Syria and “Transitional Justice”

Almost from the beginning of the US-supported regime-change project in Syria,  US policymakers have incorporated several kinds of planning for what is called “transitional justice” into their pursuit of the project. Transitional justice (TJ) is a field that came into great vogue in the mid-1990s, after two key developments in the post-Soviet world: (1) the … Continue reading Syria and “Transitional Justice”

Did Washington use a false pretext for its recent escalation in Iraq?

In a key piece of actual extensive, on-the-ground reporting, the New York Times’s Alissa Rubin has raised serious questions about the official US account of who it was that attacked the K-1 base near Kirkuk, in eastern Iraq, on December 27. The United States almost immediately accused the Iran-backed Ketaib Hizbullah (KH) militia of responsibility. … Continue reading Did Washington use a false pretext for its recent escalation in Iraq?

What the New York Times doesn’t want you to know about Idlib

If you rely only on the New York Times to understand events in Syria, you likely have the idea that the peaceable people of the Idlib province in the northwest of the country have for some years now been subjected to gratuitous attacks by the Syrian and Russian air forces that, for some unknown reason, … Continue reading What the New York Times doesn’t want you to know about Idlib

U.S. Democratic senators swift to oppose Trump-Netanyahu plan

Yesterday, within hours of President Trump and PM Netanyahu announcing the details of their peace(-less) plan, Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) took swift steps to draft and win support for a letter (PDF) that roundly criticized the contents of the plan. Even more significantly, among the first 12 signatories he gathered for the letter were … Continue reading U.S. Democratic senators swift to oppose Trump-Netanyahu plan

Barometer: US-Iran war prospects

Three weeks after the United States’ January 3 assassination of Gen. Qasem Soleimani, how likely is the eruption of a US-Iran shooting war, what paths might lead to it, and what factors might brake or reverse the trend towards war? Two weeks ago, I wrote about how, despite the extremely sharp escalation in tensions that … Continue reading Barometer: US-Iran war prospects

My current writing projects…

The first eight days of the year were taxing for me. I was super-eager to use my Middle Eastern and strategic-affairs smarts to try to understand/explain what was happening in Trump’s massive and very perilous showdown with the Islamic Republic of Iran. I was also helping family members deal with health crises. In the past … Continue reading My current writing projects…

Trump & Khamenei de-escalate. Political struggle inside Iraq continues.

It is less than 140 hours since Pres. Trump ordered the killing of Iran’s Qods Force chief Qasem Soleimani and Iraq’s Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. Since then, the terrified world has watched as the leaders of Iran and the United States lobbed fierce rhetorical attacks against each other, leading to (quite rational) fears of a major … Continue reading Trump & Khamenei de-escalate. Political struggle inside Iraq continues.

World poised on post-Soleimani knife-edge. Possible off-ramp emerges?

With the decision he made late January 2 to kill the head of the Iranian “Qods Force”, Lt.-Gen Qasem al-Soleimani, Pres. Donald Trump set the United States on a course to an upheaval– certainly political and possibly also military– of truly global impact. The first reverberations of the heightened U.S.-Iran tensions have already been felt … Continue reading World poised on post-Soleimani knife-edge. Possible off-ramp emerges?

Two pieces on Mondoweiss, on Hindutva and Christmas

I had this piece published at Mondoweiss yesterday, which explored the many parallels between the militant form of excusivist ethno-sectarianism known as Hindutva, as practiced by Indian PM Narendra Modi. Then today, they ran this piece on the “Story of Christmas”, which was a re-run of the version I published under a different title at … Continue reading Two pieces on Mondoweiss, on Hindutva and Christmas