The report came from the FARS news agency in Iran. On Thursday, Ha'aretz repeated the story: "Iranian news: IAF choppers land at Saudi Arabia airport." If FARS is correct, the landing apparently occurred on June 18 and 19.
The End of the Affair
June 22, 2010
On Twitter this afternoon we had some fun remembering French embarrassments in Africa: the Battle of the Nile, Fashoda, Mers El Kebir, Suez, Bocassa, Rwanda and now, of course, South Africa 2010. Flippant, obviously, but France's meltdown this tournament has been richly entertaining (the shame of it is that Les Bleus cannot meet England. Now *that* would be a perversely amusing moment of anti-entertainment). Apart from the Irish, no one has enjoyed this tournament more than the French themselves. Few countries, after all, do self-mortification quite as well as the French.
The Party Line
April 07, 2010
Russia and the Arabs: Behind the Scenes in the Middle East from the Cold War to the Present By Yevgeny Primakov Translated by Paul Gould (Basic Books, 418 pp., $29.95) Over the decades, many people in the West, and certainly most Israelis, came to view the Soviet Union and then Russia as a force for ill, if not evil, in the Middle East, and perhaps farther afield as well.
What Are Nukes Good For?
April 07, 2010
The nuclear order seems to be falling apart. Gone is the uneasy balance between the cold war superpowers. We now face a slew of new nuclear actors. North Korea has reprocessed enough plutonium for perhaps ten bombs, in addition to the two it has already tested. Iran’s centrifuge program seems poised to produce weapons-grade uranium. And Syria was apparently constructing a clandestine nuclear facility, before it was destroyed by Israeli air strikes in 2007. It’s not just enemies that pose a problem.
Yes, We Have To Save Yemen, Too
February 13, 2010
No, I am not deserting the president on this one either. Any country that is under siege by Al Qaeda is likely to have strategic and/or ideological interest to us. But it’s a big stretch to argue that we have a democratic interest in Yemen’s future. It will not be before hell freezes over that we may have such an interest in Yemen. That time is neither now nor tomorrow. And since history in the Arabian Peninsula moves in geological time, let’s stop deluding ourselves about another democratic ally. Our interest in Yemen is strategic.
November 28, 2009
Israel and Palestine: Reappraisals, Revisions, Refutations By Avi Shlaim (Verso, 392 pp., $34.95) Avi Shlaim burst upon the scene of Middle Eastern history in 1988, with the publication of Collusion Across the Jordan: King Abdullah, the Zionist Movement, and the Partition of Palestine. Before that, as a young lecturer at Reading University in England, he had produced two books, British Foreign Secretaries Since 1945 (1977) and The United States and the Berlin Blockade, 1948–1949 (1983), and several revealing essays on modern Middle Eastern historical issues in academic journals.
Budapest, The Berlin Wall, and Iran: What Obama Does Not Grasp
November 08, 2009
It is just about 30 years since the wall around Iran went up. And it is a few days away from fully 20 years since the Berlin Wall came down. The Berliner Mauer had been up for more than a quarter century, and its surface facing east, grim gray, was a metaphor for life in the German Democratic Republic. On its western face graffiti evoked the freer spirit of the half-city whose heart had nonetheless been broken by the Soviet goose step that divided it. And the Cold War was won on the very day the authorities of the D.D.R.
The defense ministers of our NATO allies met last week in Slovakia--a place where NATO power has much recent neighborly resonance--and among the gathering was also Robert Gates. His position on Afghanistan is not quite clear, poised as he is between his president and his men. Of course, Obama has more power.
White Man for the Job
April 23, 2007
Last month, a little-known British historian named Andrew Robert swas swept into the White House for a three-hour-long hug. He lunched with George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, huddled alone with the president in the Oval Office, and was rapturously lauded by him as"great." Roberts was so fawned over that his wife, Susan Gilchrist,told the London Observer, "I thought I had a crush on him, but it's nothing like the crush President Bush has on him." At first glance, this isn't surprising.
What The Realists Wrought
October 30, 2006
During these very days fifty years ago, history was being betrayed by the cool realists in Washington. But the history was being made in the streets of Budapest and on the sands near Suez. Let me begin with the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. Of the Warsaw Pact countries, Hungary may not have been the most brutalized. But it had a resilient population of pious Catholics, some socialists and a smattering of liberals. A goodly number of these Catholics had been sympathizers of the fascist regime of Admiral Horthy, which was independent of Nazi Germany until late in the war.