Taking the Lead in Syria

America’s friends and allies in the Middle East depend on the US’ strategic vision, clarity and resolve to deal with the multiple crises that surround them. They feel unsure, however, about the Obama administration’s policy which from their perspective appears to be timid and unworthy of the US’ unique stature and responsibility. The difficulty in…

May 31, 2013 Read more

Commemorating Ten Years Of Deep Sorrow

Today is the tenth anniversary of the Iraq war and I for one recollect those years with deep sorrow. Scores of commentaries have been written on the misguided Iraq war and perhaps not much can be added to America’s worst foreign policy blunder since at the very least World War II. To put this war…

March 19, 2013 Read more

Syrian Kurds: Time To Assert Their Rights

Regardless of what may come out of Kofi Annan’s peace plan to end the internal conflict in Syria, and whatever may emerge from the Arab League meeting this week in Baghdad, the prospect of Assad’s fall offers the Kurdish minority in Syria a historic opportunity to gain equal political and civil rights. Given the totalitarian nature of Baathist rule under Assad, the regime’s fall in Syria will take the entire system of government down with it, much like Saddam’s Iraq in 2003. But unlike Iraq’s Kurds who have enjoyed virtual autonomy since 1991 when the United States enforced a no-fly zone over northern Iraq, Syria’s Kurds are less organized and more divided. Syrian Kurds need to close ranks, fully join the Syrian people in pursuit of freedom, and not allow this historic window of opportunity to slip away.

March 27, 2012 Read more

Russia’s Self-Marginalization

Russia’s foreign policy doctrine appears to be based on rejecting every policy initiative that the United States and the European Union take and only then, beginning to negotiate from ground zero. This has been demonstrated in Russia’s Middle East approach where Moscow has chosen extremely shortsighted policy options, allowing the massacre to continue in Syria while remaining mute regarding Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. As a global power, Russia enjoys a unique position of tremendous influence on both Syria and Iran and has the ability to play an extraordinarily positive role in defusing the internal conflict in Syria and the Iranian-Western conflict in connection with Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.  Having failed to do so may risk turning these conflicts into major regional, if not global, crises while marginalizing Russia itself both regionally and internationally.

February 13, 2012 Read more

Ending the Iraq Strife

For the U.S. representative, during the regional conference held in Bagdad on March 10, to actually sit at the same table with the Iranian and Syrian delegates represents, in itself, an important development. The next such meeting, scheduled for early April, and at the foreign minister level, offers the Bush administration a tremendous opportunity to go beyond Iraq's internal strife. With vision, boldness, and careful planning, Washington can open the door to bilateral talks on larger regional security issues…

March 12, 2007 Read more

A Recipe for Greater Disaster

Since President Bush unveiled his "new strategy," the debate in the House, the Senate, and the media has centered around two main options: immediate withdrawal or escalation of the troop's level. If either is pursued, it will precipitate an even greater disaster in Iraq than is the existing situation. Sadly, the President simply does not get the consequences of escalation, while the Democrats seem clueless about those of precipitous withdrawal…

January 15, 2007 Read more

Preventing Genocide in Iraq

To prevent genocide in Iraq on the scale of the genocide in Rwanda between the Tutsis and the Hutus, the Bush administration must move swiftly to divide Iraq into three main self-rule entities with loose federal ties. Neither the insurgency nor the sectarian killing will end unless the Sunnis can govern themselves…

November 28, 2006 Read more

Averting Defeat in Iraq

Although President Bush, in his most recent press conference, provided a more somber assessment about the horrifying situation in Iraq, he still insisted that the United States can win in Iraq by remaining committed to staying the course, albeit with some tactical changes. With the civilian carnage escalating and American casualties mounting…

November 1, 2006 Read more

Challenges To Democracy In The Arab And Muslim World

In this essay I argue that because of the long history of authoritarianism, tribalism, and religious and cultural sectarianism in the Arab and Muslim world, the introduction of democracy is not likely to succeed without an initial transitional period measured in years rather than months. During this period, four core measures that deal with the main challenges to democracy in the Arab and Muslim world must be undertaken simultaneously. They are: gradual political reforms, economic incentives through sustainable development, educational reform, and the building of democratic institutions. Together, they will allow home-grown liberal-oriented forces to work in concert, under the protection of the law, in shaping the emergence of a new democratic system congruent with each community’s unique needs and traditional environment.

October 6, 2006 Read more
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