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The Middle East...where Are Events Taking Us?


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Posted
  • Location: ILCHESTER
  • Location: ILCHESTER

    In answer to the question title of the thread... inexorably towards the abyss imo, Ahmadinejad is the loosest of loose cannons. This will probably all come down to whether a network of unelected institutions controlled by the highly powerful conservative Supreme Leader is countered by a president and parliament elected by the people - somehow I fear the latter will ultimately triumph.

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    There is no other description for what is happening other than war crime and genocide.   Israel is technically the occupying force on Gaza and as such is duty bound to protect civilians.   Complet

    The scenes in Gaza look like the aftermath of a nuclear bomb, utter devastation. The Israelis telling people to go back to their homes in northern Gaza as its "safe", what are they supposed to go back

    Reported on the BBC too... An air strike on an army camp has killed three soldiers, the Syrian government says, blaming the US-led coalition for the attack. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-

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    Posted
  • Location: 4 miles north of Durham City
  • Location: 4 miles north of Durham City

    In answer to the question title of the thread... inexorably towards the abyss imo, Ahmadinejad is the loosest of loose cannons. This will probably all come down to whether a network of unelected institutions controlled by the highly powerful conservative Supreme Leader is countered by a president and parliament elected by the people - somehow I fear the latter will ultimately triumph.

    You mean the former?

    Edited by PersianPaladin
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    Posted
  • Location: Sheffield South Yorkshire 160M Powering the Sheffield Shield
  • Weather Preferences: Any Extreme
  • Location: Sheffield South Yorkshire 160M Powering the Sheffield Shield

    Latest news is that the aid convoy has been denied permission to enter Baba Amr district of Homs.

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    Posted
  • Location: Sheffield South Yorkshire 160M Powering the Sheffield Shield
  • Weather Preferences: Any Extreme
  • Location: Sheffield South Yorkshire 160M Powering the Sheffield Shield

    Going back to Libya the country lack of stability has been demonstrated by the attack on war graves. The Government promises to prosecute those involved which is very unlikely.

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    • 1 month later...
    • 2 weeks later...
    Posted
  • Location: Camborne
  • Location: Camborne

    Some thoughts on Bahrain from a respected Middle East commentator Amir Taheri.

    Bernie Ecclestone has done Bahrain a favour

    Until recently the kingdom was a haven for moderation. This furore may restore fairness

    While the drivers in yesterday’s Grand Prix were fixated on their tachometers, Bahrain was heading for tragedy at top speed.

    When it started last year, Bahrain’s Arab Spring-style uprising was a model of moderation. All it demanded was that the Shia 70 per cent of the population be given a bigger say in running the country and better social services in the pockets of poverty that exist alongside some of the richest neighbourhoods in the region.

    For a time, some hoped that the Government would respond with equal moderation, making change its friend rather than its enemy. Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa held informal “dialogues†with protesters that resulted in a “National Concord†designed to foster democracy.

    But a year later, the opposition has shed much of its moderation while the ruling family has hardened its position. The result has been more than 300 deaths, 150 “disappearances†and 1,000 prisoners: dramatic numbers for a population of fewer than 700,000.

    The “concord†came under pressure from all sides. Having failed to influence the Arab Spring elsewhere, Iran hoped to score points in Bahrain by smuggling in agitators, mostly from among exiles living in Iran or Europe. At the other end of the spectrum, Arab Sunni regimes, such as Saudi Arabia, whipped up a scare about a Shia Crescent stretching from Iran to the Mediterranean. They depicted Bahrain as the latest battlefield for a sectarian feud that dates back to the dawn of Islam. The al-Khalifa family were “advised†to clamp down.

    The al-Khalifa themselves were divided. While the Western-educated Crown Prince preached reform his great uncle, Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman, the Prime Minister, insisted that only an iron first could work. Thousands of troops from neighbouring states poured in to back the crackdown. The world has changed and Bahrain with it since Sheikh Khalifa became effective ruler in the mid-1960s but he remains frozen in his belief that power is maintained by money and sword alone.

    The smallest of the 21 Arab states, Bahrain was, until the current turmoil, a success story and a haven of moderation. It is the only Gulf state to have made its fortune without oil and has one of the best educated populations in the Arab world, with an economy based on hi-tech and financial services. Unlike their sisters in Iran and Arab countries, Bahraini women enjoy full equality and are not forced to wear veils by the authorities.

    A decade ago, a new emir, Hamad bin Isa, transformed the Emirate into a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament, retitling himself King in the process. The idea was that the Shia majority could find a voice through Parliament without challenging al-Khalifa rule. But that policy is now in tatters for two reasons. First, elections were “massaged†to prevent a Shia majority emerging. Second, the global recession reduced job opportunities. Shias claim they are the victims of a “religious apartheid†that reserves the best jobs for Sunnis. Some Shia neighbourhoods now resemble ghettos where despair is part of the daily fare.

