Middle East Articles

Turkey's Syria Problem

Washington chides allies and rewards foes.
Feb 08, 2016
Istanbul Read more

Obama Sides With Iran--Again

8:49 AM, Jan 05, 2016
Saturday’s siege should be understood in the context of other Iranian campaigns against the American order. Read more

Five Words? Next Year Will Be Worse

Jan 11, 2016

It was a great year for the Obama administration’s foreign policy .  .  . says the Obama administration. The State Department even created a new hashtag to celebrate the White House's annus mirabilis—#2015in5Words. "Protecting Arctic Climate and Communities" and "Protecting Health of Our Ocean" are among two of the administration's big wins.

A few of the claims are of course questionable, like "Winning Fight Against Violent Extremists." Okay, congratulations to the White House for hosting a conference on countering violent extremism in February.

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Go South, Young Russian

The Great Game continues.
Dec 28, 2015

Russia's aggressive moves in the Middle East have raised speculation about a new Cold War. A more accurate description would reference the geopolitical, historical, and cultural factors underpinning Russia's imperial ambitions in the south—ambitions that preceded the Cold War and took root in the czarist era.

In terms formulated by the renowned British geopolitician Halford Mackinder in his 1904 article "The Geographical Pivot of History," Russia occupies the "heartland" of Eurasia, that is, the central position on the Eurasian landmass. According to Mackinder, "who rules East Europe commands the Heartland. Who rules the Heartland commands the World Island [encompassing all of Eurasia, including Asia, Europe, the Middle

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The Deal and the War

Nov 30, 2015

In July the Obama administration and its European and Russian partners met with Iran in Vienna to sign the so-called nuclear deal. The general idea was to at least delay nuclear proliferation in an already volatile part of the world. No doubt the White House was hoping for much more—that the Islamic Republic of Iran could be welcomed back into the community of nations, bringing stability to a violent Middle East. But it is now clear that Obama’s great diplomatic endeavor has had the opposite effect: Sectarian war is engulfing the Middle East.

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The Coptic Pope goes to Jerusalem

12:16 PM, Nov 27, 2015

In a move that has sent shockwaves throughout Egypt, the Coptic Pope, Tawadros II, travelled to Jerusalem Thursday at the head of a distinguished delegation of bishops from the Coptic Church. The short flight from Cairo to Tel Aviv can be measured in minutes; the psychological distance stretches back decades.

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Was the Head of Iran's IRGC Wounded in Syria?

3:06 PM, Nov 25, 2015

Sources in Beirut are confirming reports from various Middle East media outfits that Qassem Suleimani, the head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ expeditionary unit, was wounded in the fighting in the Syrian city of Aleppo recently. Fighters from Hezbollah, according to sources close to the party of God, believe the Quds Force commander may be in a hospital in Tehran, or already dead.

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Congress Observed Moment of Silence for Hezbollah and Its Supporters

1:34 PM, Nov 19, 2015

Yesterday, members of Congress observed a moment of silence to commemorate casualties suffered by a community aligned with Bashar al-Assad in his exterminationist war against Syria’s Sunni Arab population.

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Obama Calls Helping Christian Refugees 'Shameful,' While State Claims That’s Exactly What It’s Doing

11:33 AM, Nov 18, 2015

In remarks a few days ago in Turkey, President Obama said this:

when I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which a person who’s fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted, when some of those folks themselves come from families who benefitted from protection when they were fleeing political persecution -- that’s shameful. That’s not American. That’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion.

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Obama's 'Shameful' Policy Toward Middle Eastern Christians

8:01 AM, Nov 17, 2015

In his press conference in Turkey on Monday, President Obama called “shameful” the proposals to give special treatment to Christian refugees from the Middle East.  Here’s some of what he said:

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An Iraqi Abroad

Ahmad Chalabi, 1944-2015.
Nov 16, 2015

Before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, my friend Ahmad Chalabi would often carry fat tomes about America’s occupations of Germany and Japan. An Iraqi exile after 1958 who lived mainly in London and Georgetown and maintained an off-and-on, love-hate relationship with Western intelligence agencies, he was blessed with a voracious, curious, and sensitive mind. He had a prodigious memory, too, and was well-schooled beyond mathematics, in which he held a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. But knowledge ultimately failed Chalabi.

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Obama: ISIS Is Not Gaining Strength

9:39 AM, Nov 13, 2015

President Obama does not believe ISIS is getting stronger. At least, that's what he said this morning in an interview that aired on ABC News:

"I don't think they're gaining strength," Obama said of ISIS. "What is true is that from the start our goal has been first to contain and we have contained them. They have not gained ground in Iraq and in Syria ... you don't see the systematic march by ISIL across across the terrain."

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Dem Senator: 'We Don’t Have a Comprehensive Strategy' In Syria

8:28 AM, Nov 10, 2015

Democratic senator Tim Kaine admitted this morning on national TV that the U.S. has no strategy in Syria:

"The problem is, we don't have a comprehensive strategy," said Senator Kaine.

Kaine went on to blame Congress for the lack of strategy. "It's time to really have a strategy between Congress and the president. And that involved Congress being wiling to engage. And Congress hasn't been welling to do that."

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Homeland Chair Tells Obama to Get Tough on Iran

7:35 AM, Oct 30, 2015

The chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, Rep. Michael McCaul (R., TX), is trying to get the White House to pay attention to what Iran is doing around the Middle East. Earlier in the week, McCaul wrote a letter to Obama arguing that the clerical regime “has demonstrated hostility towards the United States and our allies through a series of increasingly provocative actions.”

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Victory Without Soldiers?

