Former Israeli leader Ariel Sharon has died after spending nearly eight years in a coma that followed a stroke. Sharon was highly controversial — both loved and hated. And few individuals in recent memory have had as much of an influence on the recent history of the Middle East.
The Islamic militia linked to al-Qaeda now fighting in Syria and Iraq is called the ISIS, or sometimes the ISIL. The reason for the different names lies in the history of what is now called Greater Syria.
Violence is spreading in Iraq's western Anbar province engulfing two key cities — Fallujah and Ramadi. Many Americans remember Fallujah and Anbar province as places where US soldiers fought and died. Retired US Army Colonel Peter Mansoor knows the area well and says the US government should re-engage.
Afghanistan and Pakistan have occupied central roles in American foreign policy for the last decade — and some role long before that. But their influence may well wane if relations between the US and Iran continue to improve.
Israeli-Palestinian collaboration is rare enough in the fractious Middle East. But harmony? Two pianists are showing personal peace is possible, along with world-class performance in Europe and the Middle East.
While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is cautioning against believing anything that Iranians say, and Israeli-Iranian radio host wants Israel to hear more Iranian voices. He's hosted a radio show for 50 years that encouraged regular Iranians to call in.