The Unz Review - Mobile
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
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 Middle East ItemsEntire Archive
What a scary week in the Mideast. The epicenter of the world’s energy resources and the land-bridge between Asia and Africa is spinning out of control as the danger of a shooting war between the US and Russia grows daily. A US F-18 warplane shot down a Syrian Air Force SU-22 ground attack aircraft over... Read More
The Saudi Regime Is Playing Donald Trump With Potentially Disastrous Consequences
At this point, it’s no great surprise when Donald Trump walks away from past statements in service to some impulse of the moment. Nowhere, however, has such a shift been more extreme or its potential consequences more dangerous than in his sudden love affair with the Saudi royal family. It could in the end destabilize... Read More
Not that anyone in a position of power seems to notice, but there’s a simple rule for American military involvement in the Greater Middle East: once the U.S. gets in, no matter the country, it never truly gets out again. Let’s start with Afghanistan. The U.S. first entered the fray there in 1979 via a... Read More
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chechnya leader Ramzan Kadyrov in 2015
Connecting the Dots and Discerning the Future
Russia has often been in the news over the past years, mostly as the demonized “Empire of Mordor” responsible for all the bad things on the planet, especially Trump's victory over Hillary Clinton, the Russian intervention in Syria and, of course, the “imminent” Russian invasion of the Baltics, Poland or even all of Western Europe.... Read More
The Age of Grief
“This is a war against normal life.” So said CNN correspondent Clarissa Ward, describing the situation at this moment in Syria, as well as in other parts of the Middle East. It was one of those remarks that should wake you up to the fact that the regions the United States has, since September 2001,... Read More
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Introduction US policy in the Middle East and South Asia is shaped by several basic considerations: 1) US Imperialism is the force of global domination 2) US imperial policy in the Middle East focuses on encircling, destroying and dismantling Iran’s allies (Syria, Lebanon (Hezbollah), Iraq (Shi’a Militia), Qatar and Yemen with the intent of overthrowing... Read More
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The Irrationality of Iran Vilification
“Everywhere you look, if there is trouble in the region,” Secretary of Defense James Mattis told reporters on a mid-April visit to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, “you find Iran.” I must admit that when I stumbled across that quote it brought up uncomfortable personal memories. East Baghdad, January 25, 2007: my patrol had missed a turn... Read More
When we think about terrorism we most often think about the horrors of a Manchester-like attack, where a radicalized suicide bomber went into a concert hall and killed dozens of innocent civilians. It was an inexcusable act of savagery and it certainly did terrorize the population.What is less considered are attacks that leave far more... Read More
The massacre in Manchester is a horrific event born out of the violence raging in a vast area stretching from Pakistan to Nigeria and Syria to South Sudan. Britain is on the outer periphery of this cauldron of war, but it would be surprising if we were not hit by sparks thrown up by these... Read More
The Great White Father came to Saudi Arabia last week to harangue some 50 Arab and African despots on the glories of Trumpism, democracy and the need to fight what the Americans call terrorism. Having covered the Mideast for many decades, I cannot think of a more bizarre or comical spectacle. Here was Saudi Arabia,... Read More
Robert Fisk put it best: “Trump Is About To Really Mess Up In The Middle East”. Following his fantastically stupid decision to attack the Syrian military with cruise missiles, Trump or, should I say, the people who make decisions for him, probably realized that it was “game over” for any US policy in the Middle-East... Read More
In the wake of the massacre in Manchester, people rightly warn against blaming the entire Muslim community in Britain and the world. Certainly one of the aims of those who carry out such atrocities is to provoke the communal punishment of all Muslims, thereby alienating a portion of them who will then become open to... Read More
President Trump leaves the Middle East today, having done his bit to make the region even more divided and mired in conflict than it was before. At the same moment that Donald Trump was condemning the suicide bomber in Manchester as “an evil loser in life”, he was adding to the chaos in which al-Qaeda... Read More
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President Trump arrives in Saudi Arabia tomorrow, mere hours after US bombers attacked pro-Assad militiamen whom the US military say were threatening a base in southern Syria where US and British Special Forces are training rebel fighters. It would be naïve to imagine that the timing of the US attack, the first intentionally made against... Read More
Introduction Over the past two decades Washington has pursued the age-old imperial strategy of divide and conquer throughout the Middle East, Southwest Asia and East Africa. Unable to dominate and dictate national policy of the nation-states, Washington has worked to break-up central governments and sub-divide them into ethno-mini-states amenable as imperial rule. Washington’s strategy of... Read More
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The Short Answer: Fight it!
