Category Archives: Iraq

IRAN IRAQ ISIS/ISIL/IS ISLAM ISLAMOPHOBIA JIHADISTS KING SALMAN OF SAUDI ARABIA LEVANT MOHAMMAD BIN SALMAN PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SAUDI MILITARY INVASION OF YEMEN SECURITY STATE UNITED STATES

Will Obama’s Principled Pragmatism Be Emulated by His Successor?

by Ehsan Ahrari on July 13, 2016, No Comments

Principled Pragmatism Implemented One of the greatest features of President Barack Obama’s legacy is his exercise of “principled pragmatism.” Fredrik Logevall, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Professor of International Relations at Harvard, uses this term to describe Obama’s reluctance to seek military solutions to the conflicts during his two terms. This is an umbrella phrase that also describes Obama’s unique frame of reference, or even his grand strategy, to deal with America’s allies and foes. He has made it clear to our allies that America will not fight a war that they initiate in their own neighborhoods. The United States will examine all evolving crises and determine how each of those crises is affecting America’s vital interests and then determine the course of action regarding them. (more…)
IRAN IRAQ KING SALMAN OF SAUDI ARABIA MOHAMMAD BIN SALMAN PAKISTAN SAUDI ARABIA SAUDI MILITARY INVASION OF YEMEN SECURITY STATE THE ISLAMIC STATE/ISIS/ISIL UNCATEGORIZED US GLOBAL LEADERSHIP

The Sustained Saudi-US Strategic Rift

by Ehsan Ahrari on April 23, 2016, No Comments

Poor Saudis!  They have become the Rodney Dangerfield of the Persian Gulf, at least for the United States.  They have not been getting any respect from the Obama administration lately.  President Barack Obama, in a highly publicized interview, described the Middle East as a region that cannot be fixed, “not on his watch, and not for a generation to come.”  The Persian Gulf is a case in point.  That is a region where the Saudi-Iranian rivalry is getting hotter.  Since King Salman came to power, he appointed his 30-year-old son, Mohammad, as Defense Minister and the chief manager of his court.  In this latter capacity, he is generally regarded as the power behind the thrown.  The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Muhammad Bin Naif, though he holds numerous posts, is not number two in terms of his exercise of power.  Brash Mohammad, it seems, is the second most visible, and ostensibly, the second most influential man in that country.  Personalities are important in authoritarian
ARAB AWAKENING COUNTERTERRORISM IRAN IRAQ ISLAM ISLAMIC STATE/ISIS/ISIL JIHADISTS LEVANT MIDDLE EAST UNITED STATES

La Marseillaise Versus the Quranic Verse 5:32

by Ehsan Ahrari on November 20, 2015, No Comments

The ISIS-sponsored terrorist attacks of Paris of November 13, 2015 popularized two phenomena.  The first one was the public singing of the French national anthem, La Marseillaise, which embodies the free human spirit, even under an environment pregnant with fear, blood, tyranny and their related gore.  The French soccer fans were singing it while exiting the soccer stadium, where the Islamist terrorists had let loose a torrent of bloody attacks on innocent human beings.  They were murdered as revenge for the French government’s air campaign in the ISIS-controlled areas of Syria.  The demented soldiers of ISIS were killing them because they were Christians.  The unnoticed aspect of those murderous attacks was that all human beings in that stadium and elsewhere in Paris—Christians as well as Muslims—were their targets, since they had no clue about the religious identity of any of their victims. (more…)
ARAB-IRAN RIVALRY BINYAMIN NETANYAHU BISHARA ASSAD C4I IRAN COUNTERTERRORISM EGYPT GREAT POWER RELATIONS HASAN ROUHANI HILLARY CLINTON HOT GLOBAL ISSUES FROM OTHER SOURCES INTELLIGENCE IRAN IRAN'S FOREIGN MINISTER IRAQ ISIS/ISIL/IS ISLAM ISLAMIC REVOLUTION OF IRAN ISRAEL JIHADISTS KING ABDULLAH OF SAUDI ARABIA LEVANT MIDDLE EAST MOHAMMAD JAVAD ZARIF PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA UNCATEGORIZED UNITED STATES US GLOBAL LEADERSHIP

Burying the Hatchet is the Precondition for US-Iran Rapprochement

by Ehsan Ahrari on August 13, 2015, No Comments

A lot of ink is being spilled analyzing the pros and cons of the recently concluded US-Iran nuclear deal between Iran and the 5+ 1 countries (4 permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany), and there is ample show of emotions about this deal involving different actors. The Arab states are upset because they concluded that its successful implementation would lead to an era of US-Iran rapprochement in which Iran, more than the Arab states, would be the focus of America’s attention. The Israelis are mad because they see the emergence of a nuclear Iran in the distant future as a result of it. More to the point, Israel’s Prime Minister , Benyamin Netanyahu, envisions that deal as the first historical step toward bringing about an end to Israel’s own preeminence, related to its nuclear deterrence in the region. A study prepared for the RAND Corporation addresses precisely that point when it notes, “Nuclear weapons would probably reinforce Iran's traditional national secu
AFGHANISTAN BISHARA ASSAD HOT GLOBAL ISSUES FROM OTHER SOURCES INTELLIGENCE IRAN IRAQ ISIS/ISIL/IS ISLAM PAKISTAN US GLOBAL LEADERSHIP

