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Muslims Supporting Copts for Christmas

January 4th, 2012 Comments off

With Eastern Christmas arriving Friday night and Saturday, Coptic Pope Shenouda has invited all Muslim groups to attend services; and given church attacks in Alexandria at New Year’s last year, and at Nag Hammadi on Christmas in January 2010, many Muslims are reaching out to Christians, and the Muslim Brotherhood has even offered to protect churches, though the Salafi Al-Nour party doesn’t share the sentiment. (In fact, the MB even endorsed a Coptic Parliamentary candidate running against a Nour candidate.)

On New Year’s eve, there were marches, including many Muslims, to the Church of Two Saints in Alexandria (bombed a year ago in a still unsolved case) and also a joint Muslim-Christian crowd at the Qasr al-Doubara Anglican church just off Tahrir Square, chanting “Muslims and Christians are one hand.”

Except for the Salafis playing Grinch in the whole affair, it’s encouraging, but the dangers of radical attacks on Christian churches at Christmas is still very real. A video (in Arabic) about last year’s New Year’s bombing a year later:

               


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US Official: "On Syria, the Russians are `tone deaf’, & the Iranian are scared s—less.”"

December 15th, 2011 Comments off
All the talk about the unrestrained Israelis boils down to this maneuver! MEPGS, Excerpts;
With Congress on the verge of passing legislation that will, in effect, produce a secondary boycott against Iran’s Central Bank (“CBI”), it now seems clear that the US is finally prepared to implement the one major non-military action,  “The big sanction’ has always been the CBI,” says one Administration insider.  “The questions that remain are how it is implemented and, of course, whether it will work.”

            As passed by the Senate 100-0, it would prohibit commercial banks after 60 days and central or state run banks after 180 days from doing business with the CBI, unless they are willing to forego all transactions with US banks.  “It’s a simple `us’ or `them’” explains one Congressional source.  This is the case particularly for countries like Japan and South Korea which represent about 25% of Iran’s oil market [Iran exports about 2 million barrels per day) and use the CBI for most transactions.  Also hard hit will be European countries, notably Greece, Spain and Italy account of an equivalent amount of Iranian exports; while China comes in next at about 20%.

            For all these countries, the Congressional action represents potential significant economic hardship.  It will have no direct impact on the US, since direct Iranian oil imports have been banned here for years.  But these other countries, some, like Greece, have only recently begun buying Iranian oil – at a discount — as Teheran has scrambled to find new buyers.  Moreover, all trade with Iran will be effectively halted as nations decide whether it is more important to maintain corresponding accounts with US banks or continuing to do business with Iran.

            Central to the success of this US effort is the ability of the international oil market to make up for the loss of Iranian crude.  Thoughts immediately turn to Saudi Arabia, which has excess capacity.  But all crude is not the same and the kind of crude provided by Iran may not be easily replaced by Saudi Arabia, nor for that matter, as some argue, by the return of Libyan oil to the market and the ramping up of Iraqi crude.  Perhaps even more important is the political calculus for Saudi Arabia.  As one Administration insider put it somewhat rhetorically this week, “Are the Saudis prepared for this kind of confrontation with Iran?”   An answer was provided by one European diplomat,  “The Saudis are in the right place.  The real question is whether the Administration is, as well.  The Saudis will act only if they believe they have the full backing of the US.” Other diplomatic critics insist that only the US can, as one said this week,  “… `put the fear of God’ into the Iranians.”  As this diplomat explains, “As the US invasion of Iraq caused Iran to put its nuclear weaponization program on hold in 2003, now the US must force the leadership in Teheran to fear for its own future.” The reasoning here is that with the sanctioning of the CBI, the US, if it pursues the issue vigorously (a big “if” for many observers), it will represent a big shift in economic and psychological warfare against Iran.  If additional proof of this “game changing” approach is necessary, one need only look at the reaction of the Treasury Department to the legislation.  Long in the forefront of the battle to enforce various economic sanctions against Iran, Treasury Secretary Geithner and his team fought against this legislation.  They warned that US friends and allies, not to mention the fragile international economy could hurt more than Iran by sanctioning the CBI.  For example, some major purchasers such as China, will simply employ banks that do not work with the US to deal with the CBI (Plus it is not in China’s interest to become increasingly dependent on Saudi Arabia, a US ally, for a grater share of its oil supply). Proponents of the legislation retort that whatever the imagined negative consequences of oil disruption resulting from Iranian crude being effectively reduced in the international market, pale in comparison to the effects of military action taken by Israel or perhaps, less likely the US…. … “What is the Administration waiting for?” asks one well-placed diplomat.

            Besides the above mentioned political caution, it could well be that the Administration has its hands full dealing with crises across the Middle East.  Syria continues to slip into civil war, note US officials.  Although the consensus continues that Bashar al- Assad’ s regime is doomed, few argue with one official’s assessment that The old guard will not crack.”  Meanwhile, Assad continues to get backing from Russia and Iran.  Russian diplomatic support is key to blocking any United Nations action and according to informed sources, Iran has stepped up financial aid to the increasingly financially strapped regime. [“The Russians are `tone deaf’, comments one State Department official.  The Iranian are scared s__less.”]  Meanwhile, most observers see Turkey as by far the most important regional actor… Next moves could include Turkish establishment of a “humanitarian corridor” and a “safety zone” within Syria. (Yawn)

            Bahrain is where the US holds the most sway.  But here, too, there are cross currents of opinion within the Administration.  The Pentagon  is reluctant to see the State Department or White House put any pressure on the ruling Khalifa family. … …  Meanwhile, neighbor Qatar has been, in the words of on US official “filling empty space.”  In other words, this tiny sheikhdom of 250,000 citizens has been proactive from Libya to Syria to Sudan and Yemen.  “They are fearless,” says one US official. They are also extremely wealthy but, for many here and in Europe they  also now seem to be backing Islamists across the region.”



