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April 21 2014
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What Was the War About?

- The understandably favorable press coverage of the Afghan elections in some ways diverts our attention from the more troubling and largely unexamined aspects of America's decade-plus of war in Iraq and Afghanistan that cost more than a trillion dollars, led to over a million refugees, and thousands dead and maimed civilians and soldiers. -James A. Russell - 4/17/14

Iran to invest over $20b in joint oilfields with Iraq

- Iran will invest over $20 billion in development of the oil fields it shares with Iraq, IRNA reported on Wednesday. Iran's Oil Ministry is planning to increase oil extraction from joint oilfields with Iraq by one million barrels per day (bpd) in the current Iranian calendar year, which started on March 21, 2014. - 4/17/14

The Egyptian-Saudi Coalition in Defense of Autocracy

- The pro-autocracy partnership between the Egyptian military junta and the Saudi ruling family goes beyond their opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood and the perceived threat of terrorism. It emanates from the autocrats' visceral opposition to democracy and human rights, including minority and women's rights. -Emile Nakhleh - 4/16/14

No country can attack Iran via Azerbaijan's soil: Defense Minister

- "According to the Azerbaijan's Constitution, Azerbaijan will never host the military bases of any third country, (and Baku) will never permit any power to use (Azerbaijan's) soil to launch attacks against its neighboring countries," said Colonel-General Zakir Hasanov, who is in Tehran for talks with Iranian officials, during a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart Hossein Dehqan. - 4/16/14

Iran ready to expand ties with UAE: Foreign Minister

- Zarif made the remarks in Dubai on Tuesday during a meeting with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the prime minister and vice president of the United Arab Emirates, and constitutional monarch of Dubai. - 4/16/14

Iran says ready to help Azerbaijan meet its defense needs

- Iran and neighboring Azerbaijan have similar views toward major regional and international issues, Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan said in a meeting with his visiting Azeri counterpart Zakir Hasanov on Monday. Colonel-General Hasanov arrived in Tehran for bilateral talks with senior Iranian officials at the invitation of Dehqan. - 4/15/14

The Details Behind Israel's Purchase of Lockheed's "Samson" Airlifter

- Considering that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu budgeted $2.89 billion for an Israeli military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities for 2013 and again for 2014, that doesn't go very far, even when assuming that the Samson is being purchased with an eye toward war with Iran. -Marsha B. Cohen - 4/15/14

Israel possesses at least 300 nuclear warheads: Jimmy Carter

- Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter says that Israel has at least 300 nuclear warheads which is far more dangerous than estimates that are being hypothetically made about Iran's potential access to nuclear weapons. - 4/14/14

Obama's Middle East Scorecard

- Viewed from the aerie of the Oval Office, US policy in the Middle East is much more pluses than minuses, and there is much to commend that view. President Barack Obama has successfully navigated the Ship of State past the Scylla and Charybdis of Iraq and Afghanistan... -Robert E. Hunter - 4/11/14

Photos: Azerbaijan President Visits Tehran

- President of Azerbaijan Republic Ilham Aliyev arrived in Tehran Wednesday morning to hold talks with senior Iranian officials. The visit is taking place at the invitation of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. - 4/9/14

Reading Ukraine in Tehran and Tel Aviv

- Israeli academics have recently provided a case study of how Israel and Iran may say and do much the same thing, but Iran alone will be criticized for it. -Marsha B. Cohen - 4/8/14

An Acceptable Nuclear Deal With Iran

- A new Brookings Institution paper, "Preventing a Nuclear-Armed Iran," has rightly attracted considerable attention. The author, Robert Einhorn, has a distinguished record and was Special Adviser for Non-Proliferation and Arms Control at the State Department from 2009 to 2013. His recommendations must be seen as authoritative. -Peter Jenkins - 4/6/14

Photos: Afghans flock to polls despite Taliban threat

- Afghans flocked to polling stations nationwide on Saturday, defying a threat of violence by the Taliban to cast ballots in what promises to be the nation's first democratic transfer of power. The turnout was so high that some polling centers ran out of ballots. - 4/6/14

Iran's Navy: Asian Ambitions?

