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October 23, 2014
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Tag: Juan Cole


Is This the End of National Sovereignty in the Middle East?

The legislature of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (a super-province of Iraq) has voted to send Kurdistan forces to the Syrian Kurdish city of Kobane to help it fight off a concerted attack by Islamic State.

Posted on Oct 23, 2014 READ MORE



Iran Proposes an Axis Against Islamic State to Iraq as an Alternative to the U.S. Coalition

Al-Zaman reports that Iranian President Hasan Rowhani has proposed to visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Haydar al-Abadi an anti-IS axis including Syria, Lebanon and Iraq that would be led by Iran, as an alternative to the U.S.-led coalition proposed by President Barack Obama.

Posted on Oct 22, 2014 READ MORE



Good News About Solar Energy From Disparate Parts of the World

Morocco, Mexico and India, among others, have some good news to spread regarding solar energy.

Posted on Oct 21, 2014 READ MORE



U.S. Jets Airdropped Supplies for Kurds Fighting in Kobane Against Turkey’s Wishes

In a step that over-ruled America’s Turkish NATO ally, U.S. jets dropped food, first aid and weaponry into the besieged Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane on Monday morning.

Posted on Oct 21, 2014 READ MORE



Shells Land in Turkey as Kurds Fight Off Islamic State Forces in Kobane

Kurdish forces at Kobane (Ayn al-Arab) on Saturday fought off an assault by Islamic State that sought to cut the city off from Turkey and completely surround it, according to an Al-Jazeera reporter on the scene.

Posted on Oct 20, 2014 READ MORE



Is Iran Close to Reaching a Deal With the U.S. Over Its Nuclear Program Thanks to IS?

It is hard not to conclude that Iran’s outbreak of optimism regarding the nuclear enrichment program has to do at least in part with the rise of Islamic State in Mosul and the consequent U.S. need for an Iranian partner.

Posted on Oct 20, 2014 READ MORE



Will the Republic of Ireland Follow in Sweden’s Footsteps and Recognize Palestine?

After Sweden recognized Palestine, the Irish government began considering doing so.

Posted on Oct 18, 2014 READ MORE



U.K. Parliament Urges Recognition of Palestine in a Symbolic Vote

There are 650 members of the British parliament, so the vote Monday by 271 of them to recognize Palestine is hardly an overwhelming victory for supporters of this position. However, the symbolic impact of the vote is quite large.

Posted on Oct 14, 2014 READ MORE



How Lowering Oil Prices Could Actually Change the World

If oil goes lower and stays there for a while, what are the implications?

Posted on Oct 14, 2014 READ MORE



The Wider Appeal of Islamic State and Sunni Grievances

In a worrisome development, radicals throughout the region are rallying to the so-called Islamic State, which is actually just a bunch of armed thugs and brigands.

Posted on Oct 13, 2014 READ MORE



Rather Than Just Honor Nobelist Malala Yousafzai, We Should Listen to Her

Honoring someone with the bravery and resiliency and ethical intelligence of a Malala Yousafzai is easy.  Taking her more challenging positions seriously and engaging with them is much more difficult.

Posted on Oct 11, 2014 READ MORE



Islamic State Has Taken a Third of Strategic Kobani in Syria but Lost Tuz Khurmato in Iraq

Al-Khalij reports that the Syrian Human Rights Observatory says Islamic State fighters are now in one third of the Syrian Kurdish city of Kobani.

Posted on Oct 11, 2014 READ MORE



Does the Houthi Takeover of Yemen’s Sanaa Endanger World Trade?

The fall of the Yemeni government to radical Zaidi tribesmen from Saadah in the north has gone relatively unremarked upon in the U.S. mass media.

Posted on Oct 9, 2014 READ MORE



The Last Days of Kobani Loom as IS Closes In on Syrian Kurds With Murder on Its Mind

Islamic State fighters have advanced into the Kurdish Syrian city of Kobani with fighting in the streets as Kurds resist, according to the pan-Arab daily al-Hayat.

Posted on Oct 8, 2014 READ MORE



Ben Affleck Confronts Bill Maher’s Muslim Problem

Bravo to Ben Affleck and Nicholas Kristof for telling Bill Maher off about his chronic case of Muslim-hating bigotry.

Posted on Oct 7, 2014 READ MORE



Pan-Mideast War Escalates as IS and al-Qaida Attack Hezbollah Outposts Near the Lebanese Border

There hasn’t been a regional war of this scope since the Gulf War.

Posted on Oct 7, 2014 READ MORE



AP/Amira Mortada, El Shorouk Newspaper

Women in Egypt After the Arab Spring: Gains and Losses

Women played a significant role in the 2011-2013 revolutions that shook the heart of the Arab world, as well as in the succeeding turmoil.

