Monday, December 11th, 2017

There has never been a West European post-Second World War policy in [the Middle East] except to await the American position and then stake out something more favourable to the Arabs.

Conrad Black, “The Palestinians should take what they can get while they can”

Thursday, December 7th, 2017

On the eve of US recognition of Israel’s capital, very much in-the-loop Ambassador Ron Dermer speaks (three paragraphs at a time!) to the Global Politico podcast.

Thursday, July 20th, 2017

Modi and Netanyahu, India and Israel’s prime ministers, are a match made in history. By Jonathan Spyer in The American Interest.

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017

This is fascinating: Turks residing in liberal Europe voted far more heavily for Erdogan’s authoritarian referendum — about 70/30 — than did Turks at home, about 50/50. Far less still did Turks in the USA and the UK vote for it — about 84% and 80% against respectively. A measure of ideological/cultural integration?

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

Ian Buruma on Brussels. I found it a pretty exciting city so when I saw this article I jumped on it (plus I vaguely remember being impressed by something else this fellow wrote) and it’s pretty sweeping and fun.


Saturday, July 16th, 2016

“The Kemalist era in Turkish history lasted for almost 100 years, but finally came to an end in the last 18 hours.” A great balance between up-to-the-minute reports and historical background, Walter Russell Mead live-blogs the failed Turkish Coup.

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

Saturday, April 30th, 2016

Good point: Islam has already had its reformation: Wahabism. So what to do? Nice article at

Monday, January 4th, 2016

Saudi Arabia cuts diplomatic ties with Iran
for the first time since 1989–92. Sudan follows. Blimey.

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

Monday, March 16th, 2015

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014

Monday, July 7th, 2014

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Michael J. Totten and Samuel Tadros discuss Egypt’s failed revolution. Tadros concludes that the US should withdraw aid in order to shock the
Egyptians into getting real.

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

In tandem with Robert Kagan’s recent piece on post-WW2 Pax Americana, Lee Smith suggests Obama is (mistakenly) pursuing a balance of power rather than hegemonic arrangement in the Middle East.

Monday, May 27th, 2013

Sorry, but more David P. Goldman, this time at Tablet with “Dumb and Dumber” (not his title) on recent US Middle East policy. He begins: “Errors by the party in power can get America into trouble; real catastrophes require consensus.” Like liberals, neocons got mugged by reality.

Sunday, May 26th, 2013

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

I like what the Middle East has become. The inevitabilities are being processed and Iran is more isolated than ever.

Thomas PM Barnett

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

Gershon Baskin, the man who negotiated Gilad Shalit’s release, writes in the New York Times that he believes it was a mistake for Israel to kill Ahmed Al-Jabari, as a long-term ceasefire was in the works.

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

It begins — Istanbul schoolchildren get a poisonous textbook:
Darwin “had two problems: first he was a Jew; second, he hated his prominent forehead…”

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

Revenge of the Sunnis: What the Arab Spring is really about. By Edward Luttwak. In Foreign Policy.

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

Monday, December 5th, 2011

Friday, October 21st, 2011

Dead. Qua-daffy. The NYT’s potted (and potty) history. “By the time he was done, Libya had no parliament, no unified military command, no political parties, no unions, no civil society and no nongovernmental organizations.”

Monday, September 5th, 2011

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Pew Research Center polls Muslims and Westerners on the same questions. Only 9% of Turks believe Arabs carried out 9/11.

Friday, June 17th, 2011

Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s begins his victory speech chillingly: “Believe me, Sarajevo won today as much as Istanbul, Beirut won as much as Izmir, Damascus won as much as Ankara, Ramallah, Nablus, Jenin, the West Bank, Jerusalem won as much as Diyarbakir.” What I believe is that many Turks are dissatisfied with being merely a nationstate. What a neighborhood.

Monday, April 11th, 2011

A primer by an Egyptian liberal on how to achieve at least something in the upcoming elections.

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Tom Friedman Turkey talk at his best: insightful and pithy. He quotes an academic there: “Turkey is not a bridge. It’s a center.” This exactly is the Turkey problem: they think they are the center of something larger than themselves.

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Monday, April 19th, 2010

The Strong Horse: Power, Politics and the Clash of Arab Civilizations

Lee Smith


A rich mixture of travelogue, history and policy pamphlet that is ultimately more of the former than the latter, it casts itself as a critique of Bush’s invasion of Iraq, but isn’t really. Rather, it’s a diving in. A lively and exciting diving in. I did want it to be longer than it is.

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

Been a long time since linking to a Caroline Glick piece — she got shrill — but this one, on King Abdullah’s recent speech, is good.

Friday, April 9th, 2010

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

Friday, November 20th, 2009

Sixty Hours of Terror — the Mumbai attacks,
start to finish, reported by Jason Motlagh

Monday, November 9th, 2009

Elliott Abrams encapsulates a year of the Obama Administration on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It ain’t pretty, but it does have the merit of being so feckless as to be irrelevant, thereby not interfering with the real progress on the ground.



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