Petraeus’ Real Failure

by Laleh Khalili | published June 12, 2014 - 11:38am

On the sidelines of the catastrophic failure of the Iraqi army to hold back the militias of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (or ISIS, as it is usually known), and the fall of Mosul to that group, a debate is taking place in the United States about whether this turn of events is yet another black mark in the massive ledger of retired Gen. David Petraeus. As Anne Barnard of the New York Times tweeted, “Remember the ‘Mosul miracle’ under Petraeus?”

Stay Off the Street

by Jillian Schwedler | published May 21, 2014 - 8:31am

In a recent Slate article, Anne Applebaum makes the case that Egypt’s presumptive president-to-be ‘Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi should look to India, Brazil or South Africa, rather than the United States or other industrialized states, for examples of how to “do” democracy. She rightly notes that Sisi’s argument that Egypt isn’t ready for democracy is an old standby for authoritarian regimes.

Sulayman Abu Ghayth's Last Stand

by Darryl Li | published March 21, 2014 - 1:57pm

It has been a dramatic week in a federal courtroom just off Foley Square in southern Manhattan, where the trial of Sulayman Abu Ghayth has been taking place. The Kuwaiti preacher and one-time confidant of Osama bin Laden was pulled off a plane while transiting through Jordan last year under mysterious circumstances and handed over to the FBI.

The Reagan Administration in the Middle East

by Fred H. Lawson
published in MER128

Under the Reagan administration, the United States has waged “the second Cold War” with particular forcefulness in the Middle East. Washington has moved combat forces into the region repeatedly since 1981: to engage first Libyan warplanes over the Gulf of Sidra, then Lebanese militias and Syrian forces outside Beirut, and most recently Iranian air and naval patrols in the Persian Gulf. These military operations have accompanied political steps that have moved the US away from an emphasis on close relations with “moderate” Arab regimes in favor of closer strategic ties with Israel. From the administration’s perspective, such policies have provided a coherence to American relations with this part of the world that was lacking during the Carter years.

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Getting to the War On Time

The Central Command

by Martha Wenger
published in MER128

Fifty thousand troops move across the desert in 100 degree-plus temperatures. F-18 jet fighters scream through the air and strafe the rock and sand below. Tanks maneuver over rough terrain to pound enemy positions. A buzzer goes off in a soldier’s helmet: The computer-guided laser network at the Army National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California, is telling this soldier that in a real war he would be dead.

Militarism, Monetarism and Markets

Reagan's Response to the Structural Crisis

by James Cypher
published in MER128

The policies of the Reagan administration strive to recapture the nearly unlimited US power of the 20 years following World War II. Through the late 1960s and 1970s, US global dominance steadily declined in all but the military realm. This decline occurred during a period of intense global economic integration. Since 1979, in a belated response to this loss of hegemony, US state managers have embraced a radically aggressive and destructive new policy comprising three main elements: monetarism, militarism and markets. In an attempt to reverse recent historical trends, they have embarked upon an adventurist foreign policy while simultaneously attacking the economic wellbeing of both the traditionally high-wage US working class and the disenfranchised poor.

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The Gulf Between the Superpowers

by Scott Armstrong
published in MER130

Anthony Cordesman, The Gulf and the Search for Strategic Stability: Saudi Arabia, the Military Balance in the Gulf, and Trends in the Arab-Israeli Military Balance (Boulder: Westview Press, 1984).

Occasionally, when an important head of state arrives in Washington for consultation without a previously announced agenda, he is greeted by an embarrassing series of articles and commentaries exposing the cumulative ignorance of American foreign policy analysts. Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd recently visited with President Ronald Reagan and provided just such an example.

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Breaking the Silence

by Denis Doyon
published in MER134

“Forget about ideology; we see the facts on the Hi ground.” The Palestinian woman speaks softly but firmly, recounting the tragedies of her people. It is obvious, she says, that Zionism is the central issue in the Middle East. “Because of Zionism, I live in America instead of Palestine. You can’t ignore that fact.”

“You can’t ignore what Zionism has meant to the Palestinians, but don’t overlook what it means to us,” responds the Jewish woman. Nearly all Jews, she says, regard it as the legitimate expression of Jewish self-determination.

We’ve all heard it a hundred times before. Often, it degenerates into name calling. This time, it’s different.

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New Jewish Agenda Convention Urges Recognition of PLO

published in MER136

The New Jewish Agenda (NJA), in its first national convention since its founding meeting in 1980, came out strongly for a policy of mutual Israeli-Palestinian recognition and for inclusion of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in peace negotiations. The resolutions represent some of the work done by some local chapters since the 1980 founding convention. Chapters are not required to implement all the resolutions passed. Rather, they are encouraged to utilize those which best assist them in carrying out their ongoing work. The national Middle East Task Force will be offering assistance to local chapters in three areas of work: lobbying, work within the Jewish community, and dialogue with Arab groups.

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Harvard and the CIA

published in MER136

A scandal erupted in October over covert CIA funding of ostensibly scholarly projects at Harvard University. This has confirmed long-held suspicions that at least some US academic research on the Middle East is only a cover for intelligence work.

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