Middle East

A Response to Michael Kazin
June 22, 2010

Sometimes Michael Kazin’s reasonableness disguises an apologetic lack of argument. His little reflection on my piece is a small anthology of the president’s foreign policy shibboleths. Let us begin with Iran. “They hail the democratic insurgents in Iran but do not propose an intervention that would destroy their movement and many of their lives.” Who, precisely, is proposing such an intervention? Certainly not I.

Turkey Is Now The Key To Arab Politics. Beware: Built Up By Obama, Erdogan Is Playing The Wild Card
June 22, 2010

From the Washington Institute for Near East Policy's Executive Director Robert Satloff comes this analysis:  The Gaza Flotilla Incident: Impact on Three Key Arab Actors By Robert Satloff June 22, 2010   The Gaza flotilla episode pitted Israel versus Turkey, with Arabs as bystanders and observers. Yet reverberations of the incident have had a keen impact across Arab capitals. Egypt: Policy Adrift The country most negatively affected has been Egypt.

Twidiot
June 21, 2010

I cannot pinpoint the precise moment in time when the transformation kicked in, the shift from the occasional one-night stand with someone I thought of as a vapid twit into a torrid love affair of passionate tweets. But I remember the circumstance. I was drunk, quite drunk. As is my habit when I am drunk, I assaulted the kitchen: whipped cream out of the can, smoked mussels packed in what appeared to be high-viscosity motor oil, several substantial fistfuls of Cheez-Its.

Obama: The "Astonishing Progress" of Dubai. Once Unbelievably Wealthy, Now Just A Crooked Little Emirate.
June 19, 2010

You may recall that, during the Bush presidency, Dubai World, a flagship corporate asset of the emir and his kin, had been discovered servicing and actually owning some U.S. ports on the Atlantic coast and the Gulf of Mexico. You will not be surprised that I wrote against this. Or that Tom Friedman wrote for it. Frankly, I didn't trust the emirate to serve as guardian to the ships going in and out of the docking facilities or, more generally, to patrol sensitive entry points to great harbor cities like New York, Baltimore, Miami and 19 other municipal areas.

Homeward Bound
June 19, 2010

The lady has been an old crone for more than half a century. So it was inevitable that some people in the profession would feel sympathy for Helen Thomas, even in her wicked quintessence. And not only merciful to her person but concerned for her lost job. Yes, Hearst pushed her, but Thomas, intuitively sensing that she would no longer be deferred to by the president or the press corps, went gently. Her wacky game was up. But this is not comedy. And Thomas’s answer to a random question—from a rabbi, it is true—about her current thoughts on Israel were deadly serious.

Are You Sick Of Reading News From Iran? I Am Not. I’ll Share Mine With You.
June 18, 2010

MEMRI is the most authoritative source on news from the western Maghreb to Pakistan, concentrating on the Middle East and western Asia. It publishes a daily blog on Iran. Here is today’s: Iran - June 18, 2010                The following is research published today from the MEMRI Iran Studies Project (www.memri.org/content/en/country.htm?country=iran), including reports from the Special Dispatch Series, the MEMRI TV Project, and the MEMRI Iran Blog. Special Dispatch No. 3043 – Iran/Lantos Archives on Anti-Semitism and Holocaust Denial/U.S.

Andrew Sullivan's Binary Thinking
June 14, 2010

Last week I expressed some frustration that so many critics on my left insist upon mischaracterizing my beliefs on the Middle East. Andrew Sullivan replies by... mischaracterizing my beliefs on the Middle East. He concludes that my "bottom line is still that of a neocon Likudnik." He reaches that conclusion through a series of erroneous inferences. I'll go through his points one by one: 1.

The Iranian Resistance and Us
June 11, 2010

One year ago this week in Iran, the desire for democracy gave birth to an indigenous political reform movement that is more promising and more consequential than anything the Middle East has seen in a generation. One year ago, the conventional wisdom held that the prospect for political evolution in Iran was dim and distant.

Honest Debate And The Middle East
June 10, 2010

One frustrating thing I've found about getting sucked into debates on the Middle East is that it's very rare that critics of my views describe them accurately. By "accurately," I don't mean "in the terms I would use myself," but "in terms that aren't totally inconsistent with my actual beliefs." Oddly, this happens much less often when I argue with right-wingers. The latest instance is Matthew Duss of Think Progress.

NG-Uh-O
June 10, 2010

In the wake of Israel’s sanguinary assault on the MV Mavi Marmara, much of the debate has focused on the question of whether those aboard the Free Gaza flotilla were humanitarians, peace activists, or Hamas supporters. The benign, and, crucially, the depoliticized interpretation was that they were humanitarians bringing aid to a besieged people desperately in need of it.

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