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Tag: Middle East

Lebanon Bombed
AP / Ben Curtis

Hezbollah, Fearing War, Digs In

Hezbollah is reportedly prepping for another possible conflict with Israel, stocking up on arms and reinforcing fixed positions, as fears grow that the Netanyahu government will launch a new assault against Lebanon as a precursor to any attack against Iran and its nuclear facilities.

Posted on Nov 8, 2009 READ MORE


Clinton in Morocco
AP Photo/Abdeljalil Bounhar

Clinton Hits Another Diplomatic Snag on Mideast Tour

Hillary Clinton continued her diplomatic spree in the Middle East on Monday, meeting with Arab heads of state in Morocco, and she once again found herself revisiting, and perhaps revising, her words when she read a statement qualifying a comment she’d made last weekend about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Posted on Nov 2, 2009 READ MORE


Prize for Hope [A Cartoon From Austria]

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Posted on Oct 12, 2009 READ MORE


Paris mosque
enjoyfrance.com

Muslims a Fourth of World’s Population

The internationality of Islam is emphasized by a new Pew Research study that found one in four people in the world to be Muslim. With 1.57 billion adherents, Islam ranks second only to 2.25 billion-strong Christianity. The study’s findings counter the disparaging, stereotyping notions that many in the West have of “the Muslim World.”

Posted on Oct 8, 2009 READ MORE


Yemen
UNICEF Yemen

150,000 Yemenis Displaced in Conflict

An escalating conflict between Shiite rebels and Sunni government forces has displaced at least 150,000 people in the northern part of Yemen. Aid agencies are struggling to absorb the stream of civilians as a lack of supplies and internal politics exacerbate the problem.

Posted on Sep 25, 2009 READ MORE


Obama at the UN
AP / Charles Dharapak

Obama: No Preconditions on Mideast Peace Talks

So, things didn’t go so well Tuesday for Barack Obama and his honored guests, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the latter of whom refused to budge on the contentious issue of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Well, now President Obama is doing some not-budging of his own on the issue, as he told the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday.

Posted on Sep 23, 2009 READ MORE


Obama and Middle Eastern leaders
AP / Charles Dharapak

Mideast Peace Talks Yield Only a Handshake

So much for President Obama’s hopes to make progress in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict this week. After meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Obama had little to show for his time with the two leaders beyond the symbolic level of a tentative handshake to open their discussion at New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

Posted on Sep 22, 2009 READ MORE


U.S. and Israeli flags

Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process Stopped in Its Tracks?

Although the Obama administration, in particular Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is maintaining a cautiously positive stance about the current state of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there doesn’t seem to be much progress on that front—which, as Al Jazeera English points out in this report, might have to do with all involved parties driving a hard-line approach.

Posted on Sep 18, 2009 READ MORE


Netanyahu
World Economic Forum

Israeli PM Won’t Halt Settlement Construction

Although the U.S. has requested that Israel stop building new settlements in the West Bank, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has apparently refused to put a halt to those projects. About the best he was willing to do Monday was say that construction might be scaled down “for a temporary period.”

Posted on Sep 14, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / hoyasmeg

Axis of Obstinacy: Israel Rebukes Diplomat for Challenging Settlements

A leaked memo from Israel’s consul general in Boston, Nadav Tamir, has Israel’s extremist foreign minister calling for the diplomat’s resignation. Tamir wrote in an internal document that his government’s settlement policy has led to “the feeling in Washington that Obama has to deal with obstinacy from the governments of Iran, North Korea and Israel.”

Posted on Aug 10, 2009 READ MORE


Mosaic Intelligence Report

Yemen: A Powder Keg Ready to Explode

Will Yemen become a haven for militants? Is President Obama ignoring the warning signs of unrest in this Middle Eastern hot spot? Link TV’s Jamal Dajani looks into the complex problems brewing in Yemen in this week’s “Mosaic Intelligence Report.”

Posted on Aug 8, 2009 READ MORE


Link TV report

Who Speaks for the Palestinians?

Fateh, the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization, will soon convene in an atmosphere charged with corruption, fraught with rifts and tales of betrayal and espionage fit for a John le Carré novel, as this installment of Link TV’s “Mosaic Intelligence Report” illustrates.

