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Articles
Tuesday, 13-February-2007
Almotamar Net - Doctors use the word “crisis” to describe the point at which a patient either starts to recover or dies. President George W. Bush’s Iraqi patient now seems to have reached that point. Most commentators appear to think that Bush’s latest prescription – a surge of 20,000 additional troops to suppress the militias in Baghdad – will, at best, merely postpone the inevitable death of his dream of a democratic Iraq. Yet as “Battle of Baghdad” begins, factors beyond Bush’s control and not of his making (at least not intentionally) may just save Iraq from its doom. Almoitamar,net Project Syndicate - Doctors use the word “crisis” to describe the point at which a patient either starts to recover or dies. President George W. Bush’s Iraqi patient now seems to have reached that point. Most commentators appear to think that Bush’s latest prescription – a surge of 20,000 additional troops to suppress the militias in Baghdad – will, at best, merely postpone the inevitable death of his dream of a democratic Iraq. Yet as “Battle of Baghdad” begins, factors beyond Bush’s control and not of his making (at least not intentionally) may just save Iraq from its doom.

One key factor is that, for the first time since the United States and Britain invaded Iraq, Arab Sunni leaders are backing a US military plan for that country. These Sunni leaders live in abject fear of the geopolitical earthquake that any disintegration of political authority in Baghdad would bring, believing that all-out civil war would invariably follow – a war that would not respect international borders.

Of course, America has been encouraging Sunni leaders in this belief. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s recent tour of Middle East capitals helped spread the word to Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf states that any US failure and sudden withdrawal would be certain to destabilize them. Given the fragile grip that these leaders have over their societies, America’s warnings have been taken to heart.

But the truly curious factor that might bring success to Bush is that those who have opposed or resented America’s presence in Iraq, such as the Iranian-backed Shi’a parties now also appear to want Bush’s new strategy to succeed. They are for it because they believe it will defang Moqtada al-Sadr, the rogue Shi’a cleric whose power has mushroomed over the past three years – to the point that he now dominates much of Baghdad and holds the allegiance of countless angry young Shi’a men.

Of course, attacking Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army in the name of fighting militia death squads has the potential to draw American military forces into a level of urban warfare unseen since the Falluja assaults of 2004 and 2005. Al-Sadr is seen as the protector of the Shi’a of Iraq and has an estimated 60,000 fighters in his militia. But he is deeply mistrusted by other Shi’a leaders, who fear that they may one day have to take him on by themselves. Better to let the Americans do it, though of course these Shi’a leaders prefer a slow strangulation of al-Sadr to a direct and bloody assault.

But make no mistake: how al-Sadr is handled is the big test of Bush’s new strategy. Should the US choose to face al-Sadr and his forces head on, they risk alienating Iraq’s largest sectarian community, the Shi’a, adding fuel to the anti-occupation resistance and thus probably dooming Bush to failure.

Iran and Syria, which have played a spoiler role in Iraq up to now, may also now be anxious to find a way to pull the country back from the brink. Bush still refuses to talk to either of them, and has lately been having US troops arrest Iranian agents in Iraq. Yet Iran may already see itself as victorious, with the current Iraqi government friendlier than any the Iranians have ever known. So maintaining that government in office has now become a strategic priority for Iran, particularly as it is now clear that any US hopes of using Iraq as a permanent military base are dead.

The “surge” also opens, perhaps for the first time, a serious possibility of pouring water on the insurgent fires in Anbar province, the heartland of the Sunni insurgency. The US has achieved relative successes in the province through alliances with Sunni tribes. The hope is that such realistic and pragmatic accommodations will be extended to Iraqis who are fighting under the banner of a nationalist and anti-occupation agenda.

So some of the stars have come into alignment for Bush. But to keep them there in the long term, the Iraqi government will need to amend the constitution in a way that appeases the Sunni community. Reassuring Iraq’s Sunnis that they have a place in the new Iraq will also reassure neighboring Sunni governments, which have mostly turned a blind eye to the support for the insurgency that has come from their lands.

Of course, should the US see failure ahead, it could seek to broaden the war beyond Iraq’s borders by attacking Iran, a policy reminiscent of “Operation Sideshow,” when US failure in Vietnam in the late 1960’s enticed President Nixon into attacking Cambodia and Laos.

