The Battle for Idlib: A Potential Catch-22 for China

An impending Russian-backed Syrian assault on Idlib, the war-wracked country’s last rebel stronghold, risks putting Uyghurs in the spotlight at a time that the Muslim world has remained silent amid mounting media and academic attention on China’s crackdown on the ethnic Turkic group in its strategic north-western province of Xinjiang. Spotlighting Uyghur activism in Turkey …

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Balance Sheet of the Forever War

"It is time for this war in Afghanistan to end," said Gen. John Nicholson in Kabul on his retirement Sunday after a fourth tour of duty and 31 months as commander of U.S. and NATO forces. Labor Day brought news that another U.S. serviceman had been killed in an insider attack by an Afghan soldier. …

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Lebanon’s Precarious Neutrality

Facing possible invasion from both Britain and Germany in 1940 and determined to remain neutral, the Irish government in Dublin asked one of its senior ministers to draft a memorandum on how to stay out of the Second World War. “Neutrality is a form of limited warfare,” was his eloquent but bleak response. The Lebanese would agree. For seven years, they have …

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Reviving the Concept of an ‘Arab NATO’: Washington Convenes a Gulf Arab States Summit

According to Defense News, the US administration is pushing ahead with plans for a new security alliance, tentatively dubbed the “Middle East Strategic Alliance," or MESA, which is to include Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and Bahrain. An official announcement is expected to come during the Oct. 12-13 US-Gulf …

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How China Is Trying to Dominate the Middle East

Tensions between the United States and China seem to be defining the bilateral relationship between the two countries these days. From a growing trade war to the Trump administration’s characterization of China as a “strategic competitor seeking to undermine U.S. power and influence” in its 2017 National Security Strategy , political and economic relations appear …

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Uri Avnery: One of My Few Heroes in the Middle East

It was somehow fitting that first news of Uri Avnery’s plight should reach me from one of Israel’s staunchest enemies, the Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt. One legend sending sad news of another, you see, a socialist preparing to mourn a fellow socialist, sending his sympathy for the 94-year-old Israeli political philosopher. That same philosopher was …

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Amid Ethnic Protests, Iran Warns of Foreign Meddling

Iran has raised the spectre of a US-Saudi effort to destabilize the country by exploiting economic grievances against the backdrop of circumstantial evidence that Washington and Riyadh are playing with scenarios for stirring unrest among the Islamic republic’s ethnic minorities. Iran witnessed this weekend minority Azeri and Iranian Arab protests in soccer stadiums while the …

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The Uyghur Militant Threat: China Cracks Down and Mulls Policy Changes

China, responding to United Nations criticism, academic and media reports, and an embarrassing court case in Kazakhstan, has come closer to admitting that it has brutally cracked down on the strategic north-western province of Xinjiang in what it asserts is a bid to prevent the kind of mayhem that has wracked countries like Syria and …

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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in meeting with Oman's Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah

Can Oman Build a Ladder for Trump to Come Down the Iranian Tree He Climbed?

The US establishment wrongly believed that it could deal with Iran as with North Korea, using a carrot and stick. Threatening diplomacy has never worked with the “Islamic Republic” since 1979 when the Shah fell and Imam Khomeini seized power. It is true that US pressure on Iran over the last months has plunged the …

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