Last week alone, the Biden administration has made at least five blunders that will set back prospects for Middle East peace. These unforced errors will only serve to isolate our traditional allies in the region (Israel and the Gulf States) and enable Iran and its proxies and the Palestinian Authority.Read More
As sane Americans reluctantly resign themselves to the approach of an unimaginable Joe Biden presidency, the unrelenting blitzkrieg of media Trump-hate is occasionally, but each week more frequently, punctured by glimmers of recognition of what the apparently outgoing president has achieved. There seems to be a consensus, even embracing many Democrats, that President Trump has scored a significant success with the Abraham Accords in the Middle East.Read More
While there is a long-shot hope that Donald Trump will remain president, things are not looking good. We have to consider, while remaining hopeful, what a Biden presidency will look like.
On issues of war and peace, we have a preview from his cabinet picks.Read More
Iran’s supreme leader on Saturday demanded the “definitive punishment” of those behind the killing of a scientist who led Tehran’s disbanded military nuclear program, as the Islamic Republic blamed Israel for a slaying that has raised fears of reignited tensions across the Middle East.
After years of being in the shadows, the image of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh suddenly was to be seen everywhere in Iranian media, as his widow spoke on state television and officials publicly demanded revenge on Israel for the scientist’s slaying.Read More
American forces overseas will by Jan. 15 be reduced to 2,500 in Afghanistan and 2,500 in Iraq, acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller said Tuesday.
Miller in making the announcement also honored the service members who have fought in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
An explosion at a Saudi cemetery where American and European officials were commemorating the end of World War I wounded three people Wednesday, according to official statements.
The attack in the city of Jiddah follows on the heels of a stabbing last month that lightly wounded a guard at the French Consulate in the same city. It’s not clear what motivated the stabbing or Wednesday’s blast, but France has been the target of three attacks in recent weeks that authorities have attributed to Muslim extremists.Read More
Stormy weather might be on the Middle East’s horizon. Following the U.S. presidential election, Iran offered a mafia-style protection deal to countries that have normalized relations with Israel: they must abandon Israel and align with Iran, or face the consequences. A Biden–Harris administration would likely undermine much of the progress towards Middle East peace that the Trump administration has made. Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) have several policy positions that would jeopardize the progress towards Middle East peace brokered by the Trump administration.Read More
Perhaps the most remarkable statistic of recent times is that President Trump broke a 39-year streak of U.S. presidents leading the nation into a new war. That is, my entire life and the best part of a decade in which the United States dragged itself into conflict.Read More
Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, the ruler of Kuwait who drew on his decades as the oil-rich nation’s top diplomat to push for closer ties to Iraq after the 1990 Gulf War and solutions to other regional crises, died Tuesday. He was 91.
In a Middle East replete with elderly rulers, Sheikh Sabah stood out for his efforts at pushing for diplomacy to resolve a bitter dispute between Qatar and other Arab nations that continues to this day.Read More
U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) applauded the signing Tuesday of the Abraham Accords, calling it a “paradigm shift.”
Blackburn on Tuesday tweeted, “Today, we are witnessing history at the @WhiteHouse. 27 years since the signing of the Oslo Accords, Israel, the UAE, and Bahrain have achieved monumental peace. This deal brings great potential and opportunity to the region and is a paradigm shift in Israel-Gulf state relations.”Read More
Bahrain has become the latest Arab nation to agree to normalize ties with Israel as part of a broader diplomatic push by President Donald Trump and his administration to fully integrate the Jewish state into the Middle East.
Trump announced the agreement on Friday, following a three-way phone call he had with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. The three leaders also issued a brief six-paragraph joint statement, attesting to the deal.Read More
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said Thursday that if he wins the election in November, he will not fully withdraw American troops from Afghanistan and the Middle East.
Biden told Stars and Stripes Thursday he supported a continued presence of up to 2,000 ground troops throughout the region for executing operations against ISIS and other terror threats.Read More
The ruler of the United Arab Emirates issued a decree Saturday formally ending the country’s boycott of Israel amid a U.S.-brokered deal to normalize relations between the two countries.
The announcement now allows trade and commerce between the UAE, home to oil-rich Abu Dhabi and skyscraper-studded Dubai, and Israel, home to a thriving diamond trade, pharmaceutical companies and tech start-ups.Read More
Even The Washington Post’s David Ignatius had to admit President Trump hit a home run with the deal he helped negotiate for Israel and the United Arab Emirates to normalize diplomatic relations.
“This was, as he tweeted, a ‘HUGE’ achievement,” Ignatius wrote. It is viewed as an “’icebreaker” that could open the door to other countries, such as Bahrain, Omar and Morocco, opening diplomatic relations with Israel.Read More
The United Arab Emirates and Israel have agreed to establish full diplomatic ties as part of a deal to halt the annexation of occupied land sought by the Palestinians for their future state, President Donald Trump said Thursday.
The announcement makes the UAE the first Gulf Arab state to do so and only the third Arab nation to have active diplomatic ties to Israel.Read More
The Iranian navy boarded and briefly seized a Liberian-flagged oil tanker near the strategic Strait of Hormuz amid heightened tensions between Tehran and the U.S., the American military said Thursday.
The U.S. military’s Central Command published a black-and-white video showing what appeared to be special forces fast-roping down from a helicopter onto the MT Wila, whose last position appeared to be off the eastern coast of the United Arab Emirates near the city of Khorfakkan.Read More
An online video and messages purportedly claiming responsibility for a fire that analysts say damaged a centrifuge assembly plant at Iran’s underground Natanz nuclear site deepened the mystery Friday around the incident — even as Tehran insisted it knew the cause but would not make it public due to “security reasons.”
