Archive | Middle East

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Was ISIS Inevitable?

ISIS’ exploits dominate headlines, horrifying witnesses around the world. As a history graduate who specialised in researching the rise of Islam, its culture, and its creation of a complex and inspiring civilisation, the recent destruction of millennia old artefacts have almost reduced me to tears. As we now watch and condemn the destruction of priceless […]

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Posted in Conflict, Humanitarian Intervention, Iraq, Islam, Middle East, Political Security, Refugees, Religion, Security Issues, Syria, Terrorism, World

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Why Israel Is Losing the Public Relations War

Almost everybody thinks badly of Israel. That’s what a poll published by the BBC World Service in 2014 shows. More precisely, Israel ranks as the fourth most negatively viewed nation, right after North Korea, Pakistan and Iran. What explains the differences between European and American views on Israel, and how does such an overall negative […]

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Posted in Conflict, Economics, Israel, Israeli Palestinian Conflict, Middle East, Political Security, Security Issues, World

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Is Iran Headed For Another Recession?

Garnering over 50 percent of the vote, Hassan Rouhani assumed a decisive victory on June 2013 and became Iran’s new president after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s eight year long reign. Vowing to pull the country out of its sanction filled, depressed economy, he won the elections by a landslide. Less than three months ago, during a December […]

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Posted in Economic Security, Economics, Global Economy, Iran, Middle East, Security Issues, World

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Bibi Wins Re-election in Israel, But at What Cost?

Incumbent Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has won re-election. Under immense pressure, Netanyahu displayed his winner mentality and insatiable desire to govern Israel by seemingly pulling out all the stops to assure another Likud victory, but at what cost? First there was Netanyahu’s Republican-hosted speech to U.S. Congress where his apparent aim was to display […]

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Posted in Conflict, Middle East, Security Issues, UN, US, World

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Boehner Makes Republicans ‘Tools and Dupes’ of Netanyahu’s Election Campaign

This article was first published in The Huffington Post on 3rd March 2015. One of the defining precepts of the American Republic from its earliest days to today has been that the president of the United States represents the country in its dealings with the world. It is a view which the Supreme Court unambiguously […]

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Posted in Iran, Middle East, US, World

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ISIS, Islam and Credulity: More Irreverence Needed in the Fight Against Extremism

This week, King Abdullah of Jordan appealed to European parliamentarians to help root out both terrorism and ‘Islamophobia’. Setting aside this interesting conflation, the wholesale failure of Arab and majority Muslim countries to embody either mutual respect or inclusivity towards many of their ethno-religious minorities bespeaks of an imbalance in critical attention to how those […]

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Posted in Europe, Iraq, Islam, Middle East, Political Security, Religion, Security Issues, Syria, Terrorism, World

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ISIS and The Illusion of Power

It can be difficult to stay optimistic about peace while an atmosphere of gloom permeates the contemporary Middle East, particularly in Iraq and Syria. It is nearly impossible to watch the news without being inundated by provocative visuals of ISIS’s atavistic executions of U.S. journalists and perplexed by ISIS’s seemingly uncanny ability to recruit Westerners. […]

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Posted in Conflict, Iraq, Islam, Middle East, Religion, Syria, Terrorism, US, World

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Khat Chewing – Benign Practice or Social Peril?

A stimulant native to the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, Khat is a narcotic leaf that induces mild euphoria upon chewing – an extremely popular custom in Somalia, Yemen, Kenya, Djibouti and Ethiopia. Lucrative business More than 25,000kg of khat is sold each day in Ethiopia’s Adaway Market and is a vital source of […]

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Posted in Africa, Drugs, Economic Security, Food Security, Security Issues, World, Yemen

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Mediterranean Migration Reveals Flaws in Dublin Convention

John Donne famously reminded us that ‘no man is an island’. Likewise in today’s polycentric, ever-globalized, and interconnected world, no state can remain untouched by social, economic, or political influences from neighbouring states. As terrible as Islamic State has been for people living in Syria, Iraq and Libya, its effects on Europe are also increasingly being felt. […]

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Posted in Africa, Conflict, Economic Security, Europe, Germany, Humanitarian Intervention, Iraq, Islam, Middle East, Refugees, Security Issues, Syria, Terrorism, UN, World

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Interesting Developments in Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

There is a convenient falsehood every time a ceasefire agreement occurs and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict temporarily vanishes from the media. It is the assumption that the conflict has come to a halt and a diplomatic solution brokered by the United States is soon to follow. The truth is that the conflict does not stop, because the status […]

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Posted in Conflict, Middle East, Security Issues, World

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Responsibility To Protect at Ten

The Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine was agreed by UN member states in the 2005 World Outcome document. As we near the tenth anniversary of its adoption, how successful has it been? R2P replaces humanitarian intervention as a way in which the UN has justified state intervention. Implementation of R2P has come in 3 forms: i) […]

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Posted in Conflict, Humanitarian Intervention, Iraq, Middle East, Security Issues, UN, World

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Why Are Humanitarian Workers Targeted?