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MEPGS: On Egypt, the US’s ‘silver lining’ is Amr Moussa!

September 30th, 2011 Comments off

* On Lebanon, the ‘Red Line’ in US-Lebanese relations, as understood by PM Mikati,  is the Hariri Carnival …

* On Iran, there is ‘a curious lack of “creativity” in trying to dissuade Iran… 

          _________________________________________________________________________

While most attention was focused on events at the United Nations, US officials found themselves struggling to keep up with rapidly changing developments throughout the Middle East…. 

            Despite determined opposition from the US supported by key European allies, Palestinian Authority head Abu Mazen forged ahead at the United Nations in calling for acceptance as a full fledged member of the international organization..  While some diplomats noted that the Palestinian leader took what one called a “minimalist” approach by not demanding an immediate vote at the Security Council [which has ultimate say on full membership], others noted that may have reflected the fact that the Palestinians by most counts still lack the necessary votes for passage.  And, of course, they are aware that should they achieve the required nine votes, the promised US vote against would act as a veto, dooming the attempt.

            Instead, the Palestinians have been presented by the so-called “Quartet”    a plan considered by most, including the Israelis, to be much closer to Israel’s view of negotiations than that of the Palestinians [eg. There is no mention that Israel freeze construction of new settlements in the West Bank or East Jerusalem].  “We are just trying to buy time,” said one well-placed source.” Others are not so cynical.  They believe that there is at least a one month “window” in which the Quartet could get Israel and the Palestinians back to the bargaining table and away form the potentially destabilizing attempt to gain a limited form of statehood recognition from the UN General Assembly.. For some, especially the Europeans, there always the chimera of an emboldened second term US President unencumbered by domestic politics of reelection [If anything convinced these skeptics, it was President Obama’s speech to the UN, in which he used some of the most pro-Israel rhetoric employed since he was a candidate in 2008].

‘Silver Lining & Red Lines’

            While the Israelis may be feeling more secure about support from the Obama Administration, they are increasingly concerned about developments next door in Egypt.  Yet again this week, the pipeline that brings natural gas from Egypt to Israel was sabotaged… more worrisome was the attack on its embassy in Cairo and the growing hostile rhetoric from individuals engaged in politicking in the upcoming Parliamentary and Presidential elections….  The one possible silver lining is that the US may get its wish with moderate Amr Mousa …

            If Islamists like Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, who is running for President, worry US policy makers, he and other former associates from Egypt’s Moslem Brotherhood, are considered tame when compared to their namesakes in Syria.  This fear of an extremist Islamic takeover has helped the regime of Bashar al-Assad keep a variety of factions loyal as it continues unabated its crackdown on the opposition.  Helping too, is the fractured nature of the opposition which, according to one veteran US official “…is riven with organizational and resources issues.”  Also, hampering the opposition is the inability and unwillingness of outside powers to intervene in any way resembling the NATO action in Libya.  In fact, some officials worry that the US and the European Union  have run out of pressure points to move Bashar from power.  Still, few believe that Bashar will ultimately weather this storm.  Most analysts give him, at most, a year more in power.  But for the outside world to act decisively {eg. Bringing world wide pressure thourgh a UN Security Council resolution similar to the one passed against Qaddaffy’s  regime}, it would take, in the words of one State Department official “a major massacre of civilians on a level many times the ones we have witnessed since the revolt began.”

            But even as Bashar clings to power, Syria’s influence has begun to wane.  Lebanon’s new Prime Minister Mikati has been given enough room to gain support from his cabinet to allow Lebanon to continue to pay its share of the international investigation into the assassination of former Prime Minister Hariri, something that Syria and its Hezbollah ally have vehemently opposed.  For the US, this action is, what one top official calls a “red line” in US-Lebanese relations.  And when Bashar’s Alawite dominated regime is replaced by a Sunni led alliance (Sunnis make up about 75% of Syria’s population), US officials, as well as nearly all regional analysts say it will be a major setback for the Shias of Hezbollah and especially Iran.

            In Iran, as noted above, Ayotollah  Khameini has, in effect, made President Ahmanejad a lame duck as he serves out his term into 2013.  But that has not, in the opinion of most US and Israeli officials, deterred Iran from its efforts to develop an ability to produce a nuclear weapon.  For many in the State Department, the Pentagon and the Intelligence community, there is a curious lack of “creativity” in trying to dissuade Iran from continuing on its current path.  As one State Department official put it recently, “Our policy amounts to applying pressure and when this doesn’t work, apply more of the same.”  Proponents of the current policy, which is clearly driven by the White House, counter that adding pressure will work, they just cannot predict when.  “There is a tipping point” says one veteran analyst.  Or as another observer puts it, “Nothing will happen until it happens.” (WHOA! And the guy is a VETERAN Analyst-expert…!)

