New Age Islam Edit Bureau
21 August 2017
Bye Bye Netanyahu!
By Hussein Shobokshi
Is The EU Getting Ready To Back General
Haftar In Libya?
By Dr. Azeem Ibrahim
Post-ISIL Iraq: Decoding Muqtada Al-Sadr's
By Zaid Al-Ali
In Memory Of Abdulhussain Abdulredha
By Alaa Shehabi
ISIL In Afghanistan: A Growing Threat
By Massoumeh Torfeh
A Three-Way Power Struggle
By Mohammed Nosseir
Under the Radar, Russia’s Influence
in Libya Is Growing
By Maria Dubovikova
At Last, US Leaders Who Know the
Truth about Iran
By Dr. Majid Rafizadeh
Barcelona: If Only The World Had
Listened To Mubarak
By Abdellatif El-Menawy
The White House Power Struggle That
By Gregory Aftandilian
How Qatar Is Looking For Solutions in
By Jameel Al-Thiyabi
Kissinger’s Analysis of Mideast Is
Full of Loopholes
By Amir Taheri
Compiled By New Age Islam Edit Bureau
THE curtain seems to be coming down on the
era of the controversial Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Now Israel is actually preparing for a
political future soon without Netanyahu. Netanyahu’s end is approaching after
his eight-year rule in which there was no political rival and no effective
opposition. The period also witnessed relative security in the border areas as
Arab region was occupied dealing with terrorist and extremist organizations
such as Daesh (the so-called Islamic State), Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah.
As the Arab world was reeling from internal
fighting, Israel focused on its economy, registering a significant growth
exceeding 4 percent. The country also broke the psychological barrier in the
development of political and diplomatic relations by forging ties with
countries that were outside the scope of its traditional interest. It struck
important bilateral agreements with India and some important African countries,
which included the security sector, of course, political aspects.
However, Netanyahu did not accomplish
anything at the most important level — the Palestinians and the Arabs. He
followed an expansionist and provocative settlement policy. Of late, he tried
to prevent Muslims to pray in the Al-Aqsa Mosque by laying down humiliating and
provocative rules for the worshipers. Since the decision to impose new security
rules has been rolled back I consider it to be a political and moral victory
for the Palestinians and Muslims. Before that, there were huge objections by
Diaspora Jews, specifically Jews in the United States of America, to one of the
decisions of the Israeli government led by Netanyahu.
The decision here is meant not to allow the
mixing of men and women prayer at the Wailing Wall, which the Jewish
communities in the Diaspora considered a victory for the ultra-Orthodox
extremist movement inside the Israel, which is the prominent voice in the
coalition government with Netanyahu, and comes as a blow to the ambitions of
the reformist movement in the Jewish community, which consists of liberal ideas
and constitutes the most prominent orientation of the basis of thought
But since the arrival of the Likud Party
under the leadership of Menachem Begin, Israel is growing in its “religious”
extremism. This anger by the reformist movement of Jews in the Diaspora means
that Netanyahu’s financial support and political connection with the United
States of America has been cut off through the Jewish lobby. Now it seems that
the last nail is being put in the political coffin of Benjamin Netanyahu with
the Israeli investigation opening up into Netanyahu's corruption in two
Investigators are looking into whether
Netanyahu has done business in return for gifts from influential friends,
including the Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan. The second case involves his
relationship with the publisher of a local newspaper in Israel, Yedioth
Ahronoth, to agree with him behind closed doors to stop the publication of the
free Israel Hayom newspaper. The investigators obtained a “recording”
documenting the interview between Netanyahu and the publisher.
He repeated the seriousness of the
investigation that Ari Harrow, who was chief of staff in the Netanyahu
administration in 2015, agreed to cooperate with investigators and gave full
and profound testimony to the charges against Netanyahu in exchange for any
mitigating provisions against him. The Netanyahu era gave the world the ugly
face of an exploitative politician who has no value to promises or conventions
in his dictionary. The world will be a better place without Netanyahu. The
question remains who will come as a replacement for him and how he will run a
There are two centers of power in Libya:
the UN-backed Government of National Accord in the west in Tripoli, which has
little power and not much in the way of resources for the long-haul; and the
Tobruk-based Libyan National Army led by General Khalifa Haftar in the east. In
between them, there are smaller factions, the most notable of which is the ISIS
offshoot around Sirte.
Locally, Haftar is in the stronger
position. He commands considerable military power, controls the majority of the
country’s oil-producing regions and has financial independence, and also has
the international backing of Egypt, the UAE and Russia. These international
connections have been critical in helping build parallel state institutions in
Tobruk such as the Russia-backed Central Bank in the East, establish trade routes
for the export of oil and so on. But they are also the fundamental constraint
to Haftar’s ability to take over the rest of Libya and rebuild a unitary state.
Haftar is seen as, and not without
justification, as a Russian client. Russia thinks of Haftar as the next Libya
strong man who will continue the relation with Russia as it was with Qaddafi.
This, combined with the fact that he does not have the international legitimacy
of the Western-aligned ‘official’ government in Tripoli, means that although his
parallel state infrastructure would have the capacity to take over the running
of the whole country, whereas the Tripoli-led government does not, political
calculations will stand in the way of the West conceding Libya to Haftar. They
would, after all, also concede Libya to Russia.
This leaves us to the current stalemate.
Tripoli does not have the fundamentals to challenge Haftar, but it can survive
for a very long time in its heartlands because it has the backing of the West
and of the UN. Haftar does not have the capacity and standing to challenge the
Tripoli government while the former maintains the backing of the West. The
situation remains fluid, and the inability of either side to assert sovereignty
leaves the country as a failed state, and as a fertile ground for ISIS
expansion as they are retreating from Syria.
Reconciliation between the two governments
remains very unlikely. For it to happen, Haftar would have to accept some
dilution of his position, and subservience of the military to the civilian
government. After all that has happened in this conflict, Haftar is unlikely to
yield. Not to mention that he is under no immediate pressure to do so. He
continues to have the upper hand.
On the other hand, if the Tripoli based
government were to accept the power of the military in general, and of Haftar
in particular, and try to work the civilian government structure around it,
they would find themselves taken over by a military coup sooner rather than
later. To concede to Haftar’s current status and demands, would be to forfeit
the ideal of civilian government.
