From Syria to Iran and to the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Secretary Kerry’s boosters have managed to cleverly market his moves as genuine achievements.
Self-proclaimed Middle East “experts” have long bemoaned the instability of the region. They didn’t know the first thing about real instability.
As we teeter on the cusp of 2014, a whirlwind and partial summary, not so much on what’s been happening lately across the Middle East, but on what it all really means.
A recently-negotiated project will bring water from the Red Sea via a pipeline to the Dead Sea, and in the process generate electricity from the falling liquid to be used to desalinate some of the water for agricultural and drinking purposes. The agreement exists only in principle thus far. But it could be promising.
It looks as though direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations will begin again after a three-year-plus hiatus, probably in Washington, sometime during the next week or so. What does it all mean, for the protagonists, for the wider region and for U.S. foreign policy? For starters, it means John Kerry has landed on the map of history. No […]
Antipathy between Sunni and Shi’a radicals in and around the Syrian cauldron is growing rapidly, lately manifested in the battle of the shrines—wherein Sunnis destroy Shi’a holy sites (most recently one not too far from Damascus) and proudly disinter centuries-dead bodies (or the dust thought to have once been bodies), and the Iranian regime threatens […]
The big news two days ago was the announcement, by Secretary Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, of plans to hold a conference on Syria sometime this month. Now, if this conference—assuming it ever happens—can stop the civil war and lead to a relatively smooth landing (“smooth” in this case is a very elastic […]
The Arabs, I am told, have a saying: “Everything starts small except calamity.” If you think about this aphorism for a minute, a sort of witty definitional wisdom comes through. The problem is that sometimes calamity starts small, too. Yesterday’s United Nations General assembly vote on making Palestine an observer–status state is a good example, […]
Again I come late to the gabfest, this time about the Hamas-IDF confrontation in and around Gaza. So much has already been said, and it falls in the usual categories: the thinly didactic, the fatuous, the banal, the shrewd and, especially, the emotional. The usual irrational Jewcentric crap, of all four sorts, too, can be […]
The past several days have elapsed without my having made a comment here on matters Middle Eastern. That does not mean nothing has been going on, but nothing has happened of such a dramatic nature as to focus any extended comment. Reality does not always pour forth with punctuation marks, so that it seems to […]