Pages Menu
TwitterRssFacebook

PragmaticLiberalism.com

Categories Menu

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

Posted on Sep 8, 2015 in Anbar, Cheney, Donald Trump, E.U., Foreign Policy Issues, Iran, Iraq, Ramadi, Shia, Sunni, tribal | 0 comments

Trump, a foreign policy ignoramous, and Cheney, architect of Iraq mess, on Iran nuclear deal

This is the year of bluster and pomposity among some Republicans. First, Donald Trump says that although he doesn’t know the difference between Hamas and Hezbollah, he’ll know all he needs to in 24 hours. Then, of course, he’ll be the greatest foreign policy President we’ve ever seen. Twenty-four hours, that’s all it will take. Today, Dick Cheney said that by agreeing to the Iran deal the U.S. “agreed to guarantee that the means of its own destruction” will have been given to Iran. “Madness,” he called it…

Read More

Posted on Jul 2, 2015 in Anbar, Foreign Policy Issues, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Kobani, Middle East, militia, President Obama, Ramadi, Shia, Sunni, tribal | 0 comments

Are we on a “fools errand” for trying to (successfully) train Shia to fight ISIS and stabilize Iraq?

  Last week we introduced the thesis that “peace candidate” Obama embraced Bush era policies in Iraq that have badly backfired. Now we are flailing about in search of a viable strategy to deal with Syria as well. Essentially, ever since we mistakenly failed to keep elements intact from Hussein’s Republican Guard we had become the law and order stabilizer of Iraq. At enormous cost of treasure and lives both among our forces and Iraqis themselves. The hostile sectarian nature of Iraq, primarily between the Sunni and Shia branches of Islam, dominates the thinking and fighting on the ground. About six million Kurdish peoples with their own agenda of an independent Kurdistan live in Iraq, mostly in the northwest. Saddam Hussein was an ethnic Sunni as were the Republican Guard soldiers. The Shia, who trace their roots across the eastern border with Iran, number about half of Iraq’s population. They live mostly in an area of eastern Iraq, from Baghdad south. Iraq is the site of the Shiite holy...

Read More

Posted on Jun 24, 2015 in Anbar, Foreign Policy Issues, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Kobani, Middle East, militia, President Obama, Ramadi, Shia, Sunni, tribal | 0 comments

Obama continues Bush strategies in Iraq and we are in a costly “no win” situation.

President Barack Obama was elected on a platform that emphasized getting out soldiers out of Iraq. Through much controversy he managed to get most of our combat forces back home, but the serious question remains whether by doing so he contributed to the ISIS growth in Iraq. Similar concerns have been voiced over his caution in supporting the hodge-podge of anti-Assad groups in Syria. Some of these are friendly to the United States, some very much problematic, some downright hostile and potentially dangerous to both our interests in the region and to peace in the area in general. Not that those who are hostile to the U.S. are at all shy about asking us for weapons and air support. Whatever moves we make in Iraq or Syria seem to be fraught with traps and incredibly costly tabs. We have spent so much in this war to date that for those monies we could have provided free college tuition and medical care for years to come. Each “grand strategy” that...

Read More

Posted on Jun 17, 2015 in Anbar, Foreign Policy Issues, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Middle East, militia, Ramadi, Shia, Sunni, tribal, Yemen | 0 comments

Attempt to retake Ramadi with Shia militia (and some Sunnis begins). Yemen update: Peace talks in Geneva

    In recent weeks, we have tried to explain the fall of Ramadi in the Anbar Provence of Iraq and the crisis in Yemen where the Outhouse’s had effectively taken over the government and the key cities of Sana’a and Aden. In Ramadi, the government’s army forces, who received training at the hands of the U.S. Army trainers, once again ran from their positions leaving many of their U.S. provided arms behind for the successful ISIS victors. In Yemen, the sobriquets “terrorist” and “Iranian surrogate” were loosely applied to the Houthis. This ignored the fact that the Shia Houthis were formed to fight al Qaeda in Yemen and were supported by the former leader of Yemen, the Sunni Ali Abdullah Saleh. I argued that historically the Houthis were always willing to negotiate, recognizing the minority position that Shia occupy in Yemen. In Ramadi as in the rest of Anbar, the population is overwhelmingly Sunni. The government forces are Shia and not very effective at fighting ISIS. The key...

Read More
css.php