Politics

BEIRUT – Syrian government forces and their allies regained control of several strategic opposition-held areas in recent weeks, as its aerial campaigns and ground offensives culminated in a series of so-called evacuation deals. (More…)

As an American with numerous friends in foreign countries, it often falls to one to be the interpreter (not to say justifier) of what goes on in American public life. In part, this is simply the normal interplay of people seeking to understand cultures and mores foreign to their own, and it is the subject of a literature has a long provenance, from Xenophon and Julius Caesar to Tocqueville and Twain, to Alastair Cooke (to name only a few). (More…)

At our six-year-old daughter’s dance finale, an American Jewish physician sat down next to me. “It’s a great day, isn’t it, with the embassy in Jerusalem?” His wife, a lovely woman from Beersheva, tried to intervene: “I don’t think Joe is the one to say that to.”I decided to respond anyway. “I always asked ‘what will be the price in lives?’ Now we know the answer. (More…)

“I need someone who speaks Farsi.” Early one day at the Humans4Humanity community centre on Lesbos, the voice of the centre’s Syrian cofounder Rafat echoed through the main lobby.

I poked my head out from the grocery store. “Ali can do it,” I said. (More…)

Qods Force leader Qassem Sulaimani expressed anxiety over an escalation of tension and possible war with the US. The general claimed Iran is doing its part to reduce conflict by pressuring allied Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr to impose a freeze on attacks on American forces by his Jaysh al-Mahdi (JAM) militia, and by stopping the flow of Iranian weapons to Iraq. (More…)

The right would like to confine Jew-hatred to the Muslim ghetto, counting on the self-satisfied post-war view that in German society the problem of anti-Semitism has, with a few extremist remnants here and there, been dealt with. (More…)

Thanks to global media, it is easy to feel like one knows the world. Few regions evoke such a deceptive feeling of being ‘known’ to the Western observer as the Middle East. But in reality, what do Europeans know about the region’s histories, cultures, and accents? To this German, they all look kind of the same. It wasn’t so long ago that I couldn’t tell Alawites from Alevis. (More…)

BEIRUT – Thousands of civilians trapped in a Palestinian refugee camp south of Damascus are bearing the brunt of a fierce government campaign targeting so-called Islamic State (ISIS) militants holed up in the area. (More…)

I finally found time to read through Ross Douthat’s bizarre piece in Wednesday’s New York Times. The consequence of doing so was a sort of malaise resulting from recognition of the bankrupt state of intellectual culture and the realisation that those life minutes simply aren’t coming back. (More…)

The Toronto van attack has brought the so-called ‘incel’ movement into the public eye, but it should also raise our consciousness of how a right-wing subculture in online politics has turned to violence. There is a spectre haunting our sexual relations: the spectre of male chauvinism. (More…)

Iran may be the greatest beneficiary from Iraq’s occupation, the fall of the regime, and the disintegration of the Iraqi state. After all, it got rid of the enemy that broke the force of the revolution and came to have political, security, and ideological influence in the Iraqi arena. (More…)

“Muslims are the enemy,” the cab driver told me. “My parents grew up in Iraq. They learned firsthand that their middle name is jihad.” “When did your parents make Aliyah,” I asked him. “In the 1950s, as kids,” he answered. (More…)