Back to the Future

Posted on March 06, 2014 in Countdown
Has Mitt Romney been vindicated? After calling Russia the United States’ “number one geopolitical foe” in 2012 and being jibed for his blast from the past rhetoric on Russia by President Obama, it looks like Russian President Vladmir Putin really does deserve Forbes magazine’s 2013 title of “Most Powerful Person.”
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At Least Three Reasons to Watch the Oscars

Posted on February 26, 2014 in Countdown
If you’ve been following our blog, chances are you know that this Sunday night we’ll be glued to our TV’s to watch the Academy Awards. Three Arab films are up for Oscars this year: Omar, by Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad, The Square by Egyptian American Jehane Noujaim, and Karamah Has No Walls from Yemen’s Sara Ishaq. All three shed light on events in the Middle East through perspectives not usually found in American media.
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The Day We Fight Back

Posted on February 19, 2014 in Countdown
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas delivered a speech directly to 300 Israeli students and youth leaders in Ramallah to discuss the peace process. Taking a page from the Obama playbook, Abbas went over Netanyahu’s head and spoke directly to the Israeli public to outline the Palestinian position on peace negotiations.
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Living in Limbo

Posted on February 12, 2014 in Countdown
We don’t have to tell you that resolving the crisis in Syria hasn’t been easy. Russia has offered to meet directly with the United States to discuss Syria after the first Geneva II negotiations did not produce much substance, and it was also revealed that Syria is behind schedule in shipping out its chemical weapons arsenal. Still, there is a small piece of good news that could have a big impact for those suffering in Syria: in a welcome step, the Obama administration announced it will ease some restrictions to allow more Syrian refugees to resettle in the United States.
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Three Strikes, No Outs

Posted on February 05, 2014 in Countdown
Talk of the demise of what is easily rated as one of Washington’s most prominent lobby groups is nothing new and not surprisingly untrue. However, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee has swung and missed on three issues they have been publicly pushing for over the past year. First, U.S. public opposition and Obama’s reversal of military involvement in Syria succeeded in trumping AIPAC’s calls for U.S. missile strikes.
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All Bark, No Bite?

Posted on January 23, 2014 in Countdown
There isn’t much good news to report out of the Middle East these days. But amid all the chaos, Tunisia, the country where the Arab Spring began, is showing promise of achieving the goals of its revolution. Three years ago this month, Tunisians revolted against their government and began what has no doubt been a rocky transition.
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Countdown to 2014

Posted on December 17, 2013 in Countdown
We know, it’s sad, but yes, this is in fact the last Countdown of the year. We promise to come back in 2014 with even better material as we aim to give you a unique breakdown and topical analysis of issues in the U.S. and Middle East.
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Practically Wrote Itself

Posted on December 11, 2013 in Countdown
According to Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), if you’re Middle Eastern, you can’t help but lie. It’s not your fault, though; it’s just part of your culture. In one of the more bigoted and downright stupid things we’ve heard out of Washington in a while (and that’s saying something), Rep. Hunter told C-SPAN that we can’t trust Iran to live up to its end of the nuclear deal brokered by the P 5+1 because “In the Middle Eastern culture it is looked upon with very high regard to get the best deal possible, no matter what it takes, and that includes lying."
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A Change of Course

Posted on December 03, 2013 in Countdown
Friday, November 29 marked the one-year anniversary of the United Nations vote to upgrade the Palestinian Mission to the UN’s status to “non-member observer state.” To mark the event, the United Nations passed a resolution labeled 68/L.12 declaring 2014 the “International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.”
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We Have a Deal

Posted on November 26, 2013 in Countdown
We have a deal. The U.S. (and other world powers) announced on Saturday that Iran has agreed to put the first significant limits on its nuclear program, in the most significant agreement reached between Tehran and the international community in decades. The agreement requires Iran to hold its uranium enrichment capacity in place for six months, under tight supervision, and in exchange, Iran receives temporary sanctions relief.
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