Romancing the Throne

by Sheila Carapico | published March 27, 2014 - 12:07pm

President Barack Obama plans an overnight stay in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on March 28-29 for a rendezvous with King ‘Abdallah. The enduring but always strange bedfellows have been quarreling of late over Saudi Arabia’s belligerent relations with neighbors Iran and Syria. Both sides hope during this visit to kiss and make up.

In-Laws and Outlaws

by Darryl Li | published March 26, 2014 - 2:38pm

A jury today convicted on all counts Sulayman Abu Ghayth, a Kuwaiti preacher who made televised statements in support of al-Qaeda shortly after the attacks of September 11, 2001. As expected, war-on-terror liberals are seizing upon the outcome as proof that civilian courts are a superior alternative to military tribunals at Guantánamo. On Friday I blogged about some of the legal issues raised by the case and how it fits into broader US detention policies. Civilian trials are undoubtedly preferable to kangaroo courts at Guantánamo in principle and one hopes that the administration uses this verdict to finally close the prison in Cuba.

The Diplomatic Dance with Iran

by Chris Toensing | published March 26, 2014

A six-month diplomatic dance with Iran is underway—each step as dainty as a minuet because any misstep is weighted with danger.

The issue is Iran’s nuclear research program and the UN inspections that are taking place as a result. And while each side has its own agenda, they’re suspicious of the other’s motives.

Saudi Bullying of Qatar

by Sheila Carapico | published March 13, 2014 - 4:45pm

Just ahead of a planned state visit from President Barack Obama, Saudi Arabia is brandishing the threat of a land and naval blockade against its neighbor and fellow Gulf Cooperation Council member Qatar.

New Documentary on US Military's Migrant Workers

by Darryl Li | published March 7, 2014 - 10:43am

Starting today, Al Jazeera’s “Fault Lines” will air “America’s War Workers,” a documentary by MERIP editor Anjali Kamat (@anjucomet) on the use of migrant workers by the US military.

"Journalists Are the Eyes of the World" on Guantanamo

by Sheila Carapico | published March 5, 2014 - 10:58am

Lisa Hajjar’s spring lecture tour, entitled “Let’s Go to Guantánamo! An On-the-Ground Perspective on the Military Commissions,” explores secret renditions, black sites, torture, suppression of evidence, clandestineness and what it means to provide “legal counsel” to detainees in the post-September 11 “war on terror” in the absence of procedural fairness or public scrutiny.

Conventional Arms Sales

Stoking the Nuclear Fire

by Michael Klare
published in MER112

For years, US leaders have attempted to muffle opposition to overseas arms sales by arguing that transfers of conventional, non-nuclear munitions reduce the risk of nuclear war. If we provide our allies with adequate conventional defenses, the argument goes, they will not be motivated to acquire nuclear defenses. But conventional arms sales to the Middle East have not reduced the risk of nuclear war. In fact, the opposite is true: Cascading arms sales to the region are making nuclear war more, not less likely.

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(No) Dialogue in Bahrain

by Toby Matthiesen | published February 13, 2014

In the run-up to the third anniversary of the Bahraini uprising on February 14, 2011, mass protests with tens of thousands of participants again engulfed the small kingdom. At the same time, a number of contacts between the opposition and the royal family sparked hopes of renewed high-level negotiations leading to the resolution of the long-standing conflict.

Demonstrators, Dialogues, Drones and Dialectics

by Sheila Carapico
published in MER269

In 2011 Yemenis shared a vision of revolutionary change with protesters in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria demanding the downfall of cruel, corrupt presidential regimes. Today, like many of their cousins, the peaceful youth (shabab silmiyya) of Yemen face a counter-revolutionary maelstrom from within and without. If Gulf sultans were anxious about insurrection in North Africa, they were even more fearful of subaltern uprisings in their own neighborhood.

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Seeing Through the Fog

by Amanda Ufheil-Somers | published January 3, 2014

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel was full of tough talk when he visited the island kingdom of Bahrain in early December.

The United States, he vowed, will continue to guard “the free flow of energy and commerce” from the Persian Gulf and keep Iran nuclear-free, through the presence of 35,000 US military personnel or the (as yet unproven) regional missile defense system.

Hagel also trumpeted the American commitment to “political reform” in the Gulf region. But the Pentagon chief uttered not a word about the hundreds of Bahrainis languishing in prison -- many without adequate medical care -- for demanding the very rights he says they deserve.