Cut through the clutter in the news concerning developments in the Middle East. Find out what really matters. Tune in to Powell History Recommends. Each week, I’ll be monitoring the news for historically significant events in the region’s major countries, and passing them on to you, with brief commentary about why these events deserve your attention.
Day of angry protest stuns Egypt (International Herald Tribune)
Despite the constant use of force by the Mubarak regime to suppress the Muslim Brotherhood, that Islamist organization remains the only organized political opposition in Egypt. This matters because the country may be on the verge of economic collapse and widespread violence. Interestingly, the United States holds joint military exercises with Egypt on a biannual basis. This project is known as “Operation Bright Star.” Which leaves me to wonder, will the US be asked to deploy its military in Egypt when the regime comes under serious threat?
A report submitted to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee indicates that if Iran acquires nuclear weapons, this would set off a chain reaction in the Middle East, pushing other states in the region to consider launching their own nuclear arms programs.
I agree that this is a possibility. In my view, the development of nuclear weapons by Iran will lead to the annihilation of Israel and a new Cold War. America will be forced to provide security and Marshall Plan type aid for Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, etc. In this situation the US will have a whole new containment scenario on its hands. It have to face the threat of Islamist expansion into Turkey and Egypt much like it did with the Communist threats in Korea and Vietnam, and it will have two equally disturbing options: commit American lives and money to save these countries (a “Truman Doctrine” approach), or let them protect themselves (a “Nixon Doctrine” approach).
Turkey and democracy; The American model (International Herald Tribume)
Democracy in Turkey is still not in good order. The Islamic sects and the civil and military bureaucracies still exert undue influence on the political process, and basic liberties are not secured. Why does the democratization process prove to be so slow and problematic? The answer lies in the history.
How true! Find out what that crucial story is by listening to listening to Lecture 3 from the The Islamist Entanglement, my course on the history of the Middle East (available as an individual lecture for only $20.)