The Middle East


Rice's Tour of Mideast Yields Little Progress on Key Issues
By Robin Wright
Washington Post, 2006-10-08

LONDON, Oct. 7 --
It was a tough week for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in the Middle East. On four issues pivotal to the future of the world's most volatile region, U.S. diplomatic efforts made no visible progress or came up against unexpected resistance during her five-day tour, according to Arab and Israeli officials and analysts.

On Iraq, Arab-Israeli peace, democracy promotion and fostering a so-called moderate bloc of Arab states to stand together against militancy, Rice pressed at each of six stops for new energy or more decisive action. Many of the Arab leaders she met share U.S. fears about the region's future, but there is a growing divide even with Washington's closest allies over what needs to be done, at what pace, in what order and by whom, according to Arab officials interviewed at each stop.

Several Arab officials and analysts privately dismissed Rice's tour as a cheerleading trip without substance. Others questioned the viability of the Bush administration's Middle East policy.

"It is obvious to anyone that U.S. policy built after 9/11 -- including Iraq and the 'you're with us or against us' attitude -- has now come to a dead end," said Paul Salem, the U.S.-educated director of the new Beirut center of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and son of Lebanon's former pro-American foreign minister.

The United States and the Arab world are now engaged in a chicken-and-egg argument over what happens next. Arab governments -- including Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and five oil-rich Persian Gulf sheikdoms -- all appealed to Rice to revive U.S. leadership to break deadlocks on several fronts because they have so far been unable to do it alone, Arab officials said. But Rice basically told governments at each stop that they must first take difficult steps to create conditions more conducive to greater U.S. involvement, U.S. officials said.


Rice's trip, U.S. officials said, was partly intended to signal that the Bush administration is still fully engaged and interested, despite the growing unpopularity of the Iraq war at home and election season questions about its broader Middle East policy. But Rice's talks with nine Arab governments and Israel contrasted starkly with her earlier visits in the lack of specific initiatives. A senior Egyptian official called U.S. policy "increasingly unrealistic."

A wide range of senior Arab officials, who all spoke on background because of sensitive diplomacy with Washington, asserted that the administration's brick-by-brick approach to transforming the Middle East is so minimalist that it is unlikely to make significant progress during President Bush's remaining time in office. They also complained that Bush's personal role in the Middle East is nonexistent when compared with his early hands-on involvement in bringing Arabs and Israelis together or his public promises to ensure an end to more than six decades of war through a two-state solution.

The greatest pressure put on Rice at every stop was to do something to jump-start the moribund Arab-Israeli peace process, which Arab leaders almost unanimously described as the key to addressing other flash points as well. Yet Rice found herself negotiating some of the same issues she was engaged in last November, such as movement of people and trade in and out of the Gaza Strip. And Israeli withdrawal from parts of the West Bank, which had been promised by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, is even further away after the Lebanon war undermined his leverage and popularity.

After Rice met with Iraqi officials in Baghdad, some privately expressed concern about new tensions with Washington over the pace and sequence of handling the major challenges facing the government there, such as reconciliation and disarming militias. They complained that the Bush administration was working on its own schedule and not taking into account the potential for backlash among Iraqis if their leaders took controversial steps precipitously.

Senior Arab officials and analysts also said U.S. efforts to promote democracy and foster an anti-militant bloc were contradictory, because the moderates the United States is trying to rally against radical Islamic groups are some of region's most autocratic governments.

In Arab countries, said Salem, "the United States now looks more afraid of elections than some of the governments themselves."

Bush and Israel, Midwives to Radical Islam
By Chris Hedges
Truthdig, 2006-11-06

Editor’s note:
In this column, the former New York Times Mideast bureau chief
argues that America’s failure in Iraq and Israel’s humiliation in Lebanon
have emboldened and empowered those in the Arab world
who seek to topple U.S.-backed regimes in the Middle East
and cripple the Jewish state.

Who Makes the Middle East?
by Ran HaCohen
Antiwar.com, 2006-11-29

The fact is ... that we actually know nothing about the Arab world.

The Stability Problem, Solved
by Patrick J. Buchanan
Antiwar.com, 2006-12-05

During last summer's Israeli-Hezbollah war,
Condi Rice assured us that we were witnessing
the “birth pangs of a new Middle East.”

