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November 23, 2014
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Tag: Middle East


An Interview With Juan Cole: The Historical Drivers of Modern Day Developments in Iraq

Bassam Haddad, a prominent Syria specialist at George Mason University, interviewed Juan Cole this fall for the new Web radio program “Status Hour” on the Middle East.

Posted on Nov 20, 2014 READ MORE



You Can Say Goodbye to Some of Your Favorite Foods Thanks to Climate Change

Chocolate, wine, coffee—these are just some of the foods we’ll lose due to climate change; an American expat living in France explains why “Americans are suckers who have themselves to blame for crappy broadband”; meanwhile, a town in Alaska may become the first place in the U.S. to tax churches. These discoveries and more after the jump.

Posted on Nov 19, 2014 READ MORE



Is There a Civil War Brewing in Jerusalem and the West Bank?

The killings at the Jerusalem synagogue Tuesday and the spate of Israeli killings of Palestinians in the West Bank are all small harbingers of a coming civil war.

Posted on Nov 19, 2014 READ MORE



White House/Pete Souza

Obama Remains High-Handed—And Wrong—About Ukraine

For a man who had taken a stunning electoral blow two weeks earlier, Barack Obama completed his Asian trip with an air of unperturbed leadership of the world.

Posted on Nov 19, 2014 READ MORE



Americans Are 64 Times More Likely to Be Murdered Than Die in an Act of Terrorism

The Institute for Economics and Peace in the U.K. has released a report on terrorism in 2013, which it maintains was substantially up. Conceptually, I have to critique the study.

Posted on Nov 18, 2014 READ MORE



Here Are Some of the Ways Islamic State Is Losing as It Lashes Out Like a Cornered Rat

Islamic State has not had a good month, suffering substantial setbacks in Iraq and watching with concern as the Damascus regime of Bashar al-Assad looks set to retake the major northern city of Aleppo.

Posted on Nov 17, 2014 READ MORE



U.S. Aid Worker’s Death Confirmed as Islamic State Tries to ‘Mask a Week of Defeats’

American aid worker Peter Kassig is the latest hostage to be slain by Islamic State on video.

Posted on Nov 17, 2014 READ MORE



Did Saudi Arabia Wage an Economic War on Iran, Russia and North Dakota at the G-20?

What did Saudi Arabia have to say at the recently concluded G-20 conference?

Posted on Nov 17, 2014 READ MORE



Islamic State Loses Refinery City in Iraq to Iraqi Army and Shiite Militias

This is perhaps the most significant military loss for Islamic State since it took 40 percent of Iraq in early June.

Posted on Nov 15, 2014 READ MORE



Islamic State Calls for Terror Attacks on Saudi Arabia

A voice recording has surfaced, attributed to Ibrahim al-Samarra’i, the leader of the brutal terrorist group Islamic State.

Posted on Nov 15, 2014 READ MORE



The Bases of War in the Middle East

There is almost no way to overemphasize how thoroughly the U.S. military now covers the Greater Middle East. After 35 years of base-building there, it’s long past time to look carefully at how this garrisoning affects the region, the U.S., and the world.

Posted on Nov 14, 2014 READ MORE



Shrinking the Empire: A Session on the Imperial Couch

What follows is a transcript of a therapy session between the American Empire and a psychiatrist whose name we at TomDispatch have agreed not to disclose. Normally we wouldn’t consider publishing such a private encounter, but the probative news value of the exchange is so obvious that we decided to make an exception.

Posted on Nov 13, 2014 READ MORE



This Is What Will Happen If the GOP Senate Derails Iran Talks

The Republican Party is already conniving at ways to derail the U.S.-Iran negotiations over Tehran’s civilian nuclear enrichment program.

Posted on Nov 13, 2014 READ MORE



When Will the U.S. Admit to Boots on the Ground in Iraq?

In an age of weasel words and Orwellian diction, it would be refreshing to hear Mr. Obama call the recent escalation in Iraq what it is.

Posted on Nov 13, 2014 READ MORE



White House/Pete Souza

President Obama and Iran’s Supreme Leader Have Been Writing Each Other Letters

Although the U.S. and Iran have no official diplomatic ties, the most powerful men in each country have apparently decided to cut out the middle men and women.

Posted on Nov 12, 2014 READ MORE



Why It Doesn’t Really Matter Whether Islamic State’s Leader Was Killed

Rumors are swirling that Islamic State leader Ibrahim al-Samarra’i (who goes by the nom de guerre Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi) was severely wounded and that some of his chief lieutenants were killed by a U.S. airstrike on a meeting of IS leaders Friday.

Posted on Nov 12, 2014 READ MORE



Ferguson & Israel? Netanyahu Calls for Stripping Palestinian-Israelis of Citizenship Amid Protests

On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was looking into whether Israel could strip citizenship from those who speak out against the continued statelessness of the Palestinians.

Posted on Nov 11, 2014 READ MORE



Claudia Cuellar

Tomas Young, Veteran Author of ‘The Last Letter,’ Dies at 34

Iraq War veteran and activist Tomas Young has died, “Democracy Now” is reporting.

Posted on Nov 10, 2014 READ MORE


Vets Affairs

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Posted on Nov 9, 2014 READ MORE



Why Is Obama Finally Seeking Congressional Approval for the War on Islamic State?

