Category Archives: Regional & International Politics

Random Observations on Some Recent Developments

Iran

Iran will never give up its nuclear program. To them, having nuclear capabilities and a few warheads and missiles on the side is meant tom inoculate them against foreign dabbling. Iranian officials believe that, unlike Saudi Arabia whose breakup will come largely due to mismanagement on part of the ruling establishment, the only way the Iranian establishment they could face serious domestic troubles will come as a result of clandestine activities supported by Western governments. Having nuclear weapons will prevent that possibility, so they think, even as American drones and intelligence operations are busy destabilizing Pakistan, which has long been a nuclear power.

A Scene from Dr. Strangelove.
A Scene from Dr. Strangelove.

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Everybody loves Al-Qaeda – Part Two

Read Part One here.

Through their reactive kneejerk policies over the last few years, policies that conform both to their inherent nature and parochial interests, Russia, Iran, the Assad regime, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and all other Middle Eastern regimes managed to create a situation in Syria where the United States had no choice but to intervene to midwife a process that will eventually secure the interests of most of these regimes, most of which will survive the current mayhem with little or no change.

An ISIS parade in the Syrian town of Tal-Abyad
An ISIS parade in the Syrian town of Tal-Abyad.

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Collateral Damage

The Syrians, yes, even those who are now in danger of being harmed as a result of U.S. strikes, would have been much more forgiving, had the strikes come earlier and had Assad being in the visor as well, and not only ISIS and Al-Nusra. But seeing that the strikes came so late in the game and only in response to a potential threat to U.S. security, and that there do not seem to be any plans for targeting Assad and his loyalist militias as well, Syrians in target regions have little reason to be sympathetic to America’s plans. Even the Kurds, and after their initial euphoria, seem skeptical now, because ISIS’ positions around Kobani remain untouched, and its assault on the Kurdish town is still unfolding.

It pays to do this little comparison to see why the rebels are so focused on Assad, despite the world's obsession with ISIS.
It pays to do this little comparison to see why the rebels are so focused on Assad, despite the world's obsession with ISIS.

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Too early for true hope!

Ever since ISIS began making its presence felt on the Syrian scene, I predicted that eventually Obama will choose to intervene in Syria, but only to strike against ISIS. I warned that such a course will antagonize many Sunnis around the world, on account of Obama’s refusal to strike against the Assad regime which has committed much worse atrocities against the Syrian people, especially the Sunni majority. By enlisting the participation of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, UAE and even Qatar, Obama seems to think that he can avert giving such an impression. But he is wrong. Participation of the corrupt and authoritarian Sunni governments that have always had strong ties with the U.S. will not alleviate Sunni doubts and anger on the grassroots level, especially among the disaffected, and will probably further fuel it.

ISIS basis in the Syrian city of Raqqah
ISIS basis in the Syrian city of Raqqah.

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Fight extremism, not just ISIS

Ready, Aim, Fire. Not Fire, Ready, Aim. - NYTimes.com.

The current drive by the Obama administration to unite Sunni and Shia powers in the region against ISIS, the group that everyone supposedly hate in equal terms, will not succeed, because by ignoring the atrocities that Assad and Hezbollah have been perpetrating in Syria before ISIS showed up on the scene, and because both are pillars of the Shia axis in the region, the administration, with its suborn refusal to act against Assad coupled with its current single-minded focus on ISIS, will be perceived as supporting the Shia Axis. The ongoing negotiations with Iran and the reconciliatory tone that many administration officials have assumed in her regard will strengthen that impression.

Spect_Sunni-Vs-Shia_cover
The mayhem in the Middle East is not about sectarianism, but sectarian divides and prejudices do play a major role.

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