Condi may be right.
But that new Middle East appears to be one in which
U.S. influence is visibly waning and America is on the way out.


“For 60 years, my country, the United States,
pursued stability at the expense of democracy in ... the Middle East,
and we achieved neither.
Now, we are taking a different course.
We are supporting the democratic aspirations of all the people.”

So Condi Rice hubristically declared in Cairo in 2005.

Since then, those elections that Rice demanded
have advanced toward or into power
  • the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt,
  • Hamas in Palestine,
  • Hezbollah in Lebanon,
  • the radical Shia in Iraq, and
  • Ahmadinejad in Iran.

But at least Bush and Rice have solved the stability problem.

2006 Arab Attitudes Poll
Arab American Institute, 2006-12-14

Continuing Conflict in Iraq and Palestine Deepens U.S. – Arab Rift
with Growing Costs to Both Sides

Trends point to challenges U.S. faces as identified in Iraq Study Group Report

WASHINGTON ─ Dec. 14, 2006 – Attitudes toward the U.S. from those in the Arab world have suffered greatly as a result of American foreign policy in the region, according to an Arab American Institute/Zogby International poll released today.

The results, presented by AAI President James Zogby, show that uncertainty resulting from conflicts in Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon have significantly dampened Arab confidence in U.S. leadership and prospects for economic development and political stability.

“Baker and Hamilton had it right,” Zogby said at the press briefing announcing the results. “U.S. policy regarding the Middle East is hurting our ability to lead a coalition in Iraq. Addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would provide us with much needed credibility from the Arab world.”

General Opposes Adding to U.S. Forces in Iraq,
Emphasizing International Solutions for Region

New York Times, 2006-12-20

[An excerpt:]

General Abizaid, who is completing the final months of a highly decorated military career, acknowledges that additional American forces, favored by some of President Bush’s top advisers, might provide a short-term boost in security. But he argues that foreign troops are a toxin bound to be rejected by Iraqis, and that expanding the number of American troops merely puts off the day when Iraqis are forced to take responsibility for their own security.

While American forces may be repositioned within Iraq to meet growing security challenges, especially in Baghdad, the answer is not solely military, and even the leading role in combat cannot long rest on American forces, General Abizaid says.


He emphasizes that the threat to American national security interests ranges far beyond any one country in his area of responsibility.

“When you take a look at the reach of the extremism as exemplified by Al Qaeda, it’s not just in Afghanistan, it’s not just in Iraq — it’s in Pakistan, it’s in Saudi Arabia, it’s in Great Britain, it’s in Spain,” he said. “It attacked the United States. It is organized in the virtual world in a way that is very unique, very modern, very dangerous.”

Ask for a solution to Sunni insurgents in Anbar Province, and he talks about their supporters in Syria and implications should Saudi Arabia overtly take sides against the Shiites of Iraq.

On the resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan, General Abizaid says the only course includes understanding tribal loyalties in Pakistan. Turn the conversation to Middle Eastern terrorists, and he describes the military’s efforts to preclude their establishing havens in ungoverned corners of Africa.


Long before the Iraqi Study Group advocated a solution for Iraq that included negotiations with Iran and Syria, General Abizaid argued that combating Islamic extremism required a regional approach. The general declined to disclose his private advice to the White House, Pentagon and State Department on direct negotiations with Iran and Syria, or on future force levels for Iraq.


Getting the Middle East Back on Our Side
New York Times Op-Ed, 2007-01-04

You Say You Want a Revolution?
Promoting democracy in the Middle East
by Philip Giraldi
Antiwar.com, 2007-01-16

What Arabs see is a U.S. administration playing the democracy card selectively,
a superpower that is ultimately unwilling to put principle ahead of expediency.
They perceive a U.S. push for one-man one-vote
as intended only to empower
a secular opposition friendly to Western regional interests.

With Iran Ascendant, U.S. Is Seen at Fault
Arab Allies in Region Feeling Pressure
By Anthony Shadid
Washington Post, 2007-01-30

Four years after the United States invaded Iraq,
in part to transform the Middle East,
Iran is ascendant,
many in the region view the Americans in retreat, and
Arab countries, their own feelings of weakness accentuated,
are awash in sharpening sectarian currents
that many blame the United States for exacerbating.