And yet, the situation may be heading
towards resolution. The fundamental pillar of power for the Tripoli government
is the backing of the West. And while the US and the UK will continue to back
them, there are signs that the Europeans are shifting on the issue. The EU is
desperate to resolve the Libyan Civil War so it can stem the flow of migrants
coming into Europe through the country. In a world where the Atlantic alliance
is suffering from the constant indiscretions of Britain and President Trump,
the Europeans have fewer and fewer reasons to tie themselves to the mast of
Tripoli. If Haftar can help solve their migration concerns, shifting their
backing may well be worth the political costs for the Europeans.
Now, this is not a done deal. The problem
is that if Europe were to move to Haftar’s side and Haftar were to prevail and
unite Libya, Haftar would still remain a Russian, rather than a European
client. And Russia has no reason to want the tide of migration towards Europe
stemmed. Quite the contrary: much of the reason the Syrian conflict is still
alive is because Russia can prolong it at relatively little cost to itself, and
a huge cost to European unity, as migrants continue to pour westwards and
strain Europe’s political and administrative infrastructure. This may well be
the reason why Europe has not already switched sides. But with the proper
assurances, Haftar could see the civil war going his way sooner than we might
all be expecting.
By Zaid al-Ali
Muqtada al-Sadr is the scion of one of
Iraq's most important families of Shia clerics, which has traditionally been
associated with the country's poor underclass. Following the US invasion of
Iraq in 2003, the Sadrist movement took up arms against the occupation and
quickly spiralled out of control. Members of his Mehdi Army were widely accused
of engaging in extortion, kidnappings, and murder. Most famously perhaps, Sadr
followers are said to have killed Sayed Abdul Majid al-Khoei, the son of
another of Iraq's most prominent Shia scholar, just as he returned to Iraq
following more than a decade in exile.
But since then, Sadr is a changed man. He
formally dissolved his Mahdi Army in 2008, has moderated his discourse and has
focused much of his attention on government corruption and on failing public
services. He has grown extremely critical of Iraq's former prime minister,
Nouri al-Maliki, who he has (rightly) held responsible for the Iraqi army's
rout against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as
ISIS) group in 2014. In the war against ISIL, his paramilitary group Saraya
al-Salam has mainly kept away from the front lines and has not been accused of
any major abuses (contrary to many other regular and irregular military units).
He has also called on a number of occasions
for all paramilitary groups that were recognised by the Iraqi state to be
dissolved after ISIL is completely defeated. His public statements have called
for all foreign forces (including Iran) to leave Iraqi territory as soon as
ISIL is defeated, and his followers have in their many protests lead chants
calling for Iran to stop interfering in Iraqi public affairs.
Most recently and perhaps most
surprisingly, Sadr has visited the crown princes of both Saudi Arabia and the
United Arab Emirates (UAE), which many commentators have interpreted as an
attempt to counterbalance Iran's influence in Iraq. This has provoked a flurry
of speculation by commentators and actors alike, as well as significant
criticism from some Iranian circles.
It is impossible to tell whether Muqtada
Sadr's about-turn in favour of moderation and political negotiation rather than
confrontation and violence is the result of a genuine change of heart, or
whether he is merely trying to survive in a challenging environment. Regardless,
he has been consistent in his approach over the past few years and it would be
safe to assume that he is unlikely to waver in the near future.
Reaching out to Saudi Arabia and the UAE
What is Sadr hoping to achieve through
these openings to Saudi Arabia and the UAE? Some have speculated that he is
trying to secure funding before the 2018 parliamentary elections (reference has
been made to a Saudi commitment to provide $10 million in funding), but that is
an unlikely proposition. Sadr's is one of the country's only genuine grassroots
movements, which attracts a very solid amount of support in each round of
elections. He requires very little funding, and whatever funding he does need,
he can easily secure from within Iraq.
Others have argued that the trips burnish
Sadr's credentials as a national and regional leader, but that is equally
unconvincing. Sadr has been an international figure since 2003, and his
followers hold him in great esteem. While the overtures are unlikely to affect
his position within Iraq, if anything they are more likely to damage his
standing with some of the more hardline elements within his community,
particularly those who accuse Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries of
supporting terrorism in Iraq since 2003.
Some have even reported that Sadr's actions
are part of an effort to mediate and lessen tensions between Iran and Saudi
Arabia. While some attempt may be made in that direction, in current
circumstances, very little progress can be achieved. Iranian institutions are
not in agreement on Saudi, and many of its more hardline elements operate
outside civilian oversight or control. Saudi Arabia also appears to be drifting
in favour of a more erratic and aggressive foreign policy. Considering the regional
context, which has been worsening steadily over the past few decades, the most
any mediation effort can hope to achieve is to moderate some of the worst
consequences of an already deteriorating relationship.
Another possibility is that al-Sadr is aiming
to influence shifting grounds within Iraq's political circles. A rift has
opened between Shia parties and movements who aim to establish a more
independent Iraqi state and those who aim to bring Iraq more firmly within
Iran's resistance camp. By reaching out to Iraq's Gulf neighbours, Sadr is
providing explicit support to the Iraqi government's own policies, which are to
maintain good relations with all neighbouring countries, including Saudi
Sadr's visit may have been far more high
profile, but the Iraqi government has been reaching out to Saudi for some time.
Most recently, a decision to establish a joint trade commission and to reopen a
border crossing that had been closed back in 1990 was taken. Other efforts are
also in the pipeline.
Sadr's actions may not have been
coordinated with the Iraqi government, but their net effect is to push Iraqi
policy and state institutions more firmly in favour of the independence camp.
The next elections and the government formation process that will follow will
play a determinant role in Iraq's future, and Sadr's actions will play a larger
role in shaping developments than most observers appear to appreciate.
In memory of Abdulhussain Abdulredha
Abdulhussain Abdulredha, a hugely popular
actor, director, playwright and producer passed away in London on August 11,
aged 78, after going into a coma.