But Iran has resources that Cambodia and Laos could never muster; indeed, its ability to retaliate could set the entire region ablaze. Whereas America’s war in Indochina was a tragic mistake, the cost of a wider war precipitated by the crisis in Iraq would be incomparably greater – for both the patient and the doctor.

Mai Yamani is an author and broadcaster. Her most recent book is Cradle of Islam.

Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2007.
www.project-syndicate.org


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Friday, 27-March-2015
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Mr. Ban Ki-moon "is aware of reports that other States, in particular members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, are also supporting these [Military] operations," said a statement released from the office of the UN chief's spokesperson.

Mr. Ban called for ensuring the protection of civilians and emphasized that "negotiations remain the only option for ultimately resolving the crisis."
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Tuesday, 24-March-2015
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In a statement aired by Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Madani described the developments that are currently taking place in Yemen as "serious".

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Monday, 23-March-2015
Yemen stands on the brink of civil war amid deepening political tensions and an uptick in sectarian violence, United Nations Special Adviser Jamal Benomar warned [Yesterday] as he explained that only through dialogue could the country achieve a peaceful political transition.


Briefing the Security Council via video conference in a rare Sunday session, Mr. Benomar told the UN body that Yemen was on a “rapid downward spiral” as the conflict took on “worrying sectarian tones and deepening north-south divisions.”

“Emotions are running extremely high and, unless solutions can be found, the country will fall into further violent confrontations,” Mr. Benomar declared. “Events in Yemen are leading the country away from political settlement and to the edge of civil war.”

The situation in Yemen has been rapidly deteriorating since the country formed a new Government in November 2014 aimed at ending a period of political turbulence and bringing about a full transition towards democracy. Nonetheless, the country has continued to be plagued by violence and mass political demonstrations despite UN efforts to bring about a peaceful political resolution
Monday, 09-March-2015
Yemen's unity and stability are under huge threats, which casts serious consequences for the Arab region and the international peace and security, Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said on Monday.

"Yemen is facing multiple challenges, which makes it imperative to help Yemen and drag it away from the edge of the abyss ", Shoukry said in his speech during the Arab League Council meeting at the ministerial level held in Cairo.

He reiterated Egypt's support for the institutions of the state in Yemen to carry out their national responsibilities in maintaining the unity of Yemeni territory.
Sunday, 08-March-2015
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Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen Johannes Van Der Klaauw said that the latest developments in Yemen confirm the importance of continuing humanitarian aid and expanding its domain to reach millions of vulnerable Yemeni people.

"Despite the political unrest in Yemen, the humanitarian community will continue to work in Yemen at its full capacity and within strong partnerships with local communities and local partners," Klaauw added.

He said that the humanitarian agencies are adhered to continue to deliver emergency humanitarian assistance and to provide protection services for people within the vulnerable groups.

He called on all donors and concerned parties to support such efforts and provide humanitarian response plan for Yemen during the current year.
Saturday, 07-March-2015
The UN envoy to Yemen Jamal Benomar has denied what was reported by some Arab and Yemeni media about an alleged deal between him and Houthis' leader on a presidential council formula.

"I deny altogether these erroneous interpretations", the UN envoy said.

Those who sit at the dialogue table to negotiate with the Houthis (Ansarullah) are Yemeni parties, including the party of the person who made the false statements referred to above, Benomar added.

The UN envoy's role is limited to facilitating the negotiation process and mediation between the parties, and therefore he is not a party to the negotiations, he explained.

He went on: "The UN envoy will not be a party to any agreement because he represents a neutral party that does not have political interests in Yemen."

The presidential council formula is not the idea of the UN envoy, but it is an option adopted by several negotiating parties", he affirmed.
Thursday, 05-March-2015
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Wednesday, 04-March-2015
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The council urged Yemeni political parties to reach a political agreement based on the Gulf initiative and the Peace and National Partnership Agreement (PNPA), confirming its respect to the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Yemen.

Chaired by Francois Delattre, the ambassador and Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations in New York, the UNSC confirmed its support for the efforts made by the UN Special adviser on Yemen Jamal Benomar.

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Tuesday, 03-March-2015
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