In Public View, Saudis Counter Iran in Region
New York Times, 2007-02-06

With the prospect of three civil wars looming over the Middle East —
and Iran poised to gain from them all —
Saudi Arabia has abandoned its behind-the-scenes checkbook diplomacy
and taken on a central, aggressive role in reshaping the region’s conflicts.

America’s Alliance With bin Laden
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2007-02-26

We’re playing the Sunni card in the Middle East –
and that means playing footsie with al-Qaeda

Prepare for the Great Arab Unraveling
By Rami G. Khouri
Daily Star (Lebanon), 2007-02-28

[Also available here.]

For U.S. and Key Allies in Region, Mideast Morass Just Gets Deeper
By Robin Wright
Washington Post, 2007-06-17

The American Realist Gets Real
[W]hat our dear president would really say,
about these last five years,
were he capable of telling the whole and unvarnished truth.

by Georgie Anne Geyer
uExpress.com, 2007-06-18

There is an eerie familiarity to this 100-year-old pact
Relations were strained ahead of the 1907 Anglo-Russian convention,
and the sore points were Persia and Afghanistan
by Geoffrey Wheatcroft
Guardian (UK), 2007-08-31


It's Not About Iran
By Shibley Telhami
Washington Post, 2008-01-14

In Search for Peace, a Shrinking White House Role
By Glenn Kessler
Washington Post, 2008-03-02

[All but the first four paragraphs of the article:]

As Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice heads back to the Middle East this week, three months after Bush hosted a peace conference bringing together Israelis and Arabs in Annapolis, prospects for peace have shifted dramatically. There has been little clear movement in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians, while the Iranian-backed militant group Hamas has shown increasingly that it can set the region’s agenda.

Hamas rockets have continued to rain down on Israeli towns, prompting deadly counterattacks by Israel amid increasing speculation that Israel will invade the narrow coastal strip housing 1.5 million Palestinians that it abandoned just two years ago.

Daniel Levy, a former Israeli peace negotiator, said that key players in the region are moving beyond the Bush administration. “The feeling is that if you keep the flash points on a lower or somewhat higher flame, it will give you more cards when a new administration comes in,” he said, speaking in a phone interview from Israel. “Everyone is sucking up to the Iranians,” he added.

The signs of American irrelevance are apparent throughout the region. Even Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, hailed as a potential peacemaker by the Bush administration, mused last week to the Jordanian newspaper al-Dustour that in the future it might be necessary to return to armed struggle against Israel. And Syria, which received an unexpected invitation to Annapolis, believes that the peace summit was “an exercise in public relations” and that Bush has no interest in peace, as Syria’s ambassador to Washington, Imad Moustapha put it last week.

Rice’s first stop, on Tuesday, will be Cairo, where she will consult with Mubarak and other Egyptian officials on Gaza. She then will shuttle between Israeli and Palestinian officials on Tuesday and Wednesday, seeking to head off a deadly confrontation between Israel and Hamas while pushing for progress in the nascent peace talks.

The architecture of Annapolis established by Rice includes four key tracks, all of which are supposed to operate simultaneously: high-level talks on “final status” issues such as the division of Jerusalem; incremental changes in security, Jewish settlements on the West Bank and roadblocks hindering Palestinian movement; jump-starting the Palestinian economy; and greater Arab involvement. The final-status talks have been shrouded in secrecy, while little has happened on the other tracks, participants said. The number of roadblocks has increased, according to U.N. estimates.

“Politically, I have not heard anything that is good,” a senior Arab diplomat said.
Organizers of a Palestinian investment conference scheduled for late May, designed to bring Arab businessmen to Bethlehem, have expressed concern that senior Arab executives will be forced to wait for hours in humiliating checks at roadblocks, potentially spoiling the mood for investment.

The lack of movement has added to the skepticism, even in Israel. A poll published in the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth last week showed that 69 percent of Israelis surveyed believed the talks would not bring peace, while 78 percent believed the talks were being held only for political reasons.