Anti-ISIS War Underscores the End of Western Dominance

by Ehsan Ahrari on October 9, 2014, No Comments

The emergence of ISIS/ISIL/IS is just one more example–albeit a significant one–of the passage of an era of Western dominance of the Arab/Muslim world.  President Barack Obama's anti-ISIS strategy (which is anything but a strategy) and his war on that entity in Syria and Iraq should be examined in that context.  The most prominent members of Obama's coalition to bomb ISIS are Arab monarchies of West Asia, whose very survival remains under constant threat not only from the Islamists, but also from the anti-authoritarian forces that played a crucial role in initiating the Arab Awakening in December 2010.  As much as the Arab Awakening has become a somewhat dormant force, its turbulence is still being felt on a daily basis in Yemen and Jordan.  As much as the Saudis succeeded in suppressing the rebellion of largely Shia masses against the Sunni rulers of Bahrain, no one really knows how stable that sheikhdom is likely to remain and for how long.  The Arab states are experiencing
BISHARA ASSAD COUNTERTERRORISM IRAN IRAQ ISLAM JIHADISTS KING ABDULLAH OF JORDAN KING ABDULLAH OF SAUDI ARABIA LEBANON LEVANT MIDDLE EAST SHIA CRSCENT STRATEGIC AFFAIRS OF WEST ASIA SYRIA THE ISLAMIC STATE/ISIS/ISIL UNCATEGORIZED UNITED STATES USAMA BIN LADEN

Heading Toward Failure: A Coalition of the “Reluctantly Willing”

by Ehsan Ahrari on September 17, 2014, No Comments

As the Obama administration is busy forming a coalition to fight-eradicate the Islamic State (IS) or (ISIS/ISIL), the evolving coalition that gathered last week in Paris was a far cry from the one put together by George H. W. Bush in 1991 to fight and expel Saddam Hussein's forces from Kuwait.  Today's participants of the coalition of the "reluctantly willing" are probably thinking, but not voicing, that defeating the IS will be a difficult, if not impossible, challenge for a variety of reasons. (more…)
ARAB AWAKENING BISHARA ASSAD COUNTERTERRORISM IRAQ JIHADISTS LEVANT MIDDLE EAST SYRIA UNITED STATES

Bin Laden’s Avatar: Get Real ODNI!

by Ehsan Ahrari on January 11, 2014, 1 Comment

The US government's intelligence services are either getting too imaginative or simply too paranoid about the "revival" of Usama Bin Laden, who, they know, is dead.  Now they are imagining him coming back to life as a "virtual" Bin Laden or as a new "avatar" of Jihadism.  In this ostensible flight of imagination, the American intelligence "experts on Islam appear eager to show their sheer ignorance and stupidity about the religion itself.  Consider the following statement from the study that was commission by no less than the Office of Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), the highest intelligence agency of the United States.  It states:   Imagine that jihadist supporters create a detailed avatar of Usama bin Laden and use his many voice recordings to animate the avatar for up-close virtual reality experiences that could be used to preach, convert, recruit, and propagate dogma to the media. The Bin Laden avatar could preach and issue new fatwas for hundreds of years
AFGHANISTAN ARAB AWAKENING ARAB-IRAN RIVALRY BISHARA ASSAD CHINA EGYPT EGYPTIAN ARMY GREAT POWER RELATIONS HASAN ROUHANI INDIA INTERNET REVOLUTION IRAN IRAQ ISLAM ISLAMIC REVOLUTION OF IRAN JIHADISTS MIDDLE EAST PAKISTAN RUSSIA STRATEGIC AFFAIRS OF SOUTH ASIA STRATEGIC AFFAIRS OF WEST ASIA UNITED STATES US GLOBAL LEADERSHIP

So Long, 2013; Welcome 2014…I Think!

by Ehsan Ahrari on January 2, 2014, No Comments

Happy new year to all my global friends and contacts! 2013 has been an okay year for the United States, in terms of its foreign policy in the Middle East and in the Asia-Pacific.  (more…)
AFGHANISTAN COUNTERTERRORISM IRAQ PAKISTAN

Reflections on Fred Kaplan’s “The End of the Age of Petraeus”

by Ehsan Ahrari on January 5, 2013, 2 Comments

Reading Fred Kaplan's thoughtful essay, "The End of the Age of Petraeus," resuscitated long-standing doubts that I had nurtured about the effectiveness of the COIN doctrine.[1]  I am one of those professors Kaplan refers to in his essay, except that I was at the Joint Forces Staff College of the National Defense University, serving as Professor of National Security and Strategy, at a time when the COIN was referred to as "military operations other than war" (MOOTW).  In that capacity, I belonged to the category of "ether heads"–as our students (senior military officers) called us–who believed in questioning, not just the thinking of America's military leadership, but also their tactics.  When the COIN was being implemented, I was at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (APCSS).  My professional responsibilities included participating in a globally-oriented course entitled, Comprehensive Security Responses to Terrorism (CSRT).  As the chief author of that course, I made