots to Damascus to fly missions in that country against Islamic State and other Muslim extremist groups.

Posted on Sep 1, 2015 READ MORE

Palestine Overwhelmed by Illegal American Immigrants

If there were a Palestinian Donald Trump, he’d be fulminating against illegal immigrants swamping the Palestinian West Bank—1 in 6 of whom are American.

Posted on Aug 31, 2015 READ MORE

VIDEO: Egypt’s el-Sissi and Putin Pledge Common Front Against Terrorism

Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi met Wednesday for the third time in a year with Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

Posted on Aug 27, 2015 READ MORE

VIDEO: Defending Natalie Portman: Don’t Use the Holocaust to Justify Fearmongering

Actress Natalie Portman has kicked off a controversy with remarks about how to remember the Nazi Holocaust against the Jews, in which the National Socialists murdered 6 million.

Posted on Aug 26, 2015 READ MORE

VIDEO: Youth Revolts Are Back: Lebanon, Iraq Shaken by Demand for Services, End to Corruption

The master narrative of much Western journalism is that the youth protests of 2011 have been replaced by civil war and terrorism. But while there is plenty of both in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Libya, in fact here and there in the region youth protests have popped up from time to time—in Turkey, Yemen and now Beirut and Baghdad—and shaken up politics.

Posted on Aug 26, 2015 READ MORE

President of Israel Says Israeli Squatting in the Palestinian West Bank Is a ‘Right’

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, a former chairman of the far-right Likud Party that is now in power, is known to favor a paternalist form of the one-state solution. On Monday, he declared Israeli squatting on the Palestinian West Bank a “right” and an essential Zionist principle.

Posted on Aug 25, 2015 READ MORE

Defying Saudis and Iran, Muslim Thinkers Call for Action on Climate Change at Istanbul Conference

Attendees from 20 countries at this week’s International Islamic Climate Change Symposium in Istanbul produced—and 60 of them signed—a declaration warning of the dangers of climate change and urging urgent action to curb carbon dioxide emissions.

Posted on Aug 19, 2015 READ MORE

How Many Thousands of U.S. Troops Would GOP Hopefuls Send to Iraq and Syria? (Video)

Several Republican politicians have pledged a return of U.S. combat troops in large numbers to the Middle East.

Posted on Aug 18, 2015 READ MORE

The Long Knives Come Out in Baghdad (Video)

In principle, the idea of streamlining the Iraqi government and making it more efficient is a capital one. But the reforms being pursued by Prime Minister Haydar al-Abadi have to raise some questions about the direction the country is taking.

Posted on Aug 18, 2015 READ MORE

Poll Shows Only 1 in 4 Americans Wants More U.S. Involvement Abroad; Cuba and Iran Low on List

A new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, done before the Iran deal was announced by President Obama, shows how out of touch most of the presidential candidates are on foreign policy public opinion.

Posted on Aug 17, 2015 READ MORE

How the Israel Lobbies Hurt the University of Illinois and the First Amendment in the Salaita Case

There is no honor among thieves or ideologues, and it is sad to see a great university’s leadership descend into petty squabbling and vicious infighting over the illegal firing of Urbana-Champaign professor Steven Salaita.

Posted on Aug 15, 2015 READ MORE

Putin Pitches Grand Alliance Against Islamic State, but Syrian Rebels Want Assad Gone (Video)

The Russian Federation is a key player in Syria—and backer of the dictatorial government of Bashar Assad.

Posted on Aug 15, 2015 READ MORE

A Brutally Frank Jimmy Carter Calls Out Israel on Permanent Apartheid

The former president, foreseeing the darkness to come, says there’s “zero chance” of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Posted on Aug 13, 2015 READ MORE

VIDEO: Why Partitioning Iraq Is a Terrible Idea

I think the remarks of outgoing U.S. Army chief Gen. Ray Odierno on the possible partition of Iraq have been reported in a sensationalist way. Still, he did get drawn into speculating about the partition, which was probably unwise.

Posted on Aug 13, 2015 READ MORE

VIDEO: Memo to Jeb Bush: It Was W’s Surge That Created Islamic State, Not Hillary

Jeb Bush very unwisely went after Hillary Clinton on Tuesday night on the grounds that her Iraq policies gave us Islamic State.

Posted on Aug 12, 2015 READ MORE

VIDEO: That Time Jon Stewart Showed a Juan Cole Clip on al-Qaida

By Juan Cole

Jon Stewart is the most brilliant man on television, and Steve Colbert said it well: that we’ve all learned “how to do our jobs” from him—our job being to be critical consumers of information and news.

Posted on Aug 12, 2015 READ MORE

thierry ehrmann / CC BY 2.0

If It’s Going to Push Us to War, Is It Time for AIPAC to Register as a Foreign Agent?

Most polls show that Jewish Americans are the Americans most enthusiastic about the Iran deal. So on whose behalf is AIPAC intervening in American domestic politics?

Posted on Aug 11, 2015 READ MORE

Top Iran General Endorses Nuclear Deal With the U.S. and the U.N. (Video)

Iranian Chief of Staff Major-Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi said Saturday that despite some reservations, he saw 16 major advantages to the Iran deal. He didn’t mention any specific disadvantages. The deal has also been endorsed by the United Nations Security Council.

Posted on Aug 11, 2015 READ MORE

Game of Groans: How Focus on Trump’s Taunts Hides GOP War on Middle Class and Workers (Video)

The condition of late capitalism produces a press discourse strangely devoid of any mention of class.

Posted on Aug 10, 2015 READ MORE

VIDEO: Obama Casts Opponents of the Iran Deal as Warmongers

The lame-duck president pulled no punches. In his major address Wednesday on the nuclear deal reached with Iran, Obama let his critics have it.

Posted on Aug 6, 2015 READ MORE

VIDEO: How Likely Are the Top 10 GOP Presidential Candidates to Drag Us Into War?

Sending U.S. troops back into the Middle East and going to war there is virtually a plank in the GOP platform.

Posted on Aug 5, 2015 READ MORE

Major Indirect Benefits of Obama’s Climate Plan That Could Save the World (Video)

President Obama spoke on Monday about his plan to use the Environmental Protection Agency to pressure states to close high-carbon power plants and reduce CO2 emissions by 32% below 2005 levels by 2030. But this part of his plan is in my view the least interesting thing about it.

Posted on Aug 4, 2015 READ MORE

Another Bush Legacy in Iraq: Barzani Asks PKK to Leave (Video)

On Sunday morning, Kurdish separatist guerrillas launched a suicide-bombing strike on Turkish forces in Angri province using a tractor laden with explosives.

Posted on Aug 4, 2015 READ MORE

CBS News

How Obama’s ‘All of the Above’ Politics Led to the Rise of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump

The approach to politics taken by Obama until recently — of promising genuine change but governing as a Republican Lite — did more to spur cynicism than any of Jon Stewart’s cartoony double takes at Washington hypocrisy.

Posted on Aug 3, 2015 READ MORE

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