During a recent visit to Washington, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad charged that Israel has “not done a thing materially on the ground to help my government.” Israeli officials counter that Israel has taken steps to bolster the Abbas government, but that some efforts -- such as new restrictions on settlement growth -- cannot be publicized because of the tenuous political situation in Israel.

Ghaith al-Omari, a former adviser to Abbas and now advocacy director for the American Task Force on Palestine, faulted the Bush administration for not nurturing a process that it started. He noted that the administration has appointed three generals to assess various aspects of the issue, but that few people in the region understand their roles. Rice’s two-day visit this week is her first substantive trip since the conference in November.

“There is no push from the Americans,” he said. “We are still waiting to see what they will do. It is surprising how little has happened. If you guys are going to run out of steam, why create all these expectations?”

“It is a big question mark,” said Martin Indyk, director of the Brookings Institution‘s Saban Center for Middle East Policy. “The impression one gets is that this administration is out of juice.”

Most observers give the administration six months, until the Democratic and Republican conventions, to show that progress on the peace talks is possible. But the Annapolis conference has been increasingly overshadowed by the conflict over Gaza.

The Annapolis talks were designed to bolster Abbas so he could overcome the challenge from Hamas. In 2006, the militant group unexpectedly won Palestinian elections that the Bush administration had supported, beating Abbas’s Fatah party, and a unity government between the two sides went sour when Hamas seized control of Gaza last June. The administration had hoped that if Abbas could seal a peace deal, it would give him the popular support to oust Hamas, which has called for Israel’s destruction.

Neither Hamas nor Iran was invited to Annapolis but, as Ahmadinejad’s courting of Mubarak suggests, the administration’s effort to divide the region into “moderate” and “extremist” camps has not succeeded. After the phone call between the two men, Iran’s foreign minister declared that diplomatic ties with Cairo would soon be restored.

Meanwhile, Hamas has gained popularity as Israel has attempted an economic blockade of Gaza. Hamas bulldozers burst through the Gaza-Egyptian border in January, while Hamas rockets last week reached Ashkelon, an Israeli city of 120,000 that generally had been safe from Hamas attacks.

Egypt would like to arrange a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas while giving the Palestinian Authority control over border crossings, Arab diplomats said. But those would be difficult negotiations as public pressure increases in Israel for a ground invasion of Gaza. In the best-case scenario for Israel, that would wipe out Hamas’s leadership, but it could also prove as vexing as Israel’s war against Hezbollah in 2006.

Some argue that Hamas’s strength can no longer be ignored.
Before the Annapolis conference,
a group of U.S. foreign policy specialists --
including former national security advisers Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft and former congressman Lee H. Hamilton --
wrote Bush to argue that

“a genuine dialogue with the organization
is far preferable to its isolation.”

But State Department spokesman Tom Casey said Friday,
“It’s pretty hard to say that Hamas has a legitimate role to play in this process
if their main policy is to promote terror.”


Obama's Middle East moment of truth
His diplomatic moves are a good start.
But does he have the will to challenge Israel?

By Gary Kamiya
Salon.com, 2009-03-17

This is referenced by Stephen Walt here.


Shifting allegiances in Middle East mean opportunities for President Obama
By Robert Malley and Peter Harling
Washington Post Op-Ed, 2010-03-06

U.S. Is Said to Expand Secret Actions in Mideast
New York Times, 2010-05-25


Why the Mideast revolts will help al-Qaeda
By Michael Scheuer
Washington Post Op-Ed, 2011-03-04

The rush in the West to proclaim the advance of democracy in the Arab world
has led to the propagation of an ill-conceived and dangerous corollary:
that the revolts in the Middle East and North Africa also mark
the irrelevance of al-Qaeda and other Islamist militant groups.

"Al Qaeda Sees History Fly By," declared the New York Times.
"Uprisings Put al Qaeda on Sidelines," asserted the Wall Street Journal.
And Western politicians, academics and even intelligence specialists
appear to agree that,
with peaceful and pro-democratic change afoot in the Middle East,
the world has moved beyond al-Qaeda,
leaving Osama bin Laden writhing in the dust.

If only that were true.
Since bin Laden declared war against the United States in 1996,
al-Qaeda's main goals have included the destruction of the Arab world's tyrannies and of Israel.
The events of recent weeks
only move al-Qaeda closer to those objectives.