The multiple, different claims by a self-described group called the “Cheetahs of the Homeland” included language used by several exiled Iranian opposition organizations. They also focused almost entirely on Iran’s nuclear program, viewed by Israel as a danger to its very existence.Read More
The US Attorney for the District of Minnesota today announced charges against a former Rochester MN doctor for allegedly providing material support to ISIS. Muhammad Masood, 28, was taken into custody on Thursday atthe Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, according to the Dept. of Justice press release. According to the…Read More
ISLAMABAD – Officials in Afghanistan say a presidential decree is expected to be issued Tuesday that would set in motion the process of releasing thousands of Taliban prisoners as the U.S. military begins a troop drawdown in the country—steps outlined in a deal with the Islamist insurgent group aimed at ending the nearly 19-year-old war.Read More
ISLAMABAD – The United States and the Taliban signed a landmark agreement Saturday in Doha, Qatar, setting the stage for ending a nearly 19-year-old war in Afghanistan and bringing back home thousands of American troops deployed there.Read More
ISLAMABAD – In simultaneously issued statements, U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and the Taliban announced Friday that a deal between the U.S. and the Taliban will be signed February 29, paving the way toward ending the longest American war in history.Read More
ISLAMABAD/BRUSSELS — The United States confirmed Thursday it has negotiated a “seven-day reduction in violence” proposal with the Taliban to move toward a political settlement to the war in Afghanistan.Read More
The recent drone attack that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and a Shiite militia leader in Iraq led predictably to a retaliatory strike by Iran. Twenty or so ballistic missiles were launched at bases in Iraq where U.S. troops were housed. Fortunately, no one was killed.Read More
Gov. Tim Walz’s December 13 decision to say yes to more refugees in Minnesota grants the federal government permission to resettle refugees from any country it desires into the state, including up to 720 refugees from Middle East countries that the government of Australia has refused to accept.Read More
The recent troubles with Iran highlight the problem with America First nationalism: it would mean placing the interests of regular people at home before transnational “interests” like foreign wars that have no bearing on middle-American life.Read More
President Trump made it abundantly clear in his address to the nation Wednesday morning that Iran’s free reign of terror throughout the Middle East was over, but the United States would not be retaliating militarily against the Islamic Republic following their missile strikes on two Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops.Read More
PENTAGON – Iran has fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles into at least two Iraqi air bases that house U.S. troops, the Pentagon says.Read More
Does the U.S. armed forces’ killing of Qassem Soleimani, leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ foreign wing, and his subordinate, Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, outside Baghdad’s airport increase or decrease the chances of war with Iran? Does it mean a continuation of our disastrous endless wars?Read More
BAGHDAD – The U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State said Saturday it did not conduct any airstrikes near Camp Taji north of Baghdad.Read More
The Pentagon will deploy 3,000 troops to the Middle East in response to escalating tensions, which culminated in a U.S. airstrike that killed a top Iranian general in Iraq on Thursday, according to news reports.Read More
The United States military is once again increasing its arsenal in the Middle East to counter Iranian threats, announcing Friday the movement of a Patriot missile battery and the USS Arlington landing platform dock ship used in amphibious assaults. The move comes a day after The USS Abraham Lincoln…Read More
U.S. President Donald Trump declared the end of the Islamic State terror group’s self-declared caliphate Friday, saying the terror group had been “100 percent defeated” —a claim that was quickly refuted by U.S.-backed forces on the ground. Trump made the announcement following a briefing from Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan…Read More
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in the Middle East for regional security talks as Washington looks to draw new support in its opposition to Iranian aggression. Pompeo began is trip in Kuwait late Tuesday and headed to Israel Wednesday. His trip will also take him to Lebanon. In…Read More
by Jeff Seldin The last defenders of the Islamic State terror group’s self-proclaimed caliphate are surrounded in a small neighborhood in the eastern Syrian village of Baghuz, facing imminent defeat. The assessment Saturday, from a commander of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, follows days of slow and difficult fighting…Read More
by Jeff Seldin U.S. President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he expected to formally declare victory over the Islamic State terror group’s self-declared caliphate in the next week. “Nobody thought it was possible to do it this quickly,” Trump told members of the global coalition to defeat the Islamic…Read More
by Austin Mulka Yesterday I posted a status in unequivocal support of President Trump’s recent decision to pull out of Syria. The post elicited the abhorrent wails of the president’s purported supporters, one of whom denounced me as a supporter of “child killers.” As baseless as the claim was,…Read More
by Joel Griffith In 1948, the Jewish people secured sovereignty over their ancestral homeland for the first time in nearly 2,000 years. Once again, they could thrive—religiously, economically, culturally—in the home their ancestors were forced to flee. But more than 70 years after the rebirth of the Jewish nation,…Read More
by Wayne Lee The White House said Wednesday the United States has begun withdrawing troops from Syria, shortly after U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted the U.S. has defeated the Islamic State terror group there. “We have started returning United States troops home as we transition to the next phase…Read More
by Evie Fordham A replacement has been named for Vice Adm. Scott Stearney, the top Navy admiral in the Middle East, after he was found dead in his residence in Bahrain Saturday. Vice Adm. Jim Malloy, the deputy chief of naval operations for operations, plans and strategy, will take Stearney’s…Read More
by Joseph Duggan Jamal Khashoggi was a thoroughly charming and charismatic person. In March 2012, I took the last available seat at a luncheon table at the 20th Public Relations World Congress in Dubai. By sheer accident I found myself sitting next to Khashoggi and conversing with him for…Read More