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In Depth

Qalamoun …The Boundaries of Worry

THE LEVANT EXCLUSIVE — By Safwan Dawood*- Translated by Hadi Nehme — Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah announced that his party will be in Syria “wherever it ought to be”, and a number of the party’s officials have repeatedly reiterated that Hezbollah militants have taken part in battles in Qalamoun. …

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A nuclear deal with Iran is the best option

By Fareed Zakaria for THE WASHINGTON POST — When making up their minds about the nuclear deal with Iran, people are properly focused on its details. But to figure out whether an agreement that limits and inspects Iran’s nuclear program is acceptable, one has to consider seriously the alternatives to …

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A Look At ISIS’ Exploiting Of Social Media

THE LEVANT EXCLUSIVE – By Dr. Haytham Mouzahem* — ISIS utilizes social media to promote its military and terrorist attacks in Syria and Iraq; where it set a complex strategic plan to use these platforms for the mentioned purpose. And with the outset of ISIS’ attack on Mosul and other …

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Options for the U.S. if Iran breaks a nuclear deal

By Bennett Ramberg for Reuters — The success of any nuclear framework agreement negotiated by Iran and the P5+1 (United States, Britain, Russia, Germany, France and China) this week ultimately will be determined not by the signing of a final accord in June but by Tehran’s fidelity to nonproliferation in …

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Arab nations created a joint military. Is that good or bad?

By Shibley Telhami for Reuters — The Arab League’s decision to establish a joint military force should be viewed, above all, as a major accomplishment for Saudi Arabian foreign policy — though Egypt’s president has also been advocating this. It comes with serious risks, however. It all starts with Riyadh. …

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Iran and The Strategic Interaction With The Crises

Exclusive – By Salam al Rabadi* — Iran can be regarded as a model of strategic planning whether it : in the internal planning level or in the nature of external strategic options for crisis management and response. It is clear that Iran adopts a vision based on the construction …

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The Middle Eastern Balance of Power Matures

Stratfor Geopolitical Weekly – By George Friedman — Last week, a coalition of predominantly Sunni Arab countries, primarily from the Arabian Peninsula and organized by Saudi Arabia, launched airstrikes in Yemen that have continued into this week. The airstrikes target Yemeni al-Houthis, a Shiite sect supported by Iran, and their …

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Les sources de financement de l’Etat islamique

Dr. Haytham Mouzahem – Source: Middle East Eye — De la vente de pétrole au trafic d’êtres humains, les nombreuses sources de revenus de l’Etat islamique indiquent que son budget annuel, qui s’élèverait à deux millions de dollars, n’est pas prêt de s’épuiser Cheikh Abu Saad al-Ansari, une personnalité religieuse éminente de …

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Does ISIS keep its same military strength?

THE LEVANT EXCLUSIVE — By: Jasim Muhammad* — Translated by Hadi Nehme — Investigations carried out by the NGO specialized in investigating military clashes, CAR, showed that ISIS seized most of the weapons it now owns, from previous ground clashes. This conclusion was drawn after experts from CAR visited northern …

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Yemen.. A Fourth Arab Country Melts Down

FILE – Yemen’s then Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi waves as he enters a polling center in 2012. There are conflicting reports about the whereabouts of Hadi, who is now Yemen’s president.  By Barbara Slavin for THE VOICE OF AMERICA — Reports on Wednesday that the president of Yemen has fled his …

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How ISIS gets its cash

By Dr. Haytham Mouzahem for Middle East  Eye —   Numerous sources of income, from oil sales to human trafficking, mean that IS’s reported annual budget of $2bn might be conservative Sheikh Abu Saad al-Ansari, a senior religious figure in Mosul, northern Iraq, revealed earlier this year that the Islamic State of …

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What Has Islam Got To Do With It?

  THE LEVANT EXCLUSIVE – By Farhana Qazi*–     President of the American-Islamic Forum for Democracy, Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, said on The Glenn Beck Program Wednesday night that an American strategy against radical Islam is to accept the role of religion (read Islam)to prevent a “clash of civilizations” and …

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Libyan cities increasingly isolated

By Khaled Would Ajdoud for Al-Hayat – Translator: Steffi Chakti  for AL-MONITOR —       In a cafe located on the main street of Bayda city, some 1,200 kilometers [746 miles] east of the Libyan capital, Abdullah sat alone in a corner. Sipping on his coffee, he was lost in thought …

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Will Boko Haram benefit from Isil allegiance?

By Colin Freeman for THE TELEGRAPH — It may seem unlikely, given their self-publicised appetite for slaughter and mayhem. But like any other high-profile cause, international jihadism is not immune to the charge that standards have slipped over the years. A decade ago, when Osama bin Laden was in charge, he …

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When Muslims Mock ISIS

 By Farhana Qazi — It’s ok to poke fun at terrorist groups. Last weekend, when Dakota Johnson starred as a young woman being escorted to ISIS fighters in a Saturday Night Live skit, she proved to her viewers that mocking the terrorists is the way to combat them. If you …

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Is Libya the Next Stronghold of ISIS?

