The United States must be very careful how it formulates foreign policy involving not only these two countries but also the greater Middle East. This region is a powder keg and is no place for reckless, chest-thumping American politicians on the left and right to be tossing politically lit matches.
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.
I believe now is the time -- actually, it has been the time for decades now -- to consider new forms of leadership, not only in the Middle East, but around the world. We need to get away from the leaders who demonize the other, who use fear, threat, and actual engagement in war as tools for their own maintenance of power.
How did a rogue band of radicals with such a destructive ideology appear so suddenly and gain such influence in such a rapid timeframe? The answer is an inconvenient truth -- but it is one we must accept. ISIS exists due to both unjust Western imperialism, and unjust Muslim majority governments. To stop ISIS requires reversing this trend.
A soccer pitch in the Iranian city of Ahvaz, home to Iran's Arab minority, has emerged as a flashpoint of anti-government protest at a time of rising Arab-Iranian tensions over the status of Shiite Muslim minorities in the Arab world and the crisis in Yemen.
It's been a while now since some analysts had started referring to the Arab Spring as the Arab Winter. The latter expression implies that hopes of a major transformation in the politics and economics of the greater Middle East stand dashed.
Tehran continues to export its revolutionary zeal by supporting terrorism and radical organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah, providing direct financial and military assistance to radical Shiite militias, and maintaining through subversive activities its strong hold on Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.
It is necessary for the decision to intervene militarily with a ground operation in Yemen to be coupled with a plan with a political tack and a development tack with clear features and objectives for the sake of Yemen.
On March 27, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Iran is trying to dominate the region, just weeks before his visit to Tehran. He argued that Iran's expanding foothold in the Middle East is annoying Saudi Arabia and other Gulf allies.
By getting involved in the Yemen conflict, Pakistan risks sectarian conflict at home in addition to being drawn into a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran in the Middle East.
So we have yet another crisis in a little-known place to worry about. The difference is that, with this one, it's not hard at all to see how it could trigger a regional conflagration.
The United States remains an unreliable partner in the region. Its primary interests are Isreali interests and oil and it will sacrifice its own long-term interests to preserve them.
If and when a 'framework agreement" is concluded, here is my latest "Field Guide" to assess whatever may emerge tonight, tomorrow or whenever.
There's strength in numbers and its always easier when a coalition can close ranks against a common enemy the way the allies did against the axis powers during the Second World War. But there's also something undeniably intriguing about the prospect of sharing objectives with unlikely partners.
The current Saudi-led intervention in Yemen, designed to prevent Iranian-backed forces from gaining power, symbolizes the Gulf's new assertiveness. This is unfolding as the various Gulf states seek to hedge their bets with different strategies that complement, rather than replace, the regional US security umbrella.
The real reason behind the attacks is one and only one word: Iran. Ever since the Shiites came to power in Iraq in 2004, and Jordan's King Abdullah spoke about a "Shiite Crescent" in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, a religious dictatorship of the worst kind, together with its Sunni allies in the region, which are also dictatorial regimes, have been obsessed with the Shiites and Iran.