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   Iran Revolution Revisited -

Iran is celebrating thirty years of its Islamic Revolution. Al Jazeera English, the Middle East’s favorite television network, has been running a great series based on interviews and first person accounts to mark the occasion.

   Where Obama can make a difference

The American people are celebrating history. Barack Obama has just been sworn in as the 44th President of the United States and is the first African-American to sit in the Oval Office.

   US Needs to Rethink Israel Policy

Almost two years ago a pair of fearless US academics boldly suggested that perhaps — just perhaps — American foreign policy in the Middle East was too beholden to Israel. And, my-oh-my, did they ever feel the heat!

   Collective suffering fuels Palestinian resistance

Americans might believe that the current violence in Gaza began on December 27, but in fact Palestinians have been dying from bombardments for many weeks.

   Logic of a Soldier and Advice for Gaza

The latest escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip between Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, and Israel, serves as a reminder to the powers able to influence the parties in conflict, primarily the United States, the European Union and the Arab world, of two points of paramount importance.

   A year of turmoil and despair

It would be hard to say that year 2008 has been a positive year from an international perspective even with pink tinted glasses. Since the beginning of this century when assessing the previous year, it is clear that good news outweighed the bad news.

   Addressing the root cause of piracy

The world is finally advancing on several fronts to find a coordinated way to defeat the pirates operating off the coast of Somalia. Many of the proposals are useful and important, and the multi-lateral style of planning is essential for their long term success.

   China appears to hold all the cards

It is a truth occasionally acknowledged that if you lay a map of China over one of the US, some striking similarities emerge. Their size is uncannily close, with both occupying almost exactly 6.5 per cent of the world's land mass.

   Biden foreboding coming true

When Senator Joe Biden, Barack Obama's vice-president, said a few weeks ago that the new president of the United States will be tested by an international crisis in the first six months of his term, he was dead serious.

   Eyeing a change that works

Back in July 2007, when the possibility that Barack Obama might win the presidency was still just a gleam in the candidate's eye, he met with former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski to ask for some advice. But he wasn't after the usual campaign position papers or sound bites. Obama was already thinking in bigger terms.

   The lowly computer a victim of modernity

What is a computer? Difficult question. Processing power has become so abundant that running shoes now calculate distances jogged, cars tell drivers where to turn, while unsupervised robots can trim a garden's herbaceous borders.

   Saudi reforms tell a tale of success in raking in FDI

Economic reforms pay off as shown by growing inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Saudi Arabia. FDI allows long-term commitments, as opposed to investments in stock markets.

   So What If Obama is Indeed a Muslim?

Mark Twain said a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes. This is what seems to be happening in this US presidential election.

   Investors are watching as governments try to avert total collapse of financial system

What's wrong with the global economy? No one seems to have the right answer. Governments are pumping in cash to bail out the global financial system.

   Advent of a new season of mergers

The announcement that the UAE's market leaders in the mortgage business have begun merger talks points to the advent of a new season of financial sector mergers in the UAE and the Gulf region.

   New US president faces Herculean task

Nothing could be more logical than a peace deal between Israel and Syria, yet the “illogical” logic often driving Middle East politics indicates that the most rational policy for both sides is to maintain the status quo.

   Logic of Illogical Israeli-Syrian Ties

Nothing could be more logical than a peace deal between Israel and Syria, yet the “illogical” logic often driving Middle East politics indicates that the most rational policy for both sides is to maintain the status quo.

   What A Fine Mess We Have Created!

Ben S. Bernanke, the chairman of the US Federal Reserve System, may be dead wrong about the urgent need for the proposed $700 billion this former professor and his buddy, US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, have been peddling to Congress this week. Or he may be dead right about the necessity of this massive bank bailout.

   When a game is not 'just another game'

It is possible, should you so desire, to download a video game called "Muslim Massacre" from the internet. Although it is common enough for video games to exploit the virtues of killing as many people as possible, the objective of this particular video game takes on a particularly nasty twist, and at a time when relations between Muslims and others are sensitive enough.

   Nuclear India must end its China-bashing

India's success recently at the Nuclear Suppliers Group meeting in Vienna unleashed a wave of nationalist chest-beating greater even than a few weeks earlier when Abhinav Bindra, a shooter, became the nation's first individual to win an Olympic gold medal.

