Grasping the Syrian Quagmire

March 7, 2012 by

One of the most significant and enduring consequences of the Arab Spring has been the bloody uprising in Syria. For almost a year cities across the Levant have been defying the iron grip of the Assad regime and challenging the police state of the Ba’ath party. Of all the countries engulfed by the revolutionary fever encompassing the Arab World, Syria, a country of 23 million, epitomizes the toughest case.

Syria: A Way Out

March 3, 2012 by

There are two tales about the crisis in Syria. In one, the vast majority of Syrians have risen up against the brutality of a criminal dictatorship. The government of Bashar al Assad is on the ropes, isolated regionally and internationally, and only holding on because Russia and China vetoed United Nations intervention. U.S. Secretary to State Hillary Clinton describes Assad as “a war criminal,” and President Barak Obama called him a “dead man walking.”

Saudi Arabia and Qatar Ratchet Up Pressure on Assad

March 3, 2012 by

Running counter to the wishes of the United States and other western nations, Saudi Arabia and Qatar recently announced that they are taking steps to arm the Free Syria Army (FSA). Despite the significance of this step, it is unlikely to shift the civil war in favor of the rebels. The FSA, armed with light weapons, suffered a number of strategic setbacks. Their tactical retreat from the Baba Amr neighborhood in Homs paints a picture of a rebel group that lacks the operational capacity to challenge the Assad regime directly.

No Winners in a War in Iran

March 2, 2012 by

At a meeting with editors of leading Western newspapers Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Russia will do all it can to prevent war in Iran. But is this war already inevitable? This is the question on the minds of many in Russia and abroad. A fresh outbreak of violence in the Middle East could destabilize the South Caucasus and other post-Soviet regions. There is no such thing as a foreign war.

Africa, Nuclear Security and the 2012 Summit

February 29, 2012 by

Many hold a view that the terms Africa and nuclear security have no correlation. This is a false and dangerous perception. South Africa’s Energy Minister Dipuo Peters announced on Tuesday 28 February 2012 that her country plans to use nuclear energy as part of diversified mix to help cure South Africa’s energy crisis and to take a step closer to cleaner energy.

The Post-WWI Years and the 21st Century

February 24, 2012 by

The world today and the world immediately before the Second World War are strikingly similar. The military and foreign policy of the United States today is comparable to the close-minded introversion of isolationism. European countries are teetering on the brink of economic collapse. The German industrial juggernaut has reignited. The announced rearmament of Russia resembles that of the former Soviet Union, during and immediately after the First World War.

A Chinese vision begins to emerge

February 24, 2012 by

China is surprisingly getting out in front on Syria, instead of letting Russia, Damascus’ long-time ally and arms supplier, carry the ball. It appears Beijing has decided to stake out its position in the Middle East as a great power with its own significant and legitimate interests, instead of trying to shoehorn itself into whatever diplomatic coalition the United States or Russia invokes to deal with the crisis.

Now Is Not the Time for Intervention In Syria

February 20, 2012 by

As pressure mounts on foreign powers to consider intervening militarily in Syria, analogies are being drawn between what NATO accomplished in Libya and whether something comparable may be possible in Syria. Military intervention would perhaps make the West feel better — knowing that it attempted to do something concrete to end the bloodshed — but it is unlikely to be successful for several reasons.

When Clouds Appear…

January 8, 2012 by

The year gone by has been one of civil protests, upheaval and violence in many parts of the world. Old wars continued, most notably in Afghanistan and Iraq. Peaceful awakening movements that sprang up with much hope in Algeria and Tunisia turned violent as they spread east from North Africa to the Gulf region. A brief and bloody war in Libya, with an overt display of NATO’s military power on behalf of the anti-Gaddafi forces, resulted in his overthrow and brutal killing.

“Arab Spring” Dominated TV Foreign News in 2011

January 3, 2012 by

The so-called “Arab Spring” led U.S. network television evening news coverage during 2011, comprising a total of about 10 percent of all the news coverage provided by the three major commercial networks during 2011, according to the latest annual review by the authoritative Tyndall Report.

How Dictators Faired in 2011

December 25, 2011 by

Of the significant changes that happened over the course of 2011, the Arab Spring and the very recent demonstrations in Moscow after their latest effort at democratization, the fact that the world is no longer haunted by as many dictators and despots who defined our collective understanding of the international system, could define 2011 as much as some of the peaceful transfer of powers that happened in the Middle East and North Africa.

The GOP Debate on Foreign Policy: Anti-Obama or a rational departure?

November 23, 2011 by

Whether Obama wins a second term or one of the eight GOP candidates vying for his job, the foreign policy challenges facing the United States will continue to be monumental. From Iran to Afghanistan to immigration policy, the candidates competing for the GOP nomination have sought to portray Obama’s handling of foreign policy as a failure.

Continuing Uncertainties in the Arab World

November 1, 2011 by

The powerful wave in favour of democracy has not only uprooted many well-entrenched dictatorial regimes in the Arab world but it has also paved the way for the emergence of new power-equations among member-states of the region and in their relations with several of the polar powers. The popular upsurge, the Arab Spring, which began in Tunisia against strongman Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, also known as Jasmine revolution, spreading over the Arab world has, perhaps, taken the most appropriate toll on the late Col. Gaddafi.

What Next for Libya?

October 24, 2011 by

Libyan Colonel Gaddafi’s 42 year brutal reign is over, but the future looks murky for a country primarily known for exporting oil and terrorism. One thing is for certain – international oil companies will be packing out flights to Tripoli to cut deals for a piece of the action. Libya remains the wild card, with only 25 percent of the country’s oil potential territory explored.

The Killing of Muammar Gaddafi

October 23, 2011 by

Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. This verse from the Bible speaks aloud of the manner of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, as well as his brutal killing. It is also a lesson for those who fought Gaddafi. The end of him has left a disturbing trail of savagery, from which the victors have not emerged unscathed.

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