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40 Maps of the Middle East

Forty maps that explain the Middle East. Includes sections on Middle East history, the region today, Israel-Palestine, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and oil, Iraq and Libya, and "points of light." [more inside]
posted by Halloween Jack on May 6, 2014 - 8 comments

We have a very extensive knowledge of what is happening in Syria.

The Spies Inside Damascus: The Mossad's secret war on the Syrian WMD machine.
On Aug. 20, 2012, U.S. President Barack Obama declared that if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began shifting around or using his chemical weapons, Obama would consider that "a red line." The implication was that such a move would lead to American intervention in Syria. Some officials from the Israeli Foreign Ministry believed that Obama drew the line because he believed it would never be crossed. If that was his assumption, he made it based, in part, on assessments received from the Israeli intelligence services, which have waged a multidecade clandestine campaign to strip Assad of his deadliest weapons -- and which also have emerged as the United States' primary partners in collecting information on Middle Eastern regimes.
posted by andoatnp on Sep 21, 2013 - 22 comments

To the honorable doctor, hello

Casualties from the Syrian civil war are being treated in Israeli hospitals, some of them with referrals from Syrian doctors. The identities of the patients and the route they have taken is being kept secret for fear of repercussions from authorities in Syria, which is formally at war with Israel. [more inside]
posted by Joe in Australia on Aug 26, 2013 - 13 comments

WSJ's Middle East Real Time blog

Since the end of March, the Wall Street Journal's new Middle East Real Time blog has written about Turkey's "unstoppable" export boom in soap operas, Saudi Arabia's "life after jihad" rehab program, the persistence of obviously fraudulent bomb detectors across Iraq, YouTube branding discussions among Syrian rebel factions, a rising media star Sunni cleric in Lebanon, a post-revolutionary Cairo arts festival, and attempts to overcome conservative objections and change the Saudi Thursday-Friday weekend to match the rest of the business world. Previous non-paywalled WSJ Real Time blogs include Korea, China, Canada, India, Brussels, Emerging Europe, Japan.
posted by mediareport on May 9, 2013 - 16 comments

Crossing the "Red Line"?

Syria Options Go From Bad To Worse
As reports have surfaced of possible use of sarin gas in the Syrian civil war, calls by long-time proponents of U.S. intervention on behalf of the anti-Assad rebels have grown to a fever pitch. These same voices, both at home and abroad, have evoked the administration’s previously stated “red line” on use of chemical weapons. But even assuming that reports of WMD usage in Syria turn out to be true, the Obama Administration’s position may be far more nuanced than previously thought.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on May 2, 2013 - 289 comments

"Bin Laden cowered & hid. Mughniyeh spent his life giving us the finger"

It's been five years since the death of Hezbollah terrorist Imad Mughniyeh in Damascus. No one ever claimed responsibility for killing him. Hezbollah publicly blames Israel's Mossad, a charge they unsurprisingly deny. So, who killed The Driver? [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 30, 2013 - 18 comments

The Soldier Who Vanished

Until that point, she had been questioned in English and German. But this time a different man spoke — in what she identified as perfect Hebrew. He was dark-skinned and had a thin face. “This interrogation was different from the ones that came before,” Keunecke said. “There was a sense of expectation. It was like a show, as if they wanted to see how we reacted to each other.” - The soldier who vanished: Guy Hever, a 20-year-old artilleryman, walked out of his base on the Golan Heights 15 years ago this week. Despite searches, half-sightings, clues and theories that stretch the imagination, he has not been heard from since
posted by beisny on Aug 24, 2012 - 8 comments

Daily Life in the Holy Land

Gil Cohen-Magen takes pictures of daily life among Hassidic and Holy Land communities.
posted by thirteenkiller on Mar 16, 2012 - 3 comments

A chance for a Middle East peace

Syria Calling: The Obama Administration’s chance to engage in a Middle East peace.
posted by homunculus on Mar 30, 2009 - 17 comments

Digital Archaeological Atlas of the Holy Land

The Digital Archaeological Atlas of the Holy Land is a comprehensive spatially-referenced database of current archaeological knowledge of all periods of Levantine history and prehistory. Spatial search is a good entry point, as are the Palestine Exploration Fund historic maps. You can also search by time period or dig into the many ancient Empires of the area. Or just look at everything in the database. The site is a work in progress, but a cool one powered by a consortium of over 30 professional archaeologists. May require Google Maps. via
posted by Rumple on Mar 3, 2009 - 4 comments

IDF Hit Syrian Nuke Site Built with NK Help

According to the English language edition of the Asahi Shimbun, an Israeli airstrike against Syria last September targeted a nuclear-related facility that was under construction with technical assistance from North Korea, according to Israel's prime minister...It is apparently the first time that the intended target had been disclosed to the head of a foreign government. Original Japanese link here. Via the wonderful Marmot's Hole. [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on Apr 1, 2008 - 14 comments

