Iran is now facing serious challenges that strike at its economic and military weaknesses. In an Arab world that is less than 10-percent Shiite and distrusts non-Arabs, Persian Shiite Iran faces hostile Arab Sunni fundamentalist movements that are rising in the aftermath of the failures of the Arab Spring.
Peacemaking is among the good deeds incumbent on Muslims during the holy month of fasting and prayer. Distribution of charity and food, customary at Ramadan, is needed especially by people displaced by conflict. How, then, will Ramadan be celebrated in the countries worst affected by the latest Middle East crisis?
President Obama has promised not to send "combat troops" to Iraq, but it's hard to see how the U.S. military personnel he is sending there can avoid combat, given that they are being dropped into the middle of a civil war.
There is much talk about the unique opportunity emerging from the womb of fragmented Iraq to produce qualitatively new regional and international agreements. Some are saying that the time has come for the "grand bargain."
This year's World Cup is not just about soccer -- at least not as far as the Middle East and North Africa is concerned.
In a rare occasion, the United States and the Islamic Republic have become two odd bedfellows. The reason is that both Tehran and Washington share one common goal to serve their own national interests: a stable Iraq and keeping the oil to flow.
These fan mementos aren't of the zany variety displayed so often at the sporting event. Rather, they represent competing political persuasions regarding the Persian motherland and for what they want Iran's jerseys to signify.
Today, the Iraq civil war is increasingly becoming a conflict between those who believe that there is --or must be -- a nation called Iraq, and those who view Iraq as a transient historical phenomenon with no inherent identity or purpose.
Indian Strategist Prof. M D Nalapat, UNESCO Peace Chair and Editorial Director of the Sunday Guardian, has an unusually spot-on record for predicting trends in the Middle East. This is what he has to say about Iraq.
American intervention has broken pottery all over the Middle East. Every time the U.S. attempts to repair its last accident, it increases and spreads the mess. It is time for a different approach. One in which Washington does not attempt to micromanage the affairs of other nations. In which Washington practices humility. This would not be isolationism. America, and especially Americans, should be engaged in the world. Economic and cultural ties benefit all. Political cooperation can help meet global problems. Humanitarian needs are varied and manifold. Military action sometimes is necessary, but only rarely -- certainly far less often than presumed by Washington.
Have we learned nothing during our adventures in the Middle East and Central Asia?
The Iranian team's performance so far with its 0:0 draw against Nigeria in its first World Cup match in which it was not defeated in its first tournament game as well as the encounter with Argentina, has spared Mr. Rouhani and his government being blamed for another failure.
The rise of Shi'ite-Sunni sectarian warfare has its roots not in the distant 7th century, but in Saudi Arabia's response to Iran's Islamic Revolution in 1979, when the Saudi regime as a matter of policy began to counter Iran's revolution by financing anti-Shi'ite Islamists across the Muslim world.
Time and time again, we've learned the lesson that oil dependence makes us vulnerable to flare-ups in the Middle East and around the globe.
Our generation deserves a meaningful end to a baby-boomer/warmonger created conflict and that end must include rational conversation, not more boots on the ground. The only way to honor the lives of those that have fallen in Iraq is to forge a meaningful peace in the region.
June 20th is declared World Refugee Day. In this year, this day is being marked by another increase of 9 million refugees.