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.
At first blush Vice President Dick Cheney's recent op-ed reads like the script of a Saturday Night Live script, the kind where the character's statements are so absurd that they cannot help but make you laugh.
In 2003 Saddam Hussein ruled Iraq. He was a bad guy. A bunch of good guys named Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and Feith decided to invade Iraq and get rid of this bad guy.
During World War II, Belzec, a small town in southeastern Poland, was one of the main Nazi death camps in the occupied country, along with Auschwitz-Birkenau, Chelmno, Majdanek, Sobibor and Treblinka.
The Iran nuclear talks present a rare opportunity for a major American diplomatic victory. If negotiators from the P5+1 and Iran bridge the remaining political gaps, they will resolve a major national security threat -- a potential Iranian nuclear weapon -- without a shot being fired.