            In the meantime, the Israelis, in particular would like to see more brandishing of the military option.  “Only a credible military threat will dissuade the Iranians,” says one Israeli official.  But, for the time being, efforts continue, mainly with the Treasury Department at the helm, to tighten sanctions against Iran’s energy and banking sectors.



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My weekly article in Al-Akhbar (which won’t be published in Al-Akhbar this Saturday)

April 29th, 2011 Comments off
This is my weekly article in Al-Akhbar which won’t be published in Al-Akhbar this Saturday.  It is titled: “The Ba`th Party: The process of long death”:

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?? ???? ?? ??? ????? ?????? ????????? ??? ????? ?????? ?? ?????? ????????? ???????? ?? ?????? ???????  ?? ???? ?? ?????? ?? ??????? ?????? ??????? ?????? ??????? ??????? ?? ??????? ????? ???????  ?? ???? ????? ???? ???? ????? ?? ????? ?????? ?????? ??????????: ??? ?? ???????? ??? ??? ??????? ????? ?? ????? ???? ??? ?????? ????? ?????—????????? ?? ????? ???????—??? ??????? ?? ??? 1967—?? ??? ??? ?????????? ?? ?????? ???????.
???? ?????? ?? ??????? ??????????? ?? ??? ?????, ?????? ????? ?? ??? ?? ???? ???? ?? ?????? ??? ??????.  ?? ?????? ?? ???? ?? ????? ?????? ?? ????? ????? ????? ?? ???? ??? ??????  ?? ?? ???? ?? ???? ?? ???? ????? ?? ????? ????? ?? ???? ?? ????? ?????? ???? ???, ??? ???? ???????  ??, ????? ????? ???????? ????????? ?? ????? ??????? ?? ???????? ?????? ?? ????? ????? ???? ????? ?????? ????  ???? ??? ??????? ?????? ???????? ?????????????  ?? ???? ??????? ??????? ?? ?? ???? ???? ????? ????? ???????? ????? ?????? ?????????  ????? ??? ??? ???????? ?? ????? ???? ?? ????? ?????? ??????? ?? ??? ????? ?? ????? ???, ??????
??, ????? ????? ?????? ?????? ?? ?????? ??? ????? ???? ???? ?????? ?????????  ??? ????? ????  ???? ?????? ?? ?????????, ????? ?????? ?????? ?? ?????? ????? ????? ?? ????? “???????? ?????” ????? ??? ??? ???? ???? ????? ???? ?? ???? ?????? ???? ???? ????? ?? ???????? ???? ???? ?????????? ?? ????? ???????.  ?????? ???? ????? ??????? ????????? ??? ??? ?????? ???????? ??? ??????.  ???????? ??? ????? ????? ?? ???????? ??????????? ???? ???? ?????? ?? ??”????????” ?????????.  ??????? ??? ??????? ??????, ???? ????? ?????.  ??? ??????—????? ????? ????? ??????, ????? ??????–???? ?????? ??? ?? ?? ????.
?? ????? ?????? ?? ??? ????? ?? ???????? ??? ?????? ??? ???????? ??????????? ?? ??? ????? ???????—????? ??? ???????? ?? ??????? ????????? ???????—??? ?????? ?? ????? ????????? ????????? ???????????.  ??? ??? ?? ???? ??? ?????? ??? ????? ??????? ???? ???? ????? ??????? ?????? ?? ????? ??????.  ??? ???????? ??????????? ?? ?????? ?????? ??????? ???????? ??? ????? ?????? ????? ????? ?? ??????? ?? ????? ?? ????? ?????, ?? ?????? ????? ????? ????? ?????? ????? ?????? ?????? ????????? ???????.  ?????? ?? ?????? ?? ???? ???? ????? ?????? ??????: ?????? ????? ???? ??? ????? ??????? ??????? ??? ??????? ?? ?????? ?????? ??? ????????????? ???????? ?? ?????? ????????.  ??? ????? ???? ????????? ??? ??????? ?? ?????? ?????????? ?????????? ?????????????.  “???????”, ??? ??? ?????, ?? ??? ?????? ?????? ????? ?????? ?? ???? ??? ?????? ?? ????????, ????? ???? ?????? ???? ??????? ?????? (??? ???????) ????? ???? ????? ???? ?????? ???? ??????? ???? ???? ??? ?????? (??? ??? ??? ?????? ??????? ??? ?? ?? ?? ????? ????? ??? ??? 1965.) 
