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Tag: Middle East

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Islamic State Counterattack in Fallujah: Can Iraqi Forces Maintain Momentum? (Video)

Iraqi troops are advancing on Fallujah despite facing fierce resistance from Islamic State, but fear is mounting about the fate of the tens of thousands of noncombatants inside the city who are caught in the crossfire.

Posted on Jun 1, 2016 READ MORE



On Memorial Day, U.S. Troops Are at War With Islamic State Near Mosul

On Memorial Day, it is well to remember that U.S. troops are still at war.

Posted on May 30, 2016 READ MORE



Modern Mongols: Sunni Arabs Outraged at Iran Role in Iraqi Government Fallujah Campaign

Fallujah fell to Islamic State in January of 2014, and I think it is fair to say that there is much more angst in the Sunni Arab world about its liberation at the hands of Iran-backed Shiites than there has been about Islamic State’s brutal occupation of the city.

Posted on May 30, 2016 READ MORE



U.S. Special Ops on Front Line With Syrian Kurds in Offensive Against Islamic State

Agence France Presse got the scoop last week, reporting that special operations troops were embedded with Kurdish People’s Protection Units and wearing their insignia, participating in combat against the I.S. stronghold in northern Syria.

Posted on May 29, 2016 READ MORE



The Desperate Plight of Petrostates

Once so wealthy from oil sales that they could finance wars, megaprojects, and domestic social peace simultaneously, Russia, Saudi Arabia and others are now beset by internal strife or are on the brink of collapse as oil prices remain at ruinously low levels.

Posted on May 26, 2016 READ MORE


Coddling Extremists









Posted on May 25, 2016 ENLARGE



U.S.-Backed Kurds Begin Campaign Against Islamic State in Northern Syria (Video)

The left-leaning Beirut daily al-Safir newspaper discusses the beginning of a new campaign by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces against Islamic State in the northern half of al-Raqqa Province.

Posted on May 25, 2016 READ MORE



U.S. Centcom Commander in Syria to Coordinate Kurds and Arabs Against Islamic State

The head of the U.S. Middle East Command, Army Gen. Joseph Votel, was there to assess American progress in training the Syrian Democratic Forces division.

Posted on May 24, 2016 READ MORE



Egyptians Are Shocked by Netanyahu Appointment, Note Former Israeli PM’s Accusation of Fascism

Neighbor Egypt has reason to be dismayed by the political earthquake that rocked Israel’s Cabinet last week when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu named far-right extremist Avigdor Lieberman defense minister.

Posted on May 23, 2016 READ MORE



Netanyahu Responds to Officers’ Fascism Charges by Making a Far-Right Politician Their Boss

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu bolstered his majority and rid himself of a troublesome voice of conscience by replacing his minister of defense with extremist Avigdor Lieberman.

Posted on May 22, 2016 READ MORE



Baghdad Takes Rutba From Islamic State; Jordan-Iraq Commercial Route to Reopen (Video)

Iraqi forces have taken Rutba in al-Anbar province, nearly 200 miles west of the provincial capital, Ramadi, which is also now in government hands (though much of its population is displaced).

Posted on May 19, 2016 READ MORE



Iran Pressing U.S. to Compensate for Damages Dating to 1953 Coup

The bill approved by Iran’s Parliament comes as a result of a $2 billion judgment against Iran entered by a U.S. court and backed by an act of Congress on behalf of the families of Marines killed in a Beirut bombing in 1983. 

Posted on May 18, 2016 READ MORE



Top Hezbollah Commander in Syria Killed in Explosion; Radical Salafis Blamed

Mustafa Badreddine, the Hezbollah commander responsible for Syria, was killed last Friday in an explosion near Damascus.

Posted on May 17, 2016 READ MORE



No, Bill Clinton Didn’t ‘Kill’ Himself Trying for a State of Palestine (Video)

Bill Clinton claims that as president “I killed myself to give the Palestinians a state” and maintains that he secured an agreement that the Palestinians turned down.

Posted on May 15, 2016 READ MORE



‘Chaos & Caliphate’: Sanctions, Revolutions and Sectarian War

Excerpts from a new book chronicling a quarter-century of struggle in the Greater Middle East introduce us to a man who risks life and limb defusing land mines for a pittance, and to an idea about the best hope to stop the civil war in Syria.

Posted on May 12, 2016 READ MORE



Baghdad’s Government Paralysis Made the Capital Vulnerable to Massive Islamic State Bombings (Video)

Islamic State launched a series of suicide car and truck bombs in Baghdad on Wednesday, killing nearly 100 people and wounding nearly 200.

Posted on May 12, 2016 READ MORE



Searing Heat May Spark Climate Exodus

Temperatures in the Middle East and North Africa could reach unbearably high levels that would make some regions uninhabitable and increase the pressure on climate refugees.

