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A convenient Middle East genocide

The Yazidis, a sect until recently barely heard of outside the Middle East, suddenly became a rallying point for the West to stage yet another intervention in Iraq to stave off another imminent "genocide". Experience has taught that not all "acts of genocide" are created equal, and for the US the only real genocide is one that serves its own interests. - Ramzy Baroud (Sep 15, '14)

Rattled by Russia, Tashkent looks east
Russia's aggressive actions toward Ukraine are vexing Central Asian states. First, officials in Kazakhstan were chagrined to hear comments by Russian President Vladimir Putin that appeared to denigrate Kazakhstani statehood. Now, Uzbek leaders are showing signs of displeasure with Moscow. - Joanna Lillis (Sep 15, '14)

Gaza and the threat of world war
The siege of Gaza is a siege of all of us. The denial of justice to Palestinians is a symptom of much of humanity under siege and a warning that the threat of a new world war is growing by the day as immunity for mass murder is sponsored by a godfather in Washington that has answered the cries of children in Gaza with more ammunition to kill them. (Sep 12, '14)

Ceasefires where violations never cease

Ceasefires between Israel and Palestine follow an unbroken trend of breaking when escalations of Israeli violence elicit a Hamas response. It’s an ugly pattern in which civilized life for Palestinians is reduced in a major way yet the urge to fight on and the desire for revenge increases. And it's been going on for a remarkably long time.
- Noam Chomsky (Sep 11, '14)

Obama launches his war, finally
So the United States President Barack Obama unveiled his strategy to "degrade and ultimately destroy" the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The strategy has no timeline and, quintessentially, the US will pit Muslims against Muslims in a grim war through the deployment of "smart power".
- M K Bhadrakumar (Sep 12, '14)

Politics and the long war in Iraq
The Kurdish peshmerga, Sunni militia and Shi'ite forces are all capable of countering Islamic States's offensive in Iraq, but political bargaining with the new Baghdad government will come first. While from a military perspective coordination would be preferable, no party wants to force significant IS retreats until it becomes clear who will dominate the political outcome of the conflict. - Brian M Downing (Sep 11, '14)

The Cold War lives on

We were told that the Cold War was over; we even watched its funeral. But the coffin was empty and its death greatly exaggerated - the Soviet Union merely dropped out of the competition for global hegemony. The United States, on the other hand, has not changed its attitude. Because its institutions of the Cold War lived on, the spirit of the enterprise lay dormant, only waiting for the opportunity to spring forth.
- John Feffer (Sep 12, '14)

Mitigating militancy in northwest Pakistan
While the Pakistan army claims to be succeeding in a major anti-militancy operation in North Waziristan, many suspect groups such as the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan simply melted away into Afghanistan to fight another day. Rather than short-term fixes such as these offensives, perhaps Islamabad should focus on de-radicalization and addressing the area's socio-economic strife. - Humaira Israr (Sep 12, '14)

Iranians' fractured hope for US deal
Despite sanctions imposed on Iran by the US Congress, including new measures last month, there is hope across Iranian society for a final nuclear deal with Washington, without considering how it would take place. But a core question remains as to whether, in the event of a comprehensive deal, US leaders would adhere to their obligations.
- Reza Ekhtiari Amiri (Sep 12, '14)

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Maritime power to China's provinces
When China integrated four of its five maritime law enforcement agencies into the China Coast guard last year, observers saw the move as forming "a fist out of fingers" by centralizing Beijing's administrative control over disputed waters. This work-in-progress overshadowed another noteworthy organizational change - the devolution of maritime rights protection to the country's coastal provinces.
- Ryan Martinson (Sep 11, '14)

Vietnam, Vatican explore restoring ties
Officials from Vietnam and the Vatican have begun talks in Hanoi on prospects of restoring diplomatic ties severed when the communist government took over the Southeast Asian nation in 1975. The talks come as respected Catholic cleric Bishop Paul Nguyen Thai Hop acknowledges that "conflicts" have decreased since a government crackdown in his diocese a year ago. (Sep 11, '14)

Show IS no mercy, for you'll receive none
For the first time in 30 years, the United States is involved in a war that's neither morally ambiguous nor grounded on shaky evidence or faked connections, yet President Barack Obama refuses to commit his country to the fight against Islamic State. Such hesitation is viewed in the Arab extremist world as weakness, and spurring IS to take its brutality right to America's shores.
- Tiffany Kendal Koogler (Sep 11, '14)

Netanyahu loses plot to new Gaza reality
War for Israel is an important tool to project regional strength and distract from political trouble at home, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's offensives in Gaza had in recent years furthered those goals. But this year's brutal Operation Protective Edge has united Palestinians behind Hamas and other resistance groups, suggesting long-term consequences that will outweigh any political benefits. - Ramzy Baroud (Sep 10, '14)

Myanmar group in 'new chapter' with China
Myanmar’s 88 Generation Students Group, which is pushing for political and social reforms, say talks with visiting Chinese officials in which the group called for more transparency over Beijing’s investments in the country "marked a new chapter" in relations with the Communist Party. (Sep 10, '14)

