When I recently visited Bahrain, the TSA agent reviewing my passport looked at me curiously and asked me, "Why did you visit Bahrain?" Simple answer: The Kingdom of Bahrain is a great extension to a Dubai or an Abu Dhabi trip. The flights are inexpensive and under an hour.
Washington's determination to defend much of the globe has made the U.S. an international sucker, especially vulnerable to manipulation by supposed friends.
Demastani's September 2011 conviction, when he was tried along with 20 other medics by a military court, triggered international outrage. Although he was temporarily released while his case was appealed, the following year, a civilian court confirmed his guilty verdict and he was rearrested with other medics and put back in jail.
Apparently incapable of resisting the temptation to meddle in the Middle East, the Obama administration remains part of Saudi Arabia's ten-member "coalition" against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Alas, the entire campaign is built on a lie.
The governments of Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia have for many years funded anti-Shia political and military movements in the Middle East without any substantial resistance from the international community.
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.