Life in the Enclave

The SY Empire: A rare and fascinating look inside the secretive Syrian Jewish community of Brooklyn, which has drawn a bright line against assimilation called the Edict that casts out for life any "SY" who marries a gentile, even if they convert. (Crazy Eddie -- who knew? Seinfeld's mom -- who knew? Isaac Misrahi -- who knew? "J-Dubs" -- who knew?)
posted by digaman on Oct 15, 2007 - 84 comments

Israel pwns Syrian RADAR with US-supplied infowar software

Report: Israel 'blinded' Syrian radar. After Israeli missile strike on Syria confirmed by both sides, the question remains – how did Israel's non-stealth jets infiltrate Syrian airspace undetected? US aerospace experts tell Aviation Week magazine that Israel used new US-developed technology that lets users invade and manipulate enemy communication networks.
posted by scalefree on Oct 9, 2007 - 55 comments

Netanyahu Speaks

Looks like someone finally broke down: Netanyahu speaks about the Israeli air strike in Syria.
posted by alona on Sep 20, 2007 - 12 comments

Israel's Syria 'raid' remains a mystery

Israel not talking. Syria says little. US silent. Syria claimed it chased away the Israeli plane. But since then Syria has said nothing. Nor has Israel. And this news item from BBC says that the intrusion into Syrian airspace is a mystery. But why would N. Korea, Syria, Israel and the US be so reticent to comment? Perhaps because Israel took out a nuke site
posted by Postroad on Sep 13, 2007 - 83 comments

Forty years on.

Forty years on. After a quick buildup, the Six Day War started 40 years ago today and reshaped the Middle East. At the time, Israel's quick win looked like a triumph, but after 40 years the war is still being fought and it looks like it may have been a pyrrhic victory.
posted by kirkaracha on Jun 5, 2007 - 157 comments

Doing our homework on the Middle East

22 basic suggested readings on the Middle East from history professor and informed commenter on Middle Eastern affairs Juan Cole.
posted by LobsterMitten on Mar 7, 2007 - 37 comments

Mr President your mike is still on!

In this episode of the George & Tony Show the President and the Prime Minister are in Russia eating brie, discussing geopolitics, leaving their mics open, and whatnot.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Jul 17, 2006 - 139 comments

the politics of handshakes

Handshakes are an important: They've signaled new eras in international relations, but this week they reaffirmed the sad realities of our time.
posted by trinarian on Apr 9, 2005 - 15 comments

Official confirms that Syria allowing Qaida to operate in Lebanon

Official confirms that Syria allowing Qaida to operate in Lebanon Ok Israeli intelligence so I assume some will dismiss this as propaganda, though clearly US knows of this and works along with Israeli intelligence. And Syria occupies Lebanon with thousands of troops and thus runs the country. Meanwhile, we will (or will not) busy ourselves with Iraq.
posted by Postroad on Sep 2, 2002 - 17 comments

Syria takes over Security Council rotating presidency

Syria takes over Security Council rotating presidency Now at long last we can get some good moral leadership. This is the same international organization of Truth, Peace, Justice that does not allow Israel a chance to join the rotating chair. Go ahead, flail me with posts, but kind of an organization is this?
posted by Postroad on Jun 1, 2002 - 11 comments

America Can Persuade Israel to Make a Just Peace

America Can Persuade Israel to Make a Just Peace An op-ed piece by former president Jimmy Carter that is going to get a lot of play in the media. Unfortunately, Mr. Carter seems to suggest a rather easy solution: give back the Palestinian lands and have the Palestinians recognize Israel's right to exist. Put the pressure on Israel by withhold financial aid till they do as we bid. Problem: Palestinians being subsidized by Iraq, Iran, EU and Syria. What about pressure on them? And: Palelstinian issues still in need of resolving: capital and Right of Return....with this left out, we are still not going to get peace. Does Carter simplify or is he on target? reg reqd.
posted by Postroad on Apr 21, 2002 - 33 comments

Middle East war predictions

Middle East war predictions "..what we are witnessing looks like joint preparations by the Palestinian Authority, Syria, its Lebanese client, Iraq, and Iran, for war on a regional scale, against both Israel and U.S. interests. I fear we may face a major, sudden, external assault on Israel, meant to precede U.S. action against the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq, and indeed prevent the U.S. from going there by enmiring it in the defence of Israel. [From The Ottowa Citizen, lead link in today's Wall Street Journal Best of the Web]
posted by Voyageman on Mar 27, 2002 - 14 comments

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