Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Middle East

Yemen: The American Catastrophe No One is Talking About

Everyone knows about what a mess Iraq and Syria are. Libya is still a disaster, but even that country once had our attention. This is a story about Yemen. Remember Yemen? It’s the box-like country on the southwest corner of the Arabian peninsula:

Yemen is in the grip of a civil war that has now killed over 4,300 people. It’s an omnishambles. Let me tell you the horrible story of how we turned this country into the war-torn dystopia it now most assuredly is.

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The New Iran Deal is a Splendid Achievement

Iran has a nuclear agreement with the P5+1 group (USA, UK, France, China, Russia, Germany). This is a fantastic deal that protects and advances the interests of all signatories. Here’s why.

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ISIS and Iran: Bigger Threats to Each Other than to the West

During the past week, I went on a bit of a roadtrip (it’s the reason for the gap in posting). While I was driving around, I listened to some talk radio, most of which was religious, conservative, or both. I found what I expected to find–there’s a lot of fear-mongering and threat inflation on talk radio. But what really stood out to me was just how inconsistent it all was. Let me explain what I mean.

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Saudi Arabia under King Abdullah

King Abdullah’s reign in Saudi Arabia has come to an end with his death at age 90. Abdullah became king in 2005, but his rule truly began in 1996, when, as crown prince, he became King Fahd’s regent. Effectively, he was in power for nearly 20 years. It can often be difficult to judge the legacies of democratically elected leaders. Their short terms in office make it difficult to distinguish the effects of their administrations from those who precede and follow them. By contrast, autocratic rulers not only typically rule for far longer, but they also have much greater personal influence over the policies that emerge during their reigns. For these reasons, when a long-serving autocrat passes the torch, it is an interesting and useful exercise to have a look at how much better or worse off their country is now than it was when they rose to power. In March 2013, I ran a similar piece about Hugo Chavez’ 14-year reign. So let’s look at Abdullah’s legacy.

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Hey, Whatever Happened to Libya?

As the United States once again intervenes militarily in a Middle Eastern civil war (this time in Syria and Iraq), I am reminded of the 2011 western intervention into the Libyan Civil War. Remember three years ago when the western states decided to help Libyan rebels overthrow Muammar Gaddafi’s government? We almost never hear anything about what’s going on in Libya these days. What happened there? 2011 was about a year before I started up this blog, but I remember being vitriolically opposed to the intervention there. How did it turn out? Let’s investigate.

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