William's Feed
Aug 28, 2014

Iraq and Syria pose Saudi dilemma – failed states or Iran proxies

RIYADH/DUBAI (Reuters) – With militant Islamists gaining the upper hand in Syria’s rebel movement and grabbing big tracts of Western Iraq, Saudi Arabia’s ruling family faces an increasingly uncomfortable dilemma.

The Al Saud have long seen the conflicts in Iraq and Syria as a pivotal battle for the future of the Middle East, pitting Sunni Muslims against a radical, revolutionary, Shi’ite Iran.

Aug 27, 2014

Libyan raids could herald bolder Arab action as U.S. wavers

DUBAI (Reuters) – Air strikes against Libyan Islamist militants that U.S. officials had said were staged by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates could mark an escalation of a regional struggle over the future of the Arab world.

Arab responsibility for the attacks would add to a picture of the West’s regional allies acting increasingly independently in the absence of decisive U.S. involvement, seeking security goals with which Washington might not agree.

Aug 26, 2014

Libyan raids herald bolder Arab action as U.S. role wavers

DUBAI (Reuters) – Air strikes by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates on Libyan Islamists – as alleged by Washington despite denials from Cairo and the Gulf state – would mark an escalation of a regional struggle over the future of the Arab world.

If true, Arab responsibility for the attacks would also add to a picture of the West’s regional allies acting increasingly independently in the absence of decisive U.S. involvement, seeking security goals with which Washington may not agree.

Jul 23, 2014

Young Islamic State robs al Qaeda of militant prestige

DUBAI (Reuters) – In hiding, targeted by drone strikes and unable to land a blow in the West, al Qaeda’s ageing leaders are losing a power struggle with ultra-radical young militants in Iraq and Syria who see themselves as the true successors to Osama bin Laden.

The shadowy network that targeted the West and its Arab allies for almost a generation is increasingly seen as stale, tired and ineffectual on the hardcore jihadi social media forums and Twitter accounts that incubate potential militant recruits.

Jun 26, 2014

Insight – Divergent visions could split Iraq’s Sunni revolt

BAGHDAD/DUBAI (Reuters) – The militants dismantling Iraq’s borders and threatening regional war are far from united – theirs is a marriage of convenience between ultra-hardline religious zealots and more pragmatic Sunni armed groups.

For now, they share a common enemy in Shi’ite Islamist Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, whom Iraq’s Sunni minority accuse of marginalising and harassing them.

Jun 26, 2014

Divergent visions could split Iraq’s Sunni revolt

BAGHDAD/DUBAI (Reuters) – The militants dismantling Iraq’s borders and threatening regional war are far from united — theirs is a marriage of convenience between ultra-hardline religious zealots and more pragmatic Sunni armed groups.

For now, they share a common enemy in Shi’ite Islamist Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, whom Iraq’s Sunni minority accuse of marginalizing and harassing them.

Jun 13, 2014

Iraq militant push shrinks scope for Saudi-Iran detente

DUBAI (Reuters) – This week’s advance by Sunni insurgents in Iraq provides a powerful argument for why Iran and Saudi Arabia should bury their Cold War-style feud, but is nonetheless likely to set back detente between the Gulf’s dominant Sunni and Shi’ite powers.

After decades of often overt Saudi-Iranian hostility that polarized the Middle East – and three years of proxy war in Syria – the Sunni monarchy and Shi’ite revolutionary state had gingerly begun in recent months to explore ways to reach out.

May 23, 2014

Egypt’s Brotherhood struggles to regroup in exile

DOHA/DUBAI (Reuters) – Exiled leaders of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood are struggling to regroup, targeted by hostile Arab powers, cut off from senior colleagues imprisoned back home and challenged by angry young followers tempted to seek change by violence.

Gathered over the past 10 months in Qatar, Turkey, Britain and elsewhere, hundreds of activists have set about trying to isolate Egypt’s army-backed government diplomatically for last year’s removal of an elected Brotherhood-backed administration.

Apr 9, 2014

Troubled Mideast peace effort compounds U.S. policy woes in region

WASHINGTON/RIYADH (Reuters) – Addressing the United Nations General Assembly in September, President Barack Obama declared the pursuit of Israeli-Palestinian peace one of the two main U.S. foreign policy priorities for his second term.

Fast-forward to today, the Obama administration faces a stark choice: expend more energy on a faltering peace process or absorb the hit to an already-troubled record in the Middle East and walk away from negotiations.

Apr 9, 2014

Analysis – Troubled Mideast peace effort compounds U.S. policy woes in region

WASHINGTON/RIYADH (Reuters) – Addressing the United Nations General Assembly in September, President Barack Obama declared the pursuit of Israeli-Palestinian peace one of the two main U.S. foreign policy priorities for his second term.

Fast-forward to today, the Obama administration faces a stark choice: expend more energy on a faltering peace process or absorb the hit to an already-troubled record in the Middle East and walk away from negotiations.