The chaotic civil war is giving the caliphate a foothold in North Africa, and its enemies can’t figure out whether to kill the jihadists or use them for their own purposes. BY DAVEED GARTENSTEIN-ROSS, NATHANIEL BARR FOR FOREIGN POLICY – Exactly four years after the protests that kicked off the …

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In With the Old in the New Saudi Arabia

King Salman has moved swiftly to build his new court. But are these new faces a breath of fresh air or reactionaries looking to take the country back in time? BY CARYLE MURPHY for FOREIGN POLICY  – RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz, since ascending to the throne …

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The Horror of It All!

THE LEVANT EXCLUSIVE – By Geoffrey Cook* – What we have seen in the recent past weeks has been unmentionable. The fight within the MENA (Middle East/North Africa) region is for the heart and soul of Islam in and of itself! Dar al-Islam is degenerating into an ever deeper Hell …

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Netanyahu’s Iran bomb claim contradicted by Mossad

Gulf between Israeli secret service and PM revealed in documents shared with the Guardian along with other secrets including CIA bids to contact Hamas By: Seumas Milne, Ewen MacAskill and Clayton Swisher || Source: The Guardian – Binyamin Netanyahu’s dramatic declaration to world leaders in 2012 that Iran was about a year …

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Arabs and Secularism

   The Levant Exclusive – By Salam al Rabadi*   National independences must remain divides geographically only, not civilization’s divides that contain basic differences. And if there are lessons can be learned from historical developments in terms of the problematic relationship between religion and the state, in the forefront of these …

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Visas for Al Qaeda: CIA Handouts That Rocked The World

  THE LEVANT EXCLUSIVE – By Michael Springmann*   As a US diplomat, I was assigned to the CIA’s consulate general at Jeddah between 1987 and 1989. There, I was repeatedly ordered to issue visas to what turned out to be terrorists recruited for the war in Afghanistan against the Soviet …

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Yes, It Is Islamic Extremism—But Why?

By Graham E. Fuller – Source: grahamefuller.com – I applaud President Obama’s efforts to avoid provoking further Islamophobia in America. But I part company with him in his well-intentioned efforts to avoid using the term “Islamic extremism.” This is not about blame, it’s about analysis. In simplest terms, right now, …

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Interpreting Islam to Muslims

By Graham E. Fuller – Source: grahamefuller.com – Can’t we ever learn? Here goes the White House again, appointing a “new” task force designed to “blunt the ISIS message.” Washington seems to believe that a main source of ISIS success to date lies in American failure to get the right …

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What’s Next for ISIS?

By Dr. Maha Hosain Aziz for Huffigtonpost – Late last month, ISIS was driven out of the Syrian city of Kobani, thanks to over 100 days of US-led airstrikes and the actions of Kurdish fighters. This was a significant victory for the foreign coalition and for Syria. But this could …

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Al-Qaeda, Saudi Arabia and Israel

By Robert Parry – Source: Consortium News – Here is the story of the clandestine alliance of two Pretending Allies of the United States: Israel and Saudi Arabia! The two “friends” of the US succeeded in shaping several Coups in Washington against the United States! Exclusive: Saudi Arabia is under a new cloud after …

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Does Iran really control Yemen?

By Shahir ShahidSaless for AL-MONITOR – On Jan. 22, the embattled Western- and Saudi-backed president of Yemen, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, and his Cabinet resigned. Immediately afterward, the Houthi Shiite rebels, who have controlled the capital Sanaa since September and are officially organized under the banner of Ansarollah (God’s Partisans), …

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Population Decline and the Great Economic Reversal

Stratfor Geopolitical Weekly – By George Friedman In recent weeks, we have been focusing on Greece,Germany, Ukraine andRussia. All are still burning issues. But in every case, readers have called my attention to what they see as an underlying and even defining dimension of all these issues — if not right now, then …

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Saudi Arabia and Oman Have Different Experiences With Extremism

By Gary A. Grappo* – First published in Fair Observer- Saudi Arabia and Oman possess differing national identities, varied social and cultural roots, and divergent approaches to tolerance that may explain their different experiences with extremism. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Sultanate of Oman share significant characteristics: language; basic …

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The future of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Gulf

By Kristin Smith Diwan for THE WASHINGTON POST – A Muslim Brotherhood supporter in front of the United Arab Emirates Embassy in Cairo on Jan. 13, 2013, protesting the trial of 94 people in the UAE, including some Egyptian citizens, on charges of trying to overthrow the government. The banner …

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The Houthi “Ansarullah”.. The Zaidis Revival

By Dr. Haytham Mouzahem** After seizing power in the Yemeni capital Sanaa and the resign of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi last month, the Ansarullah group has dissolved parliament, and created a supreme security committee to run the state until the formation of a presidential council. Last week, the Houthi …

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The social strategy of ISIS

THE LEVANT EXCLUSIVE – By Ali Hashem – Aleppo, October 2013, more than 150 pro ISIS loyalists arrived in the region from Kazakhstan. Kazakh fighters with their women, children and some of their elderly, decided it’s time to immigrate to “Darul Islam” or the land of Islam, whereas any other …

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The Voice of Bahrain vs. The Voice of Arab Uprisings

By Jelisaveta Blagojevic* – Media platforms in Bahrain have come under increased pressure from the regime, after the eruption of the protest against it at the beginning of 2011. As the main international and Bahraini research organizations reported (Freedom House, Reporters without Borders, Human Rights Watch, the Bahrain Centre for …

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