His body arrived in his native Kuwait on
Wednesday, on a private plane charted by the Emir of Kuwait Sabah Al-Ahmad
Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. Thousands of mourners gathered in the scorching heat to say
farewell, with several of them fainting as his casket was carried to his final
Mourners from across the Gulf, from Jeddah
to my Bahraini village of Diraz, travelled to Kuwait to pay their respects. It
was a scene of collective grief on a scale not witnessed in decades,
demonstrating the power of art to transcend the divisions and discord that
ravage the region. It also shows how the vestiges of free expression accorded
in Kuwait, during a particular period at least, harnessed both criticism and
good will, and most important of all inclusivity. Abdulredha touched the rich
and poor, the bidoon, the Shia and the Sunni, the regime loyalists and the
opposition, and in fact, royal family members themselves - even as they were
Throughout his life, Abdulredha was seen as
legendary in his political courage, wit, powerful charisma and unique
characterisations through defiant cultural productions. I am only one of the
millions of fans who grew up on a staple of VHS tapes of Abdulredha's
Abdulredha's art influenced people all over
the world, but his timeless works are even more relevant where political
progress has stalled and much of the same issues he tackled are as pertinent
today as they ever were. In their grief over the loss of such an insurmountable
figure, GCC citizens also mourn the loss of authentic artistic expression in an
age of innocence, before the depoliticisation and corporatisation of the
After his death, social media saw over two
million tweets about the artist and hashtags such as #Kuwait_mourns_Abdulhussain_Abdulredha
(in Arabic) has been trending. His former colleagues, heads of states and
activists took to social media to express their sorrow. Some Wahhabi and Salafi
figures tried to sectarianise his death, but these attempts met swift rebuttals
and in some cases, punitive action, even though such toxic discourse is
normally permitted on these platforms.
Abdulredha, born in 1939, performed and
produced over 30 plays and television series over the course of his a
half-century-long career. His huge personality, witty scripts and powerful
charisma captured the public conscience on stage and screen, cementing his
position as the founder of a political and social genre. One of the founding
members of a theatre movement led by Zaki Talaimat in the sixties, Abdulredha
eventually established his own entertainment television channel, and also
gained state recognition. One cannot but also mention his other talents as he
also sang and composed most of his on stage songs.
Today, Abdulredha's plays serve as
historical records, addressing everything from life in the pre-oil era, the
democratic transition in Kuwait, the impact of sudden oil wealth on individuals
in the 70s, to Kuwait's political fragility especially after the Iraqi
invasion, and wider themes of identity, corruption, and pan-Arabism.
As censors grew more aware, and media
conglomerates started to dominate the entertainment landscape, the space for
political critique was gradually removed. This made Abdulredha's earlier work
even more endearing, as political issues he addressed during those times stayed
relevant and even got progressively worse. This memorialisation is, therefore,
deeply intertwined with the nostalgia for a time when political and religious
debate was more free and open, and society more inclusive and liberal.
One of Abdulredha's memorable works called
"Bye Bye London" satirised the 1970s stereotype of a Gulf tourist to
London, in his neon yellow tie, he referred strongly to themes of the oil era
("we drink it and swim in it", he gesticulated) and colonialisation,
("Oh hello, you English, oh hello our [overlords] of the past, all your
goddamn lives you've played around with us, if only I could fool around with
you for one night only" he said as he chatted up an English woman over a
In another favourite play, entitled
"Sword of the Arabs", Abdulredha played Saddam Hussain during the
invasion of Kuwait. It was a tragi-comedy par excellence that served as a
nationalist revival of pride and goodness in the face of the brutal dictator. He
survived an assassination attempt on his way to one of the performances by
suspected Iraqi Mukhabarat.
During these major turning points in
Kuwait's history, Abdulredha cleverly wove the moral, religious and political
contradictions and ironies afflicting the Gulf from the viewpoint of ordinary
people, "bringing the dreams of the small people to the big people",
as one of his obituaries described him.
Because of the high-comedy value,
popularity and pride embued in his work, the ruling families of the Gulf,
including the emir of Kuwait, tolerated him. But the emir did, at times, find
his work went too far politically, and his play "Hatha Saifooh"
(1987), was a turning point. The play, which was never televised, addressed the
dynamics of the pre-oil era (the 1950s), and the relationship between merchants
and a British agent. The play was stopped and along with the cast, Abdulredha
was put on trial. He was given a three-month suspended sentence. The red lines
In his last physical appearance on stage in
October 2016, at the opening ceremony of a newly constructed state
opera/theatre and in the presence of the emir, Abdulredha picked up one of his
most popular roles "Hussainooh", a failed entrepreneur from one of
his earliest plays "Darb Alzalag" (The slippery path) (1977).
Hussainooh had ambitious businesses plans including selling same-sided shoes,
selling shares in the pyramids and importing canned dog food in the original tv
series. In this resurrection, nearly 40 years later, Hussaino lost none of his
mischievousness, and in the interregnum between the two plays, he says "he
was the last person to be reprimanded by the shuyuukh and everyone else has
been let off ever since".
Abdulredha's death inevitably leaves one
question, would it be possible for someone like him to emerge and thrive in
today's environment? His legacy is a testimony to Kuwaiti relative freedom and
coexistence and how an ordinary common person was able to make it to the top
purely due to his talent and not family connections or wealth.
An artist needs an ecosystem and an
infrastructure that can sow the seeds for talent to emerge or for natural
talent to thrive. The popular response to his passing is evidence of the desire
of the people in the region for figures, narratives and the freedom to imagine
and to express their hopes and dreams, and their fears and nightmares, without
According to friends and family and
pictures that circulated online, in his last few days, Abdulredha insisted on
paying visits to other Kuwaitis in the hospital. He reportedly bid his close
friend Souad Abdullah farewell before he left Kuwait, and he frequently joked
about his death. This was a man at peace with his legacy. A legacy of laughter,
unity and defiance is a hard act to follow.
Ala'a Shehabi is a Bahraini independent
writer, researcher and economist. She currently works for a think-tank in
London and is cofounder of Bahrain Watch, an investigative platform.
After losing Mosul and vast territories in
Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is probably
hoping to move to Afghanistan.
It has substantially increased its attacks
in the past two years and recruited hundreds of additional supporters. It is
targeting mainly the Shias and the Hazara minority and in parts joining forces
with the Taliban thereby changing the dynamics of the war in Afghanistan. By
doing so, it is provoking Iran and possibly Russia to get involved. The
Persian-speaking Shia Hazara, estimated to make up about nine percent of
Afghanistan's population, have close ties to Iran.
ISIL (also known as ISIS) could take advantage
of another "lost" American war and another failing state, as it did
in Iraq. Afghanistan's complex set of security and political problems are
providing the armed group the chaos conditions that it needs to prosper.