- Iran has a significant history of long-distance seafaring in pursuit of trade with Asia. The presence, to this day, of wealthy and influential families of Iranian descent in some Asian countries, notably India and Thailand, is lingering evidence of early Iranian maritime ambitions in the region. -Trevor Hollingsbee, The Diplomat - 4/6/14

Afghan Women Await Poll Results With Hope

- Hopes are high that Afghanistan's election Saturday may result in the country's first peaceful transition of power in more than a century. Militant attacks and electoral fraud are the main threats to the vote for a new president, who will take over after President Hamid Karzai ends his second term. Afghan women, whose freedom has often been curtailed, also worry about their future under a new government. -Zlatica Hoke, VOA - 4/5/14

Afghan Voters Go To Polls In Historic Presidential Election

- Polling stations in Afghanistan have closed, though election officials say voters still waiting in line will be able to cast their ballots. Earlier, election officials announced that polling stations would remain open an extra hour due to the large turnout and heavy rains that delayed voters from reaching polling stations. - 4/5/14

Turkey's Election Results Seem to Validate Erdogan's Authoritarianism

- After a campaign involving a corruption investigation and nation-wide bans on social media, and an election day marred by deadly violence, Sunday's municipal elections in Turkey resulted in what appears to have been a clear victory for Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP). -Derek Davison - 4/3/14

Why the Saudis Are Panicking

- As President Barack Obama must have noticed during his visit, there is a panicky tone to almost everything the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia does these days, whether it's campaigning for two years to win a coveted seat on the UN Security Council only to give it up immediately after the vote, or ... -Trita Parsi, National Interest - 4/3/14

36th Caspian Sea Legal Regime confab kicked off in Ashgabat

- The Caspian Sea Convention will determine the territorial rights of littoral states- Iran, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan - as well as other matters related to the world's largest landlocked body of water. - 4/2/14

Iranians Begin To Feel The Heavy Burden Of Syria's War

- U.S. isn't the only country that's faced difficult choices over Syria. Iran and Syria have been close allies for decades. And in Iran, discussions about Syria are surprisingly frank, complex and demonstrate growing divisions over how to handle a costly war that has no end in sight. -Deborah Amos, NPR - 3/31/14

Afghan Candidates Pledge Peace, Prosperity Amid Violence

- Afghanistan is getting ready for presidential elections and all eight candidates are campaigning hard for the top slot. With current president Hamid Karzai constitutionally barred from a third term, the April 5 vote will be the first time power will be democratically transferred to a new leader. -Sharon Behn, VOA - 3/30/14

Obama Seeks To Reassure Saudi Arabia Over Iran, Syria

- U.S. President Barack Obama has held talks with King Abdullah in Riyadh amid tensions between the two countries over Iran's nuclear program and the civil war in Syria. After the two-hour meeting, a White House statement underscored the "strong" bilateral relationship. - 3/29/14

Norouz can lead to "political union" among countries: Iranian President

- Iranian president who was attending the the 5th international Norouz (Persian New Year) celebrations in Kabul on Thursday said that Norouz is an elegant heritage of ancient time and a good opportunity to lead to political union among the countries. - 3/28/14

Rohani: U.S., Soviet Union Brought Violence To Afghanistan

- Iranian President Hassan Rohani has said during a visit to Kabul foreign countries that have twice occupied Afghanistan "have brought violence and extremists" to the country. Without specifically naming the Soviet Union and United States, Rohani said the occupiers had "brought the unfortunate seeds of violence" in Afghanistan, which has "damaged the lives of people." - 3/28/14

Congress prepares second front on Iran sanctions

- House lawmakers are working on new terrorism-related Iran sanctions after ceding to the Barack Obama administration's request to back off the nuclear issue, Al-Monitor has learned. The House Foreign Affairs Committee is mulling ways to target Hezbollah and its Iranian patron in order to disrupt the group's support for Syria's President Bashar al-Assad. -Al-Monitor - 3/28/14

Iran Oil and Gas 2014 Summit in Dubai: Getting Involved in Iran Oil and Gas Pending a Future International Agreement

- The Iran Oil & Gas 2014 Summit, organised in Dubai on 23rd-25th June by International Research Networks Ltd will gather NOCs, IOCs, Governmental bodies, oil and gas Law Practices, Top Contractors and Associations as well as oil and gas Experts, Academics and Consultants to discuss new business opportunities in the country. - 3/26/14

Hezbollah Winning in Syria: At What Price?

