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Archive for the category “Middle East”

New President, Old Geopolitical Nightmares

Under Donald Trump, geopolitics is back with a vengeance. For him, the United States has enemies and contingent, interest-based allies. In Trump’s world-view – more systematically articulated by him than usual in the 2017 US National Security Strategy – his predecessors forgot the hard reality that international politics is a contest for power.

Read Here – New Statesman

Four Decades Of Conflict With Iran, Explained

For four decades, the U.S. and Iran have been locked into what is essentially an ongoing, low-grade war. Since its inception in 1979, the Shiite theocracy, now run by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and a council of top clerics, has considered the U.S. the “Great Satan” — an intruder in the Middle East and a primary obstacle to the mullahs’ goal of sustaining and spreading their Shiite Islamic revolution.

Read Here – The Week

Oman Strives For Neutrality In The Middle East

In many ways, neutrality and obscurity go hand in hand in this country of 4.9 million people. The sultanate has more or less refrained from taking sides in the ever-expanding roster of Middle Eastern conflicts since Omani Sultan Qaboos bin Said al-Said ascended the throne in 1970. Therefore, Oman has had little reason to engage in the kind of headline-grabbing interventions that have often characterized American, Emirati, Iranian and Saudi foreign policy. In turn, the few outsiders who do think about Oman know it as a neutral country and a tourist destination, not as a source of conflict.

Read Here – Yale Global

Soleimani’s Ultimate Revenge

For years, Tehran’s leadership talked fatalistically about Soleimani as a “living martyr,” but it surely did not anticipate President Donald Trump’s audacious targeted killing. Now the Iranians will seek vengeance—methodical, cold-blooded, and nasty. They will look to avoid an all-out war with the United States that they cannot win. But they will also look to turn a tactical blow into a strategic boon.

Read Here – The Atlantic

What Is The Middle East In The Middle Of Anymore?

The United States is trying to square a circle, remaining strong and deterring dangerous elements, but to do so for U.S. interests—interests that increasingly seem to be fewer and fewer in the Middle East.

Read Here – American Greatness

Iran’s Imperial History Overshadows Its Future

Just who speaks for Iran? When engaging with the Islamic Republic, the international community has tended to treat the country as a monolith, a consolidated political and ideological entity presided over by an entrenched clerical elite. That, however, is hardly the case. In truth, Iran is a complex and cosmopolitan melting pot made up of multiple, competing ethnic identities kept in check by a strong central authority—but just barely.

Read Here – The National Interest

The Chastened Kingdom

On December 1, Saudi Arabia officially assumed the presidency of the G-20. The task of leading the high-profile economic forum, which rotates annually among member countries, is usually more a matter of form than of substance. But for Saudi Arabia—the group’s only Arab member—the stakes are high.

Read Here – Foreign Affairs

The King is Dead! Does It Matter?

The general question of whether leaders matter is a large one, and an old one. One might be excused for thinking that the answer is obvious, given that so much time and energy are invested getting into the heads of leaders. Intelligence agencies compile biographical profiles, even psychological ones, in the certainty that leaders matter a great deal. But there is a school that isn’t persuaded, and that holds that leaders cannot divert the broad stream of history, or are themselves pushed to the fore by that stream.

Read Here – Washington Institute

There’s A Reason They Call It The ‘Forever War’

Combat deployments to the Middle East are not necessary for the security of the United States and only allow regimes in Baghdad, Damascus, and Istanbul to use American troops and assets for their own security. It’s time to stop playing a shell game with the U.S. military in the Middle East and bring them home.

Read Here – The National Interest

Mohammed bin Salman Is Having a Fire Sale Of His Political Power

The two most important facts about Aramco are now directly in tension with one another. It has been central to the power of the House of Saud precisely because the royal family has had it under tight control. At the same time, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has made it central to his plan to transform the country, known as Vision 2030, by promising to sell shares of the company to investors—thus giving them greater control over it.

Read Here – Foreign Policy

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