??? ?? ????? ??????? ?? ???? ????? ??? ????? ??? ?????? ??? ???? ?? ??????? ??????? ???.  ???? (??????) ????? ?????? ???? ?? ??? 1964:  “??????, ??? ??? ?? ??? ????? ??? ?? ???? ????? ???????? ?????? ?????????, ??? ????? ?????????, ?? ??????? ??? ???? “???????? ???????” ?? ?????????? ?????????? ???? ?????? ???????, ???? ????? ????? ?????? ???????? ??????? ?? ?????? ????????, ???? ??? ????? ??? ??? ????.  ??? ???, ??? ?????, ???? ???? ?????? ??????? ?????, ???? ?? ????? ???? ??? ???? ?????.  ??? ???? ????? ???? ?????? ?????” (???? ??????, ??? ?????: ????? ??????, ????? ???????”, ??? ??????, 1964, ?. 425.)  ??? ????? ?????? ??????? ????? ???????? ??? ??? ???????: ?? ???? ???? ???? ????? ???? ??? ??????? ???????, ??? ??? ??? ??? ?? ????? ??????.
?? ???? ????? ?????? ?????? ???? ???? ??????? ??????? ???? ?????.  ????? ????? ?? ?????? ????? ????????, ??? ?? ??????? ??? ?? ????? ?????? ??????? ?????????? ??? ??? ?????? ????? ????.  ??? ??????? ???? ??? ??? ????? ?? ?????? ??????? ?????? ?? ????? ??? ???????: ???? ?????? ???? ?? ???? ?? ???? ?? ????? ?? ????? ?????? (???????? ??? ??? ?????? ???? ?????? ???? ?????, ?????? ???????? ?????????? ??????????? ????????, ????? ??????) ?? ?? ????? ?????? ?????? ?????? ?? ????? ?????.  ???? ???? ????? ????? ?????? ???????? ?? ??????  ??????? ??? ?????  ???? ????? ??? ??????? ??? ??? ???????  ??? ?? ??????? ????? ??? ???????, ??? ?? ???? ?? ???????? ??? ?????? ??? ??? ????? ?????? ???????
?? ???? ??? ????? ?????? ?? ?????.  ????????? ??? ?????? ????? ????? ????? ??????? ??? ??????? (?? ?? ?? ????? ??????? ?? ???????? ??? ?????? ?????? ???? ?? ????? ???? ??? ???? ?????? ?? ?????? ????? ????? ??? ???? ?????? ?? ????? ?????????? ?????????) ?????? ???? ??? ?????? ???????, ???? ????? ??????? ?????? ???? (??? ???) ?? ??????? ????? ????????? ????? ???????? ???????.  ????? ?? ??? ????? ??????? ????????? ?? ?????: ?????? ????????? ??? ?? ???? ???????? ??? ??? ????? ?? ?????????, ??? ?? ????? ????? ?????? ?? ???? ???????? ?????? ?? ????? ?????.  ??? ??? ????? ????? ???? ??? ??????? ??????? ??? ??? ??? ????? ????? ?????? ??400 ?? ??? 1963 (??? ????? ????? ???? ?? ????? ?????? ?? ????? ?? “??? ??? ?????” ?? ??? 1967).  ????? ????? ??? ?????—??? ????? ???????—??? ????? ?? ????????? ??? ????? ????? ???????????, ????? ???? ??? ????? ?????? ???????, ???? ??? ???? ?????.  ??? ???? ????? ?????: ?? ??????.  ??? ?? ????? ?? ????????? ??????? ??? ????? ?????? ???? ?????? ??? ????????? ??? ???????? ??????.  ??? ?? ?????? ??????? ????????? ????? ???????? ????? ?? ????? ??????????.  ??? ????? ??????? ???? ????? (???????) ?? ????????????, ?????? ?????? ???.  ?? ??? ??? ????? ???? ??? ?????? ??? ????? ???????? ??? ??? ????? ???? ??????? ?? ?????.
????? ????? ??????? ???? ????? ??????.  ???? ??? ????? ?? ??? ????? ?? ?????? ????????? ?? ??? ???? ???? ???????? ???????, ??? ???? ????? ??? ????? ?????? ???? ???? ?? ?????? ?? ???????.  ???? ???? ??? ????? ?? ????? ??????? ?? ????? ?????? ???? ?? ?????? ?? ???????.  ??? ??? ????? ????? ?? ?????? ????? ?????: ???? ?????? ??? ????? ???????? ??????.  ????? ???? ????? ?? ??? ????????? ??????? ???? ????? ?????? ??? ????????? ?? ????? ????? ???????? ?? ?????? ????????, ???? ????????? ????.  ???? ?? ??? (?? ???????? ????????? ?????????? ??? ???? ?????? ?????? ?? ????? ????? ?????? ????? ????? ?????? ???? ??? ??????) ??? ????? ??? ????? ?????? ??????.  ???????? ?? ???? ????? ?? ????? ????? ????? ?? ????? ???? ???????? ???????? (??? ????? ?? ????? ????? ?? ?? ?????? ????? ?????? ???????) ??? ?????:  ??? ????? ??? ????? ????? ??? ??? ????? ??? ???????????, ??? ???? ????? ?????? ?? ??????? ?? ????? ??????.  ?? ??? ?? ????? ? “??? ????????”.  ??? ?? ????? ????? ??????? ???? ???? ????? ?????? ????? ??? ???? ???????? ?????? (?? ?? ???? ???? ?? ??????? ?? ??? ?????? ?????? ?????? ??? ???? ??????? ???? ??????? ??????? ??????, ??? ???? ????? ??????: “????????? ?? ????? ????? ???????? ???????? ?????????? ???????.  ???? ??? ????? ?? ??? ???? ?? ???? ????????? ???????”, (????? ????, “?? ???? ?????”, ?. 71)).