Make no mistake: after 15 years of losing wars, spreading terror movements, and multiplying failed states across the Greater Middle East, America will fight the next versions of our ongoing wars. Not that we ever really stopped. Sure, Washington traded in George W. Bush’s expansive, almost messianic attitude toward his Global War on Terror for... Read More
Recently, historians Samuel Moyn and Stephen Wertheim wrote an interesting New York Times op-ed on why the last 15 years of failed American wars across the Greater Middle East seem to have taught our military and civilian leadership absolutely nothing. Hence, the recent 59-missile strike against a Syrian airfield -- just the latest act that... Read More
"Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? (My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?)" Those are among Jesus' last words on the Cross that first Good Friday. It was a cry of agony, but not despair. The dying Christ, to rise again in three days, was repeating the first words of the 22nd Psalm. And today,... Read More
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Onward and Upward with U.S. Central Command
By way of explaining his eight failed marriages, the American bandleader Artie Shaw once remarked, “I am an incurable optimist.” In reality, Artie was an incurable narcissist. Utterly devoid of self-awareness, he never looked back, only forward. So, too, with the incurable optimists who manage present-day American wars. What matters is not past mistakes but... Read More
U.S. Marines are, for the first time, deploying to Syria (with more to come). There’s talk of an “enduring” U.S. military presence in Iraq, while additional U.S. troops are being dispatched to neighboring Kuwait with an eye to the wars in both Iraq and Syria. Yemen has been battered by a veritable blitz of drone... Read More
Latin America, the Middle East and Ukraine
Introduction: Over thirty year ago a savvy Colombian peasant leader told me, “Whenever I read the word ‘peace accords’ I hear the government sharpening its knives”. In recent times, ‘peace accords’ (PAs) have become a common refrain across the world. In almost every region or country, which are in the midst of war or invasion,... Read More
We are now moving rapidly into stage II of Levantine Madness as the US boosts its intervention in the war-torn Mideast. Five thousand US troops are back in Iraq to bolster the shattered nation’s puppet regime that is propped up by American bayonets. New Iraqi military formations have been formed, totally equipped with modern US... Read More
Let’s face it: since 9/11 everything in our American world has been wildly out of proportion. Understandably enough, at the time that attack was experienced as something other than it was. In the heat of the moment, it would be compared to city-destroying or world-ending Hollywood disaster films (“It was like one of them Godzilla... Read More
The Terror Inside Trump’s White House
What kind of national security policy will the Trump administration pursue globally? On this issue, as on so many others, the incoming president has offered enough contradictory clues, tweets, and comments that the only definitive answer right now is: Who knows? During his presidential campaign he more or less promised a non-interventionist foreign policy, even... Read More
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President Trump is adding further venom to the raging sectarian hatreds tearing apart Iraq and Syria by his latest ill-judged tweets. These have far greater explosive potential than his better known clashes with countries like Australia and Mexico, because in the Middle East he is dealing with matters of war and peace. In this complex... Read More
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It is a rare privilege to be able to criticize a politician for actually fulfilling his campaign promises but Donald Trump is a unique President and this week he offered us exactly this opportunity with not one, but three different SNAFUs to report. First, there was the botched raid against an alledged al-Qaeda compound in... Read More
President Donald Trump is getting ready to plunge into the burning Mideast with all the zeal and arrogance of a medieval crusader. The new administration’s knowledge of the region is a thousand miles wide and two inches deep. Reviving a truly terrible idea originated by know-nothing Congressional Republicans, Trump proposes US-run safe zones in Syria... Read More
Moshe Feiglin, Jerusalem, 2009.  Credit: David Rabkin/Wikimedia Commons
Moshe Feiglin is the former Deputy Speaker of the Knesset and the head of Zehut, an Israeli political party formed in 2015. Zehut advocates the return of Israel to the Jewish people and leading the State of Israel through authentic Jewish values. Feiglin was interviewed by Vox Day on January 24, 2017. VOX DAY: There... Read More
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Just a few days into 2017 and we can already say with a great degree of confidence that 2017 will be a historical year. Furthermore, I submit that 2017 will be the “Year of Trump” because one of roughly three things will happen: either Trump will fully deliver on his threats and promises, or Trump... Read More
One of my favorite literary expressions is the term ‘Parthian shaft.’ It refers to the favored tactic of the Parthians, a Persian people, of turning while on horseback and firing arrows while retreating. The Roman consul Crassus, who defeated Spartacus, may have died from such a Parthian shaft after his defeat at the battle of... Read More
Sixty years ago, I was home after school, sitting in our living room on New York’s Central Park West, reading a history of Rome and listening to Dvorak’s splendid cello concerto when the announcer on WQXR broke in to announced, “Israeli armored forces are thrusting deep into Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.” So began the 1956 Arab-Israeli... Read More
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Isis is under pressure in Mosul and Raqqa, but it is jubilant at the election of Donald Trump. Abu Omar Khorasani, an Isis leader in Afghanistan, is quoted as saying that “our leaders were closely following the US election, but it was unexpected that the Americans would dig their own graves.” He added that what... Read More
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Neoliberalism, Interventionism, the Resource Curse, and a Fragmenting World
We live in an age of disintegration. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Greater Middle East and Africa. Across the vast swath of territory between Pakistan and Nigeria, there are at least seven ongoing wars -- in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, and South Sudan. These conflicts are extraordinarily destructive. They are... Read More
