The Underpublicized Maneuvers of the GCC States

Leave it to two Israeli writers to make a point, which is mostly missed inside the United States, regarding the diplomatic adroitness and political savviness of the States of the Persian/Arabian Gulf. When Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu came to the United States last March and tried to embellish the mutuality of interests between the Gulf States and Israel toward the then impending US-Iran nuclear deal, everyone thought that a political nexus between Israel and the Gulf States was in the process of sprouting. Continue reading “The Underpublicized Maneuvers of the GCC States”

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

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.

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The Synonymity Between Dispensability and Decline

In his second inaugural address in January 1997, President Bill Clinton stated, “America stands alone as the world’s indispensable nation.”[1]  Since then, that phrase has been used on a regular basis.  America, as an indispensable nation, underscores its dominance in resolving conflicts of all portions since the end of World War II.    It has been a major enabler of global economic stability and prosperity of Western Europe and Japan, and, most important of all, it contained the former Soviet Union–playing a crucial role in bringing about its eventual implosion.  Continue reading “The Synonymity Between Dispensability and Decline”

Is Obama’s Strategic Dilemma in Syria a Symptom of the Arrival of a Post-Superpower Era?

The government of Bishara al-Assad, while predicted to have fallen many months ago, is hanging on, and is causing an agonizing dilemma on the part of the United States and Israel.  Both of them want to see the end of Assad’s regime; however, neither of them wants to see Assad replaced by a nexus of Islamists and pro-AQ Jihadists in that country.  The sustained hesitation of the United States regarding Syria made John Kampfner of the Guardian wonder whether this is the first conflict of “the post-superpower era.”  My sense is that Kampfner is not far off the mark, especially since the PRC is reported to be demonstrating a heightened interest in playing some role in the PLO-Israeli conflict.

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The Evolving Pretext to the Next War

The U.S. invasion of Iraq was the outcome of the then rising militarism of the administration of George W. Bush.  Some would argue that it might also have been a natural reaction to the fact that American territory was attacked on September 11, 2001.  But the invasion of Iraq itself had a spurious pretext: to deprive Saddam Hussein of his non-existent arsenal of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).  The exploitation of the U.S. intelligence community to support the claims by the Bush White House has permanently damaged the credibility of the American intelligence community worldwide.  Other “rationales” for waging a war is always an option. The next major war, or at least military action, involving the United States seems to be Iran, the last “rejectionist state” of the Cold War years.  What might be different about the next war is that the states of the Persian Gulf are likely to be playing a major supportive role, if not militarily, then certainly by providing political and financial support for that war. Continue reading “The Evolving Pretext to the Next War”

The Aging Revolutionaries Must Make Room for the New Ones

Every revolution brings to the global limelight new ideas, and a new corps of leaders, who, by becoming successful in carrying out that revolution, prove to the world that the ideas and the regimes that they replaced were anachronistic and irrelevant.  The Arab awakening is one such revolutionary movement.  It is focused on ousting the aging (and not so aging) dictators and establishing democracy.  In the process, it is proving, among other things, that Hezbollah of Lebanon – a revolutionary movement of the 1980s – has become anachronistic.

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Defiant Iran Has Its Achilles’ Heel

It is hard to say that there is an “open season” on berating, hating, and ridiculing Iran in the West, because that season has never ended since the Iranian revolution of 1979.  Despite all the odds against it, Iran remains a formidable Middle Eastern state with a lot of clout and popularity stemming from its support of the Palestinian cause and for supporting the Hezbollah Lebanon, a political as well as a paramilitary organization that withstood the fury of Israeli attacks during the July-August 2006, a reality that remains intensely popular in Arab streets.  Still Iran’s Achilles’ heel remains the growing unpopularity of its government from within.

The Islamic Revolution brought an end to the rule of “America’s Shah.”  Even President Jimmy Carter, who has evolved as America’s best ex-president, attempted to encourage the Iranian Army to bring an end to the revolution.  Carter’s successor, Ronald Reagan, openly sided with Iraq in its aggression against the Islamic Republic.[1]  Iran has long been depicted as a “pariah” or a “rogue” state by Presidents George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.  Bush’s Secretary of State, Condy Rice, in her quest for new phrases of affront, once characterized it an “outpost of tyranny.”  Continue reading “Defiant Iran Has Its Achilles’ Heel”

Iran: The Next Crisis

The United States has become well accustomed to imposing economic sanctions against any state that defies it. Such actions are taken without regard to how badly they affect the quality of life of the people in the sanctioned country. The cruel rationale in Washington is that, if people suffered the terrible consequences emanating from those sanctions, they would overthrow the existing government. When that did not happen, as in Iraq for instance, the administration of George W. Bush decided to topple the regime of Saddam Hussein through a military invasion.

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Obama’s Challenge: Building Sino-Russian Support on Denuclearizing Iran

The real test of President Barack H. Obama’s dealing with China and Russia will emerge in his success to persuade those countries to support the U.S. in pressuring Iran to give up its nuclear weapons aspirations.  Obama has reported to have lobbied China on that issue during his recent visit. He also broached Russia in the recent past for the same purpose, but with little success. Iran denies having such aspirations, but Washington has no faith in those denials.
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“National” and “Global” Political Islam: A Response to Hroub’s Review of Roy’s Books

Professor Khaled Hroub’s review of Olivier Roy’s three books–The Failure of Political Islam; Globalized Islam: The Search for a New Ummah; and The Politics of Chaos in the Middle East–published in your Journal, New Global Studies (Vol. 3, Issue 1, 2009, Article 6), is interesting but leaves the reader wanting more analysis.

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