RUSSIA, IRAN AND TURKEY have agreed to a memorandum establishing four safe zones across the north, central, and southern parts of Syria. This plan took effect on 05 May at 21:00 GMT. Consequently fighting has eased in parts of Syria as the Russian-led initiative to halt the country’s six-year war has come into force. Russia, backed by Iran and Turkey, unveiled the deal of setting up four “de-escalation zones” on 01 May. Russian Deputy Defence Minister Alexander Fomin said that there had been no bombing raids by Russian aviation in the four zones since 01 May.
Tag Archive: Iran
Back in the glory days of the so-called “Arab Spring”, when Middle Eastern dictators were falling like ninepins, it seemed that the overthrow of Ben Ali of Tunisia, Mubarak of Egypt, Gaddafi of Libya and Saleh of Yemen would inevitably be followed by the downfall of President Bashar Assad of Syria. But, it now seems, providence had reserved a different fate for Assad. A determination to cling to power, however ruthless or inhumane the methods, allied to a favourable concatenation of political circumstances, has enabled Assad to emerge from a long, multi-faceted combat battered, depleted territorially and logistically, but still…
Pakistan is emerging as an important military player in the Gulf as its struggles to balance complex relations with regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran and diverging approaches by different branches of its government. Pakistan’s military engagement with the Gulf goes far beyond increased involvement in a Saudi-led, 41-nation military alliance that officially was established to counter terrorism, but is widely suspected to also be a bid to garner support for the kingdom’s troubled intervention in Yemen and create an anti-Iranian Sunni Muslim grouping.
This week’s sanctioning of one of China’s largest telecom equipment manufacturers, ZTE, by the US Commerce Department, and an investigation of Huawei, ZTE’s foremost Chinese competitor, could not have come at a more auspicious moment for Saudi King Salman as he visits China on the third leg of his month-long Asian tour. King Salman’s visit aims to strengthen economic and military ties and persuade China that Saudi Arabia rather than Iran is its most useful regional ally. The penalties and investigation of the two Chinese companies related to violations of US sanctions on Iran as well as North Korea signal the Trump…
Emboldened by the misconceived policies of ex-US President Obama, Iran has become positively confrontational under President Donald Trump. Iran and the US always backed different sides of the wars in Syria and Yemen, but now they stand ideologically opposed on most issues involving the region. Early in February Iran tested a ballistic missile, claiming that to do so was not in contravention of its nuclear deal, but the new US ambassador to the United Nations called the test “unacceptable”. Washington put the Islamic Republic “on notice” and imposed sanctions on more than two dozen individuals and companies involved in procuring ballistic…
Never mind the traditional first hundred days. Within US President Trump’s first twenty days in office the broad outlines of his policy for the Middle East had emerged. It clearly has two over-riding objectives – to defeat Islamic State (IS) and to cut Iran down to size. In the Trump world view, both IS and Iran represent clear and present dangers to the stability, values and way of life of the civilized world in general, and the US in particular.
Uniquely among the 50 Muslim-majority nations of the world, Lebanon has a Christian president. The inauguration of Michel Aoun on 1 November 2016 ended a 29-month power vacuum and a political stalemate that had frozen the country’s constitutional processes. “Not before time” would be a natural reaction, considering the length of the presidential inter-regnum. The truth, however, is that the absence of a largely figurehead president over that period, while politically inconvenient and somewhat of an embarrassment, made little difference to Lebanon as it ambled along under the guidance of prime minister Tammam Salam.
Maureen Nehedar’s transition from Hebrew
to Farsi allows her
to express additional sensibilities and hues of her amazing vocal talent. Can a breathtaking experience last for six and a half minutes? In the world of the arts, yes. That’s what happens toward the end of Maureen Nehedar’s new album, “Gole Gandom” (Wheat Flower), when the song “Juni Juni” comes on. Since there was already a breathtaking song (the unaccompanied “Prayer for Peace”) on Nehedar’s previous album, one might have thought the system would have trained itself to neutralize that rare experiential situation, but happily that turns out not to
Men in Iran are wearing hijabs in solidarity with their wives who are forced to cover their hair The campaign against enforced hijab in Iran has seen women defying morality police in public and even shaving their hair. Now men are also joining the fight. Men in Iran are wearing hijabs in a display of solidarity with women across the country who are forced to cover their heads in public. Wearing a headscarf is strictly enforced by so-called ‘morality police’ in Iran and has been since the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Women who do not wear a hijab or are deemed to…