The futility of soft power in defeating militant jihadists
Oct 26, 2015

With the war in Syria becoming ever more complex and murderous, it’s worthwhile to revisit a guiding principle of Barack Obama: The use of American military power is likely to do more harm than good in the Middle East, and even in the region’s violent struggles, soft power is important, if not decisive, in resolving conflicts. If Islamic militancy is to be defeated, better ideas, advanced by Muslims, backed up if necessary by Muslim soldiers, must be the principal means. 

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The Rising Migrant Tide

What Merkel wrought
Oct 26, 2015


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Why Do We Not Save Christians?

They need help, and they have no good place to go
Oct 12, 2015

The Yom Kippur liturgy, just followed in synagogues around the world, repeats several times references to God as one who rescues captives. The central daily Jewish prayer as well refers to God who “supports the fallen, heals the sick, sets captives free.” And throughout Jewish history, the redemption of captives has been considered an important commandment. This is the background to the repeated decisions by the state of Israel to free a hundred or a thousand Arab prisoners in exchange for one single captive Jew.

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The End of Pax Americana

Obama’s ‘accomplishment.’
Oct 12, 2015

The United States, President Obama said at the U.N. General Assembly last week, “worked with many nations in this assembly to prevent a third world war—by forging alliances with old adversaries.” Presumably, the president was not referring to his deeply flawed Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the recent agreement that the White House has marketed as the only alternative to war with a soon-to-be-nuclear Iran.

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What Putin and Obama Have in Common

Hosted by Michael Graham.
2:45 PM, Oct 05, 2015

THE WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with senior editor Lee Smith on what Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama have in common: they both want Iranian dominance in the Middle East.

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Abbas’s 'Bombshell'

3:55 PM, Sep 30, 2015

The Palestinian press has been saying for weeks that Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas would “drop a bombshell” when he spoke to the United National General Assembly today. In the event, the bomb did not go off.

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Our Iranian Interlocutor

Ali Khamenei’s dark obsession with Jews and Israel
Sep 28, 2015

Antisemitism has never been an easy subject for America’s foreign-policy establishment. Read through State Department telegrams and Central Intelligence Agency operational and intelligence cables on the Middle East and you will seldom find it discussed, even though Jew-hatred—not just anti-Zionism—has been a significant aspect, if not a core component, of modern Arab nationalism, Islamic fundamentalism, and what usually passes for critical thought among sophisticated Arab elites. 

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Europe Gets Borders

Hungary’s Orbán cancels Merkel’s invitation.
Sep 28, 2015

Until mid-September, the half-million migrants who had been marching northwards into central Europe seemed like the Old World equivalent of Hurricane Sandy survivors. Families uprooted by the war in Syria were seeking safety, according to this view of things. It was sad to see little girls sleeping by the side of the road, but inspiring to see European volunteers, with their clipboards and their bags of snacks, their water bottles and Port-a-Potties, showing such compassion and logistical expertise. 

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The Putin Solution

What Russia is up to in Syria.
Sep 21, 2015

A photograph of a drowned 3-year-old boy washed up on a Turkish beach after his family failed to find refuge from the war in Syria seems to have finally gotten the world’s attention. The conflict has been an unfolding humanitarian catastrophe for more than four years. A quarter of a million are dead, and millions have been driven from their homes, either displaced within Syria or moved to flee abroad, where they take their chances on reaching shelter.

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Marco Rubio Dominates on Foreign Policy

Putin is "trying to replace us as the single most important power broker in the Middle East..."
8:29 PM, Sep 16, 2015

Senator Marco Rubio explained foreign policy in Russia and Syria concisely during Wednesday's Republican Debate. Putin is "trying to replace us as the single most important power broker in the Middle East and this president is allowing it." Watch the full clip here: 

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Trump Confuses Iran's Quds Forces and Kurds Fighting ISIS (Updated)

Accuses radio host of "gotcha questions."
6:15 PM, Sep 03, 2015

Radio host Hugh Hewitt interviewed Donald Trump Thursday and asked the Republican frontrunner some details on foreign policy. After Trump confused some terminology, he accused Hewitt of asking "gotcha questions."

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Fuel on the Fire

Aug 10, 2015

John Kerry is bullish on the Middle East. He believes that the Iran deal will make it possible for the White House and Tehran to tamp down wars in places like Syria and Yemen. And—who knows?—maybe even solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

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Blaming Israel First

Aug 10, 2015

In May, President Barack Obama donned a yarmulke and spoke in a Washington, D.C., synagogue. He reminded his audience that Jeffrey Goldberg, a member of the congregation, once called him the “first Jewish president.” He claimed to be flattered by the characterization. And perhaps he was—most Jews, after all, voted for him for president, and many Jews of Obama’s acquaintance have sometimes seemed to care more about the well-being of Planned Parenthood than about the survival of the state of Israel.

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ISIS Is Thinking Big

3:24 PM, Jul 31, 2015

ISIS strives to create a new Caliphate.  It is the fundamental reason for its existence.  But the vision does not stop there.  As USA Today reports:

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Saudi Reaction to the Deal: Send Us More Missiles

11:39 AM, Jul 30, 2015

Marcus Weisgerber at Defense One writes that:

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Top Obama General Blames President for Iraq Collapse

7:31 PM, Jul 21, 2015

General Ray Odierno, the outgoing chief of staff of the Army, blamed President Obama's disengagement from Iraq for the country falling apart. He made the comments in an interview tonight on Fox News:

"Well, it's frustrating to watch it," Odierno said of the collapse of Iraq. "I think a lot of hard work into that. And we thought we had it going exactly in the right direction. But now we watch it fall apart--it's frustrating."

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