An important backdrop to the militant American foreign policy of recent years is the fear that also pervades many Arab capitals of a rising “Shi’a Crescent” across the Middle East, which refers to the rise in militant power of Shi’ites across the region. Shi’ites represent about 12% of the Muslim population worldwide, as opposed to Sunnis who are the vast majority. King Abdullah of Jordan gave a grim warning of this rise on December 8, 2004 in anticipation of the Iraqi elections.

    But Dr. Moshe Maoz, Israel’s most senior expert on Syria and Iran, and also passionately committed to peace, has exposed this fear as oversimplified and misplaced, in an important study for the Saban Center. What appears as a rising crescent of the moon is actually more like crumb cake. There are separate and isolated movements across the region of Shi’ites asserting their presence, their rights and their power. …

  • New Treaty for Iran and Israel

    Published: June 25, 2008

    Middle East Times

    It is often said in the Arab world that the road to Jerusalem goes through Washington, with the implicit assumption that only the Americans can bring the Israelis to the negotiating table. But there is a distinctly different dynamic emerging from the waning days of the U.S. presidency of George W. Bush. The road to Washington may in fact pass through Jerusalem.

    Increasingly, countries in the Middle East are initiating peace talks with Israel directly, without U.S. assistance. The recent Syrian and Israeli negotiations are but one potentially promising model, and this route may be the best hope the Iranians have to prevent a cataclysmic confrontation over their nuclear program.

    The Iranian government asserts that its nuclear enrichment program is for peaceful purposes, but suspicions still abound. The rhetoric coming out of Iran, coupled with fears over the nature of its nuclear ambitions, …