Middle East Articles

Castro, Cuba, Obama—and Iran

12:01 PM, Dec 17, 2014

Imagine for a moment that you are a Saudi, Emirati, Jordanian, or Israeli. Your main national security worry these days is Iran—Iran’s rise, its nuclear program, its troops fighting in Iraq and Syria, its growing influence from Yemen through Iraq and Syria to Lebanon.

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No Deal

Dec 08, 2014

So the November 24 deadline for reaching a comprehensive agreement with Iran over its nuclear program—itself an extension of an earlier deadline—has come and gone with a whimper, and with another extension. The frenetic, feverish, and foolish pursuit of a deal by the Obama administration, marked by one concession after another to Iran, raised the real possibility that the United States and its international partners would make a historically dangerous mistake that could ensure a nuclear-weapons-capable Iran in short order.

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John Kerry: 'Mideast Peace Process' Currently a 'Misnomer'

2:01 PM, Dec 03, 2014

Secretary of State John Kerry has often spoken with some degree of optimism about the chance for peace between Israel and its neighbors in the Middle East. Wednesday, however, in remarks after a meeting with European Union representative Federica Mogherini in Belgium, Kerry acknowledged that the Mideast peace process "may at this particular moment be a misnomer.

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British Royals Refuse to Visit Israel

8:44 AM, Nov 28, 2014

You won't find the British royals in the holy land. Elliott Abrams calls it, "The bizarre story of the refusal of British royals to visit Israel, while they are constantly in the Arab world, continues."

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Caving to Iran

Nov 24, 2014

It's not clear when (or whether) the Obama White House will conclude a final agreement with Iran over its nuclear program. The extended deadline for the interim deal known as the Joint Plan of Action is set to expire November 24. And the president very much wants a deal that would cement his foreign policy legacy. On the other hand, there are still gaps on key issues, like how many centrifuges Iran gets to keep.

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Obama’s Pen Pal

Nov 17, 2014

With the Republicans winning control of the Senate last week, The Scrapbook is hopeful that the country might be protected from the Obama administration’s worst foreign policy instincts, especially regarding Iran. At the end of this month, the interim agreement with Tehran over its nuclear program expires, and many are concerned that the White House is likely to settle for a very bad permanent agreement. After all, Obama aides have made it clear that an Iran deal is Obama’s foreign policy priority​—​as central to his legacy, they say, as the Affordable Care Act.

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Ditching Israel, Embracing Iran

Nov 10, 2014

Last week, the Obama White House finally clarified its Middle East policy. It’s détente with Iran and a cold war with Israel.

To the administration, Israel isn’t worth the trouble its prime minister causes. As one anonymous Obama official put it to journalist Jeffrey Goldberg, what good is Benjamin Netanyahu if he won’t make peace with the Palestinians? Bibi doesn’t have the nerve of Begin, Rabin, or Sharon, said the unnamed source. The current leader of this longstanding U.S. ally, he added, is “a chickens—t.” 

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The Upside of Lower Oil Prices

Let’s stop fattening the wallets of our enemies.
Oct 27, 2014

Many of the world’s most serious security threats are enabled—directly or indirectly—by revenues from the high oil prices (about $100 per barrel) prevalent in world markets in recent years. If these prices were reduced substantially (e.g., by 20-30 percent), the liquidity that fuels the threats would probably shrink, as would the threats themselves.

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The Middle East in chaos
Oct 13, 2014

The great medieval historian Ibn Khaldun centered his understanding of history on asabiyya, which is perhaps best translated as esprit de corps mixed with the will to power. In his masterpiece, the Muqaddima, or Prolegomena, the Arab historian saw as the primary locus of asabiyya the tribe—a smaller unit than the ethnic group, and the most powerful military unit in Islamic history until the Mameluks perfected the use of slave soldiers.

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An Energy Revolution in Our Midst

11:00 PM, Oct 10, 2014

Anyone who doubts that the deployment of the technologies we have come to call fracking constitutes a revolution should consider this. U.S. oil production has soared by 70 percent in the past six years. American refineries have cut in half their imports from the OPEC cartel, setting off a scramble by those countries to find new markets.

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Degrading, Defeating, and Destroying the Islamic State

2:01 PM, Sep 08, 2014

On Wednesday, the eve of the thirteenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, President Obama will speak to the American people about his strategy for dealing with the rise of the Islamic State, the would-be caliphate bestriding Iraq and Syria, the most palpable and present threat to the region since Saddam Hussein invaded Iran and, later, Kuwait.

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On the Origin of ISIS

Why has a terrorist state blossomed in Syria and Iraq?
Sep 08, 2014

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the terrorist army many thousand strong now rampaging through the Levant, embraces such an extreme, violent ideology that it makes even al Qaeda squeamish, argue many Western experts. On this reading, al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri was forced to distance himself from ISIS’s bloody practices. In reality, the notion that ISIS’s gory campaign turns the stomach even of an arch-terrorist, America’s public enemy number one, is colorful but inaccurate. 

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Beheaded Journalist an Israeli Citizen

5:11 AM, Sep 03, 2014

Steven Sotloff, an American journalist who was savagely beheaded by ISIS, was also an Israeli citizen. Paul Hirschson, an Israeli diplomat, says on Twitter: "Cleared for publication: Steven S[o]tloff was #Israel citizen RIP."


