Category Archives: The Middle East Revolts

Putin plays his hand well – but with what result?

President Vladimir Putin has skillfully taken advantage of the opening given, almost by accident, by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, for Russia to frame the debate on what to do about the civil war raging in Syria. Russia’s strategic … Continue reading

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Syria Classified Cable

“Starting this fire will be like a spark in a large store of gunpowder, with unclear and unspecified outcomes and consequences,” Khamenei told Iranian Cabinet members this week. “The U.S. threats and possible intervention in Syria is a disaster for … Continue reading

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Deaths in Egypt

I have seen reports in recent days of the death of democracy in Egypt (when was it ever alive — perhaps just barely?)  I have seen reports that the Arab Spring is “over,”  “dead” or “being reversed.” All of these … Continue reading

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The Arab Spring comes to Iran — again

A month ago, observers were stunned as a dark-horse reform candidate, Hassan Rouhani, was declared the winner of the presidential election in Iran. I haven’t commented yet because this was a surprise to me, and I wanted to try and … Continue reading

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Too late now to intervene in Syria

Readers of this blog know that I have long advocated US intervention in Syria’s conflict — short of sending in ground troops, but to include establishing humanitarian aid corridors, liberated zones, no-fly zones, and weapons to rebel groups.  The main goal of … Continue reading

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Turkey — what now?

A few days, ago, I gave my view on the causes of the street demonstrations and riots in Turkey. Since then, commentators have struggled to find analogies — is this a Turkish version of the Arab Spring?  Or something else? … Continue reading

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Trouble in Turkey

The protests in Turkey have grown serious, going on for days and leading to thousands of injured.  So far, the government has adjusted its initial, excessive, response, and seems to be looking for a face-saving way to defuse the situation. … Continue reading

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Syria to lock down or explode

Ian Bremmer did a wonderful take on the deteriorating situation in Syria for the Financial Times.  He points out this is now a full-fledged proxy war, with Hezbollah and Iran fully committed to backing their proxy, Bashar al-Assad, who is … Continue reading

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Confused about North Korea? — Think Syria

No, I’m not saying that Korea will descend into Civil War like Syria.  However, there ARE the ingredients for an error that will produce open conflict. What Korea and Syria both have in common is unexpected rulers with shaky legitimacy. … Continue reading

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Thank you, Trekkies

My thanks to all of you who pointed out that the PRIME DIRECTIVE comes from Star TREK, not Star WARS. My memories of Captain Kirk go back decades, so I apologize for the slip. Regardless of the source, I find … Continue reading

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