- As the Syrian uprising against the Baathist regime enters its fourth year, it is clear, given the changing balance of power on the ground, that predictions about the imminent collapse of the Assad dynasty, which constituted conventional wisdom from 2011-12, are far from the mark. -Aurelie Daher, LobeLog - 3/25/14

The manufactured story about Iran's nuclear program

- In his latest groundbreaking book, entitled A Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of Iran Nuclear Scare, the historian and investigative journalist Gareth Porter catalogs a long list of false reports manufactured by Israeli intelligence agencies in order to mislead the public and pave the way for a war against Iran. -Farhang Jahanpour - 3/22/14

Why did Iran's Khamenei Question the Holocaust on Nowruz?

- When former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's final term ended in August 2013, many Iranians at home and abroad hoped they could put his Holocaust-denying ways behind them. That hope was enhanced by incoming Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif's public notice that the government of Hassan Rouhani would not engage in the same contemptible behavior. -Jasmin Ramsey - 3/22/14

Interview: Israeli President Calls For Peaceful Iran Ties

- On the occasion of the Persian New Year, Norouz, Israeli President Shimon Peres sent a message of peace to Iranians. In an exclusive interview with Israel-based journalist Farnoush Ram for RFE/RL's Radio Farda in Jerusalem on March 19, Peres called for peaceful relations between Israel and Iran, insisting his country is against war. - 3/22/14

US Needs to Put Its Mideast Plan on the Table

- The kidney-shaped West Bank is now so thoroughly penetrated by settlements that it resembles that organ crisscrossed by arteries and veins. Indeed, the number of settlers on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem has more than doubled since 1995 from 230,000 to more than 560,000. -Barbara Slavin, VOA - 3/22/14

New Year optimism among Iranian revellers in Dubai

- Every March, the Iranian community in the United Arab Emirates swells by thousands as compatriots cross the Gulf to celebrate the Persian New Year, or Norouz, abroad. International sanctions have recently seen a dip in their numbers, but there is optimism of a return to better times, as Marcus George reports from Dubai. -BBC - 3/22/14

Israeli President Calls For Peaceful Iran Ties

- Israeli President Shimon Peres has called for peaceful relations between Israel and Iran, saying the Jewish state is against war. Peres was speaking in an exclusive interview to RFE/RL's Radio Farda in Jerusalem on March 20, on the occasion of the Persian new year, Nowruz. - 3/21/14

Do Neocons Want a Deal with Iran?

- As talks over a comprehensive agreement on Iran's nuclear program continue in Vienna (the next round will be April 7-9) it seems that even those neoconservatives who supported sanctions and negotiation as peaceful paths to a settlement want little from these talks beyond a justification for war. -Derek Davison, LobeLog - 3/21/14

Iran Nuclear Talks: What Each Side Wants

- Another round of talks between world powers and Iran begin in Vienna this week. Today, both sides want a deal, and fast. The positive atmosphere that characterised the recent rounds will likely endure. Gone are the days of "procedural nonsense," according to a European negotiator, replaced by "frank discussions." But there remain significant obstacles to a final nuclear agreement. -Dina Esfandiary - 3/18/14

Iran shares Syrian plan with UN envoy

- Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian says Iran has proposed a four-article plan for resolving the Syrian crisis. Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN envoy to Syria, arrived in Tehran on Sunday March 16 to discuss the Syrian conflict with Iranian officials. - 3/18/14

Iranian Director Majid Majidi Laments West's Islamophobia

- The Oscar nominated Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi criticized the West for disseminating Islamophobia in the world during a panel at the Palais De Nations in Geneva on Thursday. The panel was organized by the Organization for Defending Victims of Violence (ODVV) and the Society of Iranian Women Advocating Sustainable Development of the Environment. - 3/17/14

Iran welcomes enhanced trade with Oman: President Rouhani

- Iran and Oman signed an agreement in 2009 for the construction of a 200-kilometre undersea gas pipeline linking the two countries. "The export of gas to Oman will mark a significant economic development in the relations between the two countries," Sibeveih said, adding that excess gas, which is projected to account for 50 percent of the total amount of the gas exported to Oman, would be delivered to Japan, South Korea and India. - 3/15/14