   Nato Needs to Change the Tack

If he hasn’t already, as President, Barack Obama will realise soon enough that the troops he withdraws from Iraq will in all likelihood end up redeploying to Afghanistan. And, a President McCain, will likewise be faced with the reality that American forces may well end up staying in the region for the next hundred years.

   Nobody Cares When a Japan PM Goes; But We Should

These days, when a Japanese Prime Minister resigns, the temptation is to say just two things. One is ' ho',and the other is 'hum.'

   Can you miss the Chinese design?

China's desire to give its home-grown design and engineering students the skills to compete in the global market received a boost in March, when Autodesk launched a student design community for the country.

   Break the 'Arab' siege of Gaza

The two boats that sailed through the Mediterranean to the shore of Gaza Strip left after a week with less Arab media attention. I really felt ashamed that the 40 activists on board, who defied the inhuman Israeli blockade and the strangulating siege of more than a million Palestinian in the Gaza Strip, came from 14 countries; none of them Arab.

   United in discord

YET more haunting images of blindfolded, stripped down Palestinian men being contemptuously dragged by soldiers in uniform from one place to another. Yet more footage of bloodied men lying on hospital beds describing their ordeals to television reporters who had heard this story all too often.

   A hardwired dispute

ALMOST a decade ago Kashmir-watchers were startled and disturbed by the newest peace balloon to be pushed afloat — this time by a furniture magnate based in America.

   Defeating the war-war mindset

Whoever wins the American presidency in November will come up hard against what former president Dwight Eisenhower described as the "military-industrial complex".

   The more things change...

US presidential hopeful Barack Obama's three-day visit to Israel, and one quick stop in Ramallah carried just one surprise; that he wished to meet with Palestinians at all. Those who count on Obama to drastically shift US foreign policy in the Middle East, can rest assured that there will certainly be a few cosmetic changes, here and there, but nothing substantial.

   Indo-US deal and Muslims

As the debate over India's controversial nuclear deal with the United States heats up, a new and totally unexpected angle has been added to the controversy: Whether the deal is "anti-Muslim" and if the Muslims, India's largest minority and the world's largest Muslim population, support or oppose the accord with the US.

   A dead end in Asian politics

It has become the common blight of many a postcolonial state that the discrepancy between political idealism and the realities on the ground grow wider by the day. It has also been my singular misfortune that the nature of my work as a political scientist who studies the uneven development of many such nation-states means that I have grown somewhat jaded by such contradictions that are all too evident when one is distant from the country in question.

   An American in Russia

Conventional wisdom treated Dmitry Medvedev's inauguration as president of the Russian Federation as a continuation of President Vladimir Putin's two terms of Kremlin dominance and assertive foreign policy.

   Turkey faces a litmus test

For the past few years, in particular since the arrival of the Justice and Development Party (known as AKP, the acronym of its Turkish name) to power in November 2002, Turkey has performed as a model to refute the long-held Western theory that Islam and democracy are incompatible. That model seems to be crumbling now.

   Obama should visit a mosque

I'll admit it, I'm thin-skinned about the kinds of slurs and innuendo about Muslims that have accompanied Barack Obama's presidential campaign. Years of being subjected to them while I covered the Bosnian war did that.

   Turning a blind eye to torture

Sixty years ago this year the UN General Assembly accepted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; and in doing so stated that "No one shall be subjected to torture."

   Why is France wooing Syria?

After years of heightened tension, Syrian-French relations seem to be improving at a steady pace. Syria's President Bashar Al Assad has been invited to participate in the summit dedicated to the launching of the Mediterranean project, which will be held in Paris on July 13.

   Gaza's dying children

A 6-YEAR-OLD Palestinian girl from Gaza was killed by Israeli fire, June 12. "Medics say the girl was decapitated by a (tank) shell," the Associated Press reported the next day.

   The twain can meet

Dialogue is a funny business, particularly when it happens to be dialogue of the inter-civilisational and inter-religious kind.

   America's neo-colonial designs

In the teeth of much local and regional opposition, Washington is pressuring Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki to conclude a "strategic alliance" with the United States, which would allow it to keep substantial military forces in Iraq for the foreseeable future.

   Arab women lose again, this time in Kuwait

For a second time in Kuwait's history, 27 women ran for parliament, and for the second time no Kuwaiti woman was elected.

