The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

From the Sunday papers

In the US and UK, that is:

A World of Trouble | Book review | Books | The Observer

Tyler's thesis is that, other than unwavering support for Israel and a determination to secure the flow of oil from the Gulf, America has lacked any guiding doctrine in its relationships with the Middle East. Instead, it has bumbled through, acting on the miscalculations of presidents and policy advisers.

Tony Blair's envoy attacks Afghanistan war - Times Online

THE war in Afghanistan is “madcap” and “futile” and serves “no conceivable national interest”, says Sir Christopher Meyer, who as Britain’s ambassador to Washington had a ringside seat on the dispatch of troops there.

The fighting is “a waste of blood and treasure” because there is no coherent purpose behind it, he argues scornfully in a new book.

Stanley McChrystal’s Long War -

Mega-long Filkins piece on McChrystal (don't US generals have cool names?):

In his initial assessment of the country, sent to President Obama early last month, McChrystal described an Afghanistan on the brink of collapse and an America at the edge of defeat. To reverse the course of the war, McChrystal presented President Obama with what could be the most momentous foreign-policy decision of his presidency: escalate or fail. McChrystal has reportedly asked for 40,000 additional American troops — there are 65,000 already here — and an accelerated effort to train Afghan troops and police and build an Afghan state. If President Obama can’t bring himself to step up the fight, McChrystal suggested, then he might as well give up.

“Inadequate resources,” McChrystal wrote, “will likely result in failure.”

The magnitude of the choice presented by McChrystal, and now facing President Obama, is difficult to overstate. For what McChrystal is proposing is not a temporary, Iraq-style surge — a rapid influx of American troops followed by a withdrawal. McChrystal’s plan is a blueprint for an extensive American commitment to build a modern state in Afghanistan, where one has never existed, and to bring order to a place famous for the empires it has exhausted. Even under the best of circumstances, this effort would most likely last many more years, cost hundreds of billions of dollars and entail the deaths of many more American women and men.

And that’s if it succeeds.

Held by the Taliban - A Times Reporter’s Account. A Five-Part Series by David Rohde. - Series -

Revolutionary Guard commanders killed in Iran bomb -

The other Sunni Awakening, or just a plot by "The Global Arrogance"?

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the region in Iran's southeast has been the focus of violent attacks by a militant group from Iran's Sunni Muslim minority called Jundallah, or Soldiers of God, which has waged a low-level insurgency in recent years.

The group accuses Iran's Shiite-dominated government of persecution and has carried out attacks against the Revolutionary Guard and Shiite targets in the southeast.

That campaign is one of several ethnic and religious small-scale insurgencies in Iran that have fueled sporadic and sometimes deadly attacks in recent years - though none have amounted to a serious threat to the government.

The Revolutionary Guard blamed Sunday's attack on what it called the "global arrogance," a reference to the United States.

"The global arrogance, with the provocation of its local mercenaries, targeted the meeting of the Guard with local tribal leaders," said a Guard statement read out on state TV.

Iranian officials have often raised concerns that Washington might try to incite members of Iran's many ethnic and religious minorities against the Shiite-led government, which is dominated by ethnic Persians.

Darfurians Living in Khartoum See Themselves as ‘Lucky' -

MPs to visit Libya over compensation for IRA victims - Telegraph

It's really incredible, will the bleeding of Libya ever stop? What other country goes along with this stuff?