In its latest attack on a village in the
northern province of Sar-e Pul, described as a war crime by the Afghan
president, Ashraf Ghani, government officials said ISIL joined forces with the
Taliban in the brutal killing of more than 50 civilians, mainly Shia Hazaras.
Only one week earlier the twin attacks
claimed by ISIL on the Iraqi embassy in Kabul and the Shia mosque in the
western city of Herat, with over 120 casualties, appeared carefully chosen to
take revenge against both Iraqi and Iranian forces for the loss of its
These were the tail end of six attacks this
year targeting Shia mosques. Four of the attacks occurred in Herat and ISIL
claimed responsibility for two. In 2016, there were four separate attacks
against Shia mosques and ISIL claimed responsibility for two. In July last
year, ISIL's twin explosions tore through a demonstration by the Shia Hazara
minority in Kabul killing at least 80 people and wounding more than 230.
ISIL seems intentionally to target Iran's
interests in Afghanistan: Shia mosques, the Hazara minority, and the city of
Herat -with a large population of Tajiks- have all received the bulk of Iran's
financial and political support. Iran has spent millions of dollars in aid and
reconstruction projects building a 400km highway and a major railway linking
Herat to Iran's Khorasan province. Most of the work has been carried out by
Khatam ul Anbya Construction which is the economic arm of Iran's Revolutionary
Guards Corp (IRGC). These transport links have greatly enhanced trade,
especially for Iran.
Herat is located at the heart of the
1,000km border between the two countries, which share a rich historical and
literary heritage. Iran values this heritage beyond its push to influence
politics in Afghanistan. Moreover, Iran regards itself as the custodian of Shia
rights around the world, and would not take ISIL attacks lightly especially
since they follow the twin attacks in Iran two months ago after which Iran
arrested several suspected ISIL operatives. Last week, Iran announced that it
arrested further 27 suspected ISIL members.
Iran's strong condemnation of ISIL attacks
in Afghanistan came with an offer of "collective security guarantee".
The national security chief, Ali Shamkhani, said Tehran would "expand
regional cooperation especially with the Afghan government to jointly confront
this dangerous threat".
In April, when Shamkhani met the Afghan
national security adviser, Hanif Atmar, he condemned "the attempts by
certain regional states" to upset security in Afghanistan "as part of
a broader scheme to dispatch the defeated terrorists from Iraq and Syria to
Afghanistan". His reference can only be to Saudi Arabia, which as a
staunch ally of Pakistan, has reportedly been funding Taliban through
"private or covert channels".
So, Iran regards these advances in the
context of the Iran-Saudi regional rivalries and Sunni advances against Shias,
while rejecting reports that it is funding the Taliban.
Equally concerned is Russia about the
2,000km border Central Asian republics have with Afghanistan. Russia is aware
that since its military operations in Syria, thousands of ISIL fighters are
regrouping in Afghanistan to take revenge. According to intelligence by the
Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), ISIL's activity in Afghanistan
has grown by one-third this year compared with 2016, with around 1,000 Central
Asian operatives working along the border areas.
In February, the Russian Foreign Ministry
expressed the necessity of strengthening "military-technical cooperation
with Kabul". Zamir Kabulov, the Russian president's special envoy to
Afghanistan warned that if the situation on the border between Tajikistan and
Afghanistan deteriorates "capabilities of the CSTO may be used under a due
appeal of the Tajik side".
In April, Russia proposed an international
conference on Afghanistan inviting all neighbours including Iran, Pakistan and
India but US government did not attend citing Russian military assistance to
Taliban. Russia rejected the claim.
The meeting in mid-April between the US
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov,
for improving mutual military understanding also came to nothing after the US
imposed sanctions on Russia.
Given his strong partnership with the US,
President Ghani would never willingly invite Russia or Iran for military
cooperation as, for example, Iraq and Syria did. Yet, he is aware that the US
administration is paralysed by its own internal squabbles over Afghanistan.
Moreover, President Ghani is himself facing
arguably the most difficult time of his leadership with internal challenges
from three former strongmen demanding security reforms, his own National Unity
Government in disarray, and civil society accusing him of inaction. That is to
say nothing of the ongoing corruption, unemployment, war fatigue, and a nation
traumatised by the highest ever number of civilian casualties.
President Ghani's legitimacy has not as yet
been eroded. Nevertheless, the danger signs are there of a failing or fragile
state that would provide suitable ground for the regrouping of ISIL and
The argument that Taliban would not allow
ISIL to gain ground in Afghanistan is increasingly invalidated by facts on the
ground. The more likely scenario is that more Taliban commanders would follow
the example of Sher Mohammad Ghazanfar in Sar-e Pul, and pledge allegiance to
ISIL. "There are no strict ideological distinctions between them so they
build bridges when it helps them both," said one Afghan security source
who cited three other joint operations.
The US and NATO chief command, General John
W Nicholson warned Pentagon in December that political instability in
Afghanistan would have two outcomes: the convergence of terrorist groups in
Afghanistan, and the malign influence of Pakistan, Iran and Russia.
The first outcome is already unfolding:
Taliban controls more than one-third of Afghanistan and is seriously
challenging another third. ISIL seems increasingly unstoppable. There are no
plausible indications that either the Afghan or the international forces in
their present state can stop their convergence in Afghanistan.
That leaves the second Nicholson outcome;
an outcome that may complicate matters in Afghanistan to the point of no
That is why Afghanistan must choose a third
option and that is the option of leaving open the channels of diplomatic and
military consultations with Russia and Iran to avoid their retaliatory covert
Time is running out.
20 August 2017
The polarization of political issues and
the daily heated arguments with relatives, friends and colleagues that every
Egyptian engages in have turned us into a divided society; disliking one another
because of our different political perspectives, struggling more by having to
live together under one roof.
This polarization is driven mainly by
emotions; people become attached to a proposition based more on their
individual preferences and less on substance.
We are in a frightening era in which
emerging political events are deepening this polarization. The overconfidence
individual citizens have in their knowledge, their belief that they know the
whole truth and the accusations of ignorance and national disloyalty leveled
against opponents are further aggravating our polarization. This division poses
a greater threat to society than our poor economic conditions.
Egyptians are politically divided into
three clear groups. The first is strongly affiliated to the ruling regime,
happy with progress and always finding excuses for the government’s errors. The
second is constituted of political Islamist entities for whom religion is the
single common dominator and who perceive the entire world from the Islamist
perspective. Finally, the third cluster comprises revolutionary citizens; many
dynamic people with genuine intentions to change our country for the better,
but lacking in political experience and extremely fragmented.
