15 minutes | Jan 4, 2020
The Killing of Major General Qassem Soleimani | Initial Observations
The killing of Iranian Al-Quds Force Commander, Major General Qassem Soleimani by the United States (January 3rd, 2020), launched a shock wave that ripples through the Middle East. Qassem Soleimani was the Al-Quds Force commander. The Al -Quds force is an elite unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRG). The IRG reports directly to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Soleimani was the spearhead, the lead strategist – in charge of designing, leading, and implementing Iran’s hegemonic vision in the Middle East. His role was to spread Iran’s reach and influence and make Iran the superpower in the region. And he did so primarily by creating, supporting, and nurturing a network of militias throughout the Middle East including Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, Iraqi Shi’ite militias, Yemeni Houthi forces, Afghan and Pakistani Shi’ites militias, etc. Under Soleimani’s command, Iran deepened its hold in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and the Gaza Strip. Some argue that the assassination of Soleimani will increase tensions in the Middle East. This outlook confuses cause and effect: Tensions in the Middle East have intensified over the past decade because of the violent Iranian aggression which Soleimani spearheaded. Aggression which has led to Syria's destruction and the disintegration of Lebanon and Iraq. Aggression that threatens maritime routes and safe passage in the Arab (Persian) Gulf and the Red Sea, a direct attack on Saudi Arabia's oil facilities that spiked oil prices and compromised the world's oil supply. Aggression that has fueled and intensified tensions - including direct military confrontations - between Iran and its proxies and Israel. What to expect over the next few days? In my view, Iraq will be the main arena. From a regional point of view, an internal flare-up in Iraq could lead to a drastic Iranian move, which has two possible – and perhaps parallel tracks. One track is a missile attack on Israel from western Iraq. The other is direct Iranian military intervention in Iraq.
37 minutes | Oct 10, 2019
Part 3 | Alarms on Lebanese-Israeli Border: Preemptive Actions to Prevent a Wide-Scale War in The Middle East
In Part 1 of my three-part analysis, “Alarms on the Lebanese – Israel Border might be Last Wake-up Call for Western Leaders” (September 11, 2019), I explained and contextualized the events of September 1, 2019, on the Israeli Lebanese border. In Part 2, “Alarms on the Lebanese – Israeli Border (Part 2) Iran’s Hegemonic Modus Operandi” (September 13, 2019) I described the Iranians vision of creating a “The Shi’ite Crescent” to become the regional superpower, their strategy, and accomplishments towards that end. And why they must be prevented from achieving that goal. The ink of my previous two articles hadn’t even dried when on September 14th, Iran directly attacked Saudi Arabian oil facilities in northeast Saudi Arabia. The attack reduced Saudi daily oil production by half, oil prices spiked, tensions in the region further escalated, and the ripple effects continue to be felt around the world. Iran’s attack on Saudi Arabia demonstrates the severe threat the Mullah regime’s hegemonic vision and aggression presents to the region and the world. What Happens in the Middle East Does Not Stay in the Middle East. Western leaders have tolerated Iran’s aggression for way too long. Even the most appeasing Western leaders can no longer continue to turn a blind eye to the threat the Mullah regime presents. Iran’s plan to become the regional superpower must be stopped. In this article – the last installment of my three-part analysis – I will provide guidelines to achieve that objective.