Posted on Aug 1, 2009 READ MORE


Operation Desert Storm
Flickr / Lietmotiv

Gulf War Legacy Flares as Kuwait Puts the Squeeze on Iraq

Almost 19 years to the day after Saddam Hussein’s legions invaded Kuwait—and less than 18 years since the U.S. coalition liberated it—the Croesus-rich emirate is still demanding reparations from Baghdad as if the dictator of Iraq was still alive.

Posted on Aug 1, 2009 READ MORE


Tel Aviv shooting
AP / Ariel Schalit

Three Dead, Eight Wounded in Shooting at Tel Aviv Gay Center

A black-clad gunman opened fire Saturday in what was described in earlier accounts as a gay and lesbian nightclub in Tel Aviv but which the BBC reported is “the headquarters of the local lesbian and gay rights association,” killing three people and wounding eight others before fleeing.

Posted on Aug 1, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / ISM Palestine

Israeli Soldiers Blame Loose Rules for Gaza Deaths

A number of anonymous Israeli soldiers speaking through a human rights organization have made serious allegations about Israel’s winter assault on Gaza. The soldiers say unclear rules and reckless conduct led to unnecessary civilian casualties and wanton destruction.

Posted on Jul 15, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / @@:@@

Iran Election Watchdog Stands by Results

Iran’s Guardian Council has found “no major fraud or breach in the election” and will not annul the vote, a spokesman announced Tuesday. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, meanwhile, jumped into the fray, calling on the Iranian government to “respect fundamental civil and political rights.”

Posted on Jun 23, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Ali Zare

Iran Had a Democracy Before We Took It Away

Iranians do not need or want us to teach them about liberty and representative government. We gave to the Iranian people the corrupt regime of the shah and his savage secret police and the primitive clerics that rose out of the swamp of the dictator’s Iran.

Posted on Jun 22, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / .faramarz

Iran Arrests Hundreds, Admits Vote Errors

Iranian election officials announced over the weekend that in 50 districts, there were more votes cast than voters. It’s a glimmer of hope for protesters, who stayed home Sunday as the government flooded the streets of Tehran with security personnel. State media reported the arrest of 457 people following Saturday’s violence.

Posted on Jun 22, 2009 READ MORE


More Than the Sum of 140 Characters

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Posted on Jun 19, 2009 READ MORE


The War Between Civilizations That Never Was

The West was wrong about this being a war of civilizations, and so were the Muslims. Islamic civilization is experiencing a double crisis, of modernity and of religion. Nothing could be clearer today in Tehran.

Posted on Jun 18, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Lawrence Jackson

Obama Won’t ‘Meddle’ in Iran

President Obama says he is concerned about violence directed at protesters, but does not want “to be seen as meddling in Iranian elections.” He also warns that the “difference between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi in terms of their actual policies may not be as great as has been advertised.”

Posted on Jun 16, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Iranian Students News Agency / Arash Khamushi

Ahmadinejad Wins Dubious Election

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been re-elected president of Iran by a surprisingly wide majority, according to the country’s electoral commission. But his main rival also claimed victory and said, “I will not surrender to this dangerous charade.” The BBC reports that official figures show Ahmadinejad winning even in his opponent’s territory and among reformist voters.

Posted on Jun 13, 2009 READ MORE


McChrystal
wordpress.com

Hearts and Minds Redux

“Decapitation strategies don’t work.” Those words, uttered by the newly named U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, mark a shift in the military strategy in Afghanistan. Yes, indeed—it seems to have taken the Pentagon eight years to realize that “you’re going to have to convince people, not kill them.”

Posted on Jun 12, 2009 READ MORE


Being Obama Matters

I used to fear that the president was overestimating the power of his personal history as an instrument of foreign policy. Now I wonder if he might have been underestimating.

Posted on Jun 8, 2009 READ MORE



Mr. Fish

Hold Your Applause

We may thrill to Obama’s rhetoric, but very few of the 1.3 billion Muslims in the world are as deluded. They grasp that nothing so far has changed for Muslims in the Middle East under the Obama administration.