???? ???? ????? ?? ??? ???? ???? ?? ???? ??????, ??? ????? ????? ?? ????????? ?????? ????? ?????? ??? ???? ????? ?????? ???? ??? ??????? ???????? ?????? ???????? ????? ?? ?????? ????? ????? ?? ?????, ?? ???? ????? ????????? ???????? ??????????? ?????? ????? ??? (?????? ??????) ?? ????? ???????? ???????? ????? 1967 ??????? ?? ??? ?????? ?????? ???? ????? ?? ???? ??????? ???? ????? ???? ?? ?? ???? ???? ?????? ???? ????? ?????? ???????).  ????? ????? ??????? ???????? ??? ???? ?????? ???? ???? ?? ????? ?? ??? ???? ?? ????? ?? “???????”, ??? ??????? ??????? ?? ??? ??? ???? ?? ??????? (??? ?? ??????? ??????? ??? ?? ??? ?????? ??????? ?? ??? ??? ?????? ??? ????? ???????? ??? ??? ?????? ???? ???????? ??????).  ????? ?????? ??? ?? ?? ????? ?????? ????? “???? ????? ????????” ?? ??? 1984 ?? ??????? ????? ??????????? ?? ?????? ???????? ??? ??????? ???????? (????? ?????????? ?? ????? ????? ??? ????? ?? ??? ???????? ??????? ???? ???? ????? ?????? ???????):  ????? ????? ????? ???????? ???? ??????? ??? ??????? (??????) ?? ?????? ???? ??? 14 % ?? ??? 1975 ????? ???? ?????? 50% ?? ???????? ??? ????? ??????? ???????.   ??? ?? ???? ??????? ??????? ?? ?????????? ???????? ?? ??? ?????? ????? ?????? ???????? ???????? ?? ??????? ?????? ??????: ?? ?? ????? “??” ????? ?? ???? ??????? ????????? ?? ????? ??20% ?? ???? ??????? ????????? ?? 5 ?? 8 ?? ??????? ???? ????? ?????.  ??? ?? ?????? ??????????, ????? ???? ?????? ?? ??????? ??????? ?????? ????? ??? ????? ????? ????? “???????” ??? ?? ???? ???? ?? ?????? ???????, ??? ???? ???? ??????? ?? ????? ????????. 
??? ??? ????? ???? ????? ??? ??? ??????? ??.  ??? ????? ?? ??? ????? ???? ??????? ??? ??????? ?? ????? ?? ????? ???? ??? ???? ?? ??????? ???????.  ??? ????? ?????? ???? ??????? ????? ????? ??? ???? ?????? ??????? ??????? ??? ??? ????? ?????? ???? ????? ?? ????? ???? ?? ???? ??????? ?? ??? ???????? ???? ??? ?????? ??? (?? ??????) ???? ???? ???????? ???????? ????????? ???????? ?? ????? ??????.  ?????, ?? ???? ????? ?? ?????? ?????? ??????? ??????? ???????? ?????.  ?????? ??????? ??? ??? ?????? ????? ?????? ????????.  ???????? ??????? ?? ????? ????? ???? ?? ??? ???? ????? ?????? ?? ?? ???? ????? ?? ??????? ?????? ????? ?? ??????? (??? ????? ????? ??? ?? ?? ????? ?? “???? ??????”: ??? ??? ???? ?? ????? ?????, ?? ?????? ?????).  ???? ???? ??????? ?? ???? ????? (“???? ?????: ?????? ???? ??? ???????” ???? ??? ???? ???? ?? ???? ??? ????? ??? ????????.)  ?? ??? ????? ????? ?? ??????? ?? ???????? ?? ????????.  ???? ??????, ???.
????? ?? ???? ?? ????? ???? ?????? ?????? ?? ???? ??? ?????.  ?? ??? ???? ?? ??????? ???????????: ??? ?????? ????? ????? ???? ????????.  ?? ??? ???? ?? ??????? ??????: ????? ????? (?? ?????) ?? ?????.  ??? ????????? ??????????: ????? ????? ????? ?????? ?? ?????? ??????? ?? ???? ????? ??????.  ?? ???? ??? ????? ??????, ??? ???? ?? ????? ???????  ????? ???? ??? ?????? ???????? ????? ????? ???? ?????? ??????? (???? ????? ?? ??? ????? ????? ??????? ????????? ??? ??? ??? 18 ????? ??? ??? ?????? ????????? ?????? ?????, ????? ????? ??? ????? ????? ?? ????? ??? ??? ????? ??? ????? ?? ???? ??? ??? 200,000 ???).  ??? ?????? ????? ?? ???????????? ??? ???? ??????  ?? ?????, ???? ????? ??? ?????? ????????? ???? ?? ???? ??? ?? ??? ???? ?? ????????, ????? ???? ??? ?????? ??????.  ?????? ??? ????? ????? ?? ?????, ????? ??????? ???? ?????.  ????? ????? ????? ?????? ?? ????? ?? ??? 1976 ?????? ?????? ??????, ????? ??? ????? ?????? ?????? ????? ??????? (???? ??? ?????? ???? ????, ???? ????? “????? ????? ????? ??? ???? ?? ??????”).