22 minutes | Sep 12, 2019
Alarms on the Lebanese-Israeli Border (Part 2) - Iran's Hegemonic Modus Operandi
In Part 1 of this Series I explained and contextualized the events of September 1 on the Israeli Lebanese border. I ended the article by saying the following: "It is likely that yesterday’s short round between Israel and Hezbollah might be the last wake-up call for Western leaders. It should be clear that the potential for a severe, rapid escalation leading to a total war continues to escalate – even if punctuated by rounds of calm.” The core value of the Iranian Mullah regime, which is embedded in the Iranian Constitution is “Exporting the Islamic Revolution.” The goal of "Exporting the Islamic Revolution" is to ensure that Iran becomes the dominant Superpower in the Middle East. Driven and guided by that concept, the Mullah regime pursues an aggressive expansion policy to create a secure an Iranian-controlled region stretching from Lebanon through Syria, Iraq, Iran, the Arab (Persian) Gulf, to Yemen – the “Shi’ite Crescent.” In the eyes of the Mullah regime, achieving regional dominance will right the historical wrong. And will restore justice and honor to the Shi’ites who – according to their narrative – were denied the crown of leading the Muslim world. The result of the Mullah regime’s quest to be the regional Superpower is a massive power struggle spread into eight active arenas between Iran and its proxies on the one hand, and the Arab states in general and the Arab Gulf Monarchies in particular – led by Saudi Arabia, on the other side. These eight arenas are: Three Islands in the Gulf near the Strait of Hormuz (Abu Musa, Lesser Tomb, and Greater Tomb); Bahrain, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, the Gaza Strip, and the Iranian Nuclear Project. Today most senior leaders of the Iranian regime openly brag that Iran controls four Arab state capitals – Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad, and Sana'a. They threaten to eliminate the Saudi Monarchy and vow to eliminate the state of Israel. In 2019, the Mullah Regime’s Strategy Marks Substantial Achievements in Securing Control of the Shi'ite Crescent. The Iranian regime's regional hegemonic vision causes death and destruction throughout the Middle East. To stop the Mullah regime, the West must accurately identify the modus operandi of the Iranian regime and apply a multi-faceted strategy. There is no simple solution, and there is no "magic bullet." What needs to be one to thwart Iran's hegemonic vision? And why should it be the West’s top priority to immediately and resolutely address immediately the very flammable situation, and defuse the ticking bomb of an Israeli – Hezbollah war?
9 minutes | Jul 16, 2019
Why Did Al Jazeera Air a Story About Turkey's Brutal Oppression of Journalists?
On July 6, 2019 Qatari-owned Al Jazeera aired the first of a three-part show called "Media haven or hell? The paradox of journalism in Turkey" highlighting Turkey's brutal oppression of treatment of Turkish journalists and thinkers. The report aired while Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar was in Washington, DC meeting with US President Trump. This is intriguing because Qatar and Turkey have a close relationship. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the President Turkey, constantly strives to position himself as the leader of the Sunni world in the Middle East, challenging major Arab Sunni states like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt. Qatar strives to position itself as leading Arab Gulf Monarchy and to that end conducts a regional and foreign policy that challenges the line of the Arab Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). As a result, in 2017 Saudi and the United Arab Emirates initiated a blockade on Qatar. This podcast explores Qatar's reasons and illustrates the point that everything in the Middle East is linked. And if you understand the links in the chain, you can make sense of seemingly disconnected, yet very connected events - and even begin to "predict the future."