    Bahrain is not Syria and Sheikh Khalifa, despite his misguided “iron fistâ€, is no Bashar al-Assad. But repression has failed and threatens regional stability. Bahrain, which hosts the headquarters of the US Fifth Fleet, is linked to Saudi Arabia by a 20km bridge. Turmoil could spread to Saudi’s Eastern Province, which has a sizeable Shia population and contains 80 per cent of the kingdom’s oilfields. The result could be skyrocketing oil prices.

    Western democracies cannot remain indifferent. They must use their considerable influence to persuade the ruling family to choose reform, perhaps by replacing Sheikh Khalifa. Because there is still that chance, Bahrain does not need regime change but the ruling regime must change. The Bahrainis should not be made to pay the price of a power struggle between Iran and the US and its allies.

    Formula One has brought a festering situation to world attention. Maybe Bernie Ecclestone did something good without knowing it.

    Amir Taheri is an Iranian commentator, based in Paris and London

    Edited by Weather Ship
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    It certainly appears to be the case that the holding the Grand Prix there has raised the world awareness of the plight of the oppressed majority - I just hope that Islamic fundmentalism does not gain the upper hand.

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    Posted
  • Location: Camborne
  • Location: Camborne

    It certainly appears to be the case that the holding the Grand Prix there has raised the world awareness of the plight of the oppressed majority - I just hope that Islamic fundmentalism does not gain the upper hand.

    I don't think it's about that. It's about the usual internal conflict within Islam between Sunni and Shia and a minority elite. Why do you think Saudi Arabia sent in the troops.The Grand Prix motives were purely financial which basically that's what formula one is all about.

    Shi'ism, which came to Bahrain in 1500, is the island's dominant religion. Between two thirds and three quarters of the Shia population is native in origin, the remainder being of Iranian descent. This division is social as well as cultural. The Iranian Shia, known as Ajam, are well represented in the middle class professions and politically inactive. They see their relative privilege as contingent on the good will of the ruling Sunni al-Khalifas and are reluctant to jeopardize their position. Their native counterparts, known as Baharna, occupy the lowest strata of society and constitute ninety per cent of the labour force. The two communities inhabit separate districts and there is little intermarriage between them. Defining themselves in opposition to the Ajam as well as ruling Sunnis, the Baharna have retained a strong Arab identity. Despite the segregation of the the two communities, antagonism arose in the 1950s and 60s as the schism between conservatives and Arab nationalists came to mark not only a division between Arab and Persian, but between rich and poor across the Arab world.

    http://www.globalsec...in-religion.htm

    Edited by Weather Ship
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    Posted
  • Location: Camborne
  • Location: Camborne

    Still not sure which way this is going but I cannot believe anyone is considering military action unless Israel feel they have no choice.

    Western sanctions on Iran are having a greater impact than expected because of an unusual level of international acquiescence that America has been able to corral. “It is a degree of unity they [Tehran] didn’t expect,†said Professor Ali Ansari at Chatham House.

    Although sanctions against regimes crumble over time, Western dominance of world banking and insurance has made it easier to enforce restrictions aimed at Iranian oil transporters and hard currency payment transactions.

    Jonathan Eyal, at the Royal United Services Institute, said: “The obsessive nature with which Iranian negotiators are demanding the lifting of sanctions on the banking sector is indirect confirmation of how the sanctions are biting.†Figures released by Opec this month show a 15 per cent drop in Iranian oil production over the past year. At that rate, Iran would cease to be the world’s second largest oil exporter next year.

    China has reduced imports by 30 per cent and India by 11 per cent, though there are reports of discreet barter and local currency deals at reduced rates to both countries. Japan, South Korea and ten European states have promised to halt all imports of Iranian oil after July when an EU ban on insurance for Iranian oil shipments comes into effect. Not having insurance against natural disaster represents a huge risk for any sanctions-busting tanker owner. Iran is now reported to have 36 million barrels of oil languishing in its own super tankers off its coastline.

    Saudi Arabia and the US have moved to shore up international reserves, with Saudi shipments to the US running 25 per cent higher this year and to China 14 per cent up from the year before.

    The move appears designed to guard against shocks to the world oil price from any Iranian military showdown.

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    Posted
  • Location: Chipping Norton, 220mts /720ft asl
  • Location: Chipping Norton, 220mts /720ft asl

    So Egypt now has the choice of Mubarak's best mate or the Muslim Brotherhood - well done Egypt, your 'Arab Spring' was really worthwhile. I'll give it 3 years and they'll be importing sand,

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    Posted
  • Location: Sheffield South Yorkshire 160M Powering the Sheffield Shield
  • Weather Preferences: Any Extreme
  • Location: Sheffield South Yorkshire 160M Powering the Sheffield Shield

    A combination of a splintered opposition and China and Russia backing the Syrian regime there's unlikely to be any military action for the foreseeable future.

