By Eric Vandenbroeck

Pictural Overview of the Middle East

30 Dec. 2017: With the conflict in Syria slowing down the conflict in Yemen seems anything but over:


9 Dec. 2017: While the UN security council is to meet in order to discuss the US decision to Jerusalem as Israel's capital, here an analysis of the Jerusalem problem and the two-state solution option. Jerusalem Unveiled.



23 Dec. 2016: While there is no clear resolution in sight when it comes to settling the Israeli and Palestinian dispute, including the governments that offer the Palestinian Authority political and financial support, are loath to risk their relationship with Israel by advocating the creation of a Palestinian state, another conference is about to take place. Paris Peace Conference redux 15 Jan.2017:



25 Dec. 2016: The Syrian civil war and the Middle East going forward.


20 Dec. 2016: From Versailles to the Making of the Modern Middle East P.8: British rule, Arab Spring-revolt, and the Syria crisis today.


14 Dec. 2016:  Sykes-Picot granted Britain the right to administer Syria after it captured the Levant from the Ottomans in 1918.In 1919, London conceded at the Paris Peace Conference both Levantine entities to France that moved quickly and, aware of Hashemite progress, settled on creating Greater Lebanon.From Versailles to the Making of the Modern Middle East P.7: The unresolved sectarian issue in Lebanon today.


8 Dec. 2016: The profound effects of the British Empire’s actions in the Arab World during the First World War can be seen echoing through the history of the 20th century. From Versailles to the Making of the Modern Middle East P.6:  The importance of oil, the ‘Arab question’, and the British.



In recent months a number of Arab States, like for example Amman, have celebrated the centennial of the 'Arab Revolt' 1916-2016.


20 Oct. 2016: Soon I will be posting a series of three research articles about the Balfour Declaration and several more about the Versailles Treaty and the Making of the Modern Middle East, whereby first here an introductory: During the First World War, British strategy for the Middle East was aimed at protecting India, which meant keeping India’s numerous Muslim subjects tranquil. Initially, this gained Whitehall’s support, as it feared foreign troops in the Muslim Holy Land would make the followers of Hussein, the Sharif of Mecca, Emir of the Hejaz and potential British ally, oppose him. From Versailles to the Making of the Modern Middle East P.1: The ‘Arab revolt’, Britain, and the Collapse of the Ottoman Empire in the Middle East.


24 Oct. 2016: Mark Sykes returned to England where, almost immediately, he was thrust into negotiations with M. Charles François Georges-Picot, French counselor in London and former French consul general in Beirut, to try to harmonize Anglo-French interests in ‘Turkey-in-Asia’. Picot on the other hand had ‘expressed complete incredulity as to the projected Arab kingdom, said that the Sheikh had no big Arab chiefs with him, that the Arabs were incapable of combining, and that the whole scheme was visionary.' From Versailles to the Making of the modern Middle East P.2: The Arab question and the ‘shocking document’ that shaped the Middle East.


26 Oct. 2016: The rebellion sparked by the Hussein-McMahon correspondence; the Sykes-Picot agreement; and memoranda such as the Balfour Declaration (to be dealt with in detail) all have shaped the Middle East into forms which would have been unrecognizable to the diplomats of the 19th century.From Versailles to the Making of the modern Middle East P.3: The Menace of Jihad and How to Deal with It.


29 Oct. 2016: French rivalry in the Hijaz; the British attempt to get the French government to recognize Britain’s predominance on the Arabian Peninsula; the conflict between King Hussein and Ibn Sa’ud, the Sultan of Najd; the British handling of the French desire to take part in the administration of Palestine; as well as the ways in which the British authorities, in London and on the spot, tried to manage French, Syrian, Zionist and Hashemite ambitions regarding Syria and Palestine.From Versailles to the Making of the modern Middle East P.4: The ‘Arab’ and the ‘Jewish’ question.


6 Nov. 2016: The British authorities in Cairo, Baghdad, and London steadily lost their grip on the continuing and deepening rivalry between Hussein and Ibn Sa’ud, in particular regarding the possession of the desert town of Khurma. British warnings of dire consequences if the protagonists did not hold back and settle their differences peacefully had little or no effect. All the while the British wanted to abolish the Sykes– Picot agreement. From Versailles to the Making of the modern Middle East P.5: The Syrian question.


16 Nov. 2016: This is the most important and longest part. Following, a gripping account of the swashbuckling during the Paris Peace Conference deliberations including the Arab/Syrian, the King-Crane Commission, impasses and some breakthrough at the end. From Versailles to the Making of the modern Middle East P.6: The Paris Peace Conference deliberations.


25 Nov. 2016: One of the most far-reaching outcomes of the First World War was the creation of Palestine, initially under Britain as the Mandatory, out of an ill-defined area of the southern Syrian boundary of the Ottoman Empire. Considering this, on 16 Nov. 2016, the British Parliament debated the Balfour Declaration and how its upcoming 2017 Centennial should be handled. Yet even professionals are often not familiar with the details surrounding the Balfour Declaration, thus here a detailed investigation. The true history of the Balfour Declaration and its implementations P.1.


28 Nov.2016: Showing the topic is of ongoing relevance, following the British Parliament last week, tomorrow a discussion about the Balfour Declaration is to take place in the House of Commons. My analysis, however, is wholly independent of pro or contra stance and instead focuses on discovering the historical details that have been left out in recent discussions. The true history of the Balfour Declaration and its implementations P.2.


