January 28, 2021

Interview with Eric Stackelbeck: The Middle East in 2015


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The Middle East at the Beginning of 2014


"We are at the beginning of a very long and profound transformation," says President Barak Obama. True. Nowhere is this truer than the Middle East.Egypt, the largest and most populous Arab country, seems to have settled down into the type of military regime that has existed since 1952, except for 2011 to 2013 when it had an Islamist government. Nevertheless, there have been some important changes in Egypt. First, in the "Islamist" era, Egypt remains still at odds with the Muslim … [Read more...]

My Life’s Work: Free Books and a Look Back at Forty Years of Middle East Analysis

The Arab States and the Palestine Conflict

I’ve just put the full texts of 13 books I’ve written onto the Internet. You can access them all for free with a single click.  This project has prompted me to think a lot about what I’ve been trying to do these last forty years. The main goal has been trying to explain the Middle East as it actually exists, how its politics work, and how its history can be understood. My basic overview is contained in my The Tragedy of the Middle East. In structural terms, the Middle East can be … [Read more...]

The Democratic Platform: Not One Word on Islamism or Any Support for Arab Liberals and Allies


When the authors of the Democratic platform’s sections dealing with the Middle East—I dealt with the section on Israel in a previous article—finished it they were no doubt quite satisfied. They felt that they had built a strong case for reelected President Barack Obama along the following lines: America is more secure and popular. Al-Qaida and the Taliban are on the run. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are ending. America is supporting democracy, women’s rights, and gay rights … [Read more...]

Where Are the Muslim Anti-Islamists? They’re the People Battling and Being Murdered by the Islamists


A reader asks: where are all these tens and even hundreds of millions of Muslim anti-Islamists. I wrote an entire book about the liberals and moderates called The Long War for Freedom. There are a number of scholars who have written such books as well as analogies of moderate Muslim writings. Oh, yes, and then there is every book and article written by non- and anti-Islamist Muslims over decades. The problem today is that we are caught between two lies. The mainstream Western lie is that … [Read more...]

Getting Priorities Wrong in Egypt and Syria: Three Media Case Studies


As I lay here waiting for the gurney to take me into the operating room and read the hundreds of kind letters from so many of you I hope to fill in your time with one more article Focus is everything, knowing what the central problem is and dealing with it. Here I want to discuss three articles that I basically agree with to point out how they miss the key issue and thus are somewhat misleading. I’m glad to see these three articles being published but it’s a case of, to quote Lenin, two … [Read more...]

Jordan’s Prime Minister Reads ‘Rubin Reports’ — And Doesn’t Like It


During a recent dinner in Amman, Prime Minister Fayez Tarawneh of Jordan talked about me at some length,citing my PJ Media article on Israel being in a good strategic situation. Apart from the name-calling, insults, and snorting, he could not refute one point I made. In fact, I think he knows that everything I wrote is true. And that’s what scares him and makes him angry. What particularly upset him was my point that a Sunni-Shia conflict would displace the Arab-Israeli conflict. Jordan, … [Read more...]

Arab World: A Battle for Two Cities


The Syrian regime is pouring all available resources into its defense of the two main cities of Syria: Damascus and Aleppo. While simultaneously constructing an Alawi enclave in the northwest, the Assads understand that maintaining control of these central urban areas is vital to maintain their claim to constitute the government of Syria. Lose the cities, and Bashar Assad’s regime will come to constitute just another sectarian force in a Syrian civil war. As of now, the dictator’s … [Read more...]

Alger Hiss, The “Loss” of China, and the Obama Administration’s Blindspot Toward The Islamist Threat


When Andrew McCarthy drew a parallel between the treatment of State Department official (and Soviet spy) Alger Hiss in the 1940s and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s aide Huma Abedin Weiner today  it reminded me of an interesting discovery from my own research, as documented in my history of the State Department, Secrets of State. As Andrew McCarthy notes, after Hiss was accused of being a Soviet spy and convicted of perjury, Secretary of State Dean Acheson–a friend and colleague in … [Read more...]

Analysis: Syrian Civil War Enters New Phase


For most of the past 16 months, the insurgency against the regime of President Bashar Assad has been confined to certain specific areas of the country. Assad has also managed to keep the top levels of his own elite intact, and largely loyal. The regime has done its utmost to preserve this situation, and above all to maintain quiet in the two largest cities of the country, the capital Damascus, and Aleppo. But the regime has failed. The clashes in Damascus this week, the growing stream … [Read more...]