The Great Debate

Israel appropriated 1,000 acres of the West Bank. Why now?

By Dimi Reider
September 8, 2014

israelflag.jpg

Last week, Israel announced that it was appropriating nearly 1,000 acres of private Palestinian land near Bethlehem. The seizure, which one anti-settlement group called the largest in 30 years, was condemned by Palestinians, the United Nations, and criticized by the United States.

from Jack Shafer:

What’s more rare — a unicorn or an Al Jazeera America viewer?

By Jack Shafer
July 9, 2014

 A man works at a desk in the Al Jazeera America broadcast center in New York,

Al Jazeera America draws such a teensy audience -- 15,000 on average during prime time, according to Nielsen -- that if you dropped all of the fledgling cable news channel's viewers into a modern NBA arena you'd leave a couple of thousand vacant seats. To place Al Jazeera America's audience in perspective, it's less than half of that once attracted by Al Gore's Current TV, the channel it replaced last August. Ratings leader Fox News Channel pulls in an evening average of about 1.6 million.

from Breakingviews:

Iraq troubles are unlikely to bring new oil crisis

June 24, 2014

By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

America’s long search for Mr. Right

By Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman
February 12, 2014

What’s wrong with central casting? It’s a virtual truism: The United States always seems to pick the wrong guy to star as George Washington in some faraway civil war. We sell him weapons for self-defense against his despicable foes — and then, sometimes before the end of the first battle, we find we are committed to a bad actor who bears an uncanny resemblance to Genghis Khan.

The shale factor in U.S. national security

By P. Dobriansky, B. Richardson and J. Warner
February 6, 2014

The boom in domestic shale oil and gas production has increased U.S. prosperity and economic competitiveness. But the potential for this to enhance our national security remains largely unrealized.

Assad’s terror farce at the Geneva talks

By Tom Perriello
January 28, 2014

Just days before the most recent Syrian peace talks in Geneva began, a report detailing “industrial-scale” killing in President Bashar al-Assad’s prisons revealed the nature of his government. Despite this setback, the regime continues to claim that it is only fighting terrorists.

Iran: More than Persia

By Brenda Shaffer
December 16, 2013

When Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was campaigning, he promised the country’s many ethnic minorities to expand the use of their languages. Rouhani recently signaled his intent to keep that promise, by appointing Iran’s first presidential aid for ethnic and religious minority affairs, acknowledging the country’s minority challenges.

U.S. Mideast policy: Keeping our friends closer

By Brenda Shaffer
November 4, 2013

It is time for Washington to change the parameters of the debate on its foreign policy toward the greater Middle East. It is not a choice between human rights and security — rather, the two goals should go hand in hand.

Time for action on Syria

By Anja Manuel
August 23, 2013

The Syrian civil war now threatens to split the Middle East along a Sunni-Shia chasm. The horrifying news reports Wednesday about the Assad government’s possible chemical attack on civilians, if proven true, mean that the Obama administration’s “red line” has been crossed yet again.

For Russia, Syria is not in the Middle East

By Brenda Shaffer
May 20, 2013

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with (clockwise, starting in top left.) U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, British Prime Minister David Cameron, next Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. REUTERS/FILES