Iraq has moved on. Will our foreign policy debate?
Michael Rubin | Washington Examiner
State Department deputy meets new Iraqi leadership
US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan arrived in Baghdad on Sunday to meet Iraqi President Barham Salih, outgoing Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and his successor, Adel Abdul Mahdi. The group discussed the formation of the new government and strengthening the political and economic relationship between the two countries. Sullivan is the first high-ranking US official to visit Iraq since its May elections. He is also slated to travel to Erbil, the capital of Iraq's Kurdistan region. Read More
Mohammed bin Salman and the Khashoggi disaster
Danielle Pletka | AEIdeas
Reviewing the litany of questionable Mohammed bin Salman decisions over the past year, it is hard to find one that has helped Saudi Arabia and not helped Iran. Surely, this cannot be the will of the man who would be king?
On Iran and Saudi Arabia, it shouldn’t be either/or
Michael Rubin | Washington Examiner
A Saudi disappearance with Russian echoes
(Bloomberg) The death of a journalist shaped Putin’s rule. Will it do the same for Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed?
Trump weighs Saudi Arabia’s fate in Khashoggi affair
(Al-Monitor) President Donald Trump said he’s still determining how the White House will respond to the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi from the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul last week, after Congress asked the administration to look into potential sanctions against Riyadh.
Saudis will admit journalist died during interrogation: CNN
BY ASIA TIMES STAFF
Report expected to claim that Jamal Khashoggi’s death was accident at the hands of Saudis
Shabaab executes alleged spies in southern Somalia
Shabaab, al Qaeda's branch in East Africa, has executed a number of alleged spies this week. The group accused them of working for American, British and Somali intelligence. At least some of Shabaab's claims are dubious, however.
Scores of Taliban recruits train at Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrah Training Camp
Scores of Taliban recruits train in broad daylight at the Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrah Training Camp.
SWIFT Sanctions: Frequently Asked Questions
Mark Dubowitz — FDD's CSIF Research Memo
In 2012, Congress adopted legislation authorizing the president to impose sanctions on persons that provide financial messaging services to the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) or any other designated Iranian financial institution. This legislation led to the disconnection of the CBI and other Iranian banks from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) financial messaging service – widely seen as one of the most powerful sanctions imposed on Iran prior to the 2015 nuclear deal formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Iranian banks, however, were reconnected to SWIFT pursuant to the sanctions relief provided under the JCPOA... Read more
Turkish media name 15 Saudi suspects in Khashoggi probe
A 15-member Saudi intelligence team traveled to Istanbul on private planes on the day of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance, the Turkish Daily Sabah, which publicly outed the suspected team, reports. Turkish officials say the squad entered the Saudi consulate on Oct. 2, the same day Khashoggi went to the facility to obtain documents for his marriage, and left the country soon after. Turkish authorities, who believe Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate, say security footage was taken from the consulate and Turkish staff were put on vacation at the time Khashoggi went missing.
Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he will meet with Saudi officials “at some point” to talk about Khashoggi’s disappearance. The United Nations human rights office urged Turkey and Saudi Arabia on Tuesday to launch an investigation into what it described as the “enforced disappearance” of Khashoggi, a critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Who is Jamal Khashoggi?
BY ALISON TAHMIZIAN MEUSE
The Saudi journalist disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, days after telling the BBC he feared returning to the kingdom.
How authoritarians deal with dissidents
Clay R. Fuller | AEIdeas
Congress Is Forcing a Reluctant White House to Confront Saudi Arabia
// Mohamad Bazzi
The Jamal Khashoggi crisis may finally push lawmakers to put real pressure on Mohammed bin Salman.
How War With Islam Shaped And Defined Us
quoting Victor Davis Hanson via American Thinker
Every once in a while, I come across a book that I can say changed the way I understand the world I live in. Raymond Ibrahim's new book, Sword and Scimitar, altered the way I understand the development of our civilization – I mean the one that America inherited from Europe and made our own.
The Long Encounter: China And Islam's Irreconcilable Tensions
by Michael R. Auslin via The Caravan
China’s relationship with Islam goes back to the 7th century, when Arab merchants and envoys traveled to Canton (Guangzhou) to discuss trade ties with the Tang dynasty. Building mosques and madrassas, hosting preachers, and creating largely homogenous enclaves within China, Muslim communities persisted throughout repeated disintegration and reformation of Chinese dynasties.
