Category Archives:
Middle East

ISIS, 9/11, and the terrorism time loop

Deepa Kumar on
President Barack Obama delivers a prime time address from the White House to discuss the US strategy to counter ISIS, Sept. 10, 2014 (Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

As we mark another anniversary of the attacks in 2001, it seems as if little has changed. We appear to be caught in a time loop where history keeps repeating itself again and again. If it was al Qaeda in 2001 that represented the pinnacle of all things evil that animated the US invasion of Afghanistan and later Iraq, today its al Qaeda’s evil twin Islamic State that is prompting air strikes in Iraq and upcoming airstrikes on Syria as well. Virtually absent in the media circus around ISIS is an honest discussion of how the US War on Terror, rather than halting the growth of violent Islamist groups, actually fosters fundamentalism

ISIS and Israel allies against a Palestinian state

Jonathan Cook on
Shmuley Boteach image for his New York Times ad, which he says the paper  insisted he change.

Netanyahu’s depiction of Hamas and ISIS, or Islamic State, as “branches of the same poisonous tree” is a travesty of the truth. The two have entirely different – in fact, opposed – political projects. ISIS wants to return to a supposed era of pure Islamic rule, the caliphate, when all Muslims were subject to God’s laws (sharia). Given that Muslims are now to be found in every corner of the globe, the implication is that ISIS ultimately seeks world domination. Hamas’s goals are decidedly more modest. It was born and continues as a national liberation movement, seeking to create a Palestinian state. Its members may disagree on that state’s territorial limits but even the most ambitious expect no more than the historic borders of a Palestine that existed a few decades ago. ISIS aims to sweep away Palestine and every other Arab state in the region

It’s ‘bomb or bombing’ in Iran inside of a year, Israeli leader tells US pol

Philip Weiss on
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The leader of the Democratic congressional campaign committee, Rep. Steve Israel of Long Island, has published a journal of his visit to Israel August 3-9. You’d think the congressman has more important things to do than write up his breathless meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu amid “a cauldron of pressure,” but the congressman is a major

Hamas is ISIS for dummies

Philip Weiss on
Boteach ad in New York Times

As you are surely aware, the gruesome murders of American journalists by the Islamic state group in Iraq and Syria have been seized on by demagogues to argue that the US must go to war in the Middle East. Chris Matthews has championed a “nationalistic response” to the killings and faulted Barack Obama for not

Palestinian refugees displaced again as they flee Islamic State in Iraq

Sheren Khalel and Matthew Vickery on
Palestinian Ambassador Nazmi Hazouri to Kurdistan speaks to Palestinian residents of Iraq and Kurdistan about the current situations in Gaza and Iraq. (Photo: Abed Al Qaisi)

Qasi Mustafa Abu Khalil and his family packed all of their belongings into one car and fled their home in the middle of the night. They were too nervous to look back as they left Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq—all eyes were glued on the road for Islamic State (IS) checkpoints, and the

Gaza war spreads as rockets are launched into Israel from southern Lebanon

Allison Deger on

Overnight three rockets struck Israel from southern Lebanon, marking the second instance of crossfire between the Mediterranean states since the beginning of the military offensive in the besieged Gaza Strip. The rockets landed in Nahariya, a beachside community ten kilometers from the Lebanese border. Lebanese officials and a United Nations monitoring group have combed the

Israel viciously bombs Gaza, that’s the only truth

Ali Hariri on

To those of you who don’t know, we in Lebanon have lived three major wars with Israel, in 1993, 1996 and 2006 not to mention the daily brutalities that Israeli soldiers committed at check points and villages as they conquered various parts of Lebanon from 1982 till 2000. I know what it feels like to

The death by drone memo: a throwback to U.S. terrorism in Nicaragua

Rémi Brulin on

On September 30, 2011, Anwar al-Aulaki, a radical Islamist cleric and an American citizen, was killed in a targeted drone strike in Yemen. Among the many legal questions raised by such an act, a most important and intriguing one relates to the legal status of certain CIA activities given the existence of 18 USC 119,

Fire Thomas Friedman

James North on

Enough is enough. Thomas Friedman has just published his first column since the catastrophe in Iraq, and it is marked by so much dishonest evasion, pedestrian analysis, and poor writing that his editors should put him out to pasture at a think tank somewhere in Colorado, where he can’t do much more damage. First and