Cleared for publication: Steven Satloff was #Israel citizen RIP

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Yes, We Do Have a Strategy: Keep Out

4:01 PM, Sep 02, 2014

Say what you will about Barack Obama, but his approach to the Middle East has been ruthlessly consistent.  He was elected on the promise to end America’s involvement in the post-9/11 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  He didn’t fulfill those promises as rapidly as his supporters wished – he preferred what his advisers thought would be a “responsible” retreat rather than a full-fledged bug-out, and in Afghanistan masked his withdrawal timetable behind a tempo

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Kerry Comes Around

9:56 AM, Sep 02, 2014

Writing in the New York Times over the weekend, Secretary of State Kerry argues forcefully for the creation of a strong and committed coalition of nations to resist and defeat ISIS. 

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It Took U.S. 'Several Days' to Figure Out Who Bombed Libya

3:46 PM, Aug 27, 2014

With lawmakers ratcheting up pressure on Obama to take action in Syria, few in the administration have been paying close attention to Libya, apparently.

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Why Al Qaeda Released An American Hostage

2:08 PM, Aug 25, 2014

Earlier today, the news broke that Peter Theo Curtis, an American who had been held hostage in Syria since 2012, has been released by his captors. Coming just days after another American hostage, James Foley, was brutally beheaded by the Islamic State, Curtis’s freedom brings a sense of relief. 

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Obama’s General Order

11:34 AM, Aug 11, 2014

On July 4, 1863, as he stared across the fields near Gettysburg at Robert E.

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A Bad Deal

Aug 04, 2014

We are in an odd situation. President Barack Obama is trying to coerce and cajole Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, to compromise on his nuclear quest without using America’s only possible trumps: more sanctions and a serious threat of force. These negotiations are unlikely to end well, unless one deems any deal better than the possibility of American preemptive strikes. 

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Podcast: Obama Strategy For Gaza? Keep Iran Happy.

Hosted by Michael Graham.
3:10 PM, Jul 30, 2014

The WEEKLY STANDARD  podcast with senior editor Lee Smith on Hamas's attack tunnels, Operation Protective Edge, the Iranian factor, and what the media gets wrong about Israel's involvement in Gaza.

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The Truth About Iraq

And why it matters
Jul 21, 2014

As the jihadists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) capture territory and establish a caliphate stretching across the now-eradicated Syria-Iraq border, hard-won gains secured with American blood and treasure are being lost. We are watching the rise of potentially the gravest threat to our national security in a generation, one that surpasses even the threat we faced on 9/11.

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Israel Under Attack

Jul 21, 2014

Last week, Hamas fired hundreds of rockets and missiles at targets throughout Israel, including the nuclear reactor at Dimona. Two of the three M-75 missiles targeting Dimona missed the mark entirely, but one had to be brought down by Iron Dome, Israel’s antimissile shield. The U.N. considers an attack on a nuclear reactor an act of nuclear terrorism, which in this case might have taken a catastrophic toll on Israel’s population—as well as the Palestinians.

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Why Israel Is Winning This War

8:08 AM, Jul 15, 2014

The reluctance of Hamas’s “military wing”—a misnomer for the more extreme elements of its extremist leadership—to accept the cease-fire designed by Egypt is, well, logical. Let’s admit it. They do not wish to accept defeat, and the Egyptian terms are a defeat for Hamas.

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Hayes Podcast: Chaos at the Border and in the Middle East

Hosted by Michael Graham.
9:34 AM, Jul 08, 2014

The WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with senior writer Stephen F. Hayes on the chaos at the border and in the Middle East and President Obama's do-nothing role.

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'America Is the Arsonist of the Middle East'

9:02 AM, Jul 08, 2014

Lee Smith, writing for Tablet:

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Fouad Ajami, 1945-2014

5:15 AM, Jun 23, 2014

The death of Fouad Ajami this weekend, at the age of 68, deprived this country and the world of a uniquely powerful voice – one that is at the same time both Arab and American – that could have helped guide us, as he has in the past, through the hazards and complications of his native Middle East.  

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The Return of the Bad Old Days

11:00 PM, Jun 20, 2014

And we thought the bad old days of oil shocks were over. Embargoes, price spikes, gasoline lines in America, a sweater-bedecked president ordering the end of hot water in many facilities, collapsing retail sales as high gasoline and energy prices hit stores as much as a big tax increase would, economic stagflation, or worse. Well, it just might be that we were wrong to believe that danger to our continued prosperity has been removed with the death of theories about “Peak oil.”

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What to Do in Iraq

10:45 AM, Jun 16, 2014

It’s widely agreed that the collapse of Iraq would be a disaster for American interests and security in the Middle East and around the world. It also seems to be widely assumed either that there's nothing we can now do to avert that disaster, or that our best bet is supporting Iran against al Qaeda. Both assumptions are wrong. It would be irresponsible to embrace a premature fatalism with respect to Iraq. And it would be damaging and counterproductive to accept a transformation of our alliances and relationships in the Middle East to the benefit of the regime in Tehran. There is a third alternative.

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