   Promises they can't keep

Barack Obama or John McCain, whichever candidate ends up in the White House after the November elections, will face a serious challenge correcting eight years of George W. Bush's largely disastrous foreign policies.

   Perils of assimilation

A quick look at the troubles in the predominantly Muslim-Malay provinces of Southern Thailand — which has been a troubled spot for the past four years at least — would point to a fundamental flaw in the line of thinking of the powers-that-be in Bangkok.

   Driving towards disaster

Everywhere I go these days, talking about the global energy predicament on the college lecture circuit or at environmental conferences, I hear an increasingly shrill cry for "solutions".

   The Muslim world and the invaluable use of Oil

In the last 60 years, Israel has turned Palestine into the largest concentration camp ever in history, gradually wiping it off the map of the world. 1.5 million Palestinian prisoners in Gaza are being starved to death while the rest of the world is cheering Israel’s civilised 60-year democracy.

   Who’s the Real Appeaser?

Military intervention in Turkish politics predates the establishment of the Turkish Republic by Mustafa Kemal in 1924 by several centuries.

   The Generals and Islam in Turkey

Military intervention in Turkish politics predates the establishment of the Turkish Republic by Mustafa Kemal in 1924 by several centuries.

   Western hypocrisy and criminal failure

You don't have to be cynical to do foreign policy, but it helps. A sigh of relief rose over the West's chancelleries on Monday (May 12) as it became clear that the Chinese earthquake was big — big enough to trump Burma's cyclone.

   Rice's futile diplomacy

The US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has visited Israel/Palestine no fewer than 15 times in the past 15 months - and has virtually nothing to show for it. Her diplomacy has been an exercise in futility.

   Why, at 60, Israel remains true to its mission

THERE is a certain symmetry to the departure of Yossi Harel, who recently died at 90 in Tel Aviv, and the arrival of Israel’s 60th birthday. Harel was the commander of a battered, second-hand ship that he renamed “Exodus” and sailed into legend.

   The war on media front

WHEN the Israeli army killed James Miller, the British producer who was making a film about the Palestinian children under Israeli occupation, the Israelis, at the time, claimed that the Palestinians killed him.

   Why they spy

During much of the Cold War, the typical American spy - spy for the enemy, that is - was a single, native-born, high-school-educated white male in his 20s, employed by a branch of the military and with top-secret security clearance.

   Testing time for the Mideast

These are dangerously unsettled times in the Middle East. There are so many bitter scores to settle, so much violent dissension, such implacable hatreds, that it would take only a spark to set the whole region alight. Or so it would seem. Many observers predict a hot and bloody summer.

   Can humanity still be saved?

We have inherited a single planet. But what have we made of it? The Earth is today an endangered heritage, and the species itself is at risk.

   Obama’s ‘unity in diversity’

WHEN Barack Obama’s Indonesian classmates are asked to recall the boy they all called “Barry” (pronounced “Berry”), their description is unanimous: “chubby.”

   Olympics lights up bilateral ties

The capital of Pakistan celebrated the progress of the Olympic torch through it on April 16 with pageantry that reassured China that the indignities inflicted on it in London and Paris were as much an affront to its people as to the Chinese. It was just a day after President General (retired) Pervez Musharraf's return from a six-day visit to China.

   Yemen in the GCC?

Yemen is the geographic, strategic, humane and security background of the GCC states," President Ali Abdullah Saleh told the visiting Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Secretary-General Abdul Rahman Al Attiyah a few days ago.

   GCC membership is no panacea for Yemen's economic problems

Yemen wants to grow its economy by joining the GCC. It would do better to adopt the economic model of liberalising North African states.

   Yemen strikes difficult truce with terrorists

SANA, Yemen: When the Yemeni authorities released a convicted Qaeda terrorist named Jamal al-Badawi from prison last October, American officials were furious. Badawi helped plan the attack on the American destroyer Cole in 2000, in which 17 American sailors were killed.

   Dancing With Yemen - Political Opinion

For many years, Yemen’s had a shady relationship with Islamic militants. In the late 1980s, they welcomed thousands of Afghani-trained mujahideen into the country and, in 1994, President Ali Abdullah Saleh (left) used his connections to such militant factions in order to suppress a brief north-south civil war.