The first two groups have clear leadership
and good organizational structures, and know how to mobilize citizens during
elections, but their governing cadres and their policies are obsolete and they
decline to waste any effort on modernizing them. These groups probably derive
their strength from being old-fashioned and corrupt, which keeps them united.
Partisans of the third group are political pioneers with revolutionary
attitudes who want to modernize Egypt drastically, but who lack leadership and
have no organizational structure.
Events of the past few years were based on
two of the three groups teaming up to kick the third group out of power.
At present, Egypt is steadily moving toward
another wave of instability. The current polarization of society, accompanied
by the state’s failure to make sound decisions in a timely manner, are once
again strengthening the revolutionary group, fueling its frustration with the
traditional ruling regime.
The government’s inability to stabilize
society is reinforcing the dynamic revolutionary group that, by default, knows
nothing better than revolt; a revolt that the opportunistic political Islamists
will eventually back, recreating my proposed equation: two-thirds will always
prevail over one-third.
Egyptians are strong believers in exclusive
rule, which has worked perfectly over the past decades, but is not good enough
for today. The political stability that the state is always aiming to achieve
will never happen, until it receives the true blessing of our youth, who
account for two-thirds of society.
The mock gatherings of Egyptian youth with
the president are weakening the regime, not strengthening it. Egypt is a young,
dynamic society that has been suppressed by various old-fashioned governments;
genuine stability will only occur when the state engages youngsters in politics
and responds positively to their demands. The only alternative is a repeat of
our most recent political history.
Under the Radar, Russia’s Influence in Libya
Russia’s interests in the Middle East are
not confined to specific countries. Moscow seeks to build a strong network of
connections with many players in the region, and to have a strong say in
regional affairs. Russia has been strengthening its presence in the Middle East
to fortify its position as a pivotal international player. Among these
countries is Libya, and the involvement of Russia in North Africa has increased
since 2015 in reaction to the Syrian and Ukrainian issues.
After the so-called Arab Spring, Russia’s
interests in the region, already severely damaged by the collapse of the Soviet
Union and the years of oblivion that followed, were further harmed with the
fall of Qaddafi. Russia has historically warm ties with Libya, and cooperation
has never ceased, even in the most difficult times for Moscow.
The collapse of the Qaddafi regime took
place without the involvement of Russia, which abstained on the issue in the UN
Security Council. This had a strong impact on Russia’s stance on Syria, and on
further developments in its general approach and policy in the region. The fall
of Qaddafi brought years of severe disruption to Libya, and the spread of
terrorism, harming and menacing the stability not only of regional neighbours,
but also of the European continent. Russia was involved in attempts to
restabilise Libya from the beginning, although most of its activities in this
area were under the radar of international media because Syria was the focus of
the headlines. Now that the Syrian conflict is winding down, global attention
will be shifted to Libya. And it seems that Russia already has a strong hand
The Libyan military commander Khalifa
Haftar met the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and defence minister
Sergei Shoigu in Moscow last week. Russia supports both Haftar and the prime
minister of Libya, Fayez Al-Sarraj, whose government is recognized by the UN
but who has a fraught relationship with the military leader. The visit to
Moscow was aimed at reaching a peace agreement in Libya to end a conflict that
has become a source of high risk to many countries in northern Africa and
southern Europe. The war has brought waves of migrants from African countries
to Europe through Italy.
Haftar, leader of the Libyan National Army,
has now visited Moscow twice, and was hosted on a Russian aircraft carrier off
the coast of Libya in January, fueling speculation that Moscow is attempting to
expand its influence in Libya even further. Haftar’s troops have seized control
of Benghazi, Libya’s second-largest city and a former stronghold of extremist
groups. Benghazi is near a number of key oil fields and is a hub for vital oil
infrastructure. It is now a center of attention for both Washington and Moscow.
Any country that controls North Africa will be in full control of oil and gas
supplies to Europe. After his meetings in Moscow, Haftar said: “We expect to
continue this struggle until the Libyan National Army takes control of Libya’s
entire territory in order to ensure stability and security.” In this regard,
Russia views Haftar as a possible ally and potential stabilizing force in
Libya, which has turned into a hotbed for scores of militias and religious
extremists, including Daesh.
Moscow’s growing relations with Haftar
signal its interest in establishing a more solid regional foothold, supported
by an increasing naval presence in the eastern Mediterranean, including Syria,
and off the coast of North Africa. Alarmed by the burden placed on its security
forces by the flow of migrants, many of them through Libya, Italy asked for
Russian naval assistance to patrol the maritime refugee routes.
The West has tried to exclude Moscow from
the international arena because of its role in the Syrian and Ukrainian issues.
With its growing involvement in Libya, Russia is conveying to Europe and the US
that it is not affected by issues in Syria, Ukraine or anywhere else, and it
will act in support of its international strategies.
At Last, US Leaders Who Know the Truth about
There is a need for a more firm approach
toward the Iranian government and its increasingly aggressive foreign policy.
Tehran is ratcheting up its interference
and interventions in Arab countries. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)
and its affiliates are increasing domestic repression as well, according to the
latest reports by human rights organizations.
Support for a firm approach against the
Iranian political establishment is increasing in the United States. About 30
prominent American luminaries and former officials issued a joint statement
expressing bipartisan support for underscoring the need for countering Tehran
regime. Among the signatories were former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and
former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
It is crucial to point out that the Iranian
government has been causing regional instability, engaging in egregious human
rights violations and exporting terrorism and extremism abroad. The letter
scolds the Iranian regime for committing these acts.
The view that the regime can be reformed
has been proved to be inaccurate, simplistic and unsophisticated. Former US
presidents made efforts to moderate Iran’s foreign policy through engagement,
diplomacy or concessions. Nevertheless, as history reveals, these efforts have
Any astute observer can see that the core
revolutionary pillars of Iran’s foreign policy have not altered since the
establishment of the Islamic Republic in 1979. In fact, Tehran has become more
revolutionary, belligerent and aggressive. The high-profile US personalities
and former officials also rejected the idea that the regime can be moderated.
