‘Middle East’ Category

  1. The US entry freeze: far from a blanket Muslim ban

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    January 31, 2017 by AK

    The country with the largest Muslim population in the world is Indonesia, followed by Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh. These four account for more than 40% of the total. Nigeria is in the fifth place. Egypt, Iran and Turkey share places six through eight. The Muslims in the seven countries covered by the American temporary ban …
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  2. Up in smoke

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    November 8, 2016 by AK

    Pavel Felgenhauer, the veteran Russian military observer (I recall reading him in 1992 or 93), sees the Admiral Kuznetsov‘s journey to the Levant as an argument for more funding, advanced by the Russian admirals to erode opposition from the finance ministry and the “tank generals.” A request for money for a major upgrade. (Felgenhauer also seems to believe the …
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  3. OPEC makes sense of Russia. Kashagan flows again.

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    October 12, 2016 by AK

    OPEC has updated its forecast for Russia’s 2016 output, raising it by 0.05 mmbpd to 11.04 mmbpd, implying 1.7% growth y-o-y. (OPEC seems to be using a conversion rate of 7.4 barrels per ton while most Russia-watchers use 7.3.) This is a little more conservative than the Russian government’s latest estimate, 2%. For 2017, OPEC’s …
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  4. On the oil front, Iraq has advanced a lot (unlike Iran)

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    October 9, 2016 by AK

    As mentioned in this comment thread on White Sun of the Desert, the question, “Was the Iraq war about oil?” deserves to be answered in the negative if “about oil” means “about unprecedentedly lucrative contracts for Exxon and Halliburton.” It’s not the only sensible interpretation, however: “about oil” can also mean “turning Iraq into a reliable, Western-friendly …
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  5. Pereat mundus if I can’t have my way

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    October 4, 2016 by AK

    In July 2002, Yossi Klein Halevi wrote in the New Republic, in a long piece entitled “The Wall” and subtitled “How despair is transforming Israel”: The more that Israelis are treated as pariahs, the greater their tendency toward recklessness… And one friend, a veteran critic of the occupation, said to me with a terrible casualness, …
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  6. Unlike Erdogan, Putin does not need to purge Russia’s submissive judiciary

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    July 17, 2016 by AK

    Erdoğan’s ongoing purge of the judiciary is unsurprising: apparently, an influential group of appellate judges was one of the few barriers left on his march to absolute power – although the magistrates’ motives may have little to do with the rule of law. During his years as an active politician, Berlusconi was hounded by the so-called …
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  7. Now this is the real coup

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    July 16, 2016 by AK

    As reported by politico.eu: The punishment came swiftly for 2,745 judges who were dismissed by the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors on suspicion of being connected with the abortive coup… A member of the country’s highest constitutional court, Alparslan Altan, was detained on Saturday… The Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors terminated the membership of five of its …
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  8. Erdogan’s favorite coup, or, Welcome to the Islamic Republic of Turkey

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    July 16, 2016 by AK

    My first impression of the failed coup in Ankara and Istanbul is that, despite the hundreds of dead and wounded, it was not quite for real: the plotters did not try to kill or capture Erdoğan and his key lieutenants, to incapacitate the security forces, to destroy AKP offices, and to neutralize the Erdoğan-loving imams. (And they …
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  9. Prof. Snyder, Trump, Putin, and Moshe Katsav

    1

    April 27, 2016 by AK

    Going back to Timothy Snyder’s piece, what about the top man in the Kremlin? Last December, Putin said this about Trump (in The Guardian‘s translation): He is a very colorful and talented man, no doubt about that… He says that he wants to move to another level of relations, to a deeper level of relations with …
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  10. Reflexes vs. strategy

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    February 9, 2016 by AK

    This piece by Natalie Nougayrède on the battle for Aleppo is peppered with the word “strategy” and its derivatives. According to Nougayrède, Putin had a strategy for Chechnya and is now applying it to Syria. Putin also has a strategy for regaining regional dominance in some parts of the world. We are also witnessing the …
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