Population shifts resulting from Syria's four-year long civil war have profoundly changed Syria and its three Arabic-speaking neighbors: Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. (Turkey and Israel have changed too, but less so.) Ironically, amid tragedy and horror, as populations adapt to the brutal imperatives of modern nationalism, all four countries are becoming a bit more stable. That's because the fighting has pushed peoples to move from ethnic-minority status to ethnic-majority status, encouraging like to live with like.
Before looking at each country, some background:
First, along with the Balkans, the Middle East contains the most complex and unsettled ethnic, religious, linguistic, and national mix in the world. It's a place where cross-border alliances deeply complicate local politics. If the Balkans set off World War I, the Middle East might well spark World War III. more >>
A 27,000-strong Iraqi army, backed by both Shiite and Sunni fighters, is attempting to retake the city of Tikrit from terror group ISIS' control. The assault began Monday morning, reports said, with the army being backed by artillery and airstrikes by Iraqi fighter jets.
Fox News noted that the assault on Tikrit, known as the hometown of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, is being documented by state news media. American and French forces, which have been launching airstrikes against ISIS across Iraq and Syria, are also aiding the ground troops.
The city, which has a population of 260,000 people, fell under ISIS' control in the summer of 2014. Fox News suggested that recapturing Tikrit might be an important step in the wake of the offensive planned on the city of Mosul, which the jihadists have made into one of their strongholds. more >>
Even in a Senate then controlled by Democrats, President Obama's National Security Adviser, Susan E. Rice, could not be confirmed as his second term Secretary of State. That's because she notoriously went on five Sunday television news talk shows to claim that the September 11, 2012 attack on our diplomatic compound at Benghazi was provoked by an anti-Islamic video. It soon became clear that cover story was false. She was then our Ambassador to the UN.
Now, Ambassador Rice is making news again. She told PBS's Charlie Rose that the address by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Congress slated for this week "injected a degree of partisanship" into the U.S.-Israeli alliance that was "destructive to the fabric of the relationship."
That charge has certainly built the audience for the Prime Minister's address! more >>
Kim Jong Un has reportedly told the North Korean army to prepare for a "great war" with America and to "tear to pieces the stars and stripes," in response to military drills set to be carried out by the U.S. and South Korea.
"The prevailing situation where a great war for national reunification is at hand requires all the KPA (Korean People's Army) units to become (elite) Guard Units fully prepared for war politically and ideologically, in military technique and materially," the state Korean Central News Agency quotes Kim as saying.
AFP pointed out that on Friday the U.S. and South Korea conducted a joint naval drill, in preparation for much larger military exercises to come, in which 200,000 Korean and 3,700 U.S. troops will take part. more >>
Continuing with the rain of criticism toward the Obama administration's foreign policy pouring out of this week's Conservative Political Action Conference, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry wasted no time in his Friday morning speech jumping on the president for ignoring the "Apocalyptic" threat to America posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
Perry, who has claimed he is "ready" for a potential 2016 presidential run, told the crowd that the Islamic State, also called ISIS or ISIL, is a far scarier threat than the president is leading Americans to believe.
ISIS, which has conquered large swaths of Iraq and Syria and has released propaganda videos threatening the very existence of the Western world, is not a threat that America simply can half-heartedly fight because the group's ultimate goal is to bring the world back to "seventh century," Perry claimed. more >>
National Harbor, Md.– Speaking at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday, Texas Senator and potential 2016 presidential candidate, Ted Cruz, bashed President Barack Obama for labeling the the 21 Coptic Christians beheaded by the Islamic State in mid-February as "Egyptian citizens."
Cruz also attacked the Obama administration for continuously ignoring the fact that most of today's international terror troubles are caused by "radical Islamic terrorists." Cruz asserted that America needs a leader that will not just identify the radical Islamic threat from groups like the Islamic State but also protect the liberty of international Christians.
"When 21 Coptic Christians are beheaded we see the president saying they were simply 'Egyptian citizens,'" Cruz said. "They were murdered for their Christian faith and the president needs to stand up and defend them." more >>