Today, the dictatorships of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia
and Hosni Mubarak in Egypt are gone.
Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh is little more than
the mayor of his capital city of Sanaa.
And Col. Moammar Gaddafi may be on his way out in Libya,
unless some knee-jerk U.S.-led intervention saves him
by refocusing Libyan and other North African Islamists
on what they consider an infidel threat greater than Gaddafi.

As for Israel, the fall of Mubarak - and the unsealing of Egypt's border with Gaza -
pose a security disaster equal to the destruction of Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq.
Israel's two anti-Islamist shields to the east and to the west
are now history.

All of this amounts to an enormous strategic step forward for al-Qaeda.
That these victories have come with virtually no investment
of manpower or money by the terrorist network,
and with self-defeating applause from
the Facebook-obsessed, Twitter-addled West,
only makes them all the sweeter for bin Laden.

Peering into the future, the autocrats' probable successors
likewise offer abundant good news for al-Qaeda and kindred groups.
In Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen and any other nation with a U.S.-supported tyranny
that sinks in the weeks and months ahead,
the role of Islamist groups will become larger - and over time perhaps dominant -
if only because the populations in play are almost entirely Muslim
and because Islamist groups have the most effective nationwide infrastructures to replace the old guard.
And most do and will receive funding, openly or covertly,
from always generous donors in Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich Sunni gulf states.

Each new regime is likely to host a more open, religion-friendly environment
for speech, assembly and press freedoms than did Mubarak and his ilk.
So it will be easier for media-savvy Islamist groups - whether peaceful or militant -
to proselytize, publish and foment without immediate threat of arrest and incarceration.
Indeed, Washington and its Western allies
will dogmatically urge the new governments
to maintain such freedoms, even as the Islamists capitalize on them.

The Islamists will follow the formulas for gaining power and then governing
that are detailed in the Koran and the Sunnah, the prophet Muhammad's sayings and traditions.
Western experts have long failed to recognize these documents
as Islam's equivalent to the Declaration of Independence,
the Constitution and the Federalist Papers.
In Egypt, for example, governance based on them
would be far more familiar, comfortable and culturally appropriate
than anything opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei and his followers could offer.

The blessing of the Arab revolts for al-Qaeda and its allies
also can be seen in the opening of prisons across Egypt, Tunisia and Libya.
In Egypt alone, the news media are reporting that at least 17,000 prisoners have been freed.
Many of those released are not thieves and murderers,
but Islamist firebrands that the regimes had jailed
to protect their internal security -
at times even at the request and with the funding of Washington and its allies.
Indeed, many were incarcerated as a result of
quiet cooperation between Western and Arab intelligence services;
their release is a major setback for these efforts.

So al-Qaeda and like-minded groups are now being replenished by
a steady flow of pious, veteran mujaheddin,
each of whom will never forget that U.S. and other Western funds
helped keep them jailed by Arab tyrants.

The revolts also mean that the United States and its Western allies must take on
a far greater share of the counterterrorism operations
that they previously conducted with the help of Arab regimes.
The days of Mubarak, Saleh, Gaddafi and Ben Ali doing the dirty work
for American, European and Israeli counterterrorism efforts are over.
Soon it will be U.S. and Western special forces and intelligence services
that will be ordered to capture or kill militants in Muslim lands -
individuals that our tyrannical friends used to dispose of for us.

How tragic that
in the war being waged against the United States by al-Qaeda and its allies
precisely because of Washington's relentless intervention in the Islamic world,

the U.S. government will now be forced to intervene even more -
or sit on the sidelines and watch al-Qaeda build or expand bases from which to threaten U.S. security.

Of course, open and vociferous participation by Islamists
in the demonstrations in Cairo, Tunis, Tripoli and elsewhere
would have earned a lethal and Western-supported response
from Mubarak, Ben Ali and Gaddafi.
So al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood and other groups
simply used a talent that long ago atrophied in the West -
the ability to keep their mouths shut.
As usual, the West wrongly concluded that silence connotes not strategy,
but impotence and irrelevance.

