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.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Hugh Wilford, America’s Great Game: The CIA’s Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East

By: Saturday February 1, 2014 1:59 pm

One of the most enduring changes in American government occurred in the years after the Second World War, when the United States created its first permanent foreign intelligence agency, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Authorized by the National Security Act of 1947 and built from the bones of the wartime Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the CIA had an immediate impact on American activities in all regions of the globe, especially the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia: A Retrograde Rentier Dictatorship and Global Terrorism

By: Sunday January 12, 2014 7:00 am

Saudi Arabia has all the vices and none of the virtues of an oil rich state like Venezuela. The country is governed by a family dictatorship which tolerates no opposition and severely punishes human rights advocates and political dissidents. Hundreds of billions in oil revenues are controlled by the royal despotism and fuel speculative investments the world over. The ruling elite relies on the purchase of Western arms and US military bases for protection. The wealth of productive nations is syphoned to enrich the conspicuous consumption of the Saudi ruling family. The ruling elite finances the most fanatical, retrograde, misogynist version of Islam, “Wahhabi” a sect of Sunni Islam.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Stephen Kinzer, The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War

By: Saturday December 14, 2013 1:59 pm

Between them, their unquestioned attitudes conditioned all of the covert interventions of the Eisenhower era. The coups in Iran and Guatemala, for example, were as much about defeating perceived threats to the business interests of America’s capitalist elites as containing the spread of communism. Ho Chi Minh and Sukarno offended Foster’s Calvinist religiosity. Patrice Lumumba’s fate was so miserable in part because patrician Americans had very little personal notion of life in post-colonial Africa. All these men were “monsters” in the brothers’ demonology, and therefore deserving of monstrous treatment.

Of course, the Dulles brothers’ value system now appears outmoded, even quaint. But, as Stephen Kinzer reminds us again in a stimulating concluding chapter, the actions that it propelled the U.S. to take in the 1950s shaped the world we live in today. What unthinking cultural assumptions and prejudices drive the behavior of those who make current U.S. foreign policy?

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