Stephen Zunes : Middle East–Overview


How Not to Support Democracy in the Middle East
8 June 2009

President Barack Obama’s speech in Cairo to the Muslim world marked a welcome departure from the Bush administration’s confrontational approach. Yet many Arabs and Muslims have expressed frustration that he failed to use this opportunity to call on the autocratic Saudi and Egyptian leaders with whom he had visited on his Middle Eastern trip to end their repression and open up their corrupt and tightly controlled political systems….


Pelosi the Hawk
27 April 2009

Reports by international human rights groups and from within Israel in recent weeks have revealed the massive scale of war-crimes and other violations of international humanitarian law, committed by Israeli forces during their three-week offensive against the Gaza Strip earlier this year. Despite this, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has steadfastly stood by her insistence that the U.S.-backed Israeli government has no legal or moral responsibility for the tragic consequence of the war….


Arming the Middle East
28 January 2008

President George W Bush announced during his recent Middle East trip that he is formally serving notice to Congress of his administration’s decision to approve the sale of bomb-guidance kits to Saudi Arabia. This announcement follows notification on five other arms deals to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait that are part of a $20 billion package of additional armaments over the next decade to the family dictatorships of Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf emirates announced by President George W. Bush last summer….


Obama and the Middle East: Will He Bring About “Change?”
15 January 2008

The strong showings by Senator Barack Obama of Illinois in the early contests for the Democratic presidential nomination don’t just mark a repudiation of the Bush administration’s Iraq policy and “war on terrorism.” They also indicate a rejection of the Democratic Party establishment, much of which supported the invasion of Iraq and other tragic elements of the administration’s foreign policy.


An Open Letter to my Danish Friends
20 February 2006

This is a letter of apology from an American who has witnessed in horror the extreme anti-Danish reaction in parts of the Islamic world. While the spark may have originated in your country, the tinderbox which caused that spark to explode in such a violent conflagration is largely a result of the policies of the United States.


International Law, The U.N., and MIddle Eastern Conflicts
9 September 2004

Peace Review Sep 04 Int’l Law, UN and ME Conflicts (PDF)


Noble Rhetoric Supports Democracy While Ignoble Policies Support Repression
8 November 2003

President George W. Bush’s November 6 speech before the National Endowment for Democracy emphasizing the need for greater democracy and freedom in the Arab world, while containing a number of positive aspects, was nevertheless very misleading and all-too characteristic of the longstanding contradictory messages that have plagued U.S. policy in the Middle East.


Nonviolent Resistance in the Islamic World
3 January 2002

The tragic events of recent months have only strengthened the stereotype here in the United States of the Islamic world as an area of violent conflict. However, the region also has an impressive and growing tradition of nonviolent resistance and other unarmed challenges to authoritarianism.


10 Things to Know About the Middle East
1 October 2001

1. Who are the Arabs?

Arab peoples range from the Atlantic coast in northwest Africa to the Arabian peninsula and north to Syria. They are united by a common language and culture. Though the vast majority are Muslim, there are also sizable Christian Arab minorities in Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Palestine. Originally the inhabitants of the Arabian peninsula, the Arabs spread their language and culture to the north and west with the expansion of Islam in the 7th century. There are also Arab minorities in the Sahel and parts of east Africa, as well as in Iran and Israel. The Arabs were responsible for great advances in mathematics, astronomy and other scientific disciplines, while Europe was still mired in the Dark Ages.


U.S. Policy Toward Political Islam
12 September 2001

The perceived growth of radical Islamic movements throughout the Middle East and beyond has not only caused major political upheaval in the countries directly affected but has placed political Islam at the forefront of concerns voiced by U.S. policymakers. One unfortunate aspect of this newfound attention has been the way it has strengthened ugly stereotypes of Muslims already prevalent in the West. This occurs despite the existence of moderate Islamic segments and secular movements that are at least as influential as radicals in the political life of Islamic countries.