Why the likelihood of war between the US and Iran has declined

The likelihood of war between the US and Iran has become less likely now that the Republican-held Senate has ruled against Trump waging war on Iran without Senate approval. In Al Monitor The Republican-held Senate passed a resolution 55-45 today to constrain President Donald Trump from initiating offensive military action against Iran, likely setti...
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Will Europe propose a Middle East peace plan?

The Middle East Peace Plan as proposed by the US is still under discussion- but not by the Palestinians who have dismissed the proposal entirely. It is up to Europe to give them a better plan. When will Europe propose genuine peace plan for Israel, Palestinians? Yossi Beilin February 10, 2020 Article Summary If the European Union wants to stay rele...
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How freedom of speech is being curbed

Living in the Middle East, and being a journalist, has made me aware of censorship. Even the simplest things irk the authorities but one that irks the most is saying something that does not agree with them. That perhaps is not unusual. It is an issue not only across the region, but it has also become a problem globally, including in the US. If you ...
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A united response to Trump's Mideast deal in a divided Yemen

Much has been said against the Middle East Peace deal and why it doesn't work for Palestinians. Much of the world is against it, including the EU, and Yemen too. The Yemenis, despite the ongoing war, still concentrate on the Palestinian cause and continue to support the country, even donating money. I have much sympathy for the Yemenis, having spen...
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How the body changes as you age

This article explores some of the problems that may occur as a person ages and what you can do about it. The problem affects all people, everywhere. As people age their movement changes. But how? "We tend to stoop as we get older. We look down more than up, an indicator that we are not so comfortable on our feet (compared with younger people) says ...
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Mike Moore and free trade

Mike Moore, who died on 2 February 2020 aged 71, was a former NZ Prime Minister (although that was short-lived at 59 days) and a former director general of the WTO. He was charming, witting and engaging and an excellent person to interview. I interviewed him in 2007 when he was in Dubai and I was at Khaleej Times. Here is what he said. FTAs pr...
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Will the US's Peace Plan work?

The much-heralded Middle East Peace Plan from the US will be released today (Tuesday 28 January). Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's beleaguered Prime Minister is at the White House for the announcement. No one from the Palestinians have been invited to the White House and no one from the Palestinians was involved in putting it together. This, despite th...
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Predictions for 2020

I wrote this for Behavioural Shift (www.behaviouralshift.com) What can the "darling doyens" – (well, post 50) expect from the coming year? What does Behavioral Shift predict? (1) Employment: We are likely to see a greater number of older people in the work force over the next decade, starting from this year, in the most developed societies. More pe...
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Is an US-Iran war likely?

I often get asked about Iran and the US and if the two will engage in war. Yes, is the answer, over time. The shooting down of a Ukrainian aircraft carrying many Iranians, many of whom lived in Canada, has merely delayed the inevitable. A US war with Iran. After living in the Middle East for some years and writing about the politics of the region, ...
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Lebanon forms a new government

Lebanon has a new government, finally. This was announced only a few hours ago. But have the protestors, who wanted an end to corruption and nepotism, really won? Is the new government significantly different from the old one? Al Jazeera reported the new government like this. Lebanon has formed a new government, its presidency announced after Hezbo...
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Will Lebanon's political system get the overhaul it so needs?

Lebanon is in political and economic turmoil. The protests against corrupt governments continue and have turned violent. Poverty is a way of life in Lebanon now and cash can now be withdrawn up to USD 300 a month, not enough for businesses, and many individuals, to survive. Many Lebanese live abroad, in the UAE, the US and the UK in particular. How...
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8 truths to remember before starting another military campaign

The threat of war in the Middle East is closer than ever, mainly because tensions between Iran and the US are rising. Nobody ever wants war; nobody will benefit; all sides will lose. And it will be a cost to all countries involved. Is it worth it? I read this today about the cost of war to the US. Here are eight principles that the US should rememb...
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What's next for Oman following Sultan Qaboos' death?

The death of Oman's 50-year ruler Sultan Qaboos raises many questions, the most important of which is: "Will his successor, Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said, continue Sultan Qaboos' work?" This entails taking not only an impartial approach to politics but being a negotiator and mediator. This balancing act is described well in the following article...
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The death of Oman's ruler and what the country does for Yemen

The death of Oman's Sultan Qaboos bin said bin Taimur al Said on 10 January 2020 is not only a blow to Oman but to the entire Gulf region. He ruled the small Sultanate of Oman, which has about 4.5 million people, for five decades and transformed the Oman from being a backwater in the Arabian Gulf to a thriving community with oil and the country wit...
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Will Western expats leave the Middle East?

There is confusion about what will happen in the Middle East, as tension between the US and Iran escalates. In response to the killing of the head of the Quds Defence Force, Qasem Soleimani, Iran has attacked an US-led coalition airbase in Iraq. It appears no one was killed, and President Trump is expected to make a statement soon. What a mess! Wha...
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How will Iran retaliate following the assassination of Qasem Soleimani?

The US and Iran conflict continues. The fallout from the killing of Qasem Soleimani in Iraq last week is likely to continue for weeks, months and even years. What it means for the Middle East is unknown but it is likely that armed conflict within the region will follow. There is no doubt that Iran will avenge the killing in some war, although outri...
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What does the killing of Qasem Soleimani mean for the Middle East?

Following the killing of Iran's rockstar commander, Qasem Soleimani, the second most important person in Iran, by the US, war in the Middle East is that much more likely. Which country will side with whom? Even though the UAE and Saudi Arabia are allies of the US when it comes to the possible destruction of the Middle East, their alignments may wel...
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How age helps to determine the way we vote

The UK election result has many people considering the future of democracy in the country. How is the democratic will best represented? Is it by the older or the younger generation? Is it by the urban or rural populace? Or is it by the Northerners or Southerners? In this column, I will focus on the first of these: how age determined the outcome of ...
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Saudi Arabia: the latest news

One issue that caught my attention over the last few weeks is that of Saudi women no longer being segregated in restaurants. Women and families no longer have separate entrances from men, nor do they have to sit behind partitions. Sounds great? In practice, at certain restaurants and hotels the unwillingness to implement a segregation policy has be...
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Lebanon launches "The intellectuals" newspaper

The protests in Lebanon are ongoing, although we hear less about them. The protestors are not only railing against their poor standard of living, with the price of goods becoming more expensive, but also against corrupt politicians. When I was there, I was told by numerous people, who were supporters of all sides, that the politicians accepted loan...
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