The world was right about Iraq– though Israel got its ‘Clean Break’

Matthew Taylor on

In most circumstances, “We told you so” is a classless statement. But in this case, it’s justified. In 2003, in the largest global protest in human history, millions of us marched in the world’s streets, loudly proclaiming that invading Iraq would be an unmitigated disaster. Meanwhile, Israel’s neocon loyalists achieved exactly what they wanted: a

Think back to 2003. . . the year the U.S. didn’t invade Iraq

James North on

[Here is an alternative history of Iraq that we posted 4 years ago, revised in light of recent events.] Historians would later record how Secretary of State Colin Powell prevailed in a key Cabinet meeting in early 2003, when he refused to go before the United Nations because he lacked proof that Iraq had weapons

Interminable Nakba: Syrian Palestinians return to the unknown

Ahmad Diab on

Before it was a refugee camp, Al-Yarmuk was long known as the battle that consolidated Syria under Arab rule after the landmark defeat of the Byzantine Empire in 636 C.E. From now on, however, it will symbolize a different event. Al-Yarmuk now stands between Tel Al-Za’tar – the Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut that was

The latest page in Israel’s divide and conquer playbook: enlisting Palestinian Christians

Alex Kane on

Haitham Haddad is used to Israeli Jews asking whether he is “an Arab or a Christian.” The Haifa-born artist and t-shirt designer, who grew up in the Palestinian Christian community, has been hearing the query since he was young. “It’s in their daily vocabulary–and you’re like ‘what?’” Haddad, a 23-year-old whose art draws on religious

3 weeks in Beirut, 5 days in jail and a 90 day travel ban: The saga of journalist Majd Kayyal

Alex Kane and Allison Deger on

Even though Palestinian journalist Majd Kayyal was released from prison on April 17th for traveling to Lebanon to attend a writers’ conference, he is still under the thumb of Israel’s security services. Kayyal, an Israeli citizen, was thrown in a basement cell for five days after violating Israel’s ban on travel to “enemy states.” While

Why LA needs a city-funded Middle Eastern cultural center

Jordan Elgrably on

This piece is part of a campaign in Los Angeles to convince the mayor to provide funding for a cultural and community center that represents Arab/Muslim communities. Sign a petition in favor here. I must be out of my mind. For the past 13 years, I have relentlessly militated for the creation of a Middle Eastern/North

In Ramallah, Palestinian Authority cracks down on Salafi anti-negotiation protests

Allison Deger on

As U.S. brokered negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian leaders nearly ruptured last week, in the West Bank the Palestinian Authority was busy cracking down on a Salafi group attempting to stage protests against the talks. Two weekends in a row, after evening prayers at a central Ramallah mosque dozens of Palestinian Authority (PA) riot police

Former Israeli general: failed peace talks won’t lead to doom

Alex Kane on

A former Israeli general predicted that peace talks with the Palestinian Authority would fail. Amos Yadlin, the head of Israel’s leading strategic think tank, lauded Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to broker a peace deal, but said that “the chance of Kerry succeeding is like my chance to win the lottery if I didn’t buy a

‘The clash of civilizations’ theory is absolutely and completely dead

James North on

It is far too early for a conclusive historical verdict on the wave of uprisings that have swept across the Middle East since a street vendor in Tunisia named Mohamed Bouazizi protested his unfair life by burning himself to death in December 2010. A half dozen Arab nations have been torn by massive popular uprisings,

U.S. intel analysts doubt Israeli claim that captured weapons were headed to Gaza

Annie Robbins on

Remember the massive photo ops earlier this month during the grand unveiling of  “advanced” weapons bound for “terrorist organizations” in Gaza? After Israel’s special operation interception of the Panama-flagged KLOS C civilian cargo ship which Israel  alleged carried a shipment orchestrated by Iran, Netanyahu “triumphantly” toured the display and made an angry fear mongering speech. The finale

Lockerbie: 25 years of geopolitics over truth

David Samel on

It has now been a quarter-century since Pan Am 103 exploded in the air and dropped onto the quiet town of Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 259 passengers and crew and 11 villagers.  No credible claim of responsibility was ever made, and the saga of the search for the guilty parties, still continues with various twists and