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looking beyond borders

foreign policy and global economy

Archive for the category “Middle East”

What Rouhani’s Visit To Iraq Tells Us About Iran’s Syria Policy

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s recent landmark trip to Iraq was closely monitored and discussed from various aspects by the media and analysts around the world. Some observers put their focus on the bilateral aspect, talking about the importance of the visit in terms of Iran’s growing influence in Iraq, while others analysed it within the context of Iran’s plans to overcome the US sanctions…But a largely ignored — and yet very important — aspect of the Iranian president’s three-day visit to Iraq is the explicit and implicit implications of the trip for Iran’s policy in Syria.

Read Here – Al Monitor

 

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Iran’s 40 Years Of Strife

The 40th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution could have offered the West an opportunity to reflect on the failure of four decades of disengagement to bring the Islamic Republic any closer to collapse, or the region any closer to peace. Instead, the Trump administration has doubled down on hostility, with nothing to show for it.

Read Here – Project Syndicate

The Vatican And The Gulf Have A Common Enemy

The pope’s visit was advertised as the UAE’s gift to the many thousands of Catholic guest workers, including nearly 700,000 from the Philippines alone. That was only part of its purpose. Freed from any obligation to Islamists, and faced with the promise that those Islamists would work implacably to end the monarchies, the Gulf States have everything to gain from embracing the West, opening further, and reaping the benefits of cooperation against Islamists. The visit was not a concession to Christianity but a strategic calculation, and a canny one at that.

Read Here – The Atlantic

Obama’s Secret Rationale For The Raid On Bin Laden

So it looks like those secret Osama bin Laden memos are going to stay secret a bit longer. These are the written opinions by lawyers at multiple U.S. intelligence agencies, drafted in 2011 at the request of President Barack Obama’s administration, on whether the U.S. had the legal right to capture or kill bin Laden at his hideout in Pakistan.

Read Here – Bloomberg Opinion

The U.S. Has Wasted Billions of Dollars On Failed Arab Armies

The United States has spent 70 years and tens of billions of dollars training Arab militaries—with almost nothing to show for all the effort. Time and again, America’s Arab allies have failed to live up to martial expectations. The U.S.-trained Egyptian Armed Forces performed miserably in 1991 during Operation Desert Storm. If anything, they did somewhat better under Soviet tutelage in the 1973 October War. The U.S.-trained Iraqi Army collapsed when attacked by a couple thousand Islamic State zealots in 2014. The U.S.-trained Saudi military fell flat on its face when it intervened in Yemen in 2015, and it has become badly stuck there.

Read Here – Foreign Policy

Red Sea Rivalries

Gulf states with deep pockets and big appetites are asserting themselves in the Horn of Africa as never before. The flurry of new economic and military investments is reshaping geopolitical dynamics on both sides of the Red Sea, as two formerly distinct regions are fast becoming one.

Read Here – Foreign Affairs

Moscow’s Little-Noticed Islamic-Outreach Effort

Russia’s growing presence in the Middle East is generally discussed in military and economic terms. Moscow’s 2015 intervention in Syria to prop up the regime of Bashar al-Assad increased its influence with Iran and enabled it to draw a wedge between Turkey and the United States… A little-noticed trend, however, is Moscow’s focus on promoting politically pacifist Islam, which has coincided with an aggressive push by certain Arab countries to combat Islamism.

Read Here – The Atlantic

Is Major Realignment Taking Place In The Middle East?

Having long criticised U.S. policy in the Middle East, President Donald Trump has outlined the contours of a fresh approach to the region…But these new plans don’t consider a critical challenge: the shifting alignments in the region, which have intensified following the killing of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Read Here – Foreign Affairs

Saudi Arabia’s Public Prosecutor Seeks Death Penalty For 5 Khashoggi Suspects

Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor is seeking the death penalty for five out of 11 suspects charged in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. He was killed in the country’s Istanbul consulate on Oct. 2 by a lethal injection after a struggle, and his body was dismembered and taken out of the building, Shalaan Al-Shalaan, deputy public prosecutor and spokesman, told reporters in Riyadh.

Read Here – Arab News

Also Read: How the Saudi narrative of Khashoggi’s killing changed

The US-Saudi Relationship: Much Less Than Meets The Eye

Among the most magical urban myths floating around the Trump administration is that Saudi Arabia is America’s strategic partner and the relationship is simply too big to fail. Sadly, that relationship is already failing. Indeed, under the leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (also known as MBS), Saudi Arabia has willfully pursued policies that have undermined both American interests and values. Worse still, the Trump administration envisions a role for Saudi Arabia in its Middle East strategy that can only disappoint.

Read Here – CNN

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