Has ISIS all but buried Al-Qaeda?

Yesterday the Guardian published a really interesting piece, by Spencer Ackerman, Shiv Malik, Ali Younes and Mustafa Khalili, on the degree to which ISIS’s rise has really decimated Ayman al-Zawahiri’s Al-Qaeda Central: According to Maqdisi, al-Qaida’s organisational structure has “collapsed”. Zawahiri, Maqdisi said, “operates solely based on allegiance. There is no organisational structure. There is… Continue reading Has ISIS all but buried Al-Qaeda?

The world’s worst game of chicken

Dan Drezner argues that the US and Russia are happy to let Ukraine continue to simmer until they get what they want: So it appears that both Russia and the United States have a vested interest in continued conflict. Russia wants to weaken Ukraine, not be seen as knuckling under to sanctions, and wait for… Continue reading The world’s worst game of chicken

Today in Middle East History: the Six Day War begins (1967)

Originally posted on and that's the way it was:
This piece was supposed to go up around 11 this morning, but instead spent all day saved locally on my iPad, because I am A Idiot. Here it is anyway. Because I’m most likely going to be out all day, but am committed to bringing…

Looking at the NYT’s reporting on Iran, my newest at LobeLog

The bulk of The New York Times’s coverage of Iran and the nuclear talks is handled by their chief Washington correspondent, David Sanger, who usually collaborates with either one of their foreign affairs reporters or a science reporter named William Broad. On Tuesday they published a piece warning in breathless tones that a new IAEA… Continue reading Looking at the NYT’s reporting on Iran, my newest at LobeLog

Red Cross or Red Flag?

I feel obliged to mention this here because when major disasters hit, and when I actually think of it (unfortunately those two things aren’t in a 1:1 ratio because I can be thick like that), I try to post links for charitable donations here in case people are able to give something. Often I include… Continue reading Red Cross or Red Flag?

Would Israel start a war to try to scuttle an Iran deal?

Trita Parsi and Paul Pillar (who is not inclined toward conspiracy theorizing, to say the least) suggest the possibility that Israel might start a war with Iranian proxy Hezbollah in order to move Congressional opinion toward rejecting a nuclear deal: If a Congressional vote on a resolution rejecting the nuclear deal were held today,President Obama… Continue reading Would Israel start a war to try to scuttle an Iran deal?

Running out of talking points

Speaking of the “Bomb Bomb Iran” Caucus, analyst Paul Pillar did a pretty thorough job yesterday of fisking one of their favorite anti-Iran talking points: the idea that the Iranian Leviathan is wrapping its tentacles all around the Middle East. An additional twist to this line of anti-agreement agitation is found in an opinion piece… Continue reading Running out of talking points