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    Posted
  • Location: Sheffield South Yorkshire 160M Powering the Sheffield Shield
  • Weather Preferences: Any Extreme
  • Location: Sheffield South Yorkshire 160M Powering the Sheffield Shield

    Syria's only hope is to discover oil - and quickly

    Or perhaps getting a united opposition and a leader would help them as well.

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    Posted
  • Location: Camborne
  • Location: Camborne

    Hague says we are not ruling out any options. Does anyone know what the options are because I cannot believe military intervention is one. Putin naturally denies supplying weapons which I find very difficult to believe as the Soviets and then Russia have been doing so for at least 50 years.

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    Posted
  • Location: Sheffield South Yorkshire 160M Powering the Sheffield Shield
  • Weather Preferences: Any Extreme
  • Location: Sheffield South Yorkshire 160M Powering the Sheffield Shield

    Hague says we are not ruling out any options. Does anyone know what the options are because I cannot believe military intervention is one. Putin naturally denies supplying weapons which I find very difficult to believe as the Soviets and then Russia have been doing so for at least 50 years.

    Perhaps Putin is referring to this year???

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    Posted
  • Location: Camborne
  • Location: Camborne

    Perhaps Putin is referring to this year???

    And I'm Richard Branson. Russias only port for it's Black Sea fleet is Tartus. And if they didn't do it by direct means there is always via Iran.

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    Posted
  • Location: Sheffield South Yorkshire 160M Powering the Sheffield Shield
  • Weather Preferences: Any Extreme
  • Location: Sheffield South Yorkshire 160M Powering the Sheffield Shield

    Looks like the trouble is spreading http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-18309534 funnily enough Annan thinks full blown civil war is on the way. I thought it has been pretty close if not for a very long time.

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    Posted
  • Location: Devizes Wiltshire
  • Location: Devizes Wiltshire

    United Nations monitors in Syria that were trying to access the scene of "new massacres" in Hama province were shot with small arms, UN Security-General Ban Ki-Moon told the UN General Assembly.

    Moon said that he had just learned the information "a few minutes ago." He also called the reports of what happened in Hama "shocking and sickening."

    Well he going live soon in the united nations, hopefully NATO might pull there fingers out of there ass and help these people!

    Edited by lfcdude
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    Posted
  • Location: Beccles, Suffolk.
  • Weather Preferences: Thunder, snow, heat, sunshine...
  • Location: Beccles, Suffolk.

    Well, so long as Russia and China keep descending into schoolboyish one-upmanship with the West, many more innocent people are going to die!

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    Posted
  • Location: Camborne
  • Location: Camborne

    Escalation is always going to be the danger of any intervention. These missiles are under the control of Iranian technicians.

    Syria Moving Scuds to Israel, Turkey Borders – Report

    Jordanian news site says western spy satellites show hundreds of Scud launchers moving south and north.

    Jordanian news site Ahbar Baladna reports that western spy satellites have recently spotted movements of Syrian heavy missile launchers northward and southward, toward Syria's borders with Turkey and Israel.

    The site says hundreds of high-caliber launchers are being moved, and that these could only be long range Scud missile launchers.

    Syria has threatened in the past that in the event of foreign military intervention on its soil, it will not hesitate to fire missiles at Israel and Turkey in order to ignite a large scale regional war.

    Turkish and French officials said ten days ago they were mulling a potential military intervention in Syria, where civil war has been raging for 14 months.

    “In the face of developments in Syria, we are taking into consideration any kind of possibility in line with our national security and interests,†Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu told parliament during a briefing to lawmakers.

    http://www.israelnat...05#.T9Rhw1Jjnhc

    Edited by Weather Ship
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    Posted
  • Location: Camborne
  • Location: Camborne

    I still think the best bet is that it will eventually be settled internally. Perhaps much of the Syrian army will defect. this unfortunately will not avoid a bloodbath.

    There are reports of flagging morale in the 300,000-strong army. Many conscripts have absconded. Rebel attacks by the

    ragtag Free Syrian Army have been increasing.

    In a recent ambush more than 100 Syrian soldiers are said to have been killed. Most soldiers are Sunnis, less loyal to the ruling

    Assad regime than is the Alawite minority to which the Assads belong. The army's elite squads, led by Mr Assad's hawkish brother Maher, now a cult figure among his men, are still fiercely loyal.

    The shabiha, drawn mainly from the Alawite community, are carrying out many of the atrocities. "[bashar] Assad is ultimately responsible for creating the conditions for these paramilitaries to operate," says Emile Hokayem, another analyst. "But no one thinks he picks up the phone to order every attack. These groups may act on their own initiative too."

    Source: Economist June 9-15

    Edited by Weather Ship
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