As they wrote: “The hope of some Western governments was that time would lead
to moderation by the Mullahs or to the emergence of a reformist faction that
could challenge the dominance of the clerical regime. The reality has been far
different. We agree with the apparent new US policy of ending the previous US
overture toward the Iranian regime.”
Iranian leaders are increasingly
implementing a sectarian agenda in the region to achieve their hegemonic
ambitions. As the signatories pointed out concerning Tehran’s malign regional
role: “The Iran-fueled sectarian division of Iraq laid the foundation for the
creation of Daesh. Iran today commands and funds upwards of 150,000 IRGC, Shia
militia and mercenary armed fighters in Iraq and Syria.”
Nevertheless, it is worth noting that the
ruling clerics of Iran are facing popular domestic discontent. In order to
pressure Tehran, the disaffected population and opposition can be robust tool
to capitalize on. The signatories accurately referred to this issue by stating
that the “Tehran regime is uniquely vulnerable,” citing chronic economic
mismanagement and a fierce power struggle within the regime. “Mounting popular
discontent has increasingly become visible in public,” they said, citing
growing social calls for accountability for the “mass executions of political
opponents, including the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners with a
majority of them from the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK).”
Altering Iran’s foreign policy can be
accomplished through peaceful methods. From the perspective of the prominent
American figures a “viable organization” exists to change the clerical regime.
Among other prominent signatories who believe such a mission can be
accomplished are former Senator Joseph Lieberman, former National Security
Adviser James Jones, former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, former UN
Ambassador John Bolton, former US Attorney General Michael Mukasey, former DNC
Chairman Edward Rendell, former US Marine Corps Commandant James Conway, and
former Congressman Patrick Kennedy.
they said: “The National Council of Resistance of Iran … has the vision,
leadership and courage to lead the way to the creation of a new Iran. Under the
leadership of Maryam Rajavi, a Muslim woman standing for gender equality, which
is an antidote to Islamist fundamentalism and extremism, it is working every
day to bring about a tolerant, non-nuclear Iranian republic based on separation
of religion and state, that will uphold the rights of all.”
Nevertheless, pressure from the US is not
adequate to alter the Iranian government’s belligerent behavior and
interventions in other countries including Arab nations. More governments and
organizations should join the cause. It is the moral responsibility of the
international community to embrace the Iranian people’s aspiration for freedom
and democracy, and to stand against the Iranian government’s suppression and
In a nutshell, as recognition of the need
to counter the Iranian government is mounting in Washington, it is incumbent on
world governments and the international community to provide moral support to
the Iranian people’s quest for freedom as well.
Barcelona: If Only the World Had
Listened To Mubarak
In the past two years there have been at
least 17 major terrorist attacks in Europe, killing nearly 400 people, injuring
hundreds more and leaving countless families mourning the loss of their loved
For too long, Europeans thought the waters
of the Mediterranean would be sufficient to isolate them from the terrorism
coming from the south and east, even though they received innumerable warnings
throughout the last three decades of the 20th century. They did not realize the
danger until the barbarism was upon them, and now it is too late: there were
many reactions to the most recent terrorist attack in Barcelona, in which 14
people died, but surprise was not among them.
After every terrorist attack in Europe, the
world is appalled. The streets are filled with rescue teams, emergency
responders and security forces. After each attack, eyewitnesses give their
accounts about what they have seen and some talk of their narrow escape from
death. Others campaign to help victims, to try to find the missing and to
comfort their loved ones.
After every such incident, I wonder why the
world, especially Europe, has taken so long to see what was coming. Egypt’s
former president, Hosni Mubarak, certainly did.
Not long after the September 11 attack on
the US in 2001, Charles Lambroskin, editor-in-chief of the French newspaper Le
Figaro, asked Mubarak for his thoughts on combating terrorism. Mubarak replied:
“The solution is to convene an international conference under the auspices of
the United Nations to draft a convention criminalizing terrorism, in which the
signatory states pledge not to receive terrorists on their territory and not to
allow them to open training camps on their national soil and to prevent them
from passing from one country to another.
“There would be an international boycott of
governments that refuse to implement this agreement. I first presented this
draft to the Strasbourg Parliament in 1986, how much time we have wasted since
Mubarak also predicted the American
response to the attack on its soil, and advised the US not to play the same
game as its enemies: “They are waiting for your repressive measures to start,
and from the blood and the debris will come a new generation of them demanding
revenge on America.” His opinion, in other words, was that the medication
should not be the same as the disease.
“When the fundamentalists tried to
assassinate me in 1995 in Addis Ababa, my first reaction was anger,” Mubarak
recalled. “The reaction expected from me as a military man was to respond with
force, but I soon realized that killing innocent people was the worst solution.
Instead I preferred to conduct an investigation led by the Egyptian
intelligence services, which ultimately resulted in the identification of the
On the right to asylum, he said: “The right
to asylum is guaranteed by democratic principles, but it is unacceptable for a
democratic state to grant political asylum to criminals. The murderer has no
right to claim human rights. If someone commits a crime in France, don’t think
he will be able to go to Egypt. I will hand him over to France immediately.”
For a long time, the Egyptian vision of the
threat of terrorism and the way to fight it was clear, but many countries in
the world, especially the West, could not understand it until they were faced
with terrorism themselves. Only then did this lead to the start of talks about
the “war on terror.”
The concept of war needs to be redefined.
In its traditional sense it has become an outdated and obsolete concept, and
the danger of terrorism is far more sophisticated. The world must realize that
it is about to embark on a long battle on several fronts. Many networks must be
penetrated before we can stop all terrorists. “We have to use intelligence
before we put our hands on the organizers, monitor the remittances across the
world and follow up on the Internet,” Mubarak said. “All that is required is patience
and the use of police and intelligence. If a plane fires a rocket at a mountain
in Afghanistan, this will not help anything. With intelligence, however, you
can hit the right mountain containing a cave hiding a terrorist leader.”
Where would the world be now if it had
listened to him?
Although White House intrigues and
infighting are nothing new, the Trump White House has taken these brawls to a
new level. After several weeks of very public feuds, Trump on August 18, under
the influence of his new chief of staff, John Kelly, fired the White House
chief strategist, Steve Bannon, who was rumoured to have been behind right-wing
attacks on National Security Adviser HR McMaster.
Trump's advisers are a mix of
"alt-right" ideologues who believe that Trump should completely shake
up Washington and pursue an "America-centered" policy, and
pragmatists who believe the United States should lead the international
community and maintain traditional alliances.