??? ???? ????? ????? ?? ??????? ??????? ??????? ??? ???? ???? ????? ??????? ?????? ??? ????????   ??? ?????? ??? ????? ?????? ?????? ???????? ??? ?????????????  ?? ??? ?? ????? ???????? ???? ?????? ???? ????? ?? ??????? ???????? ?? ??? ?? ?? ????? ?? ?????????? ?? ??????  ??? ????? ?? ??? ????? ????? ?? ?????? ?? ?? ????? ?????? ??????? ?????????? ??????? ?????? ???????? ??? ??? ?????  ???? ????? ?????? ?????? ???? ????? ??? ?????: ??? ??? ???? ??? ??? ???? ?? ????? ?????? ??????, ?? ?????? ???????.  ??? ?????? ?????? ???????? ????? ??? ??? ????? ???? ???? ????? ???? ????? ??? ???? ?????.  ??? ??????? ?????? ???? ????? ?? ??????? ???????? ???????????? ???????? ?????????, ????? ????? ?????? ???? ????? ?????? ????? (?? ???? ????? ????? ?? ??????, ?? ????? ?????? ?????? ?? ??? ??????, ??? ???? ?????? ?? ????? ???????? ??? ?????????).  ?? ??? ???? ????? ??????? ?? ?? ?? ????? ???????: ?? ?? ????? ????????? ???? ??????? ?????? ??????? ????????? ??? ?? ????? ???? ??? ??????.  ???? ?? ?????? ?? ???? ????? ?????????? ?????? ?????????? ?? ????? ??????? ???? ???????? ?? ???? ????????.  ????? ????? ??? ????? ?????? ????? ?????? ??? ?????? ?? ???? ???????? ????????? ?? ??????????????. 
?? ????? ????? ?????? ?? ?????, ??? ?? ?????? ????? ?????? ??? ????? ?? ??? ?????? ?? ??????.  ?? ?? ?????? ????? ??? ???? ?? ?????? ??? ????? ????? ??? ??????.  ??? ?? ??? ????? ?????? (?? ?? ????? ?? ?? ?????? ????? ??? ?????).  ???? ?????? ?? ??? ????? ??????: ??? ??????? ?? ??? ????? ?? ?? ??? ?????? ?????.  ???????? ????????? ??????? ?? ??? ????? ???? ?? ??? ?????? ????? ????? ??? ???? ?????: ??????? ??? ?? ???? ?????? ?????? ?????? (?????? ??????? ??? ??? ????) ???? ?????.  ???? ????? ?????? ??????? ??? ???? ???????.   ?????? ?? ?? ????? ????? ????? ?????? ????: ???? ????????? ???????? ??????? ????????.  ????? ?????? ?????? ??????? ????? ????? ???.    
??? ?? ??????? ?? ?????? ?????????, ?? ?? ??????? ??? ?????? ?”?????????” ?? ?????, ?? ??? ????? ???????.  ?????? ??? ????? ?? ????? ????? ???? ?????????? ?? ??? ???????, ???? ??? ????? ?????? ?? ??? ?????? ????? (???? ?? ?????, ??? ???????? ???? ????, ???? ????? ????? ???????? ????? ?? ????).  ??? ??? ??? ???? ??? ??? ?? ??????????? ?????????  ??? ?? ????? ?????? ?? ?????? ???????? ????????? ???? ???????? ????? ?????????.  ???? ????? ?????? ???? ????? ?? ??????? ??? ???????? ???? ?????? ??????, ??? ????? ????? ??? ??? ???? ???????? ?? ?? ?? ????? ??????? (????? ??? ?????).  ????? ????? ????? ??????? ?? ??????? ??????? ?? ???? ??????? ?????? ?????? (????? ???? ?? ??? ??? ????? ???? “???????”) ??? ?? ?????? ?????? ?????? ???? ???? ?????? ???? ?? ????? ??????? ????? ?????????? ?????????? (???? ????? ?????? ?????? ?????? ??????????, ??????? ????? ?????).  ??????? ???????? ???? ????? ???? ??? ????? ??? ??????, ??? ??? ????? ???? ??? ????? ????? ?????????.  ??? ??? ??? ????? ??? ????????, ??? ???? ?????? ?? ???????? (??? ???? ???? ?? ??? ????? ????? ?????? ?????? ??????? ??? ???? ?? ???????, ??? ????? ???? ??????.)  ????? “?????” ????? ??? ??????? ???? ??? ?????, ??? ????? ??????? ?????? ?????? ??? ?? ????? “???? ?????”.  ???, ?? ????? ??? ????? ??? ?????? ?????? ?”??? ?????”? ?? ?? ???? ???????? ???? ?????? ??????? ?????? ?????????  ??? ????? ??? ????? ??? ??????  ??? ???? “??? ?????” ???? ???? ??? ????? ????? ???????????

