Tag: Middle East

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The Terribly Annoyed Saudis

President Barack Obama concludes a National Security Council meeting in the Situation Room of the White House in advance of his trip to Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom and Germany, April 19, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Official Washington’s pols and pundits fret whenever Saudi Arabia or Israel complains, but those “allies” are charting a dangerous course for the U.S. that President Obama seems incapable of changing, writes Michael Brenner.

Merkel’s Power Shaken by Refugee Crisis

President Barack Obama at a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on June 19, 2013.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Time magazine’s “person of the year” in 2015, is facing her biggest political crisis as her welcoming of Mideast refugees has troubled and angered many Europeans, raising the possibility that Merkel’s days as the Continent’s undisputed…

Not Taking Sides in Saudi-Iran Fights

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani celebrates the completion of an interim deal on Iran's nuclear program on Nov. 24, 2013, by kissing the head of the daughter of an assassinated Iranian nuclear engineer. (Iranian government photo)

Many U.S. pols and pundits fret that Saudi Arabia’s feelings are hurt by the Obama administration’s opening to Iran, but they conveniently forget Saudi support for terrorism and other acts harmful to the American people, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

Saudi Arabia’s Dangerous Decline

King Salman of Saudi Arabia and his entourage arrive to greet President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 27, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Much of Official Washington still toes the Saudi line against Iran in part because Israel shares that hostility but that antagonism is putting the world at greater risk as Saudi Arabia demonstrates increasingly reckless and barbaric behavior, the sign of a declining…

Probing Bernie Sanders’s Identity

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders may be a strong voice on income inequality but his positions on military spending and foreign policy are muddled and his criticism of ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s neocon-oriented world view is muted, as anti-war activist David…

Mideast’s Expected and Unexpected

Video of the Russian SU-24 exploding in flames inside Syrian territory after it was shot down by Turkish air-to-air missiles on Nov. 24, 2015.

At year’s end, it’s often worthy to think back on how you thought the year would go and compare it to what actually happened. For writers who have made predictions, it represents a more public challenge, as ex-CIA official Graham…

Hitting Saudi Arabia Where It Hurts

King Salman of Saudi Arabia and his entourage arrive to greet President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 27, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Exclusive: Though faced with a global terrorism crisis, Official Washington can’t get beyond its neocon-led “tough-guy-gal” rhetoric. But another option financial sanctions on Saudi Arabia might help finally shut down the covert supply of money and arms to Al Qaeda and…

The Mideast’s Humpty Dumpty Problem

President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney receive an Oval Office briefing from CIA Director George Tenet. Also present is Chief of Staff Andy Card (on right). (White House photo)

Western powers most recently the United States have smashed up the Mideast so thoroughly that many of the options now under review in Official Washington go from bad to worse but almost certainly can never put the region back together…

A Plea for Mideast Policy Realism

Former U.S. Ambassador Charles W. "Chas" Freeman. (Photo credit: Chasfreeman.net)

Over the past two decades, a neoconservative-driven foreign policy has led to strategic disaster after disaster, but neocon belligerence continues to dominate Official Washington, a dilemma that former U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Chas W. Freeman addresses.

Muslim Memories of West’s Imperialism

French diplomat Francois George-Picot, who along with British colonial officer Mark Sykes drew lines across a Middle East map of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, carving out states with boundaries that are nearly the same as they are today.

Special Report: American politicians know little about history, so they lash out at people from formerly colonized Third World nations without understanding the scars that the West’s repression and brutality have left on these societies, especially in the Muslim world,…