The former was represented by Bannon, who
was executive chairman of the alt-right Breitbart News organisation, along with
some allies that were put on the staff of the National Security Council by
Trump's discredited former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. McMaster,
Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and now John
Kelly, the new White House chief of staff, represent the latter.
Bannon vs McMaster
McMaster has been the subject of vitriolic
attacks by Breitbart News and other right-wing media because he has kept on
some staffers from the Obama administration and fired other staffers that his
predecessor, Flynn, had brought on. McMaster also favoured allowing former
Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice to maintain her security clearance
as a courtesy. Another episode that earned the wrath of the right wing was that
McMaster joined Mattis and Tillerson in recommending to Trump to certify to
Congress that Iran was upholding the nuclear deal.
In the ideological mishmash of the right
wing in America, McMaster has been depicted as a pawn of a worldwide
"Jewish conspiracy" because of alleged connections to George Soros, a
billionaire who supports liberal causes and is of Jewish background, as well as
a critic of a strong US-Israeli relationship because McMaster reportedly
supports the nuclear deal with Iran and has disagreed on occasion with Trump's
son-in-law, Jared Kushner, over Israeli-Palestinian issues.
McMaster's relationship with Trump has
sometimes been problematic because of disagreements over Afghanistan and Iran.
On the former, McMaster has been reflecting the views of the US military that
sees a need for more US troops in Afghanistan to continue its training mission
of the Afghan army and prevent the Taliban from taking any more territory in
the country. Trump, on the other hand, has questioned the efficacy of this
On Iran, McMaster was simply reflecting the
reality that Iran was implementing the nuclear deal and, for the US to pull out
of it, would strain ties with European allies. Despite these differences, Trump
gave McMaster a public show of support on August 4 by stating, in response to
right-wing attacks, that McMaster was "very pro-Israel".
The recent advent of John Kelly to the
White House chief of staff position has been a plus for McMaster, as the two
are friends from their days in uniform (Kelly was a Marine Corps general and
McMaster is still an Army general). Both also share an antipathy to Bannon.
The Influence of Charlottesville
The recent violence in Charlottesville,
Virginia, led by a group of white supremacists, including neo-Nazis, which
resulted in widespread revulsion in the US, also may have boosted McMaster's
standing vis-a-vis Bannon. Although Bannon was not linked directly to this
incident and has denied that the alt-right is inherently racist or
anti-Semitic, there have been enough articles in Breitbart (during and after
Bannon's stewardship there) that tend to follow the white supremacist agenda to
make a connection.
Although some reports have suggested that
Bannon was sacked by Trump because he gave an unauthorised interview where he
seemed to disagree with Trump's hawkish stance on North Korea, Trump may have
wanted to sack Bannon as a way to deflect US public anger over his own comments
about the Charlottesville incident in which he seemed to put anti-fascists on
the same level as neo-Nazis and claimed there were "some good people"
in a neo-Nazi led march the night before the violence broke out in that city.
That Trump has given Kelly significant
leeway to run the White House staff also sealed Bannon's fate.
In terms of the administration's foreign
and security policy, this essentially means that the pragmatists now have the
upper hand over the ideologues. Although Trump is the ultimate decision-maker
and can be erratic at times, the advice he will be receiving will come more and
more from people with significant experience in foreign and security matters,
As for the Middle East, this means that
Trump will likely maintain commitments to allies and will not retreat into a
kind of "fortress America". On the Israeli-Palestinian issue, Trump
will still listen to Kushner because of family ties, but if Kushner decides to
throw in the towel, McMaster and his NSC staff might reclaim that portfolio.
How Qatar Is Looking For Solutions In Kerala
It has been three months since the Kingdom,
United Arab Emirates, Kingdom of Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with Qatar. There
is no immediate settlement in sight, and the four countries will not back down
on the conditions and demands they have set. After all, their patience has worn
thin due to Qatar’s policies, which are against all international norms and
The situation has been complicated because
of the malicious policies of Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, former Emir of Qatar,
and Hamad Bin Jassim, former Prime Minister of Qatar, and because of Sheikh
Tamim Bin Hamad’s refusal to address the demands which he pledged to do, and
his refusal to abide by the six principles announced by the states which call
for combating terrorism.
Qatar’s government has been seeking support
in several world capitals and from global organizations but its efforts have
proved futile. It has left no stone unturned searching for support and sympathy
everywhere to the extent that it has even paid money for advertisements posted
on London buses and taxicabs and broadcast on American TV channels. All this is
meant to promote the idea of Qatar being oppressed and downtrodden and of being
the victim. Again, this mendacious propaganda has proved to be futile, as the
governments of other countries have not fallen for it.
The laughable thing is the Qatari
government’s decision to resort to the Indian state of Kerala. The government
hired some mercenaries there and paid them millions of rupees to improve its
tarnished image. This clearly shows that Qatar has a bad reputation and a weak
image, an image that has changed since 5 June 2017. Today, the international
community views Qatar with suspicion.
The Qatari leadership should realize that
going to Washington, London, Paris or even Kerala will not resolve its dispute
with its neighboring sisterly countries nor will it end this boycott. It also
will not cancel the demands calling upon it to change its negative behavior.
Qatar should realize that the only solution lies in addressing the demands of
the four countries.
The desired solution lies in the Riyadh
agreement. Egypt and the three Gulf countries are not the only ones that have
cut ties with Qatar because of its policies; there is also Kuwait. Kuwaiti Emir
Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad has already refused Qatar’s malicious policies and warned
against their repercussion on the solid Gulf Council.
The Emir of Kuwait, who plays the role of
mediator in this unprecedented crisis, will not remain neutral on this forever.
He knows very well that Qatar has worked for the fragmentation and division of
the Kingdom as well as the militarization of some of its regions. Qatar
continues to work to sow sedition and destabilize the security situation in the
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
It continues to fuel revolutions and
uprisings, gives bribes to corrupt persons and undermines the security of other
countries in order to achieve the objectives of the Muslim Brotherhood’s vision
in which the Qatari government believes. Let us not forget that Sheikh Sabah
Al-Ahmad played the mediator’s role in the Riyadh agreement in 2013 and
complementary addenda in 2014.
