November 23, 2017

Bahrain: Seeing Through the Fog

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel was full of tough talk when he visited the island kingdom of Bahrain in early December. The United States, he vowed, will continue to guard “the free flow of energy and commerce” from the Persian Gulf and keep Iran nuclear-free, through the presence of 35,000 U.S. military personnel or the (as-yet-unproven) regional missile defense system.   Hagel also trumpeted ... Read More »

Middle East’s Frenemies

The recent interim nuclear agreement between Iran and the so-called P5+1 countries, led by the United States, has provoked unprecedented criticism of US policy from two of its strongest Middle East allies: Israel and Saudi Arabia.   Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has called on his ministers and his supporters in the US to lobby Congress to oppose the agreement. ... Read More »

Arab Media, The Internet And Free Speech Under Attack

Three small but grim pieces were added recently to the great Arab jigsaw puzzle — and none of them should surprise us. Last week, an Egyptian court in Alexandria sentenced 14 women to 11-year prison terms for carrying anti-government banners at a demonstration last July.   In Dubai, an American was charged with violating Internet laws. Al Jazeera reported that he ... Read More »

Changing Geopolitical Configurations in the Middle East

The geopolitical makeup of the Middle East is changing. In any kind of significant geopolitical change there are bound to be winners and losers, while others just try to hold their own, indeed, even hoping for stalemate. What I attempt to do in this article is suggest which countries and peoples may be winners and which or who may be ... Read More »

Iran: New Emerging Geopolitics in the Middle East

While many Americans’ eyes were glued to the TV regarding the dysfunction of government in Washington, eyes elsewhere in the world were observing the current geopolitical and potential geo-strategic changes taking place in the Middle East. The news from Washington diverted attention from the horrible civil war in Syria and the renewal of negotiations among the five permanent members — ... Read More »

Dozens of Saudi Women Openly Defy Ban on Driving

Brushing off threats from the government, more than 60 Saudi women got behind the wheel on Saturday in a bold protest of the nation’s de facto ban on women driving. Sara Hussein, a Saudi woman involved in the effort, drew parallels to the U.S. civil rights movement: “Think back in history — Rosa Parks was the only person who sat down on the ... Read More »

Middle East’s Forgotten Conflict

In the commotion created by the Arab Spring and following disturbances, the focus of international politics moved away from Iraq. The especially brutal civil war in Syria, the coup d’état and subsequent turbulence in Egypt, the tensions in Lebanon, Libya, and Yemen and the elections in Iran, have all diverted international attention away from Iraq. However, Iraq is still located at the ... Read More »

Why Saudi Arabia Rejected Seat on UN Security Council?

Saudi Arabia has grabbed the limelight by refusing its non-permanent membership at the Security Council to protest the U.N.’s inability to do anything against Bashar al-Assad. It has also let its displeasure with the U.S. over Syria and Iran be known and is reportedly on the verge of making a “major shift,” to use the words of the Saudi intelligence chief Prince ... Read More »

Why Saudis Are Not in Harmony With US Over Egypt?

In a fractious, rife-with-conflicts Middle East, nothing is spared; worship houses are attacked and sport clubs, schools and markets have become unsafe with continued upticks in violence. Now, attention is focused on the Syrian dilemma, which has been colored in a sectarian hue: Sunni-Shiite/Alawi conflict. Another invisible fray is also taking place in that region, but it is so very ... Read More »

Gazans say Egypt is Now Turning The Screw

GAZA: The shift of power in Egypt over the past few months has led not just to border closures for those wanting to cross into the country from Gaza, but also to a sharp reduction in the transport of basic goods, as well as fishing rights, further isolating residents of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). The Egyptian Army says that since ... Read More »