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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Absent strong US policy on Mideast, nations compete for influence

By Roy Gutman

WSTANBUL— JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) Some of America's closest Middle East allies, viewing U.S. policy as adrift, are competing for influence in the region's trouble spots, producing discord that might get in the way of stable outcomes and take decades to put right, experts in the region say.



Analysts blame the Obama administration, which they say still doesn't have a strategy to deal with the aftershocks of the 2011 Arab Spring — in particular the war in Syria and Egypt's latest political upheaval. Instead, the U.S. aim appears to be to "contain" the crises and manage them at the margins, they say.

"We are in a situation where the United States doesn't want to lead. It has quite an effect on the region," said Salman Shaikh of the Brookings Institution in Doha, Qatar. In its place, regional powers such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar are devising their own policies, but without coordination and often with different aims, he said.

"The Gulf states and the Turks thought they would own the Syrian problem in the early period of the uprising," said Emile Hokayem, a Bahrain-based analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies who has just written a book about the Syrian war. "Then they realized the limits of their power and begged for U.S. leadership, figuring the U.S. could harmonize the various approaches toward Syria and de-conflict them." But the United States wants only to manage the Middle East crises "at the margins," he said. Both men spoke in telephone interviews.

The discord is on display in both Syria and Egypt. Saudi Arabia recently upstaged Qatar and helped force a shakeup in the leadership of the internationally recognized Syrian Opposition Coalition, displacing the power of delegates from the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood by adding liberal secular Syrians. The coalition was created last year at the behest of the United States to become a government in exile, prepared to step in should President Bashar Assad fall. But the U.S. has provided no funds to the group — State Department officials have told McClatchy they think the coalition is too unstable to be counted on to spend the money wisely — and senior members of the coalition say the United States gives widely inconsistent advice and doesn't follow through on its pledges of support.


Saudi Arabia is trying to step in with arms and funds to make up for the lack of U.S. military and civilian aid. But the oil-rich kingdom isn't able to deliver all the necessary arms at a time rebel forces have sustained major setbacks at the hands of forces loyal to Assad, aided by arms deliveries, training and financial aid from Russia, Iran and the Lebanese militia Hezbollah.

The Saudis have promised the aid, to be sent via Gen. Salim Idriss, the commander of the rebels' Supreme Military Council, with the intention that no weapons or ammunition go to the al-Qaida-affiliated rebel groups that have proved to be the most effective anti-Assad force. "But they have a problem with delivering," said Shaikh, the director of the Brookings Doha Center, an initiative of the Washington-based nonpartisan think tank.

And it's still a question whether Qatar will defer to the Saudis or go its own way, as it has in the past, including allowing military supplies to flow to al-Qaida-affiliated groups that the United States has designated as international terrorist organizations.

Qatar has a new ruler, after Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani handed over power last month to his son Sheik Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, and it's undergoing a review of the effectiveness of its enormous foreign-policy investment over the past decade, which included taking a major role in the NATO-led intervention in Libya in 2011.

The Saudis and the Qataris have pursued distinctly different approaches to the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria and Egypt; the Saudis fear the Brotherhood as a pan-Arab movement determined to undermine the region's monarchies, whereas Qatar sees the Brotherhood more opportunistically as a force that will bring results, Hokayem said.


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The clearest example may be in Egypt. The Saudis refused to send financial support to the government of former President Mohammed Morsi, who rose to prominence through the Brotherhood. But Qatar committed $8 billion in aid and material support, and Turkey, governed by the Justice and Development Party, the Turkish equivalent of the Brotherhood, pledged $2 billion.

Days after the Egyptian military overthrew Morsi early this month, the Saudis stepped in with $5 billion in various forms of aid for the military-backed interim government, and the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait added another $7 billion.

The Persian Gulf countries can provide "some legitimacy, some regional cover" to the military for overthrowing Morsi, "but they don't have the strategic vision, the expertise the democratic vision that would lead to an inclusive political scene in Egypt," Hokayem said, "preferring one side over the other."

"In their competition and their machinations, the regional players are making a mess of it," Shaikh said. "They should have come together with a series of actions to stabilize the country. But we're not in that situation. The simple fact is that the Emiratis, the Kuwaitis jumped on the chance to do one over on the guys that the Turks and the Qataris were supporting."

Since Morsi was toppled July 3, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his senior aides have called almost daily for Morsi's reinstatement, leading Egypt's new rulers to issue a diplomatic protest.

Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Turkey and the United Arab Emirates and Turkey "are huge," Hokayem said.

Shaikh predicted that the competition "in the end of the day will come back to haunt them," for an unstable Egypt "is not good for any of them."

But the country that's suffering the most from what Shaikh calls a policy "that is adrift" is Syria, where the country's civil war has claimed more than 100,000 lives on both sides. A leading figure in the opposition coalition's new Saudi-backed civilian leadership says the U.S. has "a policy of vagueness."

In principle, the United States backs the coalition, said Fayez Sara, a writer and journalist who's now a member of the coalition's political committee. However, he said, "until now, no money has been received from the U.S."

When the U.S. offers advice, "it is inconsistent," he said in an interview.

"In the morning, they say, 'Unite.' In the afternoon, it's 'Fight terror groups.' In the evening, they say, 'Work for a political settlement with the regime.' "

He said there was a contradiction in the U.S. message, which declared on one hand that "Assad must go" and on the other demands of Assad's opponents that "You have to arrive at some sort of agreement with him." Sara says that when he points this out to U.S. officials, he receives different responses. Some say, "You're right," and others "just walk away," he said.

The Americans have, "for now, abandoned the Syrian situation to its fate," he said. "They will not take on the political or moral responsibility. They may come back to it. But it will be much more difficult when they do."

Hokayem, whose book, "Syria's Uprising and the Fracturing of the Levant," describes the 2011 uprising as coming as a complete surprise to outside observers, said the Obama administration had defined its policies in the region in terms of avoiding another Iraq. But Syria "has already overtaken Iraq" in terms of its humanitarian, regional and strategic significance, he said. "Syria is going to be the defining issue of the decade" in the region, he said, and the Obama administration may soon get the "worst of both worlds."

"We're going to see an Assad surviving in a weakened fashion, more dependent on Iran and Hezbollah, with no strategic gain," Hokayem said. There will be "a range of radical groups, whose identity we don't know, which will be very difficult to contain."

Shaikh agreed. "I don't think we've got a grip on this," he said. "The legacy of that is quite, quite devastating in the future."

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© 2013, McClatchy Washington Bureau Distributed by MCT Information Services

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