US, Russia Rift Affects Syria, Entire Middle East

- Middle East analysts say the erosion of relations between the U.S. and Russia over the Ukraine crisis is likely to have an impact on the Middle East, especially the conflict in Syria, which is now entering its fourth year. -Meredith Buel, VOA - 3/15/14

Bibi's Epic Fail

- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's trip to the United States has ended in an unprecedented failure. On the Palestinian front, the Iranian front and the domestic US front, Netanyahu's efforts last week ran badly aground. Let's review the categories. -Mitchell Plitnick - 3/14/14

U.S.-Iran Diplomacy Now Stronger Than Netanyahu's Pressure

- "The status quo, in which Netanyahu visits Washington, addresses AIPAC, and Congress agrees to slap new sanctions on Iran, has been turned on its head," said NIAC Policy Director Jamal Abdi. "The White House, leaders in Congress, outside organizations, and the American people have all put their foot down and said that we don't want a war and more sanctions, we want to give diplomacy a chance." - 3/14/14

Give Iran Peace (Talks) a Chance?

- Prominent neoconservative writers Bret Stephens and Reuel Marc Gerecht called for a much tougher approach to talks with Iran over its nuclear program in a debate hosted here by the McCain Institute on March 11. The discussion comes one week before talks aimed at a final deal between Iran and world powers resume in Vienna. -Derek Davison - 3/14/14

Rebels, Islamists Form Dangerous Alliance in Pakistan's Unruly Southwest

- One is a band of separatists fighting for independence from Pakistan. The other is a feared group of Islamists bent on killing Shi'ite Muslims whom they see as infidels... in Pakistan's volatile, resource-rich province of Baluchistan, separatists have teamed up with radical Sunni Muslims in their fight against the Pakistani government. -Reuters - 3/14/14

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani arrives in Muscat, Oman

- President Hassan Rouhani arrived in the Omani capital Muscat for a two-day visit Wednesday morning. Iran-Oman relations are example of good-neighborliness between two countries, Rouhani said during a meeting with Oman's King Sultan Qaboos. - 3/12/14

Whatever's Happening In The Gulf Is Probably About Iran

- The Saudi decision to break ties with Qatar is, as Thomas Lippmann notes, another in a line of recent "sulking" diplomatic moves by the oil giant. Qatar's failed bet on the Muslim Brotherhood made this an opportune time for the Saudis to move against them, but Saudi fears about an Iranian resurgence may well have been the real reason behind their action. -Derek Davison, LobeLog - 3/11/14

AIPAC's Plan C on Iran Diplomacy Blunted

- It's been a difficult annual policy conference for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and its hopes of getting Congress to set the toughest possible conditions on any final nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1. -Jim Lobe - 3/7/14

Iran rejects Israeli lies on Gaza arms shipment

- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has dismissed as "lies" the recent Israeli allegation that Tehran sought to send missiles to the blockaded Gaza Strip. "An Iranian ship carrying arms for Gaza captured just in time for the annual AIPAC anti-Iran campaign. Amazing Coincidence? Or same failed lies," Zarif wrote on his Twitter account on Thursday. - 3/7/14

Netanyahu's Anti-Iranian Rant

- Benjamin Netanyahu's tiresome vilification of Iran has taken on the characteristics of a rote obsession that diverges farther and farther from truth, reality, and his own ostensible objective. -Paul Pillar, National Interest - 3/6/14

Netanyahu Issues Warning on Iran Uranium Enrichment

- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says international efforts to restrict Iran's nuclear program must include a complete end to its enriching uranium. Talks underway appear aimed at allowing Iran to enrich some uranium at lower-grade levels. -Scott Stearns, VOA - 3/5/14

Photos; Iranian Defense Ministry Equips IRGC with New Ballistic Missiles, Air Defense System

- The Iranian defense ministry started the mass-delivery of different ballistic missiles, including Qadr, Qiam, Fateh 110 and Khalij-e Fars missiles, as well as Mersad air defense system to the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base on Wednesday. - 3/5/14

Iran to pump gas to Baghdad by mid 2014

- Tehran and Baghdad have reached an agreement under which Iran will pump natural gas to its western neighbor in the coming months. Based on the agreement, 25 million cubic meters (mcm) of gas will be delivered to Sadr, Baghdad and al-Mansouryah power plants through a pipeline. - 3/5/14

