The civil wars that are tearing apart Libya and Syria are precipitating yet another humanitarian crisis as boat loads of desperate refugees attempt to cross the Mediterranean in order to seek asylum in the European Community. Italy, Greece and Malta are bearing the brunt of the rapidly escalating crisis of "Mediterranean Boat People."
President Obama has nearly two years to make the rapprochements with Iran and Cuba irreversible. If he can do that, and bring about a ceasefire in Syria to boot, then his diplomatic legacy will be secure -- no matter what his successor does to reassert the worst kind of dumb power.
In this carnage, both the Damascus dictatorship of Bashar Al-Assad, which is supported by the Iranian regime, and the ultra-Wahhabi "Islamic State" that opposes the civil resistance to Bashar, are guilty.
At the very moment that a nuclear deal with Iran is looking closer to reality, Iran is expanding its influence throughout the Middle East. To the Saudis, the Emirates and Israel -- all of whom see Iran as the greatest threat in the region -- this is a disturbing phenomenon.
There is simply no compatibility between humanitarian action and the use of military force in combat. One has as its singular objective the alleviation of human suffering, regardless of the sufferer's identity or affiliation; the other, by definition, involves taking the side of one group against the other. That's also why it is very worrying to hear that humanitarian assistance is being used as strategic tactic in military action.
In a classic tale of unintended consequences, just about every time Washington has committed another blunder in the Middle East, Iran has stepped in to take advantage.
Jihadi John is the new international Bogey-Man. He gets plenty of media coverage these days, and has become a lightning rod of moral outrage in the West. But the media narrative around this new Evil Incarnate comes with a huge price tag: it obscures much more significant realities.
While the Middle East is consumed by an orgy of destruction that has devastated ancient cities like Aleppo and Tikrit, Asia, led by China, is building out the infrastructure of the future. While past wounds drive the tribal and religious rivalries in the Middle East, in Asia the contest -- and the cooperation -- is about shaping the future. The most recent scuffle in the contest over the future has been the slew of American allies -- Great Britain, Italy, France, Australia and others -- who have defied U.S. admonitions not to join the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which it sees as a rival to the World Bank and IMF system. In the "cooperation" column, Zbigniew Brzezinski observes in a WorldPost interview that China signed on as a guarantor of the Lausanne agreement on Iran's nuclear program. This, along with the fact it has also joined with the U.S. to curb North Korean nuclear proliferation and fight climate change, shows China is stepping up to the plate as a responsible global power. Former MI6 agent Alastair Crooke writes from Beirut that the U.S. has been "immobilized" in the Sunni-Shia proxy wars and must settle for "an equilibrium of antagonisms." (continued)
The United States understands the language of both immediate and strategic interests, and the Arab leaderships must speak this language fluently in light of the developments, and not with an archaic, rigid language.
The Syrian Freedom Charter is a national unity document based on tens of thousands of face-to-face interviews with Syrians, in every governorate of the country, about what kind of society they want.
In 2012, my children and I awoke to the sound of heavy clashes erupting outside of our home in Qudsaya, Syria. We could hear the sound of bullets and gunfire dangerously close to us. I was scared and on the verge of tears, but I refused to let my children see me cry.
The failure of last year's election to achieve political unity in Libya was most evident when Fajr Libya, or "Libya Dawn" -- a diverse coalition of armed groups that includes an array of Islamist militias -- rejected the election's outcome and seized control of Tripoli.
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.
BEIRUT -- Amidst all this flexing of muscles, America is effectively disempowered by its stand-off policy, but also from its political investment in the war on ISIS, with its many contradictions and tensions.
If reading the next sentence about the bewildering tangle of so many bloody crossed swords in the Middle East makes your head hurt, just be thankful you live somewhere else where decapitation is not a regular occurrence. The intensifying Saudi-led Sunni coalition assault on Iranian-linked Shiite tribes in Yemen this week -- at the very moment when Shiite militia allied with the U.S.-backed Iraqi government were ousting Saudi Wahhabist-inspired Islamic State jihadis from Tikrit -- signaled the onset of a generalized sectarian religious war across the region. And if the current bright spot of the interim agreement with Western powers that curbs Iran's capacity to weaponize its uranium enrichment program should unravel over the coming months, the entire conflict threatens to go nuclear. Graham Fuller, former vice-chair of the CIA's National Intelligence Council and a former station chief in several Mideast countries, deciphers the perplexing labyrinth of the Yemeni conflict, where "the enemy of my enemy is also my enemy." (continued)