???? ???? ?????? ?? ????? ???? ??? ????? ?? ??? 1964.  ????? ????? ?????? ???? ????? ????? ??? ???? ??????.  ?? ?????? ?????? ???????? ??????? ?? ????, ???? ??? ??????? ??????? ?? ??????? (?? ???????? ?? ??????) ??? ??????? ??????? ?? ??????? ????????.  ?? ????? ????? ??? ??? ????? ?? ????? ????.  ???????? ?? ??????? ?????? ?????? (??? ??? ????? ???????).  

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Syria: ‘Do not squander the Golden opportunity!’

March 26th, 2011 Comments off

A good visualization on Syria, by ‘Mon’: 

??????? ?? ?????? ??? ?????? – ??????? ????? – ?? ?????? ?????? ???? ????? ??????? ?? ????? : ?????? ??????? ??? 2000 – ???? 2002 , ????????  ????? ?????  2008 – ????? 2010 ????? ??????? ??????? ?????? ???? ????? – ??? ????? – ?? ???? … ??? ??? ?????? ?? ??????? ???????? ?????? ?????? ???????? ??? ?????? ???? ????? ??????? ??? ???? ???? ?? ???? 2008????? ???? ?????? ?????? ???? ??????? ??? ??????? ???????? 

??        ????? ?? ????? ??????? – ???? ??????? ??????? – … ??? ???? ???? : ???????? ????????? ??????? ?? ??? ?????????? ???????? , ?? , ???????? ??????? ?????? ?? ??????? : ??????? ?????? , ?????? ??????????  

???? ?????? ??????? ???? ?????? ?? ????? …. ????? ?????? ?? ????? ??? ??????? ???? ????? ?????? ??? ?????? ????  ??????? ?? ??? ?????? ?????? … ??? ????? ??????? ?? ?????? ??????? ???????? ???????? ??? ???? ???? ??????  ?? ?????? ????????  ????? ??? ???? ??? ???? ??????? ????????? ??? ?????? ????? ?????? ?????? ?? ????? ?????????? ??? ??? ??????? ??????? ??? ???? ??? ??? ???? ?????? , ? ????? ?????? ?? ??????? ????? ????? ????? ??????  ????? ????? ????? ????? ??? ?????? ?????? ??? ???? ???? ????? ??? ??????? ?? ????? ????? – ????? ??????? ????????- ( ??? ?????? ?????? ???? ????? ????????? ?????) ??????? ????? ???? ??? ?? ??????? ?????? ?? ?????? …. ????? ??? ??? ?? ?????? ?????? ???? ?????? ??????? ??? ???????? ????????? ??? ???? ???? ????? ?????? : ???? ????? ????? ???? ?????? ?????? – ??? – ????? ????? ??? ??????? ????????? 

????? ???? ?????? ???? ????? ???? – ???? ???? ????? – ???? ??????? ??? ????? ????? – ????? … ???? ???? ???? ????? : ?? ????? ?? ???? … ???????? ? ????? ?????? – ?? ???????? ???????? – ? ???? ?????? ?????? ?? ?????? ??? ???????? … ????? ?   

    ? ????? ????? ? … ???? ?:??  ??? ???? ???????? ????? , ?????? ????? ?????? ???? ???? ????? ??? ?????? ?????? ????? : ????? , ???????? ???????? 

???????? ???? ???? ????????? ?????????? ????????? ??? ??? ??? 

???????? ???? ?????? 8 ?? ??????? , ?????? ???? ????? ?????? ????? ???? ?? – ???? – 50 ????? ??? ?? ?????? ??????? , ??? ?? ????? ?? ?????? ?? ??? ?????? 6 ????? ??  ????? ?????? ????? ????? ???????? – ???????? ?????? – ???? , ?????? ????? ???? .. ?????? ???? ?????? ??????? ???????? ????????? ? ???? ??????? ????????? ??? ????? ” ??? ???? ” , ??? ???? ?? ?????? ?????? ??????? ???????? ?????? ??? ????? ???????? ???????? ?????? ????? ????? ….??? ????? ????? ???? 

????????? ????? ??? ?????? : ?? ????? ????? ??? ????? ?? ???? ??????? … ?????????? ????? ?????? ?? ????? ????????? ?????? ????? – ????? ?????? ?????? 

?????? ??????? ???????? ???????? ????? ????? ??????? ?????? ?????? ???????? ??? ???? ??? ????? ?????? , ????? ????????? ??? ????? ????? ??? ????? ?????? ?? ??????? ??? ???? ????? – ?? ???????? ???????? ??????? ??????? 

, ???????? ??? ??????? ???? ?????? ????????? , ???????? ?????? ??? ???????? ????????  ??? ????? ?????? ?? ?????  ????? ??? ???????? … ?????? ????? ??? : ???? ?????? ????? ?????? ????? ????? ????? ???? ??????? ????? ????? ?????? ??????? ????? ????? ?????? ???????? ?? ??????? ?????????? ??????? … ???? ????? ???? ???? 

????? ?????? ??????? ???????? ??????? 

???????? ????? ????????? ??????? ??? ????? , ???? ??????? ???????? ???????? ?????? ??? ??????? ??? ????? ?????  ?????? ??? ????? … ????? ????? ?????? ???????? ?? ?????? ?????? ?? ????????? 

??????? ????????? ?????? ( ????? ??????? ????? ?? ???? ????? ??????? ?????? ???????? ) , ??? ????????? ???????? ???????? ?? ??????? ?????? ???? ) ????????? ??? ??????? … ????? ??? ?? ????? ?????? ?????? ??? ?? ?????? ????????



