Around Middle East & North Africa [01.12.15]

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Prince billionaire businessman Prince Alwaleed bin Talal

Saudi Prince billionaire businessman Alwaleed bin Talal

“Islam really is united with Christianity, and Judaism, and other religions in the world to limit this disease (extremism) from from Earth.”



Nouri al-Maliki, left, and Haider al-Abadi meet on Thursday during a parliamentary session in Baghdad to approve the new Government

Nouri al-Maliki, left, and Haider al-Abadi meet on Thursday during a parliamentary session in Baghdad to approve the new Government



Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister.

Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister.

“Secretary of State John Kerry plans to meet with his Iranian counterpart Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif next week in Geneva to try to advance the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, the State Department said on Friday.

Mr. Kerry is leaving Friday night for a long-planned trip to India but plans to stop in Munich on Saturday to meet with Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman, who has served as a conduit to Iranian officials.

The deadline for completing a detailed agreement, including the technical details, is July 1.”

Around The World [11.15.14]



“For nearly 45 years, Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said has ruled what is arguably the Arab world’s most-stable country. But his prolonged medical stay in Germany is giving rise to fears of an uncertain political transition ahead.

Any shift in Oman’s leadership stands to have a significant impact on the Middle East policies of the U.S. and other Western countries that have cooperated closely with the 73-year-old bachelor, on issues ranging from Arab-Israeli peace to the security of global energy shipments, since he assumed his throne in 1970.
Sultan Qaboos in recent years also served as a critical back channel between the Obama administration and Iran, according to U.S. and Omani officials. His efforts helped initiate the current negotiations aimed at curbing Tehran’s nuclear program.”

South Asia

“Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday threw his weight behind Afghanistan’s efforts to reach out to the Taliban for peace talks, hosting Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on a visit”



Possible Foreign Policy For America In The Middle East


  • No support for Sunni extremists. [1]
  • Encourage Iran to stop support for Shiite extremists.
  • Peace talks / Negotiations – An interim neutral “Caretaker Government” holding elections. [2]
  • Threat of international court – Crime against humanity.


Saudi Arabia  
  • Relies on America for consolidating its dominance in the Middle East. 
  • Message to the Saudis – It’s not necessary to crush your opponent for regional dominance. Better – bolster your own economy.



  • Why can’t the West form close ties with Iran (with Nuclear deals)? 


  • Above all, mass killings, etc. of Muslim brotherhood supporters has to be stopped immediately. 

Encourage both Iran and Saudi Arabia to bolster their economies – more economic interdependence, more commerce with America with benefit to both.


  • Our increasing Energy independence.
  • Circumstances in Russia-Ukraine.



Notes on Foreign policy

Consider both

  • what is beneficial to you
  • what is beneficial to the country you are considering (view from their perspective)


If it’s non-zero sum, you can make them work with you so that it’s beneficial to both.

Both sides involved in a relationship feel comfortable when each has interests for which it knows that the other depends on it.
US – Saudi relationship (since 1945)

Conflicting Interest in Regional Dominance is Nurturing Militants and Extremists in Middle East: Is this Acceptable?

In Middle East, regional dominance and Shiite-Sunni conflict is giving rise to and encouraging militants and extremists.Saudi Arabia and it’s allies and Iran and it’s allies are in opposite groups, with Saudi Arabia being Sunni dominant and Iran being Shiite dominant.


Because of power conflict and interest in regional dominance, both sides are encouraging groups of opposing militants and extremists.

But does “Islam”, a word derived from “Salam”, which literally means “peace”, really encourage or even approve such conflicts?
Suicide and collateral damage are forbidden in Islam and the person who commits suicide is destined to go to hell.
Prophet Muhammad declared unity of humanity in his last sermon, “All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action.” [1]

In the age of globalization, it’s the mutual economic relationship and mutual economic engagement, not military engagement, that brings prosperity.