Posted on Jun 8, 2009 READ MORE


Naysayers

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Posted on Jun 8, 2009 READ MORE


Left, Right & Center

LRC: Obama in the Middle East, GM in Bankruptcy, Now What?

You know you’re in for a spirited episode of “Left, Right & Center” when Truthdig’s own Robert Scheer drops a line like “Tony, you’re getting overly excited for NPR.”

Posted on Jun 5, 2009 READ MORE


Obama’s Cairo Speech: Significant, Eloquent—and Perhaps Just the Beginning

Obama’s speech was distinguished by the quality of his previous major speeches, that of speaking as an adult to adults. He promised to say what he thought, and did so on all of the topics he addressed. Correction

Posted on Jun 4, 2009 READ MORE


President Obama

Obama’s Cairo Speech

The president called his landmark address to the Muslim world “A New Beginning,” and for good reason.

Posted on Jun 4, 2009 READ MORE


Israel US
aljazeera.net

U.S.-Israel on the Rocks

Tensions have been mounting between the U.S. and its usual BFF, Israel. President Obama’s demand for an end to the construction of settlements in the West Bank was rejected by Israel earlier this week. Obama has responded by suggesting that Israel’s intransigence endangers U.S. security.

Posted on May 29, 2009 READ MORE


What Will Obama Say in Cairo?

Next week President Barack Obama travels to Cairo to deliver what is expected to be a major statement on relations between the United States and the Islamic world, but informed skeptics predict his new approach to the region will resemble the late months of the Bush administration.

Posted on May 29, 2009 READ MORE


Israel Soldiers Shells
guardian.co.uk

Gaza Probe Gets No Help From Israel

Investigators with the U.N. Human Rights Council may be forced to enter the Palestinian territories from Egypt because Israel is likely to refuse cooperation in the U.N.’s mission to investigate potential war crimes by the Israeli military and Hamas.

Posted on May 20, 2009 READ MORE


Paris mosque
enjoyfrance.com

War-Addicted U.S. Afflicted With Imperialist Hangover

There is an important current in conservative U.S. opinion that believes Western Europe to be under something like a siege, or a potential siege, by its large Muslim immigrant population. I should actually say that it’s not just American conservatives, although they write alarmed books about the impending Muslim domination of Europe, and the collapse of European Christianity and identity. They fear the Decline of the West.

Posted on May 19, 2009 READ MORE


Netanyahu

Bibi and Barack Talk Mideast Peace

While the cameras rolled, President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu huddled at the White House on Monday and waxed diplomatic about the usual lineup of regional concerns: Israeli-Palestinian relations, Iran and the possibility of peace in the Middle East.

Posted on May 18, 2009 READ MORE


pig on the run

Swine Flu Hysteria Hits the Middle East

Despite the fact that only two cases of swine flu have been confirmed in the region, the top stories around the Middle East have been about the H1N1 threat—even to the point of edging out reports of violence in Iraq in the news lineup.

Posted on May 2, 2009 READ MORE


Troopz
arcent.army.mil

One If by Land, Two If by Flee

Six years after the disastrous invasion of Iraq, Britain’s armed forces have formally ended their combat mission in the war-torn country. Believing that their role is finished, U.K. government officials handed over control of their base to the U.S.—not Iraqi—military.

Posted on Apr 30, 2009 READ MORE



Left: Flickr / realjameso16; right: World Economic Forum

Special Frenemies

President Obama and newly elected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will have their first meeting in a few weeks, a test of the special relationship between two countries that are now led by men with very different ideas about how to pursue peace in the Middle East.

Posted on Apr 28, 2009 READ MORE


female soldier
dodimagery.afis.osd.mil

Female Soldiers Battle Sexual Violence

Women at war all too often do battle on two different fronts, as author Helen Benedict says in her new book, “The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq.” There’s the fight they signed up for and the one that can make them targets of their fellow soldiers in the most isolating and devastating ways.

Posted on Apr 18, 2009 READ MORE


Bowen
timesonline.typepad.com

How Can You Trust the Cowardly BBC?

