Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Tag: Sunnis

Petraeus Redux?

The news that President-elect Donald Trump called in disgraced retired Gen. David Petraeus for a job interview as possible Secretary of State tests whether Trump's experience in hosting “The Celebrity Apprentice” honed his skills for spotting an incompetent phony or not. Does Trump need more data than the continuing bedlam...

Shiite Militias Are Crashing the Mosul Offensive

Pro-Iran militias are looking to settle an old grudge in one of the Islamic State's strongholds in northern Iraq. One of the mysteries about the ongoing offensive in Mosul, where Iraqi security forces are now pressing into the northern, eastern, and southern edges of the city, has been the apparent...

Abadi says we are ready if Turkey wants war

What is Turkey up to? The question gained fresh urgency today as Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik and Land Forces Commander Gen. Zeki Colak inspected troops in Hatay near the Syrian border a day after Turkish forces backed by tanks and other combat vehicles massed near the town of Silopi on Turkey's border...

It’s Time to Negotiate With Iran Over Syria

The war won’t end until Assad’s most powerful backer has a seat at the table — and that isn’t Putin. Whenever there has been a glimmer of light in the Syrian war, it has always been quickly extinguished. Take the cease-fire agreement reached in September by Washington and Moscow. After...

Ukraine and Syria: Linked Together by Russia

The United States and Russia are now at daggers drawn over Syria. Following the collapse of the ceasefire negotiated last month by Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the United States has abandoned talks with the Russians on Syria. Meanwhile, in a supposedly unrelated part...

How the US Armed-up Syrian Jihadists

The West blames Russia for the bloody mess in Syria, but U.S. Special Forces saw close up how the chaotic U.S. policy of aiding Syrian jihadists enabled Al Qaeda and ISIS to rip Syria apart, explains ex-British diplomat Alastair Crooke. “No one on the ground believes in this mission or this effort”, a...

What’s keeping Syria’s rebel forces from consolidating their power?

BEIRUT — The collapse Sept. 19 of the US-Russian agreement on Syria — which provided for a cessation of hostilities and greater military cooperation between both world powers — followed by a resumption in violence will further fracture an already-divided Syria. Since the 2011 revolution against Syrian President Bashar...

The Future of U.S.-Saudi Relations

The Kingdom and the Power. The relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia has come under unprecedented strains in recent years. U.S. President Barack Obama has openly questioned Riyadh’s value as an ally, accusing it of provoking sectarian conflict in the region. According to The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, when...

U.S. State Department Officials Call for Strikes Against Syria’s Assad

Dozens of officials sign confidential document protesting Obama administration policy, urge regime change. BEIRUT—Dozens of State Department officials this week protested against U.S. policy in Syria, signing an internal document that calls for targeted military strikes against the Damascus government and urging regime change as the only way to defeat...

The battle for Falluja: If they lose it, Isis is finished

Tens of thousands of lives – and the future of Iraq – are at stake as the country’s forces and Shia militias fight Isis for the city. On a narrow dirt road in the village of Sijar, a column of green Toyota pick-up trucks carrying Shia paramilitaries and rocket launchers...

Isis faces likely defeat in battles across Iraq and Syria – but what happens...

In the second of a four-part series examining Isis, Patrick Cockburn says the terror group may be under threat, but regaining the terrority it captured would not necessarily stabilise the region. Isis is under attack in and around the last three big cities it holds in Iraq and Syria –...

Iran Teams With Taliban to Fight Islamic State in Afghanistan

Tehran and the Taliban have been at each other's throats for decades, but the Islamic State's rise has the two historical enemies teaming up like never before. Iran is working with the Taliban to set up a buffer zone along its border with Afghanistan to keep out the Islamic State,...

Turkey Has Given Up on Democracy Outside Its Borders, Too

Not too long ago, Ankara was working to promote democracy across its region. But an increasingly authoritarian President Erdogan has lost interest. Turkey’s drift back into authoritarianism has international implications. After losing its parliamentary majority last June, the country’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) recovered ground to win just under 50 percent...
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Saudi Arabia Plans $2 Trillion Megafund for Post-Oil Era: Deputy Crown Prince

Saudi Arabia is getting ready for the twilight of the oil age by creating the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund for the kingdom’s most prized assets. Over a five-hour conversation, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman laid out his vision for the Public Investment Fund, which will eventually control more...

What the Saudi Leaks Tell Us: An Interview With Julian Assange

"What comes across from the cables is a small cloistered, intellectually isolated ruling elite with a paranoid worldview." Since June 2015 WikiLeaks has been releasing details of leaked cables and other documents that come from within the Saudi Foreign Office. They provide an insight into the internal workings of the...

