FROM Ali Al-Ahmed
Sectarianism Renews Divisions in the Middle East By executing a Shiite cleric last weekend, the Sunni nation of Saudi Arabia created a martyr. It also inflamed its dangerous rivalry with Shiite Iran. Hardliners in both countries are now using sectarian differences to pursue political goals. Stability in the Middle East is at risk, along with implementing the Iran nuclear deal, finding an end to Syria's civil war and defeating the Islamic State. Both Iran and Saudi Arabia violate human rights and make war on their neighbors. Should the US choose one over the other or look for middle ground?
Is Saudi Arabia Serious about Declaring War against Terror? Saudi Arabia says it's formed a coalition of 34 Muslim nations against ISIS, other terrorist groups and their "violent ideology." The US was surprised, but calls the announcement "welcome." Pakistan, one of 34 nations named as a partner, says it wasn't even consulted. Iran, Syria and Iraq weren't included at all, raising questions about the divide between Sunnis and Shiites. Is Saudi Arabia just responding to Western critics, diverting attention from warfare in Yemen or making a real bid for leadership in collective security?
Saudi Arabia: Human Rights and Public Persuasion Saudi Arabia's justice system features public beheadings, hangings and floggings, which — to Western eyes -- are violations of human rights. But the Kingdom is so important to defense contractors, intelligence agents and stability in the Middle East that Western governments usually don't say a word. Now rare public criticism has outraged the Saudi royal family, and British leaders are struggling for damage control. Should recent incidents cause the US to be heard from, or would complaints fall on deaf ears?
Why Don't Facts Matter? "Fake News" may have a long history, but social media and 21st Century politics have brought it front and center. One reason for its appeal and its power is the tendency of so many people to cling to their beliefs — even when confronted with contradictory evidence. Today, another look at the Emotional States of America.
GOP 'Nukes' the Senate filibuster on SCOTUS nominees Senate Democrats today blocked Judge Neil Gorsuch's appointment to the US Supreme Court… but just for the moment. The Republican majority has changed the rules to force a likely confirmation as soon as tomorrow.
Nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula slowly coming to a head North Korea did not conduct a nuclear test this weekend, but it did show apparent progress in developing a missile that that could strike the United States. The Trump Administration says it has lost its "strategic patience." We hear what that might -- or might not -- mean for North Korea, China and the prospects for diplomacy.