This week Algeria has convened long-stalled negotiations for a settlement of Mali's two-year political crisis.
The nuclear negotiations with Iran are in their eleventh hour. By Monday we'll know whether a resolution has been reached or a new crisis of the first order added to the conflagrations in the Middle East -- indeed, one that will exacerbate all the others. Even an understanding that lays out a few principles while extending the deadline would be a dangerous outcome. The technical issues are complicated. But they are not in themselves the main obstacles to be overcome. Let's get down to brass tacks. The starbursts of commentary on centrifuge numbers and Iran's retention of low-enriched uranium (LEU), albeit under international inspection, should not be allowed to conceal the underlying reality: If Washington and Tehran want a nuclear deal, it is there for the taking. While the responsibility is shared, the crucial decision rests with the White House. This is not the way that President Obama and his advisers see it, though.
Nobel Peace Prize-winning Obama is looking to one-up George W. Bush in the toppling of dictators' category as he redoubles efforts to overthrow the Syrian government. Unfortunately, Obama's obsession to effect regime change in Damascus will likely only bolster the Islamic State, which happens to be a sworn enemy of Assad the Apostate.
The Islamic State has once again acted in contrary to what it stands for. A video was released online from the group on Sunday announcing that it had beheaded American Muslim, Abdul Rahman Kassig.
James Foley, Steven Sotloff, David Haines, and now Abdul-Rahman Kassig. Each of these men dedicated their lives to serving the long-suffering Syrian people, either by sharing with the world their stories and exposing the truth as journalists, or to alleviate their suffering as aid workers.
"We really need help to stay warm this winter," says Ibrahim* (10) who lives with his family in an Aleppo shelter after they were displaced from their home in Aleppo city by the ongoing conflict in Syria.
President Barack Obama finally is obeying the law. He wants Congress to authorize military action against the Islamic State. That's what the Constitution requires.
I traveled to Reyahnli with the Karam Foundation, a non-profit aid organization founded in 2007 and operating in Turkey and Syria. For the last year, Karam has engaged with the Salam school to provide its young students with a physical therapy and wellness program.
Baathists like those have not only simply 'joined' with Islamist groups like IS to reinforce their insurgency. They actively set them up. The group's original name ISIS or ISIL, meaning 'Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant,' refers to the Sunni majority area across Iraq and Syria, which they now control.
Currently, the US and Western allies' major campaign in the Middle East is fighting the Islamic State while ignoring to address Iran's military engagements in other countries, ignoring Tehran's determination for regional supremacy seriously.
The seminar that included participants from Syria, Yemen, Qatar, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, Iraq, Algeria and Turkey ended with an eight-point statement to combat hate speech and promote actions to further ethics, good governance and self-regulation.
It takes a strong state, not (to paraphrase Hillary Clinton) a democratic village, to aggressively fight climate change. This is the inconvenient message emerging in the wake of the Xi-Obama deal on global warming announced in Beijing this week. Both leaders will pursue executive action to fulfill their pledges. As Kerry Brown writes, Xi's decision is binding within China because a long process of consultation and consensus building within the Communist Party stands behind it. What Obama can do is up for grabs. No sooner did the pledge escape his lips than the incoming Republican majority leaders in the U.S. Congress make their own pledge to block Obama by any means necessary. In The WorldPost this week, World Bank president Jim Yong Kim writes that the landmark Xi-Obama agreement is not only good for the environment, but also for the economy. Environmentalist Bill McKibben parses out "what the deal is, and what it isn't." (continued)
The annual "base" budget of the Pentagon is half a trillion dollars. That's the money that the Pentagon gets if it fights no wars.
The administration is desperate to find a balance: air strikes but no (or few) boots on the ground, attacks on ISIS but no inadvertent bolstering of the Assad regime, assembling a coalition of Arab states against ISIS but trying to prevent some of these states from funding extremist factions on the ground, and so on.
The sooner Congress passes the Pentagon budget for 2015, or at least another continuing resolution, the sooner the president will receive the money. And in fighting terrorism, sooner is often better than later.
Despite the importance of the 24 November deadline in the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 countries, most likely, the negotiations will neither collapse nor culminate with the desired agreement by that date.