US administration finds its Iranian policy not working

Israel has hit Iranian targets in Syria, according to news reports. Unusually, Israel has confirmed the reports while Syrian state media has reported that the country's air defences have shot down "hostile targets", according to Al Jazeera English. What is going on and what is the strategy? How does the US pull out of troops affect developments? He...
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Attack on US troops throws Trump's Syria plans into chaos

There's been much talk about what the withdrawal of US troops in Syria means for the rest of the world and for the rest of the Middle East in particular. According to President Trump, Islamic State has been defeated In Syria. The fact that US troops were killed in Syria on Thursday is beside the point. This is what Al Monitor has to say on the matt...
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The Middle East reacts to Brexit

Tuesday's vote by British MPs against Prime Minister Teresa May's Brexit deal has left the country in chaos. This was to be expected. The anti-deal vote was overwhelming at 432 votes while those for the deal only numbered 202. What does this result mean for Britain, for Europe, and for Teresa May? What does it mean for the rest of the world and the...
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War with Iran- is it inevitable?

With the partial government shutdown in the US over funding for the wall, the pulling out of US troops in Syria, the on-going Russian probe, and the many tweets from President Trump that determine foreign policy, it's easy to forget there might be other issues at play in the Middle East, especially concerning Iran. After living in the Middle East f...
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Israel anti-boycott bill becomes partisan casualty in first vote of new Senate

I am often asked what will happen in the Middle East, politically that is, especially regarding Syria, Israel and the Gulf countries. I might have lived there, but I do not know the answers. All I know is that it is survival of the fittest. Agreeing with this philosophy is Bryant Harris writing for Al Monitor. Here is what he says on the issue. Isr...
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Rival fiefdoms emerge in scramble over Trump's Syria withdrawal

There's been a lot of talk about the withdrawal of US troops from Syria and how this will affect the destruction of IS (if it has not been already) and the rest of the world. I doubt that IS has been destroyed in the Middle East, and is unlikely to be. Turkey is known for hating the Kurds, whom it sees as a terrorist group, and the planned US withd...
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Best intranets of 2019.

There's a lot of talk nowadays about what the best apps are, the best intranets and the best browsers. Therefore, I was interested to read another article from Nielsen Norman Group (NNG) on the best intranets, 10 Best Intranets of 2019 by Kara Pernice and Patty Caya on January 6, 2019 Topics: Intranets Summary: Winners are from large and medium-siz...
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Top 10 UX Articles of 2018

Happy New Year. I've taken a break over the past fortnight as I've been cooking, and visiting, family and friends. This time of year is full on but it's soon over and then all goes back to normal. I've also got a sick mother, who came out of the care home for the day but we all found the day trying and traumatic. It's never easy. This email come in...
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Getting America out of Middle East purgatory

When I was living in the Middle East I often said that the Western world, mainly the US and Britain, should stay out of the region. Now senior fellows from the Brookings Institute agree with me. Mara Karlin and Tamara Cofman Wittes Tuesday, December 11, 2018 Painful though it may be, the United States needs to begin the work of pulling back from it...
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Brexit: Majority of country now think Britain should remain in the EU, new poll finds

Brexit may not be the Middle East, but whatever happens next week in Britain will affect the rest of the world. This is what the latest poll says, as polled by the Independent newspaper. Brexit: Majority of country now think Britain should remain in the EU, new poll finds A majority of the country now think Britain should remain inside the European...
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NZ Super Fund named top sovereign wealth fund prize

This media release came in today about New Zealand's sovereign wealth fund. It's performing well, its success recognised across Asia. The NZ Super Fund has been awarded the Sovereign Wealth Fund prize at the 2018 AsianInvestor Institutional Excellence Awards in Singapore. The editorial team at AsianInvestor noted the NZ Super Fund's "longstanding o...
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Trump's embrace of MBS puts both countries at risk

How the bizarre relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia will play out is open to interpretation. It may be that the bigger bet is with Saudi Arabia on the US rather than the other way around. In this article written by James Foley, a former US ambassador, on Al Jazeera some possibilities are laid out. Trump's embrace of MBS puts both countries...
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NZ education system one of most unequal in world

I was looking at the Unicef website for images of Yemen and I came across this article which I thought was not only interesting but informative. It looks at why New Zealand has one of the most unequal education systems in the world. New Zealand has one of the most unequal education systems in the world and the gap between the highest and lowest per...
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Saudi crown prince on goodwill tour as royal family frets

This article looks at the ramifications for the Saudi Crown Prince (MBS) of the recent killing of Jamal Khashoggi and how he is trying to salvage his credibility, as well as for the country as a whole. Bruce Riedel November 26, 2018 Article Summary Saudi Arabia's king and crown prince are touring the country and region to drum up support for the he...
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Looking upwards and outwards

A review of my time in Yemen. And here's a photo of Sana'a, Yemen's capital, as it was then Imagine sitting on an uninhabited white sandy beach, with a turquoise sea and a turquoise sky. It sounds idyllic. Indeed, it should have been. But we were only on the beach as a bolt hole, for fear we would be shot at, like our colleagues the day before, som...
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Bitcoin falls below $5,000 for first time since 2017

I'm posting an article on the value of Bitcoin falling. It is written by Matein Kahlid, who writes weekly (normally) for Khaleej Times in Dubai. I used to work at Khaleej Times, on the business desk, so know Matein well. He writes fluently and clearly on business topics. So if you are invested in Bitcoin, here is one take on the subject. The virtua...
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Saudi Arabia tortured female right-to-drive activists, says Amnesty

Globally, there's been a lot of excitement about females being able to drive in Saudi Arabia. It's not nearly as straightforward as that, with women in Saudi Arabia saying that some can and some can't. There are age limits in place. Some of the women activists have also be imprisoned in the Kingdom, as Amnesty International points out, as reported ...
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Saudi Arabia faces mounting calls to end war in Yemen

The war in Yemen is a forgotten war. I was in Yemen for New Year about 20 years ago, and it was revelation. At that stage, the Civil War had ended so we were able to travel reasonably easy, much easier than today for example. Sana'a. Yemen's capital, was a delight to behold- a photographer's dream- but I'm sure it has been largely destroyed now. He...
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Turkey and Israel: how the world sees them

The Middle East certainly dominates the news nowadays, so this article I read about Turkey and "fake news" and Israel and Palestine were intriguing to read, especially because I learned something. The first article appeared on the BBC and talks about how Turkey manipulates the news. Turkey is the world's largest jailer of journalists, ranking 157 o...
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Why Israel likes Iranian sanctions

Enter your text here  The issue with Iranian sanctions is a crazy one. Will the imposition of sanctions bring Iran to the negotiating table, as the US hopes, or will they have the opposite effect? With so much uncertainty about the reinstatement of sanctions on Iran I read this article in Al Monitor with considerable interest. Israel pins hope...
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