Bin Laden and his peers are counting on the fact that
the uprisings' secular, pro-democracy Facebookers and tweeters -
so beloved of reality-averse Western journalists and politicians -
are a thin veneer across a deeply pious Arab world.
They are confident that these revolts are not about democratic change
but about who, in societies where peaceful transfers of power are rare,
will fill the vacuum left by the dictators and consolidate power.
These men also know that the answer to that question
will ultimately come out of the barrel of a Kalashnikov, of which they have many,
along with the old tyrants' weapons stockpiles, on which they are now feasting.


"I favor democracy in the ME."
by Patrick Lang (Col., USA, retired)
Sic Semper Tyrannis (his blog), 2016-01-05 at 7:49 PM

I favor democracy in the ME,
but the actual historical record indicates that
the result of attempts to induce the adoption of forms of government that mimic Western norms is not good.
Have you ever lived anywhere but the US?
Have you ever lived in the ME?
I have and for long periods.
Your desire to support "democracy" in the ME is a reasonable theoretical construct
that is probably based on a lack of first hand knowledge of these societies.
IMO these societies are not suited to
constitutionally driven, law bound secular democracy.
The colonial powers attempted to create such regimes
as they withdrew from hegemony over regions that in many cases
they had made into protean "states."
These new states also attempted to govern themselves on the basis of "democracy."
The record of their achievement is poor.
Algeria, Tunisia, Turkey, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon
all were governed after de-colonialization in more or less "democratic" ways
but in the end they all degenerated into autocracies
that maintained the forms of law driven democracies
but which all who lived within them knew to be farce.
I can go through the record in each of these places if you insist.
The same thing happened in Pakistan.
FB Ali may want to comment.
He suffered mightily (chapeau) in the process of Pakistan's "fall from grace"
from the time of Jinnah to the autocracy of Dia al-Haq.
This inaptitude for actual democracy has nothing to do with
peoples' genetic inheritance
and everything to do with
the underlying culture in the broad sweep of territory of Islamicate civilization.
People who leave this cultural matrix have little trouble adapting to Western norms
so long as they do not live in Ghettoized Muslim communities of any size.
Other cultures have similar problems
but we are talking of here of this particular culture.
Islamicate culture favors unity rather than diversity.
The notion of such Western concepts as
the "loyal opposition" or the value of diversity
is totally absent in these "countries"
except among the handful of acculturated Westernized liberals
who are the darlings of the Western MSM and Western liberals like you.
What the Islamicate culture likes is
unity of purpose behind one strong man, one ethnic group or sect or one idea.
Egypt is a powerful example.
Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak were all military officers
who ran Egypt as illiberal democracies
while laughing up their sleeves at the spirit of democracy
which they believed (correctly I think)
was simply unworkable in the cultural context of Egypt.
The great flaw in neocon thinking has always been
the notion of the Modern Man waiting within his eggshell
to be liberated from the yoke of traditional culture, strongmen, etc.
The truth is that the vast majority of people in the Islamicate cultural area
do not want to be liberated from their culture.
They want three things;
a western standard of living and
the accession to power of their own group whatever that may be.
To believe that they really want what you think of as democracy
is to be dangerously and naively deluded.

[This was originally posted in Col. Lang’s blog
as one of the comments to his post “Wars of all against all”.
Lang posted it at 02 January 2016 at 10:13 AM in response to
the earlier comment by someone calling himself “Walter”:]

Walter said in reply to turcopolier...
Col Lang, it surprises and saddens me that you do not support democracy in the ME.
We have no moral right to subvert the will of the people anywhere ...
In Vietnam in Chile in Iran in Egypt ...
U.S. Should not be promoting democracy ,
but if a country does decide to institute democracy or communism or anything else,
we should support whatever the hell they want ...
It's none of our business ...
If Genocide or horrible violence or aggression towards other people or countries occurs and From these countries
then it does become our business but not before.
That's my opinion fwiw.
02 January 2016 at 02:51 AM

The Greater Middle East does crazy things to great powers
Meet the great power with the most schizophrenic foreign policy in the Greater Middle East.
[Drezner says: It's Russia]
By Daniel W. Drezner
Washington Post PostEverything, 2016-02-02

Fractured Lands:
How the Arab World Came Apart

bu Scott Anderson
New York Times Magazine, 2016-08-14

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