16 minutes | Jul 14, 2019
Belly Dancing In Baghdad
Iraq is one of eight active arenas of a massive power struggle between Iran and the Arab States. The other stages are the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, three Islands in the Gulf near the Strait of Hormuz, and the Iranian Nuclear Project. A cornerstone of Iran’s foreign policy is building and controlling a land corridor stretching from Iran through Iraq. Iran wants to gain control of the area from Iran to the Mediterranean Sea. The way they are attempting to do that is through flooding the area with militants and missiles. Controlling Iraq is critical to that end. The outcome of the power struggle in Iraq between pro-Iranian and anti-Iranian forces is critical to the future of the Middle East – and exceeds the region. Failing to prevent the completion of the Iranian land corridor will very likely lead to war and destruction on a massive scale. The ramifications of such a war will significantly exceed the region. Click Here to Read Post on my Website
15 minutes | Jul 4, 2019
A Symbolic Day for the The Muslim Brotherhood
The Muslim Brotherhood Jamaat al-Ikhwan al-Muslimin, was founded in Egypt at the end of the 1920’sby Hassan al-Banna, an Egyptian scholar, teacher and Iman (preacher). Today the Muslim Brotherhood is the largest mass movement in the Sunni Muslim world, with chapters in all Muslim states and in some non-Muslim states. The Jordanian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood was formed in 1946. Al-Zuneibat led the MB in Jordan at end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st century. In 2015, he and other reformist MB members severed ties with thTe MB, created MBS, and declared the MBS the only MB representative in Jordan. As the most prominent representative of Political Islam*, the Muslim Brotherhood, believes that Islam is a cohesive and comprehensive religious, moral, political, social, and economic structure given to mankind by Allah. Therefore, the Islamic religious codex – the Shari’ah (literally translated “the path”) must be implemented in every aspect of human existence. Their slogan “Islam is the Solution” demonstrates that to the Muslim Brotherhood and their adherents, Islam is flawless. Throughout its history, the Brotherhood has experienced ups and downs. As the first waves of the Arab Awakening were rolling across the Arab world from 2011 -2013, the Muslim Brotherhood marked Its biggest political achievement. They came to power in Egypt and Tunisia, and Muslim Brotherhood chapters in Algeria, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Morocco, and Qatar, were gaining support and momentum. However, the historical accomplishments did not last long. The rapid downfall of the Muslim Brotherhood generated a growing political and ideological debate within the movement centering around two major issues: political flexibility and the relationship between the Muslim Brotherhood movement and the modern independent nation-state. The debate resulted in the emergence of two camps: The “Castle Guardians” and the “Reform Camp” and the eventual split between the two in Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt and Jordan. To Read the Full Blog Post Click Here or to see my website click Here
6 minutes | Jun 26, 2019
A Significant Nomination in Iraq
On Monday, June 24th the Iraqi Parliament approved the nomination of the following Ministers: General (Res.) Najah Hassan Ali al-Shammari to be Iraq’s Minister of Defense; Yassin Taher Hassan al-Yasiri to be Iraq’s Minister of Interior Affairs; and Farouk al-Shwani to be Iraq’s Minister of Justice. The Iraqi elections were held in May 2018. Since then – until Monday, those three positions had not been filled. The reason for the delay was the power struggle within Iraq between Iranian proxies and pro-Iranian factors and those who reject Iranian intervention in Iraq and in Iraqi affairs. (On the Iranian-Iraqi struggle in Iraq, please see some articles I have published on that issue below). n Monday, June 24th the Iraqi Parliament approved the nomination of the following Ministers: General (Res.) Najah Hassan Ali al-Shammari to be Iraq’s Minister of Defense; Yassin Taher Hassan al-Yasiri to be Iraq’s Minister of Interior Affairs; and Farouk al-Shwani to be Iraq’s Minister of Justice. In my analysis, Al- Shammari’s nomination is a political achievement for the Iraqi camp that opposes Iranian intervention in Iraq. Click Here to Read Post on my Website
6 minutes | Feb 5, 2019
From Beirut to Warsaw
The General Elections in Lebanon took place in May 2018. Since the elections, Iran has ordered The Lebanese Shi'ite Proxy, Hezbollah - a member of the Lebanese Parliament (with 13 Seats) - to veto the formation of the government. Iran recently gave Hezbollah the green light to approve the formation of a government. On the one hand, this indicates that Iran "backed down" a bit - the question is why? On the other hand, do not be deceived - in spite of "The Lebanese Government" - Hezbollah and Iran still control Lebanon.
20 minutes | Jan 24, 2019
Increasing Probability for Large-Scale Collision Between Israel & Iranian Proxies in 2019
Another significant direct Israel-Iranian military collision took place in Syria on January 20 and 21, 2019. The incident signals a change in the ground rules. What happened? Why? And what strategy can be employed to stabilize the arena and prevent further escalation?
