Middle East

How Obama Will Deal With Our Wayward Ally, Turkey
July 01, 2010

It’s a shock to see one of the pillars of American foreign policy start to disintegrate before our very eyes. That’s what seems to be happening to the relationship between the United States and Turkey, which policymakers in both countries have taken for granted for decades. I know it’s often said that formal alliances are losing their central place in international politics. If so, maybe the bad blood between Ankara and Washington is just part of a trend, something we wearily adjust to.

Dismal Perhaps, But Is It A Science?
June 30, 2010

As if there weren’t enough transatlantic rifts already, from the Middle East to the environment, another has opened over economic policy.

“For The First Time I’ve Not Been Asked About Human Rights:” Auguries From Obama’s Egypt.
June 27, 2010

A vivid report by Ashraf Khalil in Friday’s Wall Street Journal and an AP dispatch on the same day evoke a moribund Egyptian politics coming to life because of the death of a 28-year old in Alexandria. The murder—and it was a murder!—was committed by the police. Out in the open or, to be precise, down the alley from an internet cafe out of which Khaled Saieed was dragged. Saieed’s face was shown on web sites, and the image was not pretty: a battered face and broken teeth. The police attributed his death to resisting arrest. Of course.   Not surprisingly: ‘We are all afraid for our children.

Move Assad
June 25, 2010

The Obama administration has signaled in word and deed that a policy change is in the offing, a change that would accommodate the Syrian regime and normalize relations with it. The notion of autocracy as a guarantor of stability is back in vogue after the Bush years, and so the policy is being bolstered by a chorus of analysts and academics. The Syrian regime, the thinking goes, is as good as it gets for helping to keep simmering regional tensions under a tight lid. But this change would be a bit of a gamble.

Helen Thomas Has Many Comrades, Mostly Enthusiasts For The Palestinian Cause
June 23, 2010

Helen Thomas is not alone in her belief that the Jews should leave Israel and “go home,” as this dispatch from MEMRI demonstrates: Special Dispatch|3052| June 23, 2010, MEMRI Yasser Qashlaq, a Lebanese Flotilla Organizer, on Hizbullah's Al-Manar TV: I Hope Our Ships Will 'Carry These Dregs of European Garbage Back to Their Own Countries' From Israel Following are excerpts from an interview with Palestinian-Lebanese journalist and head of Free Palestine Movement Yasser Qashlaq; the interview aired on Al-Manar TV on June 18, 2010.  According to Egypt's Al-Ahram Weekly, Qashlaq is "the main don

Imagine (With Apologies to John Lennon)
June 23, 2010

For the sake of argument, imagine, if you can, an American foreign policy based on interest alone. To begin with, to use the current Wall Street phrase, it would need to overweight Latin America and underweight the Middle East. For whether the Obama administration believes it or not (in fairness, they are no worse than their predecessors, though they are no better either), crises are brewing in Latin America that pose potentially greater threats to the United States than those posed by Al Qaeda.

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.

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