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)
It is uncomfortable to think about that the £787m we are about to spend on Easter eggs is the same amount as the total humanitarian needs for the Central African Republic and Afghanistan combined for a whole year (funded at 11% and 21% respectively).
Bombing only marginally degrades a group like the Un-Islamic State, who take their strategies from the Hezbollah and Hamas playbook: make equipment highly mobile, and positioning them deep underground or among residential areas. To put it bluntly, fighting ISIL is less effective than tackling the humanitarian crisis from which much extremism originates.
We prayed and dreamed that this would be the beginning of the end of the horror; that 2015 would put the past four years behind us and bring the long-awaited end to the blood on our hands - the lost fathers, the grieving mothers, the broken children, the destroyed cities and the squandered aspirations.
While the brutal atrocities of ISIL dominate media headlines, the long-term toll that the conflict is taking on the millions who have fled their homes does not receive the sustained attention it deserves.