Middle East Articles

Education is all about opportunity, the opportunity to make something of your life, and in many cases to have choices that preceding generations did not have. Nowhere is this more true than in South Asia, where a large population, significant levels of poverty, and a variable government track record in delivering services make education all the more important.

So why is it that, given these conditions, many parents choose to send their children to madrasahs, Islamic schools, where some suggest the quality of education is narrower, employability weaker, and later opportunities in life more restricted? In what ways can the choice to send one’s children to a madrasah be a rational one?

By Alexander Evans  |  December 19, 2008

Sitting in a focus group, a young Jordanian bewailed America’s relationship with his region: “Since 1948, we have tried peace, but everything turned out to be a lie. Looking to the future, we don’t see anything except more wars, problems and efforts to control our leadership.” While in recent years, views of the United States have been quite negative around the world, they have been particularly virulent in the Middle East.

By Steven Kull  |  December 19, 2008
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Filling the void left by the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s rule in Iraq and strengthened by the apparent failure of the United States’ ‘remaking’ of the Middle East project in the aftermath of 9/11, Iran is re-emerging as a regional power. Just as Iran resurges, tensions between it and the West have risen sharply. The bone of contention--Iran’s nuclear program-- has quickly mushroomed into the Middle East issue with the whole of the Western world convinced that Iran poses a serious threat should it go nuclear.

By Sam Shoamanesh  |  October 22, 2008
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Senator Chuck Hagel (“At a Dangerous Crossroads,” Spring 2008) is a rare and heartening voice of radical moderation in American national politics. His perspective is crucial at this time of shrill hyperboles toward Iran that threatens to lock all presidential candidates into a self-defeating cycle of threats and coercion that has already been tried and found wanting.

By Gary Sick  |  September 28, 2008
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In May 2005, I wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post entitled “Israel’s Lawyer,” making what I considered an incontestable point: if America wants to help reach an agreement between Arabs and Israelis, it must be an advocate for both sides.

By Aaron David Miller  |  September 28, 2008
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Recent unrest in Yemen indicates that the Gulf state—for decades the region’s poorest—may be in slow-motion collapse. On April 6, 2008, an Al Qaeda bombing shook the capital city of Sanaa, capping a spree of political violence that killed 21 people. Riots have flared in response to stagnant economic conditions and rising food prices. The most dismal omen came in March, when the state’s oil ministry admitted that oil production has fallen considerably and will continue to drop.

By Owen Barron  |  September 28, 2008
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On October 5, 2001, the Tampa Tribune published a short article regarding a flight that “the federal government says…never took place.” The flight left Tampa at 4:37 p.m. on September 13, 2001, two days after the 9/11 attacks. On board were three young Saudis (some FBI documents say four) that probably included the son of Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, now Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. In a chartered eight-passenger Learjet the youths left for Lexington, Kentucky, where they were met by security and escorted to a hotel to join relatives awaiting departure.

By Frank Graziano  |  July 27, 2008
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On February 12, 2008, information ministers from the 22 member states of the Arab League met in Cairo to discuss the issue of censorship. The result of the meeting was a charter for a decidedly paternalistic regional media code that would allow host countries to annul or suspend the license of any broadcaster found in violation of its rules.

By Jon Weinberg  |  July 12, 2008
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In the past decade, Turkey has consistently imprisoned more journalists than any other country. although Turkey's repression of free speech ought to be internationally newsworthy given its status as a democratic nation, the issue has been overshadowed by the country's more sensational human rights controversies involving Kurds, Greek Cypriots, and Armenians.

By Lauren Fulton  |  July 12, 2008
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Over the last few years, the United States has lost considerable influence and trust in the Middle East and other regions, undermining the expectations and power of US leadership in the eyes of the world. Today, Iraq remains mired in political discord combined with a tenuous security situation. At the same time, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict festers, Syria is ostracized and insecure, and Lebanon is paralyzed by a devastating political deadlock. US influence is waning outside of the Middle East as well. Our relations with Russia have sunk to a new post-Cold War low. On my trip to Moscow in January 2008, Russian officials openly expressed "rawness" about the course of our bilateral relationship.

By Chuck Hagel  |  July 12, 2008