China views Iran as a central element in its much-touted Silk Road Economic Belt, which aims to extend Beijing’s influence overland through Central Asia to the Persian Gulf and Europe.
For more than three decades, the United States and its European allies have committed one fundamental error after another. Four major failures of policymaking and intelligence represent the broad outlines of this systematic problem.
LIST ONLY: 1. Denial of Iranian rights, followed by denial of the truth; 2. The intelligence goes wrong; 3. Ignoring the Fatwa against chemical weapons; 4. Refusing to acknowledge the weaponisation evidence is tainted
(Editor’s Note: This blog post is derived from Clint Watts’ Ginsburg Lecture delivered at the National Liberty Museum on September 16, 2014.)
The past week’s debate on how to counter ISIS has proven just how effective terrorism is as a tactic for extremist groups. Two videos showing the beheading of American hostages have provoked the largest U.S. response since the attacks of 9/11, compelling President Obama to hastily gather up a strategy to counter ISIS. Aside from the general confusion over what to call the group, there is even greater disagreement over what to do. Overall, I don’t disagree with most of the actions the U.S. is taking to counter ISIS, but I am baffled why ISIS, America’s third or fourth most pressing national security concern right now, requires such a reaction. The lesson for other extremist groups scattered from Morocco to Malaysia is clear – fly a black flag, film an atrocity and post it on the Internet and you too can capture the American media cycle and provoke a U.S. response.
1. Syrian Civil War
2. Turkish Border
3. Double-Edged Sword of Saudi Arabia
4. Arab Partner Nations
5. Iran is a bigger adversary to the US than ISIS
6. Sunni partners in Iraq
7. Shi’a dominated Iraqi Government
This is an informative and important report written by one of the best reporters covering events in the Middle East. I reformatted it slightly and highlighted it to emphasize points I think are important. If you find this distracting, this link will take readers to the original.
A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany
Patrick Cockburn, Independent, 13 July 2014
How far is Saudi Arabia complicit in the Isis takeover of much of northern Iraq, and is it stoking an escalating Sunni-Shia conflict across the Islamic world?
Some time before 9/11, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, once the powerful Saudi ambassador in Washington and head of Saudi intelligence until a few months ago, had a revealing and ominous conversation with the head of the British Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove. Prince Bandar told him: “The time is not far off in the Middle East, Richard, when it will be literally ‘God help the Shia’. More than a billion Sunnis have simply had enough of them.”