Africa’s $700 Billion Problem Waiting to Happen

The Horn of Africa region is central to the world’s maritime trade. It’s also beginning to fall apart. Back in 2002, Meles Zenawi, then prime minister of Ethiopia, drafted a foreign policy and national security white paper for his country. Before finalizing it, he confided to me a “nightmare scenario”...

How Barack Obama Turned His Back On Saudi Arabia And Its Sunni Allies

World View: A striking feature of the President's foreign policy is that he learns from failures and mistakes. Commentators have missed the significance of President Barack Obama’s acerbic criticism of Saudi Arabia and Sunni states long allied to the US for fomenting sectarian hatred and seeking to lure the US...

How Saudi Arabia Turned Its Greatest Weapon on Itself

For the past half-century, the world economy has been held hostage by just one country: the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Vast petroleum reserves and untapped production allowed the kingdom to play an outsize role as swing producer, filling or draining the global system at will. The 1973-74 oil embargo was...

Saudis, Turks Bid to Open Lebanon Front

With a series of blatant measures, Saudi Arabia and its regional allies are evidently trying to destabilize Lebanon. The development is apiece with how Saudi Arabia and Turkey have both sought to undermine the ceasefire in Syria and to escalate that conflict to a region-wide level. A New York Times report this week...

Saudi Arabia Cuts Billions in Aid to Lebanon, Opening Door for Iran

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Even as Iran and Saudi Arabia supported opposite sides in a bitter and bloody proxy war in Syria, the two adversaries managed to preserve a tense calm just over the border in Lebanon, where they have long competed for influence. Now, suddenly, it looks as if Saudi...

Syria: Another Pipeline War

The fossil fuel industry’s business model is to externalize its costs by clawing in obscene subsidies and tax deductions—causing grave environmental costs, including toxic pollution and global warming. Among the other unassessed prices of the world’s addiction to oil are social chaos, war, terror, the refugee crisis overseas, and the...

Israel’s Defense Minister Exposes Israel’s Divide-And-Conquer Regional Strategy

In addition to blowing the cover on Israel’s secret dealings with the Gulf states to target Iran, the defense minister expressed Israel’s hope that Syria might be divided up into ethnic enclaves, each ruled by mini-warlords. SEATTLE (ANALYSIS) - Israel’s defense minister spoke with uncharacteristic bluntness recently as he outlined...

Saudi Arabia turns to Turkey

Saudi Arabia and Turkey have agreed to form a Strategic Cooperation Council to coordinate and develop relations between the countries in terms of economic, political, defense, security, education and health issues. The countries also are discussing military cooperation, especially with regard to Syria. The custodian of the two holy mosques, Saudi King Salman bin...

Saudi Arabia, Turkey Pushed Syrian Opposition to Leave Talks

As regime stepped up offensive, Riyadh and Ankara began to consider urging rebels to exit negotiations. GENEVA—The Syrian opposition abruptly withdrew from peace talks in Geneva this week under pressure from Saudi Arabia and Turkey, two of the main backers of the rebels, according to diplomats and at least a...

China’s New Grand Strategy for the Middle East

After decades of distance, China is moving closer to the region’s sectarian feuds — and its vital oil reserves. At the start of 2016, prospects weren’t good for what would later become one of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s most consequential international tours. The January execution of leading Shite cleric Sheikh...

U.S. Relies Heavily on Saudi Money to Support Syrian Rebels

WASHINGTON — When President Obama secretly authorized the Central Intelligence Agency to begin arming Syria’s embattled rebels in 2013, the spy agency knew it would have a willing partner to help pay for the covert operation. It was the same partner the C.I.A. has relied on for decades for...

Israel Quietly Courts Sunni States

Shared animosity toward Tehran fosters a new push for closer ties. Growing tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran have raised hopes in Israel that officials can build closer ties with the Gulf monarchies based on their shared animosity toward Tehran. Led by Dore Gold, director-general of the foreign ministry, Israel has...

Saudi Arabia and Israel: An Axis of Convenience

The Two Colonial Cat's-Paws Mauling the Middle East. Geopolitics makes strange bedfellows. Take Israel and Saudi Arabia for instance. The two Middle Eastern powers might be expected to have zero common ground. Israel is the arch-colonizer of Arabs and Muslims, while Saudi Arabia governs the motherland of the Arabs and...

The Saudi-Iran War Is America’s Fault

And now it’s Washington’s job to make sure it doesn’t spin out of control. The United States cannot ignore or choose to stay out of the brewing rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia. It is not a purely religious feud, and it is not someone else’s civil war — it’s...

Why Syria will pay for Iran-Saudi rift

TEHRAN, Iran — The UN special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, has stated that the breakdown in relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia is not affecting his efforts to advance the work of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG). However, there are reasons to believe that Riyadh’s cutting...

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