FOOTBALL: Iran defeats Kuwait in Asian Cup qualifier

- Iran football team defeated Kuwait 3-2 in the AFC Asian Cup 2015 qualifying campaign at Enghelab Stadium in Karaj, Iran on Monday. Iran stayed seven points ahead of Kuwait in Group B with 16. - 3/4/14

Obama calls Iran a large and powerful country

- The U.S. president says it is profoundly in the interest of all to let diplomacy play itself out during the course of negotiations with Iran on its nuclear programs, reiterating his position that he is opposed to imposing new sanction on Tehran. - 3/4/14

Here's the AIPAC-Approved House Version of Iran Letter to Obama

- With the snow in Washington and Russian moves in Crimea diverting all national news attention away from AIPAC's ongoing policy conference, I understand House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer are circulating their own AIPAC-approved letter among colleagues for signature. -Jim Lobe - 3/4/14

Deailng with Defeat in Afghanistan

- Over 100,000 American and allied forces have been in Afghanistan for over a decade and there has been heavy fighting in localized areas with substantial civilian casualties. We have used our highly aggressive Special Forces and drones that have had some success militarily but frequently produced civilian losses. And, the Taliban usually move back in once the foreign forces depart and reportedly have a strong presence in over half of the provinces. -Charles Naas - 3/4/14

Saudi Arabia Offers Sophisticated Weapons to Syrian Rebels

- WASHINGTON - Saudi Arabia reportedly is offering to provide Syrian rebels more sophisticated weapons, including shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles that can take down fighter planes and helicopter gunships. They could be a game changer in the Syrian civil war. -Meredith Buel, VOA - 3/3/14

AIPAC Moves to Plan C for Congress

- First, it wanted the Senate to pass a binding bill that was certain to sabotage the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1. When that stalled in mid-January at only 59 co-sponsors, all but 16 of whom were Republicans, it initiated discussions about a non-binding resolution essentially endorsing Kirk-Menendez and laying out the conditions for a final "acceptable" agreement with Iran that was also certain to be rejected by Tehran. -Jim Lobe - 3/3/14

Iranian businessman released, faces corruption trial in Turkey

- Reza Zarrab, an Iranian businessman, is the prime suspect in the financial corruption case in Turkey involving several senior government officials. The newspaper Today's Zaman reports that Zarrab and two sons of ministers in the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan were released today by order of the Supreme Court of Turkey, following their arrest on financial corruption charges in December 2013. - 3/1/14

Indian PM calls for expansion of relations with Iran

- Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called for the expansion of relations with Iran in all spheres during a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in New Delhi on Friday. Singh and Zarif discussed the most recent developments in bilateral relations and important regional issues. - 3/1/14

Blackballed by AIPAC?

- In my 30 years as the Washington DC bureau chief for Inter Press Service, only one institution has denied me admission to their press or public events. That was the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) shortly after the broadcast in 2003 of a BBC Panorama program on neoconservatives and their promotion of the Iraq war. -Jim Lobe - 3/1/14

38 Organizations Urge Congress to Support Diplomacy, Uphold Iran Deal

- hirty-eight national organizations, including NIAC, FCNL, Win Without War, and J Street, have sent a letter to Congressional leadership urging that Congress uphold the preliminary nuclear agreement between the P5+1 and Iran and support negotiations towards a final deal that prevents an Iranian nuclear weapon and averts an unnecessary war. - 2/28/14

Reading Ukraine In Iran

- The way Iranian media have portrayed Ukraine's turmoil depends on which side of Iran's political divide they stand. Hard-line media have given readers the impression that the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych following months of antigovernment protests is a cause for mourning. Those skimming through the reformist press were likely to become excited about the developments in the eastern European country. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 2/28/14

Where Is AIPAC On New Republican Push?

