Middle East

Former Obama Adviser: Obama’s Weakness Driving Allies Toward Russia

Featured image Dennis Ross is a respected, if thoroughly conventional, expert on the Middle East. A Democrat, he has served in both Republican and Democratic administrations as an adviser and envoy. Ross served in the State Department as Hillary Clinton’s Special Advisor for the Persian Gulf and Southwest Asia. Subsequently, he joined President Obama’s National Security Council staff as a Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for the Central Region, »

Obama thinks he’s cool; world leaders think he’s arrogant and weak

Featured image Greg Jaffe of the Washington Post reports that President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are “soul mates.” Why? Because Obama “disdains. . .needy, showboating allies and [Merkel] is neither.” That’s hilarious. Who on the world stage is more of a showboater than Barack Obama — he of the speech in front of Greek columns, the shockingly pretentious Cairo lecture to Muslims, and the receding ocean tides? Obama’s “disdain” for »

Coming Soon: Gulf War III?

Featured image Concerning the contretemps between Saudi Arabia and Iran, a few observations: • David Goldman thinks Saudi Arabia’s execution of the Shite cleric Nimr al-Nimr and others is a sign of panic among Saudi leadership, and perhaps this is correct. On the other hand, the sacking of the Saudi embassy in Tehran can’t have taken place without the connivance or tacit approval of the Iranian regime (sounds familiar, doesn’t it?), who probably »

Middle East fires blaze hotter following U.S. capitulation to Iran

Featured image In a post about the Saudi Arabia/Iran crisis — the Saudi beheading of a Shiite cleric; the Iranian burning of the Saudi embassy — John asked, “the Middle East couldn’t possibly get worse, could it?” At NR’s Corner, David French examines the crisis and concludes “in the Middle East things can always get worse.” Things have indeed gotten worse under President Obama. They got worse when Obama withdrew from Iraq »

Top Ten Mideast/Israel Media Muffs of 2015

Featured image The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) has published its list of Top Ten Media Mangles of 2015. They include the New York Times’s infamous list of Jewish opponents of Obama’s Iran deal (yellow highlighting in original): MSNBC features prominently, as with this graphic showing the fictitious country of Palestine, among other errors: The openly anti-Semitic BBC scores again, as you would expect. My favorite, however, »

The Middle East Couldn’t Possibly Get Worse. Could It?

Featured image The Sunni-Shia schism goes back more than a millenium and has been a more or less constant feature of geopolitics in the Middle East for a long time. The closest the balance has come to being upset within recent memory was the Iran-Iraq war, in which the United States sensibly did what we could to prevent either side from winning. Now, though, the long-simmering feud is heating up, primarily, I »

Israelis Seize Stone-throwing Palestinian Dolls

Featured image Israeli customs officials have seized a shipment of 4,000 dolls dressed as Palestinian stone-throwers. The dolls were hidden among other goods on a ship that docked at the port at Haifa, reportedly originating in the United Arab Emirates. The Guardian, which is hostile to Israel, describes the dolls: Each of the identical stuffed toys wore red, green, black and white scarves, and their heads were covered by keffiyehs inscribed with »

Refugee Debate May Blow Immigration Issue Sky-High

Featured image The Obama administration wants to admit 100,000 Syrian refugees by 2017. News that one of the Paris terrorists was a Syrian refugee who entered Europe through Greece has led at least 23 governors, mostly Republicans, to move to keep Syrian refugees out of their states. GOP presidential candidates have also weighed in, opposing Obama’s plan. The president got on his high horse today, denouncing as “shameful” and “not American” the »

Bibi Brings It

Featured image Last night Power Line’s roving correspondents (that would be me and Scott—you can see how handsome we are nearby) turned up for the AEI dinner honoring Prime Minister Netanyahu with AEI’s Irving Kristol Award. And he did not disappoint. Rather than a formal speech, the Prime Minister had a conversation with AEI’s Dany Pletka. I was especially struck by his forthright embrace of the dilemmas of the responsible statesmen: “Most »

Heard About “the Wallstrom Affair”?

Featured image Did you hear anything about the dustup in Sweden in the spring over the remarks of foreign minister Margot Wallstrom? She belongs to Sweden’s Social Democratic Party and holds impeccable left-of-center credentials, and also served for a time as the Commissioner for the Environment at the European Union, where she said all of the politically correct platitudes about global warming and sustainable development. She also worked at the UN for »

Spontaneous Combustion on the West Bank

Featured image In Israel and the West Bank, violence is always “breaking out,” “erupting,” “flaring,” “raging,” becoming a “wave” or a “cycle,” and so on. These locutions are generally intended to obscure who is committing violence against whom. This morning, in an act of historical vandalism reminiscent of the Taliban or ISIS, Palestinians set fire to Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus, a Jewish historic and religious site: CNN tweeted about the arson with »

Obama Gets a Clue?

Featured image Back in late 1979 and early 1980, Jimmy Carter finally got a clue. To be sure, it took the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan—the first ever direct use of Soviet troops outside of its post WWII sphere of influence in Eastern Europe—to get Peanut-Brain to concentrate adequately. He announced the Carter Doctrine (declaring that any Soviet move toward the Persian Gulf would constitute an attack on U.S. vital interests), called for »

“Early signs of Russian intent”

Featured image That’s the front page headline of today’s Washington Post (paper edition). The story is about signs in August that Putin was mobilizing for a military offensive in Syria. Despite these signs, the Obama administration was “caught flat-footed” when the Russian offensive materialized two months later. In a larger sense, “Russian intent” has long been clear. Putin has said he consider the fall of Soviet power a geopolitical catastrophe. He wants »

What To Do About Middle Eastern Refugees?

Featured image Millions of people are streaming out of Syria, Iraq and Turkey. Many are fleeing (or have fled, making an intermediate stop in Turkey) from ISIS, others from Assad. This refugee crisis has already roiled European politics, and some are advocating that the United States take in even more Middle Eastern refugees than we already are. What is missing from this picture? Michael Ramirez weighs in with his usual insight; click »

Trump talks Islamist terrorism with Hugh Hewitt, doesn’t distinguish himself

Featured image Donald Trump went on Hugh Hewitt’s show today. How did it go for Trump? It could have gone better. Hugh began by asking Trump whether he is familiar with General Soleiman. The following exchange ensued: DT: Yes, but go ahead, give me a little, go ahead, tell me. HH: He runs the Quds Forces. DT: Yes, okay, right. HH: Do you expect his behavior… DT: The Kurds, by the way, »

John Kerry is “disturbed” that Iran remains Iran

Featured image Towards the end of the nuclear negotiations with Iran, the mullahs’ negotiators talked about the possibility of cooperating strategically with the U.S. on regional matters, in the event the sides reached a deal. Even “Supreme Leader” Ali Khamenei joined in, declaring that “if the other side avoids its ambiguity in the talks, it’ll be an experience showing it’s possible to negotiate with them on other issues.” This was an enticing »

A word from Jim DeMint

Featured image Jim DeMint, president of the Heritage Foundation, has written a good, concise opening statement of the case against the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran. DeMint states: If allowed to stand, the Vienna agreement announced today will make the world a much more dangerous place. It completely fails to cut off Iran’s path to nuclear weaponry. Indeed, it moves the world one step closer to a regional nuclear arms race »