from The Great Debate:

Sykes-Picot drew lines in the Middle East’s sand that blood is washing away

By Michael Williams
October 24, 2014

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Last week British Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond said the struggle against Islamic State was “effectively Iraq’s last chance as nation state.”

from The Great Debate:

Air strikes won’t disrupt Islamic State’s real safe haven: social media

By Rita Katz
September 24, 2014
jihad tweet President Barack Obama has pledged to destroy Islamic State and ensure fighters “find no safe haven.” But even as U.S.-led airstrikes are underway in Iraq and Syria, it is clear that bombs alone will not do the job. For Islamic State hides out in the most perfect haven: the World Wide Web.

In June 2014, the militant group that Obama refers to as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, grabbed the world’s attention after it took over much of northern Iraq in roughly four days. Islamic State accomplished this by building a massive, sophisticated virtual network of fighters in addition to those on the ground. Indeed, its expansion online has been as swift as its territorial gains. It is this virtual power grab that will be most difficult to combat.

from The Great Debate:

Avoid a classic blunder: Stay out of religious wars in the Middle East

By Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman
September 16, 2014

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Muslims in the Middle East are fighting wars of religion. Like the carnage between Protestants and Catholics that haunted Northern Ireland during the last third of the 20th century, there is little anyone can do until local peoples crave peace so intensely they are willing to cultivate it.

from The Great Debate:

The key to understanding the ‘Arab Spring’

By Graeme Bannerman
October 11, 2012

The United States has been unable to develop a clear national policy about the Arab Spring largely because Washington does not fully understand what’s happening in the Middle East.

from John Lloyd:

Unintelligent, but constitutionally protected

By John Lloyd
September 25, 2012

There's some shuffling of feet going on in Western governments, about this whole freedom of speech and the press thing that democracies are pledged to defend. And who wouldn't shuffle, after the events of the past week, and of the past 30-plus years, in the Islamic world.

from David Rohde:

The Islamist Spring

By David Rohde
April 5, 2012

TUNIS – Like it or not, this is the year of the Islamist.

Fourteen months after popular uprisings toppled dictators in Tunisia and Egypt, Islamist political parties – religiously conservative groups that oppose the use of violence – have swept interim elections, started rewriting constitutions and become the odds-on favorites to win general elections.

Will the Arab Spring bring U.S.-style “culture wars” to the Middle East?

June 21, 2011

(From left: Olivier Roy, Cardinal Angelo Scola and Martino Diez of the Oasis Foundation at the conference on San Servolo island, Venice, June 20, 2011/Giorgia Dalle Ore/Oasis)

EU assures religious leaders it backs freedom of belief in Middle East

May 31, 2011

(European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek (L), European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso (C) and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy (R) hold a news conference after a meeting with religious leaders in Brussels May 30, 2011/Yves Herman)

Libya war pushes Christian presence to the brink

May 19, 2011

(A view of a mosaic on the floor of the ancient Western Church of the Qasr Libya museum complex near Al-Bayda April 25, 2011/Amr Abdallah Dalsh )

Arab revolts set to transform Middle East

April 4, 2011
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(Bahraini anti-government protesters in central Manama, February 16, 2011/Hamad I Mohammed)