The Qatar government is now bogged down in
a deep quagmire, even if it tries to pretend otherwise. It has complicated the
crisis and internationalized it when it should have contained it with sisterly
countries. It continued to maneuver and lie until the crisis got out of
control. Neither Iran nor Turkey can help Qatar at this stage. No matter how
smart Qatar pretends to be and no matter how many billions it pays, it will not
succeed in this. It continues to lose and will suffer from more losses and this
will cause the Qatari people to suffer as well from consequences from which
they could have been spared.
Using Al Jazeera TV channel and other media
channels, which it runs secretly, will not help Qatar in promoting misleading
propaganda, the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah. Everyone can now
see through these flagrant lies. The Qatari government has betrayed its
sisterly Gulf countries but this betrayal will not undermine the strength and
unity of the sisterly countries and will not achieve the Qatari government’s
It is high time that the Qatari leadership
listens to the voice of reason and wisdom or else it will have to face more
dire and severe consequences in the near future.
Kissinger’s Analysis of Mideast Is Full
Whatever one might think of Henry
Kissinger’s view of the world, not to mention his contribution to international
debate during the past six decades, one thing is certain: He has his own matrix
for measuring right and wrong in policy terms.
That matrix is balance of power, a European
concept developed during the medieval times that reached cannon status with the
so-called Westphalian treaties to organize relations among emerging nations in
Europe. Call him a ”one trick pony” if you like but you will also have to
admire Kissinger’s consistency in promoting foreign policy as a means of
stabilizing the status quo regardless of moral let alone ideological
considerations. In his version of Realpolitik the aim should be to freeze
rather than try to change the world, something fraught with dangerous risks.
Kissinger’s neo-Westphalian view of
international relations produced détente which, in turn, arguably prolonged the
Soviet Union’s existence by a couple of decades. His shuttle diplomacy froze
the post-1967 status quo in the Israel-Palestine conflict, postponing a genuine
settlement for God knows how many more decades. The same approach put the seal
of approval on the annexation of South Vietnam by the Communist North despite
the latter’s defeat on the battleground.
The good Doctor’s latest contribution
concerns the campaign against ISIS. Kissinger warns that destroying ISIS could
lead to an “Iranian radical empire”.
In other words, we must leave ISIS, which
is a clear and active threat to large chunks of the Middle East and Europe,
intact for fear of seeing it replaced by an arguably bigger threat represented
by a “radical Iranian empire.”
As usual there are many problems with Kissinger’s
attempt at using medieval European concepts to analyze situations in other
parts of the world.
To start with, he seems to think that the
Khomeinist regime in Tehran and the so-called ISIS “caliphate” in Raqqa belong
to two different categories. The truth, however, is that they are two versions
of the same ugly reality, peddling the same ideology, using the same methods,
and helping bestow legitimacy on one another.
What is the difference between Ayatollah
Ali Khamenei claiming “supreme leadership of all Muslims throughout the world”
as “Imam” and Abou Bakr al-Baghdadi’s similar claim as Caliph? And aren’t both
regimes claiming to have the only true version of Islam with a mission to
conquer the entire world in its name? One may even argue that without
Khomeinism in Iran there would not have been ISIS and ISIS-like groups, not to
mention the Taliban, in our part of the world at least at this time.
That ISIS and the Khomeinist regime feed on
each other is also illustrated by Tehran’s current line of propaganda which is
telling the Iranians they must tolerate brutal oppression as the price for
protection against ISIS.
Kissinger’s second error is to think that
it’s not possible to fight against two versions of evil without favoring one.
In fighting two evils one may have to
operate in separate time sequels. In 1939, it was imperative to defeat Nazi
Germany despite the fact that such an outcome might have strengthened the USSR
which at the time was an ally of Hitler. But once the first evil was eliminated
the fight to defeat the second one could start in the shape of the Cold War.
Kissinger’s third error is him forgetting
the contribution of the Obama administration to strengthening the Khomeinist
regime, not to say allowing it to survive. Obama looked the other way as the
mullahs crushed a popular uprising in Iran in 2009. He then rushed to give them
legitimacy by engaging them in a diplomatic charade one effect of which was to
save the cash-starved regime escape the worst consequences of its own failed economic
After almost four decades, the Khomeinists
have failed to build the institutions of state, something without which no
credible empire-building could be launched.
Contrary to what Kissinger seems to think,
the choice is not between helping the Khomeinist regime and going to full-scale
war against it. The least that Western democracies could do is not to help the
Khomeinists out of the holes they constantly dig for themselves.
Kissinger’s next error, sadly shared by
several pundits and analysts across the globe, is to vastly overestimate the
solidity and power of the present regime in Tehran. True, the Khomeinist regime
has enough power to cause a great deal of trouble in the region and is doing
so. But this doesn’t mean it is capable of building an empire, something that
requires a strong home base which the present Iranian regime no longer has, if
it ever did. The Khomeinists have difficulty recruiting Iranians to become
martyrs in foreign wars, and are forced to hire Lebanese, Afghan Pakistani,
and, more recently, European passport-holding mercenaries. Without
cash-injection by the US and allies, the Khomeinists will also be hard put to
pay salaries let alone finance empire building projects.
To be sure, the weakest of troublemakers
can still do some harm as we saw with Muammar Qaddafi’s Operetta-size
empire-building and now witness with North Korea’s quixotic comedy adding color
to this year’s silly season.
Finally, Kissinger’s biggest error,
perhaps, is the assumption that the only choice the Middle East has, at least
in Syria and Iraq, is between the “caliphate” in Raqqa and the “Imamate” in
Anyone familiar with the situation on the
ground would know that this is certainly not the case. An overwhelming majority
of Syrians, including even followers of Bashar al-Assad, do cherish the
prospect of a future under tutelage from Tehran. Given a choice, they would
certainly look at other options. In Iraq, too, even such figures as Nuri
al-Maliki, have realized the difficulty of marketing Iranian domination as a
recipe for the future; this is why the former premier is now trying to get at
least a nod and a wink from Moscow.
Neither the Raqqa “caliphate” not the
Tehran “imamate” are capable of providing the stability which the region needs
and which Kissinger sees as the ultimate goal of foreign policy. Since both are
the twin causes of the current tragedy in the region, bequeathing both to
oblivion is the only Realpolitik worthy of consideration. The order in which
that happens is a matter for another debate.
The creative chaos marketed by the George W
Bush administration gave birth to dangers which, in turn; have produced new
opportunities which Kissinger’s quest for an elusive balance of power would