Why are humanitarian workers targeted? On World Humanitarian Day this year the United Nations reported that in various conflict zones in 2013, 155 aid workers were killed, 171 were injured and 134 were taken as captives. We have to ask, what is the justification for such acts? Let us begin with the illegal occupation of […]

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Posted in Humanitarian Intervention, Iraq, Islam, Middle East, Religion, Security Issues, Syria, Terrorism, UN, World

Reza Aslan Slams Bill Maher for Facile Arguments’ About Muslim Violence

Reza Aslan Slams Bill Maher for Facile Arguments’ About Muslim Violence

This isn’t a new video but in the aftermath of Charlie Hebdo and the standard rush to judgement on the nature of Islam, Reza Aslan is worth listening to.  

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Posted in Culture, Global Politics Videos, Islam, Middle East, Security Issues, Terrorism, World

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Iraq in 2015: An Interview with Iraq Analyst Joel Wing

Robert Tollast sits down with Joel Wing, author of the excellent Musings on Iraq blog, to discuss the coming year in Iraq. Joel has made his blog an expansive online resource for Iraq analysis and it is now one of the main on-line forums for academic discussion of Iraq, recently hosting a 24 expert review of the […]

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Posted in Conflict, Interviews, Iraq, Middle East, Security Issues, Syria, Terrorism, World

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What Happens When the Islamic State isn’t Defeated?

Since overrunning swathes of Iraq from its strongholds in Syria earlier this summer, it has been made relatively clear how American defense and counter-terrorism officials feel about the Islamic State (a.k.a. IS, ISIS, ISIL). In a word: spooked. The Islamic State is not only well organized but it is incredibly well financed and is now well equipped with American-made weaponry. This […]

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Posted in Conflict, Iraq, Middle East, Security Issues, Syria, Terrorism, World

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Shifting Sands in the Peacekeeping Business

The established templates of international peace operations are under threat, because the core premise of these operations, consent, is eroding . Filipino and Fijian troops serving with the UNDOF mission in the Golan Heights were targeted by the Nusra Front last week (30 Aug). A number of Fijians have been captured while the Filipinos managed […]

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Posted in Conflict, Iraq, Middle East, Security Issues, Syria, Terrorism, World

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Fighting Terrorism Means Fighting Poverty

Three weeks ago, a Taliban commander named Mohammad Ashan turned himself in to Afghan police. Ashan had noticed wanted posters around his native Paktika province promising a $100 bounty for his capture, and he surrendered himself hoping to collect it. Needless to say, he collected nothing and was detained on the spot. Ashan’s comically simple […]

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Posted in Economic Security, Food Security, Middle East, Security Issues, Terrorism, World

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Who can bring unity to Iraq in 2014? An interview with Joel Wing

Every December, California based analyst Joel Wing and I discuss the coming 12 months in Iraq. Joel has been the author of the Musings on Iraq blog since 2008, providing detailed analysis of political, economic and security developments in Iraq. His work is frequently cited by leading journals and news outlets. The last year in […]

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Posted in Conflict, Interviews, Iraq, Middle East, Security Issues, Syria, Terrorism, World

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Inside Jabhat an-Nusrah

The ongoing conflict that has been running in Syria for more than two years, and the brutality of the Syrian regime in suppressing the uprising has encouraged the emergence of radical Jihadist movements in the country. The most important of these movements and one which has raised significant controversy and discussion among the Syrian intelligentsia […]

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Posted in Conflict, Iraq, Middle East, Security Issues, Syria, Terrorism, World

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Al-Maliki Plays Regional Power Games in Syria

In a speech on the occasion of the opening of the World Youth Festival in Baghdad on the 12th of August last year, the Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki described the Syrian revolution as a fire, ignited either by ignorant haters or by external wills for the purposes of their own policies and interests. However, […]

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Posted in Conflict, Iraq, Middle East, Security Issues, Syria, Terrorism, World

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