The shock waves of the Dammam mosque bombing sent tremors through Bahrain. Although in Saudi Arabia, Dammam is only about an hour's drive from Bahrain's capital Manama. Sectarianism hasn't much respect for international borders. Bahrain knows the threat of sectarian violence, from ISIS or elsewhere, is real.
A few years ago it seemed almost unimaginable. Ireland's overwhelming support of legalizing same-sex marriage is a reminder of how fast political change can happen, and how apparent certainties can crumble at lightning speed.
Courting Arab leaders precisely as they undermine U.S. objectives gets it almost exactly backward. America's failures, under both Barack Obama and George W. Bush, stem from its unwillingness to break with allies taking actions that will result in disaster.
You'd think that more than 40 years of fixation on the Middle East, often to the exclusion of more important areas of the world, would at least enable sophisticated media coverage of Middle Eastern politics as it impacts American politics. But no.
When asked about President Obama's comments on the need for GCC states to meet their internal challenges with political reforms, featured speaker United Arab Emirates (UAE) ambassador Yousef al-Otaiba was dismissive. "We do not share your democratic values," he stated bluntly.
Some 12.2 million people, more than half of the population, are estimated to need humanitarian assistance. A similar number have been displaced -- between 6.5 million and 7.8 million -- within Syria, and three to four million have been displaced on to neighboring states.
Say in your most authoritative voice: "Bahrain is different because of the sectarianism." People will be impressed that you know Bahrain is the only GCC country that has a Shia majority population, and that this automatically makes things more complicated "because of the sectarian edge."
Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has been elected president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) for a second term and vice president of world soccer body FIFA amid unanswered questions about the AFC's handling of corruption investigations.
World soccer is about to get another taste of the global soccer's wheeling and dealing with the likely election of Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, the head of the Association of National Committees (ANOC), the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and the influential Solidarity Commission of the International Olympic Committee.
I caught up with the kind, thoughtful, wise-beyond-his-years artist inside the Odeon Cinema in Florence during Middle East Now, and it turned out to be a highlight of my festival. After the interview, do check out the slideshow of his work below.
Many younger prisoners may feel they have nothing to lose by refusing to cooperate with the prison authorities and are likely to riot again and again. If Bahrain wants to fix its prison problem properly, it will stop trying to hide the truth about what's happened, improve conditions, and release all those prisoners who shouldn't be in jail in the first place.
It is very bewildering, albeit horrifyingly fascinating, to watch American politicians jockey and posture for war with Iran.
One of the brightest, loudest, flashing neon-style sign that humanity can indeed get along is the upcoming Middle East Now festival in Florence, Italy. Yes, Florence, where that original coming out of the Middle Ages happened hundreds of years ago, is the city I believe could also be at the epicenter of a new cross-cultural Renaissance.
The March 31st negotiating deadline with Iran over limiting its nuclear programs is upon us. Even if a further extension follows, which is likely, suppose at some future point these negotiations ultimately fail. What options are left?
Bahrain's jails are increasingly likely to become major flashpoints in Bahrain's ongoing political unrest. Bahraini authorities would do better to free the peaceful political leaders and others who shouldn't be in there at all, and start the sort of political dialogue Bahrain desperately needs.
It's an obvious analogy: There is a minority (mostly Sunni) elite ruling over a (mostly Shia) majority. The last few years have seen systematic discrimination, a repression of fundamental rights, and torture and deaths in custody. People aren't divided by race but by sect, which typically dictates where they live, what jobs they do, and whether they can achieve political power.