The Dark Saudi-Israeli Plot To Tip the Scales in Syria

A quiet meeting this past March in Saudi Arabia, and a recent anonymous leak from the Israeli military, set the stage for what may be a new and wider war in the Middle East. Gathering in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh were Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, newly crowned Saudi King Salman, and the … Continue reading “The Dark Saudi-Israeli Plot To Tip the Scales in Syria”

Yemen’s War Is Redrawing the Middle East’s Fault Lines

Yemen is the poorest country in the Arab world, bereft of resources, fractured by tribal divisions and religious sectarianism, and plagued by civil war. And yet this small country tucked into the bottom of the Arabian Peninsula is shattering old alliances and spurring new and surprising ones. As Saudi Arabia continues its air assault on … Continue reading “Yemen’s War Is Redrawing the Middle East’s Fault Lines”

Parsing the East Asian Powder Keg

The past six months have seen an incredible ratcheting up of tensions in the East and South China Seas, where the world’s three largest economies – China, the United States, and Japan – are caught up in an increasingly tangled web of territorial disputes, competing alliances, and historical grievances. In February, U.S. Secretary of State … Continue reading “Parsing the East Asian Powder Keg”

ISIS: The Spoils of the ‘Great Loot’ in the Middle East

“So far as Syria is concerned, it is France and not Turkey that is the enemy.” – T. E. Lawrence, February 1915. It was a curious comment by the oddball but unarguably brilliant British agent and scholar, Thomas Edward Lawrence. The time was World War I, and England and France were locked in a death … Continue reading “ISIS: The Spoils of the ‘Great Loot’ in the Middle East”

Continental Drift: Europe’s Breakaways

Happy families are all alike: every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. – Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina The opening to Tolstoy’s great novel of love and tragedy could be a metaphor for Europe today, where “unhappy families” of Catalans, Scots, Belgians, Ukrainians, and Italians contemplate divorcing the countries they are currently a part … Continue reading “Continental Drift: Europe’s Breakaways”

WikiLeaks, Ukraine, and NATO

Is the Russian occupation of the Crimea a case of aggressive expansionism by Moscow or aimed at at blocking a scheme by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to roll right up to the Russia’s western border? WikiLeaks has revealed a secret cable describing a meeting between French and American diplomats that suggests the latter, … Continue reading “WikiLeaks, Ukraine, and NATO”

Syria and the Monarchs: A Perfect Storm

The Obama administration’s decision to directly supply weapons to the Syrian opposition may end up torpedoing the possibility of a political settlement. It will almost certainly accelerate the chaos spreading from the almost three-year old civil war. It will also align Washington with one of the most undemocratic alliances on the planet, and one that … Continue reading “Syria and the Monarchs: A Perfect Storm”

Afghanistan: Is It Really the End Game?

Gunmen in Pakistan on Monday set ablaze five trucks carrying NATO equipment out of Afghanistan as the international military alliance winds down it combat mission there, officials said. -Agence-France Presse, 3/1/13 There is nothing that better sums up the utter failure of America’s longest war than international forces getting ambushed as they try to get … Continue reading “Afghanistan: Is It Really the End Game?”

Breaking Out the Bush Playbook on Korea

In the current crisis on the Korean peninsula, the Obama administration is virtually repeating the 2004 Bush playbook, one that derailed a successful diplomatic agreement forged by the Clinton administration to prevent North Korea from acquiring nuclear weapons. While the acute tensions of the past month appear to be receding—all of the parties involved seem … Continue reading “Breaking Out the Bush Playbook on Korea”