The US’ Mideast Missile Pullout Isn’t That Big of a Deal

Observers shouldn’t read too deeply into the US withdrawing some anti-air missile systems from the Mideast because it’s motivated entirely by economic factors and has nothing to do with standing down in the face of Iran or Russia. The Wall Street Journal revealed that the US is pulling four Patriot anti-air missile systems from Bahrain, …

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Middle Eastern Black Swans dot China’s Belt and Road

If any one part of the world has forced China to throw its long-standing foreign and defense policy principles out the window and increasingly adopt attitudes associated with a global power, it is the greater Middle East, a region that stretches from the Atlantic coast of Africa to north-western China, a swath of land populated …

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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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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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