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OBAMA’S EMBRACE OF THE “NEOCON-LIBERAL ALLIANCE”

March 24th, 2011 Comments off
We commend the piece below, written by our colleague, Steve Walt, in Foreign Policy.  It can viewed at Foreign Policy by clicking here. Steve is the Robert and Renee Belfer professor of international relations at Harvard University.  His analysis of the “neocon-liberal alliance” has very powerful applications to understanding U.S. policymaking with regard to Iran.  –Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett
          What Intervention in Libya Tells us About the Neocon-Liberal Allies                                                                                                                                                     By Stephen Walt
… At one point, I said that “liberal inteventionists are just ‘kinder, gentler’ neocons, and neocons are just liberal interventionsts on steroids.”
Dean challenged me rather forcefully on this point, declaring that there was simply no similarity whatsoever between a smart and sensible person like U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and a “crazy guy” like Paul Wolfowitz. (I didn’t write down Dean’s exact words, but I am certain that he portrayed Wolfowitz in more-or-less those terms). I responded by listing all the similarites between the two schools of thought, and the discussion went on from there.
I mention this anecdote because I wonder what Dean would say now. In case you hadn’t noticed, over the weekend President Obama took the nation to war against Libya, largely on the advice of liberal interventionists like Ambassador Rice, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and NSC aides Samantha Power and Michael McFaul. According to several news reports I’ve read, he did this despite objections from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and National Security Advisor Tom Donilon.
The only important intellectual difference between neoconservatives and liberal interventionists is that the former have disdain for international institutions (which they see as constraints on U.S. power), and the latter see them as a useful way to legitimate American dominance. Both groups extol the virtues of democracy, both groups believe that U.S. power — and especially its military power — can be a highly effective tool of statecraft….
So if you’re baffled by how Mr. “Change You Can Believe In” morphed into Mr. “More of the Same,” you shouldn’t really be surprised. George Bush left in disgrace and Barack Obama took his place, but he brought with him a group of foreign policy advisors whose basic world views were not that different from the people they were replacing… Most of the U.S. foreign policy establishment has become addicted to empire, it seems, and it doesn’t really matter which party happens to be occupying Pennsylvania Avenue.
So where does this leave us? For starters, Barack Obama now owns not one but two wars. He inherited a deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, and he chose to escalate instead of withdrawing.  Instead of being George Bush’s mismanaged blunder, Afghanistan became “Obama’s War.” And now he’s taken on a second, potentially open-ended military commitment, after no public debate, scant consultation with Congress, without a clear articulation of national interest, and in the face of great public skepticism. Talk about going with a gut instinct.
When the Security Council passed Resolution 1973 last week and it was clear we were going to war, I credited the administration with letting Europe and the Arab League take the lead in the operation. My fear back then, however, was that the Europeans and Arab states would not be up to the job and that Uncle Sucker would end up holding the bag….
More importantly, despite Obama’s declaration that he would not send ground troops what is he going to do if the air assault doesn’t work? What if Qaddafi hangs tough … will Obama and Sarkozy and Cameron then decide that now it’s time for special forces, or even ground troops?
And even if we are successful … If Qaddafi goes we will own the place, and we will probably have to do something substantial to rebuild it lest it turn into an exporter of refugees, a breeding ground for criminals, or the sort of terrorist “safe haven” we’re supposedly trying to prevent in Afghanistan.
But the real lesson is what it tells us about America’s inability to resist the temptation to meddle with military power… Even a smart guy like Barack Obama couldn’t keep himself from going abroad in search of a monster to destroy. And even if this little adventure goes better than I expect, it’s likely to come back to haunt us later. One reason that the Bush administration could stampede the country to war in Iraq was the apparent ease with which the United States had toppled the Taliban back in 2001. After a string of seeming successes dating back to the 1991 Gulf War, U.S. leaders and the American public had become convinced that the Pentagon had a magic formula for remaking whole countries without breaking a sweat. It took the debacle in Iraq and the Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan to remind us of the limits of military power, and it seems to have taken Obama less than two years on the job to forget that lesson. We may get reminded again in Libya, but if we don’t, the neocon/liberal alliance will be emboldened and we’ll be more likely to stumble into a quagmire somewhere else. And who’s the big winner here? Back in Beijing, China’s leaders must be smiling as they watch Washington walk open-eyed into another potential quagmire.”  



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Proponents of "Sunni-Shi’a schism" rubbish, lose their mentor!

February 11th, 2011 Comments off
               

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Another Appeal for Support

December 29th, 2010 Comments off

Readers will have noted that the site is being upgraded. I have hopes to extend it as a more user-friendly repository of information about US politics, foreign policy, and the politics and culture of the Muslim world. If you feel the site has benefited you, please consider making a donation (button on your right) in support of this expanded mission. (Checks can be sent made out to me at 1029 Tisch Hall, Dept. of History, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1003).

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An Appeal for Support

December 28th, 2010 Comments off

Readers will have noted that the site is being upgraded. I have hopes to extend it as a more user-friendly repository of information about US politics, foreign policy, and the politics and culture of the Muslim world. If you feel the site has benefited you, please consider making a donation (button on your right) in support of this expanded mission. (Checks can be sent made out to me at 1029 Tisch Hall, Dept. of History, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1003).

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Map: Druze Communities

December 28th, 2010 Comments off
Druze Communities

Druze Communities in Lebaon, Syria, Jordan, Israel

Distribution of the Druze communities in the Levant.. For more on the Druze religion see this link.

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