President Obama said Wednesday that he would seek congressional authorization for his war on the Islamic State after months of maintaining that the authorization of 2001 was still sufficient to underpin this effort. Why the about-face?

Posted on Nov 6, 2014 READ MORE



Building an Escalation Machine

Sometimes it seemed that only two issues mattered in the midterm election campaigns just ended: ISIS and Ebola. Think of them as the two horsemen of the present American apocalypse. And count on this: Oppositional pressure to escalate will be a significant factor in Washington “debates” in the last years of the Obama administration.

Posted on Nov 6, 2014 READ MORE



Some Surprisingly Progressive Outcomes of the 2014 Midterm Elections

We all knew Republicans would take control of the Senate, but American voters had a few surprises up their sleeves.

Posted on Nov 5, 2014 READ MORE



How a Republican Congress Could Entangle the U.S. Further in the Middle East

It is not surprising that the GOP gained control of the Senate, but how will the change affect foreign policy?

Posted on Nov 5, 2014 READ MORE



Big Setback for the Obama Administration’s Syria Policy as Moderate Stronghold Falls to al-Qaeda

The al-Qaeda affiliate Succor Front (Jabhat al-Nusra) took the town of Deir Sunbul and its environs this weekend away from the Syria Revolutionaries Front, a relatively secular-minded group viewed as “moderates” by the United States.

Posted on Nov 4, 2014 READ MORE



U.S. Dismayed That Iraq’s Shiite Government Hasn’t Armed Sunni Tribes Fighting Islamic State

Members of the al-Anbar provincial council say they have met with American officials who are “disgusted” at the slowness of Baghdad to arm the Sunni Arab tribes fighting Islamic State.

Posted on Nov 4, 2014 READ MORE



Iraq’s Grand Ayatollah Sistani and Chuck Hagel Call for the Arming of the Sunni Tribes of al-Anbar

Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani is calling, just as is U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, for the arming of Sunni tribes in al-Anbar Province to fight Islamic State in Iraq.

Posted on Nov 1, 2014 READ MORE



Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com

What Would Republicans Do?

Republicans still refuse to articulate any vision for governing.

Posted on Oct 31, 2014 READ MORE


Iraq Boots

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Posted on Oct 31, 2014 READ MORE



Turkey Allows Kurdish Peshmerga Paramilitary Troops to Cross to Kobane

Turkish intelligence is facilitating the crossing of a couple hundred paramilitary troops (Peshmerga) from Iraqi Kurdistan to the Turkish town of Suruç, 16 kilometers from the Syrian border.

Posted on Oct 29, 2014 READ MORE



Shutterstock

Western Masters Now Terrorized by Victims of Imperialism

The threat of terror produced by past victims of American Middle Eastern imperialism is alarming, but not new, and not historically isolated to the Middle East.

Posted on Oct 28, 2014 READ MORE



Is the Sunni-Shiite Slaughter at Jurf al-Sakhr in Iraq Really a U.S. Victory?

Apparent good news was announced on Sunday in the fight against the extremist Islamic State organization: The Iraqi army, backed by fundamentalist Shiite militias, managed to take the village of Jurf al-Sakhr, southwest of Baghdad, from IS fighters.

Posted on Oct 28, 2014 READ MORE


Smart Bomb

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Posted on Oct 26, 2014 READ MORE


Fear

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Posted on Oct 25, 2014 READ MORE



Is Egypt Going the Way of Syria?

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has declared a state of emergency for 3 months in parts of the province of North Sinai after two attacks by Muslim radical groups in that province left 30 Egyptian soldiers dead.

Posted on Oct 25, 2014 READ MORE



A Revisionist Take on President Obama

There is no shortage of bad news for President Obama, but history may be kinder to the man.

Posted on Oct 24, 2014 READ MORE



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



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


John Oliver on How America Is Turning Its Back on Middle Eastern Translators Who Risked Their Lives

In a moving (but of course, still funny) episode of “Last Week Tonight,” John Oliver sheds light on the plight of Iraqi and Afghani translators who worked for U.S. forces and contractors, a position that jeopardized the well-being of their families as well as themselves.

Posted on Oct 20, 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



Seven Worst-Case Scenarios in the Battle With Islamic State

The U.S. is again at war in the Middle East, bombing freely across Iraq and Syria and searching desperately for some non-American boots to put on the ground. Here are seven worst-case scenarios in a part of the world where the worst case has regularly been the best that’s on offer.

Posted on Oct 17, 2014 READ MORE



Climate Change Threatens National Security, Pentagon Says

The Pentagon released a report earlier this week detailing the threats that climate change poses in the near future.

Posted on Oct 16, 2014 READ MORE



Shutterstock

We Need Medical Boots on the Ground Now

The headlines shift hourly between Ebola and Islamic State. The question is often asked, “Should we put boots on the ground?” The answer is yes—but not in the Middle East.

Posted on Oct 15, 2014 READ MORE



Will Islamic State Take Baghdad Next?

According to Al-Jazeera sources, Islamic State has completed the taking of Hit district in the al-Anbar Province of Iraq.

Posted on Oct 15, 2014 READ MORE



White House/Pete Souza

White House Islamic State Strategy Amounts to Wishful Thinking

The notion that Iraq will “destroy” Islamic State at American behest is an illusion, and so is the notion that the coalition just formed can do it.

Posted on Oct 14, 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



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


The Middle East

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Posted on Oct 12, 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


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