January 28, 2021

Yemen Joins List of Collapsed Mideast States

This week in Yemen, an Iran-backed Shia militia captured the presidential palace. The president has since resigned. It was the latest stage in the slow advance of the Houthis, who entered the capital Sana’a in September of last year. The latest Houthi victories do not bring the Shia rebels undisputed control of the country. They do, however, ensure the undisputed presence of the Iranian clients in the central government. The situation in Yemen exemplifies in acute form most of the phenomena … [Read more...]

Interview with Eric Stackelbeck: The Middle East in 2015

jonathan-spyer

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Iran and the Shia Militias Advance in Iraq

The United States and its Western allies have recently undertaken airstrikes and other military measures against the Islamic State (I.S., also known as ISIS or ISIL) in Iraq. Contrary to the spirit of most statements coming out of Washington, however, this military action cannot be properly viewed as simply an effort to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the Islamic State—mainly because the Western actions are limited only to air strikes, which would be ineffective on their own in achieving … [Read more...]

Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada- threats to Saudi Arabia: translation and analysis

Intro and Analysis Kata'ib Sayyid al-Shuhada is an Iranian proxy Iraqi Shi'a militia that first emerged as a participant in the Syrian civil war, fighting against the rebels as part of the 'shrine defence' [Sayyida Zainab] narrative. With the renewal of the Sunni Arab insurgency spearheaded by the Islamic State in Iraq this year, the group has also been participating in fighting alongside the government's regular armed forces and other Shi'a militias against the insurgents. Logo of … [Read more...]

Turnaround: Is Saudi Arabia shifting course towards Iran?

Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud and US President Barack Obama inspect an honour guard

   Jerusalem Post, 23/5 A number of recent Saudi moves and official statements have led to speculation regarding a possible shift on the kingdom’s stance toward Iran. The Saudis appear to be moving at least on a declarative level away from a position according to which Iranian ambitions are a threat to be resisted, toward an attempt to accommodate Teheran. The speculation regarding a changed Saudi stance rests largely on three recent public events. The first was the meeting last month … [Read more...]

You Still Don’t Understand Islamism, Do You?

barry-rubin

Around 2007, I gave a lecture at the Defense Department. One of the attendees presented a scenario suggesting that the "problem of Islam" was not political but a problem of verbiage. There was a secret debate happening in the Defense Department and the CIA in which some people thought that all Muslims were a problem, some believed that only al-Qa'ida was a problem, and still others thought the Muslim Brotherhood was a problem. The main problem, however, was that all Islamism was a … [Read more...]

Gulf States Scramble to Realign

jonathan-spyer

Evidence is currently mounting regarding a major US policy shift in the Middle East, based on a general rapprochement with Iran. As this strategy takes shape, traditional US allies in the region are becoming increasingly worried. Much attention has been focused on the implications of the shift for Israel, with many observers saying that Israel is increasingly isolated by the US and more alone than it has ever been. But Israel, in fact, is far from alone. Nor does it appear to be the primary … [Read more...]

Obama Administration Iran Deal Cannot Work

barry-rubin

How do we know that the Obama administration Iran deal cannot work? Let me count the ways.The only countries that have played it right are Canada; Egypt, which is now going to receive American weapons; and Iran itself, which will continue to profit from oil sales while making strategic promises it won't keep. This is not about Iranian nuclear weapons. It is about the entire region.Why have Canada, Egypt, and Iran gotten it right? In large part, Canada has ignored the proposed deal, because it … [Read more...]

How to Read a Newspaper (or Watch Television) About the Real Middle East

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel

This column is an attempt to provide a running narrative of the Middle East. It will tell the news behind the news, including what the mainstream media has missed, especially because of its lack of knowledge of history.                                                                                                      Obama Says Iran-Israel Nuke Deal Is Only a 50/50 Chance It is amazing … [Read more...]

Are Sunni Arabs More Afraid of Israel than Iran?

barry-rubin

I'm surprised that the following coincidence was not connected to Purim. Once again an Iranian tyrant is threatening countries in the region, and it isn't just Jews that are worried. In an absolutely remarkable historical event, President Shimon Peres delivered a speech to 29 representatives from Arab and Islamic states via satellite. Do not kid yourself; this would not have happened if the Egyptians, Saudis, and others hadn't thought that the U.S. had sold out the Sunni Arabs."Everybody … [Read more...]