The Reopening of the UAE Embassy Might Signal Syria’s Pivot to the GCC

It would be foolish to believe that the uber-wealthy UAE needs war-torn Syria more than the reverse, so the reported reopening of the Emirati Embassy more than likely signals a significant change in policy on Damascus’ behalf and not Abu Dhabi’s, the ramifications of which could be far-reaching for the entire region and especially Iran. …

Continue reading The Reopening of the UAE Embassy Might Signal Syria’s Pivot to the GCC

Advertisements

Washington’s New Strategy for Syria

At this point it’s hardly worth arguing that the Syrian conflict has entered endgame, as this fact seems pretty obvious at this point. Yet, even after exhausting all of its options the United States chose to double down on its Syrian intervention. This serves as a clear indication that America’s Syria policy is in dire …

Continue reading Washington’s New Strategy for Syria

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan attends a welcome ceremony in Beijing on November 3, 2018. Photo: AFP / Jason Lee/ pool

Pakistan in the Middle of Saudi, Iran and Rival Pipeline Plans

A tweet roared like announcing a blockbuster premiere and sanctions did engulf Iran on time – despite opposition from Russia, China and the EU-3 (France, Germany and the United Kingdom), who still support the United-Nations endorsed Iran nuclear treaty. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called this an economic war waged by a “bullying power”. The …

Continue reading Pakistan in the Middle of Saudi, Iran and Rival Pipeline Plans

Trump Goes to Paris: Will He Make Peace with Putin & Erdogan?

Trump and over 60 other world leaders will be in Paris over the weekend to attend an event commemorating the end of World War I a century ago, during which time the American leader is expected to have important sideline discussions with his Russian and Turkish counterparts. The occasion comes at a convenient time given …

Continue reading Trump Goes to Paris: Will He Make Peace with Putin & Erdogan?

The Unraveling of the Netanyahu Project for the Middle East

Nahum Barnea, a leading Israeli commentator, writing in Yedioth Ahronoth in May (in Hebrew), set out, unambiguously, the ‘deal’ behind Trump’s Middle East policy: In the wake of the US exit from JCPOA [which occurred on 8 May], Trump, Barnea wrote, will threaten a rain of ‘fire and fury’ onto Tehran … whilst Putin is expected to …

Continue reading The Unraveling of the Netanyahu Project for the Middle East

The Khashoggi Crisis: Putting Humpty Dumpty Back Together

The killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and potential Western sanctions against Saudi Arabia has sparked renewed debate about the value of the longstanding alliance between the United States and the kingdom. The debate is not limited to the US or the kingdom, both of which are assessing the reliability of the other even if that …

Continue reading The Khashoggi Crisis: Putting Humpty Dumpty Back Together

Under the Pakistani Volcano

It has been a breathless week, huddled in the shadow of the simmering, bubbling, politico-religious volcano that is Imran Khan’s Pakistan. And this week’s multi-faceted developments may just signal seismic shifts in Pakistan’s internal and external relations for the foreseeable future. Before moving on to bloodier matters, let’s start with the “Mr. Khan Goes to …

Continue reading Under the Pakistani Volcano

Mohammed bin Salman watches military drills in the eastern Saudi region of Dhahran during the 29th Arab League summit in April 2018 (AFP)

Why Mohammed bin Salman Is Now Circling the Wagons

Mohammed bin Salman's universe is shrinking quickly. After a prolonged absence in London, his uncle and nemesis, Prince Ahmad bin Abdulaziz, returned home to a hero’s welcome. Senior princes have flocked to greet him, at the airport and receptions held afterwards. The welcome includes heavyweights like former intelligence chief Khaled bin Bandar, former deputy defence minister Khaled …

Continue reading Why Mohammed bin Salman Is Now Circling the Wagons

Spying, Lying and Dying

In 2013 the German publication Der Spiegel informed us that Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters, GCHQ, had been planting malware in the systems of Belgacom (now called Proximus), a telecoms company of which the Belgian government has 53% ownership. It revealed that GCHQ’s ‘Operation Socialist’ involved technology that directed targets to websites which could then inflict malware or otherwise louse …

Continue reading Spying, Lying and Dying