Posted on May 11, 2016 READ MORE



Majorities of Muslim Arabs in North Africa Want Separation of Religion and State

You know those silly anti-Sharia laws passed by evangelicals in U.S. state legislatures? They might as well not bother.

Posted on May 11, 2016 READ MORE



9/11 Mastermind Backs Syrian al-Qaida and Calls for More Global Terror Volunteers

Al-Qaida central leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, a mastermind of the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., has issued a new audiotape.

Posted on May 11, 2016 READ MORE



The Top 4 Reasons Iran Will Stand by the Syrian Government Despite the War’s High Casualty Count

On Saturday, Iran announced that 13 members of the Revolutionary Guards Corps had been killed and 21 wounded when the al-Qaida-led Army of Islam fundamentalist Sunni coalition took the village of Khan Touman near Aleppo.

Posted on May 10, 2016 READ MORE



Will Climate Change Make the Middle East Uninhabitable and Trigger a Mass Exodus?

Researchers at Germany’s Max Planck Institute and their scientific partners have found that even with just a 3.6-degree average rise in global temperatures, parts of the Middle East could become too hot to live in.

Posted on May 9, 2016 READ MORE



Al-Qaida Everywhere: U.S. Support for Oppressive Governments Made Bin Laden’s Killing Moot (Video)

I think we may conclude that the decapitation strategy of dealing with al-Qaida does not work and has never worked.

Posted on May 8, 2016 READ MORE



In Syria, Rebels From East Aleppo Strike Hospital in Government-Held West Aleppo (Video)

Muslim fundamentalist rebels, including al-Qaida, took revenge Tuesday on West Aleppo for the heavy government bombardment of East Aleppo that has killed dozens in the past week, including at a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders.

Posted on May 4, 2016 READ MORE



The End of American Iraq: Poor Shiites Invade Parliament Over the Corrupt ‘Spoils System’

Baghdad was in a state of emergency on Sunday a day after members of the Sadr Trend stormed the Green Zone and invaded the Parliament building, briefly imprisoning parliamentarians in the chamber (and some in a basement) before letting them go.

Posted on May 3, 2016 READ MORE



Russia Declines to Ask Syria to Halt Bombardment of East Aleppo (Video)

Russia’s stance on rejecting condemnation of the regime for bombing doctors and patients in hospitals is horrible.

Posted on May 3, 2016 READ MORE



Syria: As Fierce Fighting Reignites, Aleppo Is on Brink of ‘Humanitarian Disaster’ (Video)

Syria’s largest city, Aleppo, saw a worrying outbreak of violence last week that could fatally undermine the cessation of hostilities that had held between most Free Syrian Army units and the Syrian Arab Army.

Posted on May 2, 2016 READ MORE



Trump’s Foreign Policy Is Just GOP Boilerplate, Only More Confused (Video)

Donald Trump tried his hand at foreign policy recently, and the results weren’t any prettier than his incessant forays into domestic policy.

Posted on May 2, 2016 READ MORE


One Major High and Many Lows in Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ Foreign Policy Speech

The leading Republican presidential candidate called out the massive ruin caused by the “dangerous idea” that the U.S. “could make Western democracies out of countries that had no experience or interest in becoming a Western democracy.”

Posted on Apr 28, 2016 WATCH & LISTEN



Reinventing Saudi Arabia After Oil: The Prince’s $2 Trillion Gamble

Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, 30, the deputy crown prince of Saudi Arabia, laid out his vision for Saudi Arabia on Monday in a plan called “Vision 2030.”

Posted on Apr 27, 2016 READ MORE



Islamic State Endgame: Obama to Send 250 More U.S. Troops Into Syria

President Obama announced Monday morning in Hanover, Germany, that he will send another 250 U.S. troops into Syria, bringing the total to 300.

Posted on Apr 26, 2016 READ MORE



The U.S. Is Finally Acknowledging the al-Qaida Factor in the Breakdown of Syria’s Cease-fire

One of the frustrations of following the Syria conflict from the Arabic press is that when you then turn to the English language accounts, they tend to play down the importance of al-Qaida or the Support Front (al-Jabha al-Nusra).

Posted on Apr 26, 2016 READ MORE



The World Has Lost All Sense of Perspective When We Mourn the Passing of Prince but Not 500 Migrants

“Has something gone adrift within the moral compass of our ‘news’ reporting?” asks Robert Fisk at The Independent.

Posted on Apr 23, 2016 READ MORE



What GOP New Yorkers Just Voted For: Torture, Syria Intervention and the Murder of Innocents

In the wake of his big win in New York, I want to push back once more against the normalization of Donald Trump as a legitimate presidential candidate, given his policy positions.