Posted on Oct 7, 2014 READ MORE



Islamic State Still Taking Towns in Iraq’s Al-Anbar as Coalition Airstrikes Are Delayed

The pan-Arab London daily Al-Hayat [Life] reported Sunday that Islamic State is still expanding its sway in towns in Iraq’s western al-Anbar Province, having just taken Kubaisah in the district of Hit on Friday into Saturday, two days after the district capital of Hit fell to them.

Posted on Oct 6, 2014 READ MORE



The Alamo of the Kurds: Kobane Near Falling to Islamic State

Ismat Sheikh, commander of the Kurdish forces at the border town of Kobane (Ain al-Arab) that is besieged by Islamic State tanks and artillery, says that he expects massacres of its inhabitants if it falls to the Sunni Arab extremists.

Posted on Oct 4, 2014 READ MORE



Top 7 Surprising Reasons Turkey Is Entering War on Islamic State

The Turkish parliament voted by a large margin Thursday to allow Turkish troops to make incursions into neighboring countries if necessary to defeat the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Posted on Oct 4, 2014 READ MORE



Palestine Goes to U.N. Security Council to Demand Israeli Withdrawal by 2016

Palestine will argue that Israel has systematically and over decades violated all the international laws regulating military occupations, and that it is quickly marching toward being an apartheid state.

Posted on Oct 2, 2014 READ MORE



Congress Cut $8.7 Billion in Food Stamps in Same Year We’ll Spend $22 Billion to Fight Islamic State

The GOP Congress’ assault on the American working class has been waged with the pretext that the federal government has no money (what with being in debt and all).

Posted on Oct 1, 2014 READ MORE



Why Obama Underestimated IS in Syria and Iraq

President Obama admitted on CBS’ “60 Minutes” on Sunday that the U.S. had underestimated the military potential of Islamic State.

Posted on Sep 30, 2014 READ MORE



Iraq: Shiites Paralyzed by Infighting as Islamic State Menaces Baghdad

The pan-Arab London daily al-Sharq al-Awsat [The Middle East] is reporting from a source inside the new Iraqi government that former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, now one of three largely symbolic vice presidents, is attempting to undermine his successor, Haider al-Abadi.

Posted on Sep 29, 2014 READ MORE



U.S. Strikes Islamic State Oil Fields in Quest to Defund It: But Will It Replace Oil With Fracking?

Sawt al-Iraq (Voice of Iraq) reports that during the past two days, Saudi, UAE and American fighter jets attack small oil refineries originally built for Syria by Turkey, which had been run by IS in Deir Ezzor.

Posted on Sep 27, 2014 READ MORE



Syrian Media Hail America as Damascus Ally, Support U.N. Ban on Foreign Fighters

It turns out that the Damascus press is giving President Obama an uncomfortable embrace.

Posted on Sep 25, 2014 READ MORE



Syrian Regime Propaganda Coup as Israel Downs Syrian Plane Over Golan Heights

Israel shot down a Syrian MiG fighter jet Tuesday, saying it had penetrated into Israeli airspace over the Golan Heights.

Posted on Sep 24, 2014 READ MORE



Shock and Awe in Syria: It Never Works

The London pan-Arab daily Hayat reports Tuesday morning on the airstrikes conducted on Islamic State positions in Raqqah, Syria, by the United States and several Arab allies.

Posted on Sep 23, 2014 READ MORE



The Arab Political Crisis: It Isn’t a Matter of Civilization and It Isn’t Unique

Al-Arabiya Washington bureau chief Hisham Melhem had a piece in Politico Magazine on Thursday on what he calls the collapse of Arab civilization. The piece is riddled with contradictions and fuzzy thinking and with all due respect to Milhem, who is a knowledgeable and experienced correspondent, I am going to disagree with it vehemently.

Posted on Sep 23, 2014 READ MORE



South Bend Voice (CC BY-SA 2.0)

NYC Climate Demo: Top 5 Massive Rallies That Had No Effect

I am all for demonstrating and admire everyone who came out in New York City on Sunday to demand that world leaders deal urgently with climate change, but I just do have to point out that holding large rallies doesn’t always result in political change.

Posted on Sep 22, 2014 READ MORE



Changing U.S.-Iran Relations: Kerry Says Iran Has Role in Defeating IS Militants

Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday that Iran has a role to play in defeating Islamic State.

Posted on Sep 20, 2014 READ MORE



Top 5 Reasons 45 Percent of Scots Wanted to Leave the Right-Wing U.K.

The U.S. media coverage of the Scottish referendum is oddly lacking in any reference to actual politics.

Posted on Sep 20, 2014 READ MORE



The U.S. Army (CC BY 2.0)

Shiite Militias of Iraq Reject U.S. Return, Threaten to Attack U.S. Forces

The pan-Arab, London-based daily Al-Sharq al-Awsat (The Middle East) reports that the major Shiite militias of Iraq are denouncing Prime Minister Haydar al-Abadi for welcoming U.S. air support in the fight against the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Posted on Sep 18, 2014 READ MORE



Screen shot/ YouTube

Should U.S. Policy Toward Islamic State Be Containment?

