Each week seems to bring new twists in Middle Eastern geopolitics, with shockwaves on the energy market and in particular oil prices. The recent reshuffle in Saudi Arabia heralds a major break with established tradition and watershed in the trends of the oil industry.
The Obama administration's decision to negotiate with Tehran triggered near hysteria among U.S. politicians and pundits who advocate perpetual war in the Middle East.
America's closest allies, Israel and the Saudis, have been expressing something close to loathing for President Obama and his policies. In fact, you could think of the Saudi rulers as the John McCains of the Arabian Peninsula.
Egypt has demonstrated that it is ready to combat terrorism by taking a very assertive stance against Islamic State and by joining the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. What does this mean for Egypt and how does it view conflict in Yemen, Iranian influence and relations with Washington?
The regional response in March 2015, to the advance of Iranian-backed Shia Houthis on the Southern Port of Aden in Yemen exposed two very revealing components of Middle Eastern geo-politics.
Just as the Ukraine conflict galvanized Russia (and China) to lessen their vulnerability to America's military domination of global financial governance, so the Yemen "war" has somehow clarified something in respect to the Middle East. The pendulum of power can be seen to have begun its swing away from the old Gulf pole and is retracing an earlier track.
As the war on terror nears its 14th anniversary -- a war we seem to be losing, given jihadist advances in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen -- the U.S. sticks stolidly to its strategy of "high-value targeting," our preferred euphemism for assassination.
Yemen is the latest mishap where the American assisted Saudi bombardment of the Houthis (along with killing 1,000 civilians) has skidded to a sudden stop just short of the abyss. Washington policy is now stranded in no-man's-land with no way forward or back -- yet having already incurred major damage.
If America ends up at war, it almost certainly will be on behalf of one ally or another. Washington collects allies like most people collect Facebook "friends." The vast majority of U.S. allies are security liabilities, tripwires for conflict and war. Alliances should be based on interest, not charity.
President Obama is willing to commit military resources to back up the Saudi war on Yemeni rebels. But when it comes to their war on women, like every U.S. president before him, the Supreme Commander is missing in action.
An informal bloc of Iran, Pakistan and Turkey would represent a significantly more progressive, moderate and forward-looking coalition than the present Saudi-driven "Sunni coalition" that is divisive, ideological, destructive and sectarian.
Now, day after day, obliged to watch the heart-rending images on TV, Europeans are forced to acknowledge the catastrophe. And what has quickly become very clear is that the countries of Europe have no unified policy on immigration. Nor are they likely to come up with one in the immediate future.
We can definitely increase the resources for food aid programs, which are about less than one tenth of 1 percent of the federal budget. They can certainly be increased from this relatively tiny level of spending. Food is peace. Congress must remember this as it crafts the new budget in the coming months.
A fractured Middle East requires multilateral engagement, not blind loyalty based on circumstances that no longer exist.
The current impasse leaves the Saudis with two options: either fight the Houthis with local forces or assemble a foreign fighting force and go in through Aden. Both options pose big challenges.
Hard as it may be, the Obama administration should acknowledge the wisdom of Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif's proposal for a program of dialogue and international relief aid instead of war.