The BBC Trust’s report on Jeremy Bowen’s dispatches from the Middle East is pusillanimous, cowardly, outrageous, factually wrong and ethically dishonest. But I am mincing my words.

Posted on Apr 18, 2009 READ MORE


sniper bunny

‘Cat Shit One’: Blackwater Bunnies at War?

Uh, so we’re not completely sure what to make of this trailer for the Japanese animated series “Cat Shit One” (?!), which features a specialized squad of mercenary sniper rabbits duking it out in the desert with turban-clad camels. Don’t be fooled by the cute-and-fluffy tail action—these bunnies are killing machines.

Posted on Apr 7, 2009 READ MORE


Photoshop
bbc.co.uk

Abracadabra! Orthodoxy

An obvious Photoshop job in Israel has hilariously tried to make Israel’s inaugural Cabinet a bit more Orthodox. In one ultra-Orthodox Jewish newspaper, two female Cabinet members were cropped out of an official picture and replaced with two non-Cabinet men.

Posted on Apr 3, 2009 READ MORE


Lieberman
telegraph.co.uk

Israeli Foreign Minister Rejects Annapolis Agreement

Israel’s new super-duper-ultranationalist Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Wednesday dismissed a 2007 agreement with Palestinian officials aimed at discussing the creation of a Palestinian state. Lieberman claims the agreement, made in Annapolis, Md., has “no validity.”

Posted on Apr 1, 2009 READ MORE


Nuclear
scrapetv.com

Playing Chicken of the Sea

The same day that President Obama released a message of new understanding and diplomacy to the Iranian people via his vlog, two U.S. Navy vessels collided in the Strait of Hormuz off southern Iran. More than 25,000 gallons of diesel fuel was spilled and 15 sailors were slightly injured.

Posted on Mar 20, 2009 READ MORE


Iran nuclear program

Will Iran Come Out of the Nuclear Closet?

A U.S. official believes that Iran has obtained enough nuclear material to make a bomb. Israel is believed to have the Middle East’s only nuclear arsenal, though it has never acknowledged this. Why does Iran pursue a nuclear bomb? And will Iran come out of the nuclear closet?

Posted on Mar 14, 2009 READ MORE


Net and Peres
guardian.co.uk

And the Israeli PM Goes to ...

In a political blast from the past, former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been chosen to form Israel’s next government, ending a nine-day struggle between the candidates and paving the way for a coalition arrangement with a strong right-wing bent.

Posted on Feb 20, 2009 READ MORE


Recipe for Disaster in the Middle East

Gas may be cheap again, but the bursting of the petro bubble has sent unemployment soaring to 40 percent among Middle Easterners 15 to 24 years old, stirring unrest. Dubai’s airport parking lots are littered with abandoned cars as foreign nationals flee. Egypt, with half a million newly unemployed headed home from abroad, could see a repeat of last year’s bloody economic riots.

Posted on Feb 16, 2009 READ MORE


Sachsenhausen
AP photo / Sven Kaestner

Rules of War Weren’t Made for Only One People

The organized persecution of a group is despicable whether the victims are the Jews of World War II or today’s Gazans.

Posted on Feb 14, 2009 READ MORE


Ahmadinejad
observer.com

Ahmadinejad to U.S.: Let’s Talk (Maybe)

On Tuesday, the 30th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in his country, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad extended a tentative offer to open a dialogue between the U.S. and Iran—provided that the Obama administration makes good on its “change” slogan.

Posted on Feb 10, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / david55king

Israel Votes in a Bubble

With world opinion soured by the recent events in Gaza, Israelis are headed to the polls to elect a new government that is widely expected to move further to the right. Pre-election polls put the conservative Likud in the lead. Labor was a distant fourth, behind even the ultraconservative Yisrael Beitenu, despite taking a hawkish turn.

Posted on Feb 10, 2009 READ MORE


Davos Walk-Off
AP photo / Alessandro Della Bella

Erdogan, Peres and the Soufflés of Davos

Dear Mr. Prime Minister: I write with grave concern over your impertinent remarks to the president of Israel at the World Economic Forum last week, which threatened to delay dinner for hundreds of extremely important global thinkers.

Posted on Feb 4, 2009 READ MORE


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