20 minutes | Jan 24, 2019
Increasing Probability for Large-Scale Collision Between Israel & Iranian Proxies in 2019
As we enter 2019, the probability over the next year, of a large-scale military confrontation between Israel and Iranian proxies has significantly increased. In order to prevent that scenario these are my recommendations: The United States must employ and lead a strategy that is backed by major European factors that will focus on stabilizing the situation in the eight arenas of the escalating and intensifying power struggle between Iran and its proxies, and the Arab states and the Gulf Monarchies led by Saudi Arabia. As I outlined above, those eight arenas are: Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain, The Gulf, Yemen, the Gaza Strip, and, the Iranian Nuclear and Ballistic Missile Project. The specific focus on that strategy should be: Sustain and increase the pressure on the Lebanese Hezbollah; Strengthen the Iraqi government’s ability to restrain the Iranian affiliated militias within the PMU; Accelerate the process of securing a political arrangement in Syria that will prevent Iran from completing its Land Corridor; Strictly implement the Hodeidah Agreement, and actively promote a political arrangement to end the war in Yemen that will focus on thwarting Iranian efforts to control Yemen and the surrounding waterways and water passages; Increase United States military presence in The Gulf; Lay the foundation for a NATO-style Alliance of the Arab Gulf States, Jordan, and Egypt that will be designated to maintain and protect the integrity and sovereignty of Arab states
11 minutes | Jan 2, 2019
Rapprochement In Syria - A Tipping Point? January 2, 2018
President Trump's decision to withdraw US forces from Syria has accelerated the Arab world's rapprochement to Assad. But there is a price to pay...Who are the possible winners and who are the potential losers?
38 minutes | Jan 2, 2019
Briefing Following Trump Announcement to Withdraw US Forces from Syria, December 23, 2018
This is a recording of a conference call briefing I held on Sunday, December 23, 2018 in which I provided my immediate analysis of the ramifications of US President, Donald Trump's decision to withdraw United States forces from Syria.
5 minutes | Jan 2, 2019
The War in Yemen - It's About Iran, December 8, 2018
An overview of the war in Yemen and the reason the US must back Saudi Arabia in its war against the Iranian aggressive expansion policy.
6 minutes | Jan 2, 2019
Assassination of British Radio Broadcaster in Lebanon
British Radio Broadcaster, Gavin Ford was found dead last week outside of Beirut Lebanon. A British citizen, Ford had lived in Lebanon for more than twenty years. What is the connection of Ford's mysterious demise to Lebanese politics?
15 minutes | Jan 2, 2019
Gaza Update October 26 - 27, 2018
Update and analysis of the overnight attack by Islamic Jihad In Palestine (IJIP) on Israeli communities in Otef Aza (the areas surrounding the Gaza Strip), the IDF response, and the subsequent behavior of IJIP.
8 minutes | Jan 2, 2019
Zoom In ~ Zoom Out | The Reopening of the Jordan-Syria Nassib Border Crossing, October 16, 2018
On the surface, the Reopening of the Nassib Border Crossing, connecting Syria and Jordan, which has been closed since 2015 might give the impression that the situation in Syria has stabilized and that Bashar al Assad, the President of Syria, has restored his sovereignty and control over the country. However, zooming in and zooming out helps you understand that that might not necessarily be the case... .
15 minutes | Jan 2, 2019
Who Is Jamal Khashoggi? October 15, 2018
On October 2, 2018 Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, entered the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Istanbul, Turkey and has not been seen since. Who was he? And why does his disappearance offer us a glimpse into one of the central power Middle East power struggles?
2 minutes | Jan 2, 2019
Zoom In ~ Zoom Out | Lebanon & Iran, October 10, 2018
Why does Hezbollah want to head the Ministry of Health in the next Lebanese government?
11 minutes | Jan 2, 2019
Lebanon and The STL as of October 7 2018
This podcast explores the latest on the investigation of The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), an international tribunal established in March 2009, whose primary mandate is to hold trials for the people accused of carrying out the attack on February 14, 2005 which killed 22 people, including the former prime minister of Lebanon, Rafiq Hariri, and injured many others.