2 Dec. 2016: Apart from the strategic consideration that they needed Palestine for the imperial defense of India, the decision by the War Cabinet to authorized foreign secretary Balfour to make a declaration of sympathy with Zionist aspirations in November 1917, one could ad, was also a curious blend of sentiment (the romantic notion of the Jews returning to their ancient lands after 1,800 years of exile) and anti- Antisemitism (world Jewry was a force that could vitally influence the outcome of the war) also led them to this decision.  The true history of the Balfour Declaration and its implementations P.3.

29 November 2016 discussion about the Balfour Declaration at the British Houses of Parliament.

5 Dec. 2016: As we have seen, in the end, the idea was to use President Wilson’s recognition of the Balkan nations’ right to self-determination – namely, freedom from Ottoman rule – to overcome his opposition to the implementation of this same policy in the Middle East. By supporting Zionist aspirations in Palestine, the Lloyd George Government thus strove to compel Wilson to expand his policy regarding the 'small nations' from the European regions of the Ottoman Empire to its Asian territories. The true history of the Balfour Declaration and its implementations P.4.

Nov. 24, 2008: While the capital-rich and financially liquid Arab states of the Persian Gulf are among few in the world that can view the current crisis and see potential opportunities, there are a couple of notable exceptions. Geopolitical Implications.

Febr. 24, 2009: Iran and the Protest in Saudi-Arabia Today. The Shi’ite-Suni Devide.

Case Study: Shi'ite Lebanon and Hezbollah


Not to long ago hardly a day wents by without a massacre carried out by either a Shiite death squad or an extremist Sunni group. The Occupation and its Legacy, P.1.


Iraq Confidential: Explaining how the three main Iraqi communities, the Kurds, the Shia and the Sunni, responded to the growing conflict, and occupation that followed, we answer ‘what next’. The Occupation and its Legacy, P.2.


Iraq in Fragments:  Iraq's civil war is the messy end of a country that never worked as a voluntary union and that brought misery to most of its people most of the time. By invading Iraq and mismanaging the aftermath, the United States precipitated Iraq 's collapse as a unified state but did not cause it. Partition-the Iraqi solution-has produced stability in most of the country and for this reason should be accepted. In Baghdad and other mixed Sunni-Shiite areas, the United States can not contribute to the solution because there is no solution, at least in the foreseeable future. It is a tragedy, and it is unsatisfying to admit that there is little that can be done about it. But it is so. No purpose is served by a prolonged American presence anywhere in Arab Iraq. The war's architects believed they could change the Middle East. And so they did. The Occupation and its Legacy, P.3.


Hezbollah praises victory over Israel. As a jab to the UN force in Lebanon Nasrallah announced; Hizballah is stronger than ever before we still have more than 20,000 rockets:

Hezbollah trains children to be martyrs, Egyptian paper says Hezballah has recruited more than 2,000 children 10-15 years of age to form armed militias. Unknown to most we checkep up who and what Hezbollah really is:

Who/What Hezbollah really is: The Larger Picture.

November 14, 2006: Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said Nov. 14 the government of Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora will be overthrown.

In spite of the rhetoric by millions of Muslims worldwide-- of a Western religious crusade, the new conflict between the post-Christian West and Islam-- is more a clash between secular materialism and a revived religion. Case Study:


Where the only moment of meaningful contact was the last two years of the Clinton administration, with the advent of the Bush administration, the two political cultures were increasingly defined by a shared belief in confrontation. Politics, therefore, define Iran-US relations. Populist and rich with emotion, this narrative of confrontation has permeated the popular imagination and driven the elites. The first step, therefore, must be to confront these myths, recognize their importance and potency, and begin their deconstruction. (Research Report) The Iran US Conflict.

As we have seen also in the case of China, among the more pernicious of myths is the political myth of victimization. It also, tends to empower through the removal of moral responsibility. Where the hostage crisis and Iran-Contra had an impact on US perceptions vice-versa happened during the Iran/Iraq War when the US in turn leant towards support for the Iraqis. (Research Report)The Iran US Conflict Today:

Iranian President Ahmadinejad on IRINN TV: 'Lebanon is the scene of an historic test, which will determine the future of humanity'. 

Truth is generally the first casualty in war on the battlefields of the Middle East, especially when Israel is involved. For neither Israel nor the Jews are seen — whether by themselves, by their friends, or by their foes — as a nation and a people like others. One form of irrationality, shared by some evangelical Christians and (some) Jews, has it that Israel is the 'Zion' of prophecy, part of God's plan.

Following recent media doctoring, now the war of Arab TV. Anyone with access to a television has the illusion of direct access, forgetting that the mass media itself determines what we see and how we see it. We frequently pointed out, how nations and populist politics are rooted in foundation myths that underpin their historical identity. The mass media’s avowed intention of exciting emotion, however compounds and extends rather than explains and scrutinize. (Case Study) Pan-Arabist Media:

The strengthening that Arab-Islamic groups, including al-Qaeda, Hizbollah and Hamas have offered powerful cultural productions as the bastion of secular Pan-Arabism and individual policies of Arab transnational, to offer new visions of Arab identity. The New Pan-Arabism P.2:


(Research Report): Saudi-Arabia and Terrorism:




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