The recent unprecedented blockade of Qatar by its neighbors Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates has the Persian Gulf region in uproar. Citizens are being expelled, Qatar’s only land border and main food supply line is closed, and their airline must do bizarre aerial calisthenics to avoid overflying most of the Arabian Peninsula.
Every country has its own propaganda stuff: its currency, passports, internet sites, and media to communicate its ideology. The Islamic State (IS or ISIS) is sort of a state: they think they are a “Caliphate” (which is slightly different), they control territory and like all states enforce their administration with a monopoly of violence within their borders. Analysts and scholars write about their ideology, today we examine their propaganda.
If you live in New York or another large American city you might already know a Yemeni: there’s a good chance that one owns the deli you shop at every day in your neighborhood. When you have a moment, ask him about recent events in his country. Sit down and brace yourself as he’ll have a lot to say and it won’t be a happy talk. But pay attention, we’ll be hearing more about Yemen […]
The 15 year civil war in Lebanon last century can teach us about the future of the neighboring Syrian mess: they do look alike. Like Washington state-sized Syria, Connecticut-sized Lebanon was a French colony. Pre-WW2 manners dictated the British and French politely divide this “Levant” (as in ISIS/ISIL) area into colonies: the “lucky” Brits kept Palestine, later Israel, and Jordan. The French had Lebanon and larger Syria.
The Connecticut-sized, natural gas-rich nation of Qatar in the Persian Gulf is often cited by optimists as a sane role model for Arab world. Qatar’s stated goal is to turn their hydrocarbon based economy and traditional society into more a diversified, outward looking system. This is often considered as opposition to the traditional, strict Islamic values of their population: it is a complicated and delicate balance.
Published: 28 September, 2016 Original Publisher: The Moderate Voice [click here] EDITOR’S NOTE: This was originally published on September 15. Today, the Senate overwhelmingly overrode President Barack Obama’s veto of the 9/11 bill. So we’ve re-dated this post for today, given its relevance. A bill to hold the Saudi Arabian state and royal family financially responsible for 9/11 which passed the U.S. Senate unanimously in May, just passed in the House. Unless vetoed by the President it would permit an enormous personal injury lawsuit against the Kingdom. The “Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act” – JASTA – portends a terrible precedent of blow back against the United States. A “win” would actually be a financial disaster. And that is before the justice it seeks is unleashed back upon us. JASTA promises to right the wrongs of 9/11 via the U.S. tort law system. It alleges the Saudi royal family and state were at least complicit in the attacks, if not directly responsible, and hold them so liable. Such a law could ultimately allow a trial by jury and judgment to be passed in the Southern District of Manhattan – the location of the attacks and our most international forum of law.
This month something unusual happened on TV for many New Yorkers and other Americans – a news channel went blank. After four years, Al Jazeera America has ceased operations. So an obscure foreign TV network goes dark. So what? The problem here is it leaves the US TV cable viewer almost without a serious international network. At all. A news cruise around the dial of most cable operators will leave the viewers with a surprisingly small number […]