Parsing Netanyahu’s Palestinian State

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has laid out his terms for peace in the Middle East. In a highly anticipated speech at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University last Sunday, Netanyahu said – for the first time – that he was willing to consider a "demilitarized" Palestinian state, existing side by side with Israel. In Washington, U.S. President … Continue reading “Parsing Netanyahu’s Palestinian State”

Lebanon’s Election: An International Affair

It was touted as an historic election, a vote to determine the future direction of Lebanon. But even with the winners declared, analysts say the Jun. 7 ballot was far from decisive, and did little to alter the fundamental balance of power in the country. In the U.S., Lebanon’s poll has been characterized as another … Continue reading “Lebanon’s Election: An International Affair”

Blogging Brobdingnagian Blowback

It was neoconservative pundit Charles Krauthammer who, in the wake of the Soviet Union’s collapse, inaugurated Washington’s unipolar moment. "America is no mere international citizen. It is the dominant power in the world, more dominant than any since Rome," he wrote then, before the Afghan and Iraq wars, before Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, before … Continue reading “Blogging Brobdingnagian Blowback”

Respite on the Road to Nowhere?

An informal truce between Israel and Hamas went into effect early Thursday morning, temporarily suspending a year of fighting that has left more than 600 Palestinians – many of them civilians – and 18 Israelis dead. The guns fell silent at 6 a.m. amid skepticism that the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire will actually hold. The next 48 … Continue reading “Respite on the Road to Nowhere?”

Rice Midwifes Lebanon’s Latest ‘Birth Pangs’

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice paid a surprise visit to Beirut Monday to pledge her support for an agreement giving greater political power to Hezbollah, the militant Shi’ite group that Washington still considers a terrorist organization. The Doha-brokered peace deal – which grants a decisive veto power to the Hezbollah-led opposition bloc – is … Continue reading “Rice Midwifes Lebanon’s Latest ‘Birth Pangs’”

Pledging Allegiance to AIPAC

With the Iranian nuclear "threat" in the crosshairs, discussion of Palestinians or a Syrian-Israeli détente was virtually nonexistent. But then again, one should not expect many overtures for peace when attending the annual policy conference for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). As more than 5,000 Jewish-American activists ascended Capitol Hill last week, the … Continue reading “Pledging Allegiance to AIPAC”

Obama Walks Fine Line at Major Pro-Israel Meet

Speaking last year at the same forum, he received scattered boos. But as Senator Barack Obama strode towards the podium Wednesday morning at the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), he was greeted with a standing ovation. The applause kept coming throughout his half-hour address. And when it was over, … Continue reading “Obama Walks Fine Line at Major Pro-Israel Meet”

As Bush Policy Crumbles, Allies Pick Up the Pieces

"Things fall apart; the center cannot hold." As the White House agenda for the Middle East continues to unravel, events over the past 24 hours seem to suggest that US allies in the region are determined to construct a new edifice based on diplomacy, with or without Washington’s help. In spite of the President George … Continue reading “As Bush Policy Crumbles, Allies Pick Up the Pieces”

The War on (Euphemism)

From the people who brought you the "war on terror" and the "axis of evil" comes a new verbal tonic for combating that amorphous emotion. Out with pejoratives like "Islamo-fascists," "jihadis," and "mujahedin," and in with "words that work," according to a George W. Bush administration memo that was leaked last month to the Associated … Continue reading “The War on (Euphemism)”

Lebanon Crisis Shows Hues of Iraq

Almost every country in the world has had a civil war, but rarely has a nation survived a second one. The outburst of violence that erupted on the streets of West Beirut last week now threatens to rip apart the small patchwork state, with analysts here and in Lebanon saying that the events over the … Continue reading “Lebanon Crisis Shows Hues of Iraq”