China's Final Solution In Xinjiang
by Miles Maochun Yu via The Caravan
Since its founding in 1949, the Chinese communist government in Beijing has long considered a northwestern region on its vast political map a primary troubled spot for the regime and has systematically implemented various measures to seek total control of this important territory. Of the four non-China Proper areas, the other three, i.e. Manchuria, Mongolia and Tibet have longer, and more complicated historical connections with China.
On China's Western Front
by Russell A. Berman via The Caravan
Problems in China’s restive northwest province of Xinjiang have long been simmering, but recent developments point to growing troubles, as news reports and statements by international organizations have significantly raised public attention. Beijing is engaged in programmatic efforts to suppress the ethnic identity of the Uighur people, a population of 11 million, while combatting their aspirations for political autonomy or even independence.
Israel’s War with Iran Is Inevitable
by Efraim Inbar
October 04, 2018
JIHADISM IN FRONTIER STATES THROUGHOUT THE MIDDLE EAST, DO BORDERS MATTER FOR IRAN? & great power competition in syria for usa, russia
Jihadism, the Eastern Mediterranean, and the "Frontier States"
By Dr. Spyridon N. Litsas, October 8, 2018
U.S., RUSSIA, SYRIA:
Why U.S. Rivalry With Russia in Syria Isn’t Going Away
From Al-Monitor: “While the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State looks to wrap up the battle in Syria and push a UN-backed settlement, military officials say the war-torn country has become a key battleground in “great power competition” with Russia.”
Russia is Winning the Information War in Iraq and Syria: UK General
// Katie Bo Williams
Moscow is "better than us" in using social media to shape the strategic landscape, says a former deputy commander of the West's anti-ISIS coalition.
We Can't Win—and Don't Have To—in Afghanistan
By Charles V. Peña, RealClearDefense: “If the U.S. were engaged in a war of national survival, we would be willing to accept the costs posed by engaging in counterinsurgent war.”
Afghanistan War Enters 18th Year: A Timeline
By Phillip Walter Wellman, Stars and Stripes: “As the 18th year begins, Stars and Stripes has recapped key points throughout the war, which has spanned the terms of three presidents. Combat veterans now serve with their sons and daughters, some of whom were too young to remember 9/11.
Unhappy 17th Birthday, Afghanistan War
From Washington Examiner: “What are we doing there? Why are we still fighting this war after 17 years?"
Afghanistan: We Must Decide on a New War Strategy
By David Craig, RealClearPolitics: “America’s inability to frame military engagements in the context of ends, ways and means, but instead as a politically divisive tool for partisanship, comes at the expense of lost lives and trillions of dollars.”
Public Realism on Afghanistan
By William Ruger, RealClearPolitics: “The perception that we haven’t been successful following the original mission’s accomplishments and have no clear strategic objective going forward has probably led many Americans to reconsider support for the initial invasion.”
Iraq gets a government — and it was worth the wait
Kenneth Pollack | The Wall Street Journal
Given how badly Iraq’s elections turned out — rampant fraud, miserable voter turnout, and a badly fragmented parliament — the outcome should provide hope for Iraq’s future. A government led by Salih, Mahdi, and the Sunni Arab speaker of parliament, Mohammed al-Halbusi, is better than anyone imagined.
Netanyahu, defense minister battle discreetly over new IDF chief
Facing the upcoming nomination of IDF’s next chief of staff, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu might undermine Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman's prerogative and appoint a relatively young and inexperienced candidate.
White House adviser: Iran is 'central banker' for terrorism
(Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty) U.S. President Donald Trump's national security adviser has called Iran "the central banker of international terrorism" as he laid out a wider strategy for countering Tehran in the Middle East.
THE HOUSE OF SAUD PANICS, STARTS SILENCING MINOR CRITICS ABROAD & U.S. TREASURY SANCTIONS LIBYAN TERROR MASTER
Is Mohammed bin Salman the ‘world’s most dangerous man'?
Michael Rubin | Washington Examiner
Saudi journalist disappearance ruffles feathers in Washington
BY ALISON TAHMIZIAN MEUSE
Senators warned the affair could threaten the American-Saudi relationship, even as Trump offered tempered comments on the key US ally
Mapping the Saudi Road To Redemption
By BENNY AVNI, Special to the Sun | October 9, 2018
Once the dust settles over the fate of Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who disappeared inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last Tuesday and is rumored to have been murdered by agents of Riyadh, America must respond -- carefully. Continue Reading
Al Qaeda branch claims IED attack on Tunisian soldiers
The IED claim is the group's first since July and just the second attack claim of the year for the small Tunisian Al Qaeda wing.