Here’s an unavoidable fact: we are now in a Brexit world. We are seeing the first signs of a major fragmentation of this planet that, until recently, the cognoscenti were convinced was globalizing rapidly and headed for unifications of all sorts. If you want a single figure that catches the grim spirit of our moment,... Read More
NEW YORK CITY – America is falling apart. Anyone who travels in this great land knows it. This great city is crumbling. I’m scared to take the underwater tunnels to Long Island or New Jersey. Our local airport, LaGuardia, should be in Zimbabwe. The American Society of Civil Engineers warns that crumbling roads, rusting bridges,... Read More
Can corruption be controlled by reform or is it so much the essential fuel sustaining political elites that it will only be ended – if it ends at all – by revolutionary change? The answer varies according to which countries one is talking about, but in many - particularly those relying on the sale of... Read More
The U.S. Military Bombs in the Twenty-First Century
Here’s my twenty-first-century rule of thumb about this country: if you have to say it over and over, it probably ain’t so. Which is why I’d think twice every time we’re told how “exceptional” or “indispensable” the United States is. For someone like me who can still remember a moment when Americans assumed that was... Read More
One night in his tent in Tripoli, Libya, Col. Muammar Khadafi told me, “the Saudis are a very rich family hiding behind high walls, terrified their neighbors will come and steal their wealth.” He was right. The covetous neighbor most feared by the Saudis are Iran, followed by Egypt, Turkey and, more distantly, Israel. Iraq... Read More
A Civil War Story About the Islamic State Might Spark a Peace Movement
It was half a century ago, but I still remember it vividly. “We have to help South Vietnam,” I explained. “It’s a sovereign nation being invaded by another nation, North Vietnam.” “No, no,” my friend protested. “There’s just one Vietnam, from north to south, divided artificially. It’s a civil war. And we have no business... Read More
Analysis: Iran has escaped years of isolation and the threat of war without sustaining much damage
Iran is politically and economically stronger because of the agreement on its nuclear programme and the partial end of sanctions. Israel and Saudi Arabia had argued in their different ways that such a deal would open the door to a radical expansion of Iranian influence in the Middle East. The late Saudi King Abdullah was... Read More
Giving Advice to a Presidential Candidate Who Wants to “Do Something”
How can we stop the Islamic State? Imagine yourself shaken awake, rushed off to a strategy meeting with your presidential candidate of choice, and told: “Come up with a plan for me to do something about ISIS!” What would you say? What Hasn't Worked You'd need to start with a persuasive review of what hasn't... Read More
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To awaken Thursday to front-page photos of U.S. sailors kneeling on the deck of their patrol boat, hands on their heads in postures of surrender, on Iran's Farsi Island, brought back old and bad memories. In January 1968, LBJ's last year, 82 sailors of the Pueblo were captured by North Korea and held hostage with... Read More
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The Pentagon’s Dangerous “New” Base Plan
Amid the distractions of the holiday season, the New York Times revealed that the Obama administration is considering a Pentagon proposal to create a “new” and “enduring” system of military bases around the Middle East. Though this is being presented as a response to the rise of the Islamic State and other militant groups, there's... Read More
The New Year's execution by Saudi Arabia of the Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr was a deliberate provocation. Its first purpose: Signal the new ruthlessness and resolve of the Saudi monarchy where the power behind the throne is the octogenarian King Salman's son, the 30-year-old Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman. Second, crystallize, widen and... Read More
Each year more than one trillion dollars goes up in smoke. More accurately, it is stolen from the middle and working classes and shipped off to the one percent. I am talking about the massive yearly bill to maintain the US empire. Washington’s warmongers have sold the lie that the military budget has been gutted... Read More
Divide, Conquer, Colonize
As US-driven wars plummet the Muslim world ever deeper into jihadi-ridden failed state chaos, events seem to be careening toward a tipping point. Eventually, the region will become so profuse a font of terrorists and refugees, that Western popular resistance to “boots on the ground” will be overwhelmed by terror and rage. Then, the US-led... Read More
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Why the Establishment Wants to Silence Donald Trump
The establishment so wants everyone else to unfriend Trump supporters on Facebook. There’s even an app to block them. That’ll teach them! Yes, Trump plays a bully boy and is appealing to populist (good), nativist, xenophobic, and racist sentiments (bad). Those things need to be meaningfully addressed and engaged, not for self-styled sophisticates to raise... Read More
Recent attacks by ISIS sympathizers in Paris, London and San Bernardino, California, are not random acts of mindless violence and gory atrocities. Far from it, they are part of a well-developed strategy by the Islamic State, or ISIS, to draw the western powers into a far larger war in the Mideast. They are being aided... Read More
Why the Gulf States, the Kurds, the Turks, the Sunnis, and the Shia Won’t Fight America’s War
In the many strategies proposed to defeat the Islamic State (IS) by presidential candidates, policymakers, and media pundits alike across the American political spectrum, one common element stands out: someone else should really do it. The United States will send in planes, advisers, and special ops guys, but it would be best -- and this... Read More
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In the light of the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, there has been much talk about the clouding of US-Russian relations. Some voices in the Internet’s alternative media sections have conjured the possibility that these conflicts might lead to a new major war, while social networks like Twitter saw the usage of the hashtags #WorldWarIII... Read More
PastClassics
The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
While other top brass played press agents for the administration’s war, William Odom told the truth about Iraq—though few listened.
A thousand years of meritocracy shaped the Middle Kingdom.