Peter Van Buren: Seven Bad Endings to the New War in the Middle East

By: Thursday October 16, 2014 3:14 pm

You know the joke? You describe something obviously heading for disaster — a friend crossing Death Valley with next to no gas in his car — and then add, “What could possibly go wrong?”

Such is the Middle East today. The U.S. is again at war there, bombing freely across Iraq and Syria, advising here, droning there, coalition-building in the region to loop in a little more firepower from a collection of recalcitrant allies, and searching desperately for some non-American boots to put on the ground.

Here, then, are seven worst-case scenarios in a part of the world where the worst case has regularly been the best that’s on offer. After all, with all that military power being brought to bear on the planet’s most volatile region, what could possibly go wrong?

 

ISIS: Obama’s Vietnam?

By: Sunday October 12, 2014 1:05 pm

If this war goes much further and it certainly looks like going much, much, further, it could turn out to be infinitely more dangerous and destructive, for all concerned: humanly, economically and politically, than the war in Vietnam ever was.

Late Night: The State of Play

By: Sunday October 5, 2014 8:00 pm

To bring us all up to speed on current events in the Levant..

Bordier: A Bottom-Up Solution to Cross-Border Conflicts: The Case of the Middle East and ISIL

By: Sunday September 28, 2014 4:00 pm

The outbreak of another Western-led military conflict in the Middle East is widely viewed as unwinnable. It is also viewed as counterproductive because of its potential to help its target, ISIL, the anti-Western fanatical social movement, recruit new volunteers in its crusade to topple Middle East regimes.

My view, as a political scientist, is that none of the players currently involved can bring peace or stability to the region. The “perpetual war” the protagonists appear to be unleashing is more likely to cause even more human suffering and displacement in the region on a scale previously unimaginable.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Erica Chenoweth, Maria J. Stephan, Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict

By: Sunday August 10, 2014 1:59 pm

In Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict, Erica Chenoweth and Maria J. Stephan review the scholarly literature on campaigns of popular and usually nonviolent resistance to undemocratic regimes in modern nations, including Iran, Burma, Palestine, and Israel. A table at the end and an online appendix refer to many other instances of nonviolence.

Israel Alleged To Be Using Experimental Weapons On Palestinians In Gaza

By: Wednesday July 16, 2014 6:46 am

While the debate rages as to whether Israel bombing homes and hospitals is legal, another legally questionable event is occurring during Operation Protective Edge. According to doctors in Gaza, Israel is using an experimental weapon named Dense Inert Metal Explosives (DIME) on the population of Gaza. A weapon that could have negative health effects beyond the death and destruction it is causing now.

Tomgram: Juan Cole: Waiting for the Arab Summer

By: Monday June 30, 2014 7:15 pm

Three and a half years ago, the world was riveted by the massive crowds of youths mobilizing in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to demand an end to Egypt’s dreary police state. We stared in horror as, at one point, the Interior Ministry mobilized camel drivers to attack the demonstrators. We watched transfixed as the protests spread from one part of Egypt to another and then from country to country across the region. Before it was over, four presidents-for-life would be toppled and others besieged in their palaces.

Same as It Ever Was: War, Peace, Wall Street, and the Smothers Brothers

By: Wednesday April 16, 2014 4:37 pm

Censored for years, the Smothers Brothers kept on satirizing. In the end their uncompromising political message drove them off the air, with CBS firing the duo and the rest of their comedy ensemble under pressure from the White House. Though the Brothers and the ACLU fought a successful legal battle in response, their careers were effectively over. A documentary, Smothered, tells the whole story — but only clips seem to be available online.

Admiral Dennis Blair: “We Sent Troops to Middle East…Because of Oil-Based Importance of Region”

By: Wednesday March 26, 2014 5:35 pm

At the just-completed U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing titled, “The Geopolitical Potential of theU.S. Energy Boom,” Admiral Dennis Blair— former Director of National Intelligence, President and CEO of Institute for Defense Analyses and Commander in Chief of U.S. Pacific Command — admitted what’s still considered conspiratorial to some.

Put tersely: the U.S. and allied forces launched the ongoing occupation in Iraq and occupy large swaths of the Middle East to secure the flow of oil to the U.S. and its global allies, explained Blair.

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