The success of the economies of these countries is not only important for their own people, but for the millions of expatriates who work there, sometimes under difficult circumstances, and who annually send $50 billion to their home countries -- making this region the largest source of remittances in the world.
If communism is "The God That Failed," liberation theology is the gospel that has succeeded. Marx may be dead, but the cause of the poor and oppressed has been resurrected. This is the message the Argentine pope, Francis, sent by canonizing Oscar Romero, reversing decades of conservative opposition in the church hierarchy and setting the El Salvadoran archbishop on the road to sainthood. Romero was gunned down at the altar in 1980 by a right-wing death squad that regarded him as a dangerous Marxist because of his activism on behalf of the poor. As Paul Vallely writes, Romero is an exemplar for Francis. Both are "orthodox and yet utterly radical." Romero is "a priest whose life stands in testament to the kind of Catholicism preferred by a pope who declared within days of his election that he wanted 'a poor Church for the poor.'" (continued)
Many liberal analysts speak of a renaissance of U.S.-Iran relations post-deal, which seems premature, but this is the right-wing nightmare. It is also the Saudis', who have long enjoyed privileged status in Washington.
I am visiting Israel to deliver some lectures. I note a sense of helplessness; Israelis have kind of accepted that every few years there will be a war, people will be killed, but there is nothing Israel can do to change that. That is the belief I detect.
Given that "the facts" the United States used to justify the invasion of Iraq were all wrong, most of the presidential candidates have admitted they might not have launched that particular war. What we have yet to hear from presidential candidates or the habitual hawks is the appropriate spiritual response to the war in Iraq: repentance.
If Sderot is known as the Bomb Shelter Capital of the World (previous blog) Netivot, eight miles further south along the fraught border with Gaza, has been called the Varanasi of Israel, likened to Hinduism's holiest city because of its links to Jewish mysticism and miracles.
The Arab region will undergo a difficult and complex period ahead. The mistakes made by Arab leaders are major mistakes. The Iranian ideas have found a sponsor with Barack Hussein Obama. If only federalism could make its way to realistic Arab strategies.
The 2016 GOP candidates are settled on their desire to send U.S. troops back to Iraq to fight ISIS. While Republicans suffer from short-term memory loss, there's no reason the rest of us should forget what actually happened in Iraq.
Many Syrian war refugees are getting help in the form of a card that looks very much like the debit one you may have. It's called an electronic card, or e-card. The UN World Food Programme, the largest hunger relief organization, distributes these to needy families.
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.
As Iranian-Americans, we and our community leaders should have the self-confidence to speak out against all forms of injustice perpetrated against the Iranian people, especially when lives are at stake. That is a unifying cause worthy all of us.
In the bad old days of the Cold War, the left and the right used to play a nasty game called "Who's Your Favorite Dictator?" But the terms of the game have changed.
Critics of George W.'s actions overlook the fact that it was his father, George H.W. Bush, who, in 1990, set the stage for his son's disastrous moves 13 years later. It was Papa Bush, after all, who sent American troops halfway around the world to launch the First Gulf War -- an error of tragic proportions.
Jordanians are not known to be the most cheerful among Arabs; in fact, their reputation is that they constantly frown and rarely smile.
It is most unfortunate that cartoonist Charles M. Schulz, the creator of the iconic "Peanuts" comic strip, is no longer with us. He died in 2000.
Arguments against the pending nuclear deal with Iran -- from claiming that the deal is a capitulation to Iran to the notion that it is unacceptable to make a deal with a regime like that in Tehran -- have not sufficiently resonated with the public to kill the agreement. This has caused some disarray in the opposition camp. Indeed, if you are in that camp right now, it is reasonable to expect that the search is not for a new argument but for a game changing development: an event so powerful it shifts the momentum in Congress back to AIPAC, Netanyahu, Saudi Arabia and the other opponents of a nuclear deal. Arguably, a military confrontation between Israel and Hezbollah this summer could fit that bill.