- Just four days before 14,000 members arrive for AIPAC's annual policy conference and a keynote by none other than Bibi Netanyahu himself, the group appears at sea, tossed between Republicans eager to do the Likud leader's bidding and embarrass President Barack Obama on the one hand and the administration and leading Democratic lawmakers who believe that any new sanctions legislation will likely sabotage the ongoing negotiations with Iran and bring the country closer to another Mideast war. -Jim Lobe - 2/28/14

Games Revolutionaries Play

- It seems a shame to let all that fol-de-rol from the Olympics be cast aside after such an abbreviated run. As Sochi revealed to us novices, there are always new, curious forms of sport that merit recognition. One of those with growing multi-seasonal appeal to large groups of men and women in the streets is the popular coup or revolution game. -Henry Precht - 2/28/14

Iran, Iraq Agree On Algiers Accord

- The 1975 Algiers Agreement (also known as the Algiers Accord, sometimes as the Algiers Declaration) was an agreement between Iran and Iraq to settle their border disputes (such as the Shatt al-Arab, known as Arvand Rud River in Iran), and served as basis for the bilateral treaties signed on June 13 and December 26, 1975. - 2/26/14

Taking A Stand on Syria

- Syria has also become a surrogate struggle for preeminence in the region, pitting Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arabs against Iran and perhaps also Turkey. To top it off, rich Sunnis in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the UAE have been providing inspiration, cash, and thus access to arms to al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations to operate in Syria -Robert E. Hunter, LobeLog - 2/25/14

Pakistan Suicide Bomber Targets Iranian Consulate

- Police in Pakistan say two security guards were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up outside the Iranian Consulate in the northwestern city of Peshawar. At least 10 people were reported wounded in the attack, which occurred in an area housing offices of foreign diplomatic missions and nongovernmental organizations. - 2/25/14

Iran, Iraq Sign Arms Deal

- A published report says Iraq has signed a deal to purchase weapons from Iran, breaking a U.N.-imposed embargo on weapons sales by Tehran. A spokesman for the Iraqi prime minister would not confirm or deny the sale, but said such a deal would be understandable given Iraq's current security troubles. - 2/25/14

Iran-Pakistan Ties Challenged by Regional Violence

- Iran's approach to dealing with insurgency in its Baluchistan province, primarily based on militarizing the region and blaming foreign countries, could prove ineffective in decreasing tension and threaten its solid relationship with Pakistan. -Fatemeh Aman, LobeLog - 2/25/14

A Hopeful IAEA Report on Iran

- Ten years ago Western diplomats used to scour IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) reports on Iran's "implementation of its NPT Safeguards Agreement" for evidence of safeguards failures that could be used to pressurise Iran into abandoning its fledgling uranium enrichment program. Today that's a futile pursuit. -Peter Jenkins - 2/24/14

Iranian-Born Artist Explores Cost Of Egypt's Revolution

- The work of Iranian-born artist Shirin Neshat, whose photographs, films and video installations deal with gender, politics and religion in the Islamic world, has been heralded by art critics and collected by major museums. Although Neshat has lived in the United States since the 1970s, her work has most often been focused on the lives of women in Iran, and more recently with the aftermath of the Arab Spring in Egypt. -Carolyn Weaver - 2/24/14

Iran.ology: Syria, history, and the (re)conquest of the Middle East

- I normally like to write the (hi)story of the ancient Persia in the context of the greater eastern backstory and its relevance to the current events, and the need to preserve and protect ancient Near Eastern history and heritage and promote some basic knowledge of it as a part of our common patrimony. But I got Syria on my mind for over a year now, so let's leave the historical romance chitchats to another time and jump right into the muddy waters of the current events. -A.J. Cave - 2/22/14

NENA Region Faces Fresh Water Scarcity

- Water scarcity will be at the top of the agenda next week when officials from the Near East and North Africa meet in Rome. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization warns the availability of fresh water in the region could drop by 50 percent by 2050. The NENA region includes Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria,Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. -Joe DeCapua, VOA - 2/22/14

US Views on Iran Poll Results Offer More Bad News for AIPAC

- Just 11 days before the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the embattled organization got some more bad news, this time in the form of a Gallup poll suggesting that nearly ten years of effort in demonizing Iran in the U.S. public mind may be going down the drain. -Jim Lobe - 2/22/14

Saudi-Pakistan Military Ties Getting Stronger

- Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, who is Saudi Arabia's deputy prime minister and defense minister has just concluded an official visit to Pakistan. Some defense experts say that Saudi Arabia's close military ties with Pakistan, though not new, now have a new dimension - namely countering the threat of a nuclear-capable Iran. -Kokab Farshori, VOA - 2/20/14
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