US Foreign Policy in the Middle East Needs a Rethink

In 2019, former US President Jimmy Carter told a church congregation about a conversation he had with Donald Trump, the incumbent president at the time. He said Trump called him for advice about China. Carter, who normalized US ties with China in 1979, told the president that the United States had only been at peace for 16 years since the nation was founded. He also called the US “the most...

Fair Observer

Can Self-Help Diplomacy Lower Political Heat in the Middle East?

Since the end of the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, the United States has been the unchallenged dominant power in the Middle East and North Africa. As such, it often saw its role, for better or worse, as fixing the region’s many problems. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Iraq and Saddam Hussein, Iran, high oil prices, Gulf security, Western Sahara, menacing non-state organizations, counterterrorism, human rights, democracy, autocratic leaders, failed states — whatever the...

Fair Observer

The Assad Family Has Been Shaping Syria for 50 Years

It has been over a decade since a civil uprising began in Syria during the height of the Arab Spring. What started in March 2011 soon developed into a civil war between the government of Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian opposition, made up of various factions with different ideologies. Throughout the ongoing conflict, the opposition have been supported by international actors with interests not only in Syria, but in the...

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Will Saudi-Iran Talks Lead to Anything?

Saudi Arabia and Iran have engaged in four rounds of talks over the last six months, the most recent of which with the hardliner Ebrahim Raisi already inaugurated as president. A fifth meeting is expected to take place before the end of 2021. The success of the negotiations will depend, to an important extent, on both countries being realistic about Iran’s role in the Yemen conflict. How Date Farming Helps...

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Macron Promotes Fraternity in the Middle East

Last week, French President Emmanuel Macron, despite being preoccupied with next spring’s presidential election, dropped in on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to celebrate the conclusion of a massive sale of French military equipment to Saudi Arabia’s neighbor and co-sponsor of the war in Yemen, the UAE. It was a record-breaking sale, “the biggest military contract of French material in our history,” Macron boasted, for the sake of his...

Fair Observer

What Does 60˚C Mean for the Middle East?

Global warming is an established ongoing threat, and the Middle East is warming at twice the global average. This summer, Oman, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Iraq have experienced temperatures surging above 50˚C. It is quite plausible that temperatures could rise closer to 60˚C over the coming decades. This would be truly disastrous for the region, translating into more heatwaves along with extreme drought or extreme precipitation in some areas...

Fair Observer

The Legacy of America’s Failed War on Terror

Twenty years have passed since the 9/11 attacks in the United States. It was in the immediate aftermath that US President George W. Bush declared his infamous “war on terror” and launched a cataclysmic campaign of occupation in both Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2001, a US-led coalition invaded Afghanistan to dismantle al-Qaeda and search for its leader, Osama bin Laden, who were harbored by the Taliban government. The presence of...

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