Xi faces balancing
act in New Delhi

Xi Jinping this month faces one of his most difficult foreign policy challenges. On his official visit to India, the Chinese president will have to boost ties, while striking a balance between the growing relationships with India and Japan, a country with complicated connections to China and huge investments in India. Can Xi offer India more?
- Francesco Sisci (Sep 9, '14)

US pivots at the gates of hell
Typical hyperbole sees the United States pledging to pursue Islamic State militants "to the gates of hell". With international unity and resolve in short supply, the main tools in the demonic chase appear to be cupidity and cowardly opportunism. Even with US air, missile, and drone strikes, that's not a sure recipe for success. - Peter Lee (Sep 9, '14)

Islamic State attacks Iraqi military post

Iraqi security forces and Sunni tribesmen pose next to the body of an alleged Islamic State fighter after an attack at a military post on the road to Haditha killed one soldier and wounded six others.

NATO poised to escalate Ukraine tensions
NATO members have certainly not welcomed either the growing confrontation with Russia or with the Islamic State in the Middle East. These developments have nevertheless provided the alliance with greater cohesion than it has experienced in years. The sense of purpose reflected at last week's NATO summit in particular raises the prospect of escalating NATO-European-Russian tensions over Ukraine.
- John Feffer (Sep 9, '14)

US treads on Islamic State minefield
The United States is fully aware that its strategy to counter Islamic State's terror aspirations in the Middle East lacks a cohesive coalition. Arab countries are unwilling to commit ground troops as sacrificial lambs and both Iran and Russia are unwilling to pay the price of weakening their own geopolitical ambitions. If the emerging anti-IS formula is proving hard to make, it will be even harder to implement. - Ehsan Ahrari (Sep 8, '14)

Caliphate bid threatens Arabs most

Arab society under the yoke of extremist Islamism must be addressed from within the region, not by airstrikes or military aid. The Islamic State, like other terrorists before it, is a violent symptom of this tug of war between intolerant traditionalists and forward-looking reformists. The West should stay out of the debate. - Emile Nakhleh (Sep 8, '14)

How not to win
hearts and minds

It wasn't enough to go after "hearts and minds" in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan - and remember how those conflicts turned out. Now, as Washington 'pivots' to Africa, the US military's "nation-builders" and "humanitarians" have already moved in, to disastrous effect, as a secret report from the Pentagon's Inspector General makes clear.
- Nick Turse (Sep 8, '14)

Islamic State and the Western response
Islamic State's brutal treatment of enemies aims to stoke enough fear to achieve victory without a battle, with its uncompromising outlook part of plans to paint this as a "civilizational" conflict. Proof of this strategy's effectiveness lies in IS's state-building achievements. To alleviate the regional morass fuelling IS's rise, the West must swallow its pride and reverse flawed policy.
- Tafhim Kiani (Sep 8, '14)


'Made in Taiwan' zones
incur farmers' wrath

Taiwan's government says "free economic pilot zones" that will process tariff-free raw agricultural imports from China and elsewhere into "Made in Taiwan" produce are a boost for the country's "value-added" industries. Farmers say that by inviting in unfair competition - and produce of uncertain quality and safety - that Taipei is effectively committing financial suicide.
- Dennis Engbarth

Corruption concerns
raised over Kumtor

As negotiations continue to give Kyrgyzstan's crucial Kumtor gold mine a new legal footing, independent analysis by Israel-based investigators into past restructuring deals opens a disquieting sore concerning allegations of bribery at a project that accounts for nearly a quarter of the country's industrial production. - Ryskeldi Satke and Franco Galdini

Whatever it takes
The powerful inflationary bias in securities and asset prices today ensures that central bank liquidity exacerbates speculative bubbles while largely avoiding the real economy. In the face of this, it has become impossible for economies to grow out of debt problems.
Doug Noland looks at the previous week's events each Monday.

Catching up with Modi’s Himalayan sprint
In a brilliant editorial, Times of India newspaper has given some friendly advice to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on creative thinking in diplomacy. This advice should have come from the Prime Minister's Office, perhaps, since Indian diplomacy is on the cusp of change and, unless the South Block moves in sync with the spirit of the times, it may get marginalized …
- M K Bhadrakumar

[Re How Washington made Islamic state, September 3, 2014] In order to defeat IS and the ideological cancer they are spreading, their source of funding must be eliminated, their captured American heavy armor destroyed by precision bombing, and neighboring countries brought in for a regional response. President Obama's judicious use of wise diplomacy and American power is the right way forward.
Fariborz S Fatemi
McLean, VA
   Go to Letters to the Editor

1. Western plutocracy goes bear hunting

2. Hiroshima: Counting minutes to midnight

3. Gaza's resistance paradigm

4. Crime (Israel) and punishment (Russia)

5. The end of Israel's historical immunity

6. Xi grows in confidence at China's helm

7. It was Putin's missile!

8. China paying for corruption crackdown

9. The 'non-state' solution

10. Eurasia needs a Sino-German axis

(24 hours to 11:59pm ET, Aug 6, 2014)


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