Donald Trump v. the Spooks

President-elect Trump is in a nasty slugfest with US intelligence agencies as they portray him as a Russian tool and he blasts their attempt to delegitimize his election, says ex-British intelligence officer Annie Machon.

Turkey and Iran, Allies or Rivals?

Despite President Rohani’s support for Recep Tayyip Erdoğan through last year’s coup attempt, the two countries’ political alliances diverge, say Mohammad-Reza Djalili and Thierry Kellner.

Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030: Clerics Will Fall in Line

Sociological changes that come with Vision 2030, which endorses more investments in entertainment ventures, might prove a bit too much for some, observes Mohammed Alkhereiji.

2017 Will be Another Year of Key Elections for Europe

France and Germany are to have parliamentary and presidential elections in 2017, with security and migration expected to be major election issues, warns Mahmud el-Shafey.

Why do US ex-officials Keep Peddling their Same Failures?

Countering growing world opinion, an op-ed by two American ex-officials, who had been deeply involved in the failed negotiations for many years, seeks to perpetuate the core failures of past mediation, notes Rami G. Khouri.

Taking Sectarian and Ethnic Sides in the MENA region

With increase of media and social media atten­tion on Middle East, many from outside region, as well as from within, are more fre­quently taking sectarian or ethnic sides, warns Mamoon Alabbasi.

Escalation Watch

Michael Klare goes on a quick tour of our present planetary hot spots (including Iran), any of which could blow sky high as Donald Trump and his team of “mad dogs” take office.

Rafsanjani Leaves Iran in Grip of Power Struggle

Iran’s factionalised political system goes on but with Rafsanjani’s death Islamic Republic has lost its canniest defender, says Gareth Smyth.

Russia Elbows US aside in Middle East

One lesson that might be taken from tripartite Moscow gathering is that half a century of US hegemony in Middle East is disappearing with a whimper rather than a bang, observes Harvey Morris.

America in Need of ‘Democracy Promotion’

The US government lectures other countries about “democracy” – and finances internal opposition in the name of “democracy promotion” – but its own behavior falls far short of democratic norms, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Qatari Backtracking on Labour Rights and Cooperation with Russia Reflects New World Order

The rise of Russia and the populists appears to have emboldened Qatar to backtrack on pledges it made to reform, if not eliminate the kafala system in response to pressure from human rights and trade union activists using the Gulf state’s World Cup hosting rights as leverage, saysJames M. Dorsey.

Damascus Goes Dry as Syria’s Grim Water Wars Intensify

The water crisis spread panic and anger among the war-swollen population of about 9 million people in Damascus and its surrounding countryside, writes Sami Moubayed.

Israel Steps up Shadow War with Hezbollah

In recent weeks, the covert war between Israel and Hezbollah that has dragged on for five years apparently flared again, possibly this time with higher stakes, explains Ed Blanche.

The Obama Administration’s Last-minute Stand with the Palestinians

Under Trump’s designated envoy to Israel, David Friedman, US embassy will move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, notes Rashmee Roshan Lall.

Pulling a J. Edgar Hoover on Trump

President-elect Trump is fending off a US intelligence leak of unproven allegations that he cavorted with Russian prostitutes, but the darker story might be the CIA’s intervention in US politics, reports Robert Parry.

Will Trump Shred the Iran Nuclear Deal?

Unlike former President Barack Obama, Trump loves drama. But the JCPOA runs 159 pages, so he can’t literally tear it up on live television as part of his performance, observes Rajan Menon.

As Caliphate Shrinks, ISIS Expected to Head for the Hills

In Syria, where ISIS is still a fighting force to be reckoned with,the thinking is the jihadists will retreat into the country’s vast eastern desert around oil-rich Deir ez-Zor province where it is strongly entrenched, says James Bruce.

Fury at Azaria Verdict is Israel's Trump moment

By their very nature, occupying armies are brutally repressive. For decades the army command has given its soldier free rein against Palestinians. But as settler numbers have grown, the army’s image of itself has changed too, warns Jonathan Cook.

Israeli satirist shames Holocaust memorial selfie trend
Shapira’s website, Yolocaust, shames visitors to Berlin’s Holocaust museum who post cheerful selfies on social media.
Egypt adds football star to terror list
Mohammed Aboutrika, among most successful African footballers of his generation, accused of financing outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.
Mideast Christians remain hopeful for future despite ISIS violence in 2016
While Christian exodus from Syria continues, one needs only to look next door to Lebanon for positive signs of Christian, Muslim coexistence.
Thousands mark Jesus baptism at historic Jordan site
Thousands of Catholic Christians attend special mass at the Jordan River, in annual pilgrimage to the site where many believe Jesus was baptised.
UAE removes ‘Persian Gulf’ from school books
Education ministry orders removal of term after complaints that correct name is ‘Arabian Gulf’ in naming feud with Iran over stretch of water.
Mosul's displaced choose home over camps
For Mosul’s displaced citizens shelter is often down the road, with many preferring to remain close to home in temporary residences rather than in UN camps which are ‘like prison’.
Syrian star turned pizza boy dreams of Hollywood ending
Acting star Jihad Abdo is finally finding his feet after career is uprooted by Syrian conflict, causing him to flee ‘beautiful life’ for fresh start in Hollywood.
Scientists prove pause in global warming false
Research draws outrage from some scientists, critics in US who insisted there was 'global warming hiatus' between 1998 and 2014.
Emiratis banned from keeping wild pets
Gulf state bans private ownership of wild animals which have been domesticated, seen by some as status symbols.
'Pink taxis' challenge norms in Jordan
'Pink Taxi' service provides opportunities to women in conservative cities such as Amman, where female taxi drivers were previously unheard of.
Saddam Hussein 'lives on' in Baghdad shop
While dictator was brutal to those who opposed him, there are those who still look back fondly on his time in power, especially in comparison to following years.
American Arabesque celebrated in Virginia
Over 1,000 people attended American Arabesque in Alexandria, Virginia as Washington gears up for inauguration of Trump who has called for 'total shutdown' of Muslims entering US.