Why the CENTCOM chief says a long-term presence in Syria is not a war-footing against Iran
(Military Times) Recent statements from the White House regarding a long-term presence of troops in eastern Syria to counter Iranian influence in the country should not be interpreted as a shift to a war-footing, Pentagon leadership said Thursday.
A New Approach to Afghanistan
By Gary Anderson, Small Wars Journal: “The stalemated conflict in Afghanistan is becoming a forever war because it is a “for profit' enterprise for powerful interests on both Afghan sides of the war. Many senior leaders of the Afghan government, as well as the Taliban, are profiting daily from the conflict - why would they want to participate in a peace process that would kill their cash cow? This does not mean that the U.S. government should withdraw from the war - which is as worth fighting today as it was in 2001.”
Leveraging Regional Expertise to Counter Influence Operations
By Geoff McKeel, Strategy Bridge: “While these language and cultural initiatives are a step in the right direction, they are simply not aggressive enough to counter the rise of influence operations, or actions designed to produce a desired outcome on a target audience, which are becoming more prevalent as information and technology continue to reach more of the world’s people.”
The difficult promise of economic reform in the Gulf
Karen E. Young | The Baker Institute for Public Policy
Despite the pressures of fiscal deficits and labor market imbalances, the outlook for the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council is actually promising.
Gulf states fear competition at their peril
Karen E. Young | AEIdeas
The Wall Street Journal gets Persian Gulf military posture wrong
Michael Rubin | AEIdeas
Karen Young on economic reform in the Gulf
Spencer Moore, Cecilia Gallogly, and Karen E. Young | "Banter"
Karen Young discusses the regional, social, and political implications of economic reforms underway in the six Gulf Cooperation Council countries — Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman.
Iran plans to get around U.S. sanctions on its oil sales by selling its petroleum and conducting international trade in currencies other than the U.S. dollar, the Iranian diplomat who negotiated the nuclear deal said Saturday. - Washington Post
Mehdi Khalaji writes: Unable to understand the problematic aspects or fatal ramifications of its policies, the Islamic Republic refuses to realistically recognize any crisis as such[...]. Iran’s consistent record in acting as an authoritarian, pan-Islamic entity rather than a state based on its national interests prompts an even harder question: “What has kept Iranian revolutionary totalitarianism from falling so far?” - Washington Institute
Thomas Joscelyn — The Weekly Standard
On September 4, the Taliban announced that Jalaluddin Haqqani had “passed away after a long battle with illness.” A notorious jihadist who was one of Osama bin Laden’s earliest and closest allies, Haqqani had long been a recluse, with rumors swirling that he left the land of the living some years ago. But if the Taliban is telling the truth, then Haqqani died only recently. The terrorist organization he built lives on, however, and it has more influence today than ever. And a brief look at Haqqani’s career helps to explain how al Qaeda survived America’s relentless post-9/11 counterterrorism campaign... Read more
What’s next in Iraqi politics?
Michael Rubin | AEIdeas
After months of delays, Iraq is finally moving forward with the formation of its new government. On September 15, the new Iraqi parliament selected Mohammed al-Halbousi to be speaker. While some Western analysts dismissed him as an Iranian choice, they miss the broader point that Iraqi party lists are increasingly religiously diverse
Giving air-defense system to Syria threatens broader war
BY STEPHEN BRYEN AND SHOSHANA BRYEN
Russian defense minister's response to losing a surveillance plane to Syrian fire last week could spark a dangerous flare-up
James Jeffrey, the State Department’s special representative to Syria, insists that does not necessarily mean keeping U.S. military “boots on the ground.” Arab allies and local proxy forces backed by U.S. air power could replace the roughly 2,000 American troops deployed there as the administration begins a new push for the “removal of all Iranian-commanded forces from the entirety of Syria,” Jeffrey said late last week. - Washington Examiner
Three years in Syria, Russia sums up achievements and challenges
On the third anniversary of the Russian campaign in Syria, Foreign Minister Lavrov summed up Moscow's achievements but conceded challenges persist.
Uncertainty over possible Saudi investment in CPEC
BY F.M. SHAKIL
Beijing and Riyadh are yet to clarify whether Saudi Arabia will be involved in the multi-billion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor scheme, despite statements claiming that by new ministers in Islamabad
Saudi Arabia is at its least stable in 50 years
To maintain its stability, Saudi Arabia needs to end the costly war in Yemen, where much of the population is subject to famine and disease.
The US Is Prolonging an Unwinnable War in Yemen
// Mohamad Bazzi
The Trump administration is allowing its policy to be dictated by Saudi Arabia's rivalry with Iran.