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Posted on Jan 6, 2016 in Foreign Policy Issues, Iran, Middle East, Oil, Saudi Arabia, Shia, Sunni, Yemen | 0 comments

Saudi-Iran tensions over execution of cleric: analysis. With the holidays over national polling will resume shortly.

Happy New Year to all of our viewers. Polling for the presidential nominations, by and large, took a break for the  holidays. Polls from individual states, you’ll recall, get much more accurate with the holidays in the rear view mirror. We’ll analyze and report on them and the important national polls as they become available. Meanwhile, sectarian tensions in the Middle East were exacerbated when the Saudis executed a Shiite cleric that triggered large demonstrations at the Saudi embassy in Tehran, which was ransacked and damaged in the process. That this was in violation of the Geneva Convention seemed of little consequence to the demonstrators, who appeared organized, judging by the plethora of similar professionally made signs showing the likeness of the cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. Iran, of course, is predominantly Shia, while Saudi Arabia is Sunni–with a sizable Shia minority, that mostly live in Saudi’s strategically important Eastern oil region. Al-Nimr, though not theologically a major cleric, was popular throughout the Shiite world and had spent many years in Iran. Al-Nimr, a...

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Posted on Dec 14, 2015 in Cruz, Donald Trump, Dr. Carson, Foreign Policy Issues, Hillary Clinton, immigration, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Middle East, Presidential debates, primary, Public Opinion Polls, Republican Party, Uncategorized | 0 comments

On day of Republican debate Trump stirs up hornets nest, receives near universal condemnation and goes UP in some polls!

  On the eve of Tuesday’s important Republican debate, all eyes, once again, are on Donald Trump. As most readers of this blog are aware, early last week Trump made his most inflammatory anti-Muslim proposal to date*, calling for: “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States (until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on).” He compounded the invective by citing, as precedent, the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. His proposal followed the bombings in Paris and the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California. By applying a religious test for admission, most constitutional scholars felt that it was unconstitutional. Others noted that the internment of Japanese-Americans is considered one of the darkest governmental acts in U.S. history. Condemnation of Trump was immediate. Nearly all Republican leaders and candidates (with the notable exception of Ted Cruz) denounced Trump’s proposal as “un-American,” “disgusting,” “not who we are,” and much worse. Several said it disqualified him from being the Republican nominee. He was, many said, playing...

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Posted on Dec 9, 2015 in Donald Trump, Elections-U.S., Foreign Policy Issues, immigration, ISIS, Republican Party, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Trump cites Japanese-American internment camps as precedent for his proposal–polls updated December 12

December 12 UPDATE–CBS released their national poll that more or less confirmed the CNN poll results cited below. Therefore, we can remove the outlier label from the latter poll. Two polls now have Trump’s national numbers in the  mid-thirties–a significant threshold, if he maintains those numbers. It should be noted that CBS finished their polling before Trump’s controversial proposal to prevent all Muslims from entering  the country. So we haven’t yet seen the effect of the immediate and widespread criticism of Trump and his latest proposal. More on that below, it is worth noting that Trump hotels and buildings in Dubai and other of our allied Islamic countries have removed his name from the properties, and they have banned sales of Trump’s branded merchandise. So much for him being the great unifier who will get moderate Islamic countries to do the ground fighting in Syria against ISIS. Trump is oft likened to the far Right Le Pen, in France, who today added her voice to those who are rejecting Trump’s ideas....

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Posted on Dec 3, 2015 in Donald Trump, Dr. Carson, Foreign Policy Issues, Hillary Clinton, ISIS, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, primary, Public Opinion Polls, Republican Party, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Trump mocks disabled reporter yet rises in the polls. How come? Update: Cruz leads in two Iowa polls. Analysis.

Donald Trump continues to make outrageous statements. Last week he mocked a reporter with a disability that doesn’t permit him to control his arms. In doing so, Trump crossed a line of decency that has been well established. This week, on Fox News (Fox & Friends), he ignored the Geneva Convention that the U.S. has long supported, and urged the killing of families of ISIS terrorists. “When you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families,” he argued. No more concern for “collateral damage.” Instead, target them! On December 7, he proposed keeping all Muslims from coming into the country. By definition that would keep out the representatives of our allied countries in the regions: Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey and the Gulf States. One outrageous statement, generally thought to be offensive to most Americans, after another. Mainstream Republican politicians have long shuddered at the prospect of a Trump candidacy, feeling that not only would he lose, but he would take down other Republican candidates with him. They have been waiting longer than...

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Posted on Nov 25, 2015 in Foreign Policy Issues, ISIS, Middle East, Russia, Shia, Syria, Turkey, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Turkey shooting down of Russian jet: Murky details. Russian intentions dubious. Tensions de-escalated.

By now most of you have heard that Turkey, our NATO ally, shot down a Russian military jet on Tuesday, November 24th. Some of the details are murky at this writing. Russian President Putin claims it was a “stab in the back,” that their plane had not crossed into Turkish air space, and the pilot was not given any warnings. Turkey, for its part, insists that their air-space was encroached and that they gave the Russian pilot ten warnings before their F-16 shot him down. The Turkish military has released a recording of a Turkish speaker saying, “change your heading.” Konstantin Murakhtin, the Russian navigator who was rescued yesterday, insists that they received no warnings. Videos of the Russian plane being hit and going down has gone viral on the internet, but it focuses on the distant sky and does nothing to answer the questions of airspace location and the presence or absence of warnings. Nor does it deal with the meaningful issue of what the Russian Su-24 fighter-bomber was doing...

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Posted on Nov 16, 2015 in Democratic Party, Donald Trump, Dr. Carson, Foreign Policy Issues, Hillary Clinton, Iraq, ISIS, Israel, Jeb Bush, Kurdistan, Middle East, Republican Party, Shia, Sunni, Turkey, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Christian test for refugees aids ISIS. Ground war in Syria could be a worse hornet’s nest than Iraq.

The attacks in Paris have the potential to be game changers. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls exclaimed, “nous sommes en guerre” (we are at war), and President Hollande told the world that “France will destroy IS.” President Obama announced that the U.S. stands together with France, and Secretary of State John Kerry announced meetings with his French counterpart to determine exactly what form the response will take. Talks of war are in the air, and it has been seized upon by many of the Republican hopefuls, and some Democrats have lent their voice to the jingoist chants. Whichever path of response that we choose, we would do well to make sure that we don’t repeat the disastrous invade-first and think-about-what-happens-next-later mode that produced the Iraqi mess and the resultant ISIS conundrum. ISIS has been successful in recruiting Western Muslims, in part, by framing it as a war between Islam and Christian Crusaders–a reminder of the humiliation, plundering, and rape that accompanied the Crusader’s conquering march to the holy land. Meanwhile, candidate Donald Trump, whose ten hour...

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