Posted on Apr 20, 2016 READ MORE



Some in Arab-American Community, Including ‘Watan’ Newspaper, Are Endorsing Bernie Sanders

Many Arab-Americans—not all of whom are Muslim, by the way—want the Jewish candidate to be president.

Posted on Apr 18, 2016 READ MORE



Thousands Protest Egyptian Government’s Island Deal With Saudi Arabia

Egyptians poured into the streets of Cairo on Friday in the first major demonstrations in 2½ years, protesting the government’s agreement on Saudi ownership of Red Sea islands Tiran and Sanafir.

Posted on Apr 17, 2016 READ MORE



Negotiations, ‘Elections’ and al-Qaida’s Assault on the Syrian Cease-Fire (Video)

There were five major stories in the U.S. and European press about Syria on Thursday.

Posted on Apr 14, 2016 READ MORE



Arab Youths View Islamic State as a Major Mideast Obstacle, Want Less Religion

The annual Arab Youth survey conducted by pollsters Burson-Marsteller is out, reporting on 3,500 interviews with Arabs between the ages of 18 and 24 in 16 countries.

Posted on Apr 14, 2016 READ MORE


Noam Chomsky on How the U.S. and British Invasion of Iraq Caused the Syrian Refugee Crisis (Video)

In a discussion with acTVism, the renowned linguist and political commentator offers context to the seemingly endless turmoil in the Middle East.

Posted on Apr 13, 2016 WATCH & LISTEN



Syria: Is al-Qaida Rising as Islamic State Is Rolled Back? Is the U.S. De Facto Allied With It?

The cessation of hostilities in Syria never included Islamic State or al-Qaida (the Nusra Front or Support Front), but it did include some of the de facto allies of al-Qaida.

Posted on Apr 13, 2016 READ MORE



Is Hillary Clinton Responsible for the Rise of Islamic State, as Sanders’ Campaign Manager Claimed?

Bernie Sanders’ campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, stated on Thursday that Hillary Clinton’s policies were responsible for the “rise and expansion of ISIS throughout the Middle East.”

Posted on Apr 10, 2016 READ MORE



Are Sanders’ Criticisms of Israel’s Occupation Policies Unprecedented in a Presidential Campaign?

Bernie Sanders is being attacked for comments on the Middle East in his interview with the editorial board of the New York Daily News, but all he did was restate current U.S. government policy.

Posted on Apr 10, 2016 READ MORE



Giving Diplomacy a Chance in Syria and Iran Should Override Power of America’s War Machine

Peaceful compromise is often the last resort for the United States. An excerpt from David Swanson’s book, “War Is a Lie: Second Edition,” looks at how the U.S. foreign policy approach applies to two countries in the Middle East.

Posted on Apr 6, 2016 READ MORE



Panama Papers Revelation of Assad Family’s Stolen Wealth Helps Explain the Syrian Revolution

The revelation in the leaked Panama Papers that Mossack Fonseca and HSBC serviced the companies of corrupt Syrian billionaire Rami Makhlouf (first cousin of dictator Bashar Assad) long after the U.S. imposed sanctions on him is a reminder of why Syrians revolted against the regime in 2011.

Posted on Apr 6, 2016 READ MORE



What’s at Stake for Israel in Killing of Prisoner? Officers Were Executed for Killing POWs in WWII

The Israeli military and security forces have a problem. They are fairly obviously being ordered to commit what international law defines as one of the more heinous war crimes.

Posted on Apr 5, 2016 READ MORE



Syrian Cease-Fire in Tatters as al-Qaida and Allies Attack South of Aleppo (Video)

The rebel opposition allied with al-Qaida broke the cease-fire Saturday morning, taking several villages and towns in the southern hinterlands of Aleppo.

Posted on Apr 5, 2016 READ MORE



The Panama Papers and Middle East Leaders’ Secret Bank Accounts

Given the enormous problem of corruption plaguing the Middle East, it will come as no surprise that the region features prominently in the new revelations about the Panama-based, German-run law firm Mossack Fonseca.

Posted on Apr 4, 2016 READ MORE



Three Surprising Reasons Saudi Arabia May Be Getting Out of the Oil Business (Video)

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman announced Friday that Saudi Arabia would use its oil assets to back a $2 trillion sovereign wealth fund.

Posted on Apr 3, 2016 READ MORE



‘World Within World’: A Poem About a Haunting Image That Sums Up American Imperialism (Audio)

David Ray begins his powerful poem with a rumination on a photograph of an American airman hitting golf balls on an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf. The image was published in The New York Times in 2003.

Posted on Mar 31, 2016 READ MORE


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Posted on Mar 30, 2016 ENLARGE


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