US Diplomatic Adviser’s Troubling Role in Oil Politics

In 2003, US diplomatist Peter Galbraith resigned at the end of a distinguished, 24-year government career. Over the years that followed, he worked as a contract-based adviser to leaders in Iraq’s Kurdish community, while also arguing passionately in public media that Iraq’s Kurds should be given maximum independence from Baghdad – including full control over … Continue reading “US Diplomatic Adviser’s Troubling Role in Oil Politics”

US Strategy in Doubt as Abbas Loses Popular Support

Just two months ago, many western commentators were jubilant that Mahmoud Abbas, the U.S.-supported head of both the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the interim Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA), was making a comeback and reducing the influence in Palestinian society of the Islamist movement Hamas. But a series of events in recent weeks has sent … Continue reading “US Strategy in Doubt as Abbas Loses Popular Support”

A Week of Dimming Mideast Peace Prospects

Eight months after Barack Obama launched his presidency by promising a speedy push for Palestinian-Israeli peace, that effort has stalled badly. And there are now growing fears that the top levels of Obama’s peace team are torn by internal disagreements that may undermine the whole peace effort. Some of these problems were on view during … Continue reading “A Week of Dimming Mideast Peace Prospects”

Obama and Netanyahu Still Tussling over Priorities

As world leaders prepare to gather here for the all-star "general debate" at the U.N. General Assembly on Sep. 23, two of them — U.S. Pres. Barack Obama and Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu — are still tussling over whether to prioritize their anti-Iran campaign or the push for a Palestinian-Israeli peace. In recent days, … Continue reading “Obama and Netanyahu Still Tussling over Priorities”

NGO Reports on Gaza War Belie Israeli Claims

This week, two respected human rights organizations — one Palestinian, one Israeli — each came out with very full reports into the extent of the damage caused by the assault Israel waged against Gaza last winter. According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), which is based in Gaza, 1,419 Palestinians were killed during … Continue reading “NGO Reports on Gaza War Belie Israeli Claims”

Stormy Times in Iraq as US Withdraws

Political violence in Iraq killed 456 Iraqis in August, the highest monthly death toll since July 2008. And with the U.S. showing no sign it plans to reverse the troop withdrawal that is now well underway, numerous struggles for power are shaping up inside Iraq. They involve both competing factions within the country and also, … Continue reading “Stormy Times in Iraq as US Withdraws”

Can Final Peace Deal Overcome Settlements Roadblock?

The Barack Obama administration — perhaps the president himself — will reportedly be launching a new round of authoritative Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations sometime during the upcoming U.N. General Assembly session, which is scheduled to start in New York on Sep. 15. So far, most media attention has focused on the administration’s ongoing tussle with Israeli … Continue reading “Can Final Peace Deal Overcome Settlements Roadblock?”

Saudi Arabia May Not Follow Obama’s Israel Plan

Pro-Israel lobbyists won the support of 77 senators (out of 100) for a letter sent to President Barack Obama that urged him to "press Arab leaders" to consider making dramatic, upfront peace overtures to Israel. But one key Arab state, Saudi Arabia, has already clearly communicated its refusal to make any such gestures at this … Continue reading “Saudi Arabia May Not Follow Obama’s Israel Plan”

Fatah’s Leadership Crisis Deepens

Fifty years ago, a small group of Palestinian teachers and engineers living in Kuwait founded a secretive movement aimed at liberating those portions of previously British-ruled Palestine that became the State of Israel in 1948. The group they founded, Fatah, went on to dominate the entire Palestinian political scene. In 1969 it took over the … Continue reading “Fatah’s Leadership Crisis Deepens”

Iran Crisis Ripples Outward

As the political crisis that erupted after Iran’s Jun. 12 elections enters its third week, it is becoming evident that this crisis will have repercussions in many parts of the Middle East — and far beyond. The crisis may have its biggest effects inside neighboring Iraq, where next Tuesday, Jun. 30, the U.S. occupation forces … Continue reading “Iran Crisis Ripples Outward”