President Obama’s Sept. 10 speech was a strange mixture of counterterrorism and warmaking.

Posted on Sep 17, 2014 READ MORE



Must Muslim Americans Condemn IS? Must Turkish Jews Condemn Gaza War?

During the recent war in the Gaza Strip, a controversy broke out in Turkey about whether Turkish Jews were required to condemn Israel’s actions, as some pro-Palestinian Turks suggested.

Posted on Sep 16, 2014 READ MORE



Top 5 Contradictions in Obama’s Emerging Islamic State Strategy

In the past week, Secretary of State John Kerry has marshaled support of some sort from European nations and from countries in the Middle East for the U.S. push against Islamic State.

Posted on Sep 15, 2014 READ MORE



Media, Politicians Should Stop Letting Islamic State Manipulate Them

Ever since George W. Bush invaded Iraq and created the circumstances under which al-Qaida could take root and flourish there from 2003 forward, al-Qaida in Mesopotamia (which later styled itself the “Islamic State of Iraq”) has taken captives and has beheaded them on film.

Posted on Sep 15, 2014 READ MORE



Middle East ‘Allies’ Decline to Commit Forces, Resources Against IS

Secretary of State John Kerry’s meeting in Jedda with 10 Middle Eastern foreign ministers produced a communique Friday, but little more.

Posted on Sep 13, 2014 READ MORE



Obama’s ISIS Actions Are Defensive, Despite Rhetoric of Going on Offensive

President Obama’s speech launching his war on ISIS avoided the qualifications that he had earlier made, which had produced caviling inside the Beltway from politicians who confuse careless belligerency with decisiveness.

Posted on Sep 11, 2014 READ MORE



Will It Be a 3 Years War? Obama to Bomb Syria in Fight Against ISIS

At a Monday evening dinner at the White House attended by foreign policy experts, President Obama expressed confidence that he had the authority to bomb ISIS positions in Syria.

Posted on Sep 10, 2014 READ MORE



New Iraqi Government: Less Than Meets the Eye?

The Iraqi parliament finally voted in the government of new Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Monday, in what U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called a “turning point.”

Posted on Sep 9, 2014 READ MORE



Top 5 Signs the U.S. Is De Facto Allied With Iran Versus ISIS

U.S. airstrikes on ISIS in Iraq have alternated with Iranian airstrikes on ISIS positions. It seems likely to me that the two air forces are coordinating in at least a minimal way, otherwise there would be a danger of them hitting each other rather than ISIS.

Posted on Sep 9, 2014 READ MORE



The 5 Things You Need to Know Today About the Fight Against ISIL

All the governments in the Arab League are afraid of ISIL.

Posted on Sep 8, 2014 READ MORE



Would a U.S./NATO War in Syria Be Legal in International Law?

Efforts are being made in Congress to give President Barack Obama the formal authority to conduct airstrikes in Syria against ISIL.

Posted on Sep 8, 2014 READ MORE



Elon Musk’s Nevada Gigafactory May Save the World (Video)

It will take time to de-suburbanize the U.S. and move habitations and jobs back into manageable cities, but the world doesn’t have that much time. That’s why Tesla Motors’ new gigafactory is very, very good news.

Posted on Sep 6, 2014 READ MORE



Obama and Cameron Find Little Enthusiasm at NATO for New Iraq War

The NATO summit in Wales was supposed to be all about getting out of Afghanistan. Instead, two new issues dominated it—Ukraine and ISIL in Iraq and Syria.

Posted on Sep 6, 2014 READ MORE



What Hackers Did to Celebs? The NSA’s Been Doing That to All of the U.S. Instead of Predicting ISIL

There has been a lot of justifiable outrage about the invasion of privacy of celebrities and the posting of their private, nude photos at 4Chan by hackers who apparently got into their cloud accounts.

Posted on Sep 4, 2014 READ MORE



Can Iraqi Forces Take Back Saddam’s Birthplace From ISIL?

Joint Iraqi and Kurdish forces began moving into Tikrit on Tuesday night into Wednesday after victories over the so-called Islamic State of Syria and the Levant in villages around Amerli, including Sulaiman Bek.

Posted on Sep 3, 2014 READ MORE



Iraq: Is the Battle of Amerli a Turning Point?

The Iraqi military is maintaining that it has successfully relieved the town of Amerli (pop. 15,000) in northern Iraq from a siege by ISIL (the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant).

Posted on Sep 2, 2014 READ MORE



Israelis Alarmed as al-Qaida Captures Golan Checkpoint, U.N. Peacekeepers

Israel now has a border with al-Qaida!

Posted on Sep 1, 2014 READ MORE


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