Categories
Middle East

Iran Will Be Judged By Its Actions

Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird told the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 30 that Iran’s current charm offensive is more show than substance. “Sound bites do not remove threats to global security,” he said in a reference to Iran’s militarized nuclear program. Canada will judge Iran on the basis of ┬áits actions rather than […]

Categories
Middle East

Yom Kippur War Memories

Forty years ago, I saw my first corpse. Or rather corpses. In October of 1973, with the Yom Kippur War raging, I joined an Israeli government press tour of the Golan Heights, captured by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War. I was a freelance journalist in Jaffa and jumped at the opportunity to visit […]

Categories
Middle East

The Oslo Accords 20 Years On

Twenty years ago this month, the Arab-Israeli conflict, one of the most protracted and debilitating disputes in the Middle East, finally seemed on the verge of being resolved through peaceful means. On Sept. 13, 1993, Yitzhak Rabin, the prime minister of Israel, hesitantly shook hands with his arch nemesis, Yasser Arafat, the chairman of the […]

Categories
Middle East

U.S.-Russian Agreement Empowers Assad Regime

It would be foolhardy to cast aspersions on the recent agreement reached by the United States and Russia to dismantle and destroy Syria’s formidable arsenal of chemical weapons. The accord, hammered out by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva on Sept. 14 and formalized by the United […]

Categories
Middle East

An Opportunity to Turn the Tide in Syria

As the crisis in Syria intensifies, riveting the world, the United States appears to have painted itself into a corner. A year ago, President Barack Obama explicitly warned Syria that the use of chemical weapons against its citizens would represent an intolerable “red line” for the United States. Yet Washington has done remarkably little since […]

Categories
Middle East

Yet Another Round of Peace Talks

When U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry triumphantly announced on July 19 that Israel and the Palestinian Authority had established “a basis” to resume direct peace talks, he looked at PA President Mahmoud Abbas and said, “Mr. President, you should look happy.” Kerry assumed that the resumption of talks after a three-year hiatus would please […]

Categories
Middle East

Mufti of Jerusalem was Nazi Germany’s Ally

Two years ago, the Israeli government charged Sheikh Mohammed Hussein, the mufti of Jerusalem, the cleric in charge of Islamic holy places, with incitment after he was accused of uttering anti-Jewish comments. At a conference in the West Bank to commemorate the founding of the Fatah movement, he was reported to have said that the […]

Categories
Middle East

The Origins of Israel

In 1880, decades before Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, declared Israel to be a free and independent nation, Palestine was a backwater in the Ottoman Empire, populated by some 25,000 Jews and about 450,000 Arabs. Two-thirds of the Jews in Palestine lived in Jerusalem and many of the rest resided in Safed, Tiberias and […]

Categories
Middle East

Erdogan’s Baseless Accusation

Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is known far and wide for plain speaking. Not one to mince words, he says what he thinks, a practice most politicians stoutly eschew. In a world of dissimulation, prevarication and half-truths, there is something refreshing and bracing about a politician who has the courage and confidence to speak […]

Categories
Middle East

Scranton Sought an “Even-Handed” U.S. Policy

A little more than a month before his inauguration as president of the United States in January 1969, Richard Nixon dispatched William Scranton, the former Republican governor of Pennsylvania, to the Middle East on a fact-finding tour of five Arab nations and Israel. His mandate was to assess the current state of the Arab-Israeli conflict […]