December 22, 2014

THE SHI’I CRESCENT’S PUSH FOR REGIONAL HEGEMONY AND THE SUNNI REACTION

Hassan Rouhani secured the presidency of Iran with 18 million votes, over 50% of the electorate, running on a campaign of “Hope and Wisdom”

PDF version available here In response to the September 11 attacks, the United States occupied Iraq. Baghdad effectively ended up in the hands of Iran, thus leading to the formation of the Shi’i Crescent. Riyadh has been leading the Sunni crusade to derail the march of Shi’ism. At the same time, to protect its nuclear facilities, Tehran has made Hizballah its Mediterranean defense line and Damascus its arms courier. The existence of an atomic bomb component in Iran’s nuclear … [Read more...]

THE ARAB SPRING AND THE PROSPECTS FOR GENUINE RELIGIOUS AND POLITICAL REFORMS

There is a guarded optimism that the Arab Spring could result in genuine religious and political reforms. This optimism is grounded in the belief that for the new governments to be reelected, they must reduce unemployment and poverty quickly and convincingly. Dogmatic posturing produces neither jobs nor prosperity. Islamists, Salafists, and jihadists--with Wahhabi inspiration and cash--will assail the new policies as un-Islamic. The confrontation could marginalize Islamist and other extremists, … [Read more...]

WHY SYRIA’S REGIME IS LIKELY TO SURVIVE

Examining the differences between the uprising in Syria and those in Tunisia and Egypt offers important clues as to why Syria's regime is likely to survive. The Tunisian and Egyptian armies refused to kill demonstrators and even supported the revolution. Syria’s Alawi-led forces, on the other hand, do not hesitate to kill, as the Tadmur and Hama massacres show. The Syrian regime has been skillful at exploiting the conflict with Israel and the patience of Western powers with the dictatorship. … [Read more...]

ABU DHABI’S NUCLEAR POWER PLANT FOLLY

  THE NUCLEAR POWER PLANT   On December 28, 2009, Abu Dhabi awarded a contract [1] to build, operate, and transfer a 5,600 MW nuclear power plant composed of four reactors of 1,400 megawatt (MW) each to a consortium of South Korean firms.[2] The firms are led by Korea Electric Power Corporation and include Hyundai Engineering and Construction as well as Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction Company. The project is to be completed in three phases between 2017 and 2020. Its … [Read more...]

To Perpetuate Their Dictatorships, Arab Rulers Resort to the Islamic Creed

  KORANIC INSPIRATION FOR THE MODERATE, ISLAMIST, AND JIHADIST The Koran often provides Muslims with contradictory inspirations on subjects of political or social relevance. On Muslim relations with Christians and Jews, for example, a moderate Muslim would focus on peaceful and tolerant verses such as 29:46: “Do not argue with the People of the Book [Christians and Jews] unless in a fair way.” Similar injunctions are found in, among others, 2:62, 2:136, 2:256, and the second … [Read more...]

Dry Aquifers in Arab Countries and the Looming Food Crisis

DRY AQUIFERS IN ARAB COUNTRIES AND THE LOOMING FOOD CRISIS  Elie Elhadj* As water volumes in Arab lands dwindle, as per capita income in the large and heavily populated non-oil producing states remains low and narrowly diversified, as high population growth rates persist, a food disaster will sooner or later strike. These countries will have neither the water to grow the food they need, nor the exports to earn the foreign currencies to import the food they require. This article recommends … [Read more...]

Saudi Arabia’s Agricultural Project: From Dust to Dust

    Volume 12, No. 2 - June 2008, Total Circulation 25,000 Article 3 of 7 SAUDI ARABIA'S AGRICULTURAL PROJECT: FROM DUST TO DUST Elie Elhadj* Arid conditions have always prevented the development of any sizeable settled agricultural communities in the Arabian Desert. This article examines the events that led to and the lessons that may be drawn from a failed, politically determined economic and ecological … [Read more...]