Letters from Saddam Ten years after his execution, even enemies of the former Iraqi leader concede that the country and region are worse off without him.

Letters from Saddam   Ten years after his execution, even enemies of the former Iraqi leader concede that the country and region are worse off without him.
By Abdel Bari Atwan   With the tenth anniversary of the hanging of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, the senior CIA intelligence analyst tasked with interrogating him after his capture by US forces has gone public about his experiences and impressions. In his book Debriefing The President, John Nixon writes that Saddam was among the most charismatic and complex individuals he ever met. He was often  “charming, nice, funny and polite”, but when provoked could be “rude, arrogant, narcissistic and mean-spirited.”   Whatever he thought of Saddam’s personality, the ex-inquisitor had no doubts at all on one point: if he had remained... المزيد
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Britain’s Undying Disgrace The UK’s shameless post-Brexit leaders think that by pandering to Netanyahu they can improve their standing with Trump

Britain’s Undying Disgrace The UK’s shameless post-Brexit leaders think that by pandering to Netanyahu they can improve their standing with Trump
By Abdel Bari Atwan   The Israeli government’s hostility to the international conference convened in Paris aimed at reviving the Middle East peace process does not mean that the gathering is of great benefit to the Palestinians or upholds their just demands to regain their rights.   It is due to the fact that the conference was set to demand an end to illegal Israeli settlement-building in the Occupied Territories and uphold the two-state solution – which the Israeli government has opposed, derided and acted to sabotage for the past twenty years, while exploiting the stupidity and wishful thinking of the Palestinian leadership to tie it into futile,... المزيد
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Trump and the Brotherhood The incoming US administration could be planning to designate the movement as ‘terrorist’. That would only strengthen the hardliners.

Trump and the Brotherhood   The incoming US administration could be planning to designate the movement as ‘terrorist’. That would only strengthen the hardliners.
By Abdel Bari Atwan   In 1978, a few weeks after Egyptian president Anwar Sadat signed the Camp David accords, I interviewed the then-leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Sheikh Omar al-Tilimsani. I tried my best to get him to issue a straightforward condemnation of the agreement and of Sadat’s prior visit to occupied Jerusalem. But he obfuscated, and avoided answering any of my questions on the matter.   Sensing my disappointment and dismay as a young journalist, he asked me to switch off my tape recorder and in a kindly, paternal tone said: ‘Son… I want to tell you two things. First, I will not say a word against Egypt and its regime while I am... المزيد
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Baghdadi Dies Again Nobody has been reported killed more often than the leader of the Islamic State (IS). But even if he were, it wouldn’t make that much difference.

Baghdadi Dies Again   Nobody has been reported killed more often than the leader of the Islamic State (IS). But even if he were, it wouldn’t make that much difference.
By Abdel Bari Atwan   Nobody has died as often — according to newspapers, agencies, television channels, and web outlets – as Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi. Scarcely a month goes by without reports circulating that the leader of the Islamic State (IS) group and self-styled    ‘Caliph’ has been killed or seriously injured in an airstrike by the 60-member coalition that has been busy bombing its twin capitals of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria.   On Sunday, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights run by Rami Abdurrahman, which is close to Western agencies as well as Syrian opposition groupings, reported that the IS is trying to find a... المزيد
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Murder in Ankara

Murder in Ankara
  If the Russian ambassador’s assassination was a protest against Turkey’s rapprochement with his country it is likely to back-fire By Abdel Bari Atwan     Monday’s assassination in Ankara of Russian Ambassador Andrey Karlov, and the way it was carried out, sums up the troubles facing Turkey and the region and could be a portent of things to come in the next few months.   The ambassador was shot eight times by an off-duty member of the Turkish security forces while preparing to give a speech at a cultural event. The killer repeatedly shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ and slogans proclaiming that he was acting to exact revenge for... المزيد
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Internationalizing the Yemen War As the tables turn against Saudi Arabia in the conflict, the Americans risk being increasingly dragged in, and the Russians could follow

Internationalizing the Yemen War   As the tables turn against Saudi Arabia in the conflict, the Americans risk being increasingly dragged in, and the Russians could follow
By Abdel Bari Atwan       One year and a half after the start of the Saudi-led ‘Decisive Storm’ aerial bombing campaign, the tables are turning in Yemen. The intended targets of the assault – the Houthi Ansarallah movement and the followers of former president Ali Abdallah Saleh – have moved on from their initial survival and acclimatization stage. They have gone into decidedly offensive and escalatory mode, attacking ‘hostile’ naval vessels in the Bab al-Mandeb Straight with land-to-sea missiles, and firing long-range rockets deep into Saudi territory at a military base in Taef more than 500-km away.   These actions say two... المزيد
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Feeling Abandoned The Syrian opposition is upset that the US won’t intervene militarily. But the hawks are stirring, and things could change if Hillary becomes president.

Feeling Abandoned The Syrian opposition is upset that the US won’t intervene militarily. But the hawks are stirring, and things could change if Hillary becomes president.
By Abdel Bari Atwan   A climate of despair coupled with intense anger prevails in Syrian opposition circles these days, specifically among the array of political figures and would-be leaders who have set up shop in various Western and regional capitals under the auspices of their respective governments.   The main cause of this mood is the leaking of the conversation US Secretary of State John Kerry had with a group of Syrians in New York on the side-lines of the UN General Assembly in New York on 22 September. The intensified fighting in Aleppo and the sharp rise in tensions between the US and Russia after the collapse of the cease-fire they agreed had raised hopes... المزيد
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Controversy surrounds fully automatic corpse-washing device in Iran

Controversy surrounds fully automatic corpse-washing device in Iran
A few years ago in Iran, a fully automatic corpse-washing device raised a social debate about whether it was acceptable to give the task of washing a human body to a machine. The device was to have been made in China, which caused many to question whether it was appropriate for a machine made designed by non-Muslims to be in charge of such a sacred task.   However, Iranian news agency Mehr denied that the machines were made in China, stating that they were in fact made in the northeastern city of Mashhad.   An Iranian official was quoted by the news agency stating that Mashhad had the second highest rates of deaths after the capital city of... المزيد
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Coming Clean on Libya

Coming Clean on Libya
  The report of the UK parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee confirms that opponents of the Nato intervention in Libya were right. But is anyone learning the lessons?           By Abdel Bari Atwan                                                     Bernard-Henri L é vy became irate when asked by an interviewer recently why the 2011 Nato intervention in Libya failed to bring security or stability to the country but instead plunged it into its current state of bloody mayhem. The French    ‘philosopher’, who famously played a key role in persuading then-president Nicolas... المزيد
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Syria’s Delusional Opposition

Syria’s Delusional Opposition
By Abdel Bari Atwan   When the American talk-show host and libertarian candidate for the US presidency, Gary Johnson, was asked what he would do about Aleppo if he made it to the White House, he replied: “What is Aleppo?”   Johnson was widely panned for his response. Yet it is doubtful that many Obama administration officials – Secretary of State John Kerry and his aides included – could give a more coherent or clearer answer.   This point needs to be made in light of the collapse of expectations that the US and Russia were on the verge of concluding a deal on Syria this week. Presidents Barack  Obama and Vladimir were set to put the... المزيد
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