Nick Turse
After years and years of secrecy, the Pentagon finally acknowledged its Combined Air and Space Operations Center at al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar.  Earlier this year I unsuccessfully tried to visit the base but fell victim to the military runaround. 
(via Hagel Lifts Veil on Major Military Center in Qatar - NYTimes.com)

After years and years of secrecy, the Pentagon finally acknowledged its Combined Air and Space Operations Center at al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar.  Earlier this year I unsuccessfully tried to visit the base but fell victim to the military runaround.

(via Hagel Lifts Veil on Major Military Center in Qatar - NYTimes.com)

A billion dollars from the federal government could go a long way toward revitalizing America’s aging infrastructure.  It could provide housing or better water and sewer systems.  It could enhance a transportation network or develop an urban waterfront.  It could provide local jobs.  It could do any or all of these things.  And, in fact, it did.  It just happened to be in the Middle East, not the United States.
The Pentagon awarded $667.2 million in contracts in 2012, and more than $1 billion during Barack Obama’s first term in office for construction projects in largely autocratic Middle Eastern nations, according to figures provided to me by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Middle East District.  (More than $178 million in similar funding is already anticipated for 2013.)
For more on the Mid-East building boom of the Obama years, check out my latest article here.
Photo: U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain Adam Ereli (fourth from left) and other U.S. and Bahraini officials begin a $580 million military construction project during a groundbreaking ceremony at Mina Salman Port.  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Eric Brown/RELEASED)

A billion dollars from the federal government could go a long way toward revitalizing America’s aging infrastructure.  It could provide housing or better water and sewer systems.  It could enhance a transportation network or develop an urban waterfront.  It could provide local jobs.  It could do any or all of these things.  And, in fact, it did.  It just happened to be in the Middle East, not the United States.

The Pentagon awarded $667.2 million in contracts in 2012, and more than $1 billion during Barack Obama’s first term in office for construction projects in largely autocratic Middle Eastern nations, according to figures provided to me by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Middle East District.  (More than $178 million in similar funding is already anticipated for 2013.)

For more on the Mid-East building boom of the Obama years, check out my latest article here.

Photo: U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain Adam Ereli (fourth from left) and other U.S. and Bahraini officials begin a $580 million military construction project during a groundbreaking ceremony at Mina Salman Port.  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Eric Brown/RELEASED)

A billion dollars from the federal government could go a long way toward revitalizing America’s aging infrastructure.  It could provide housing or better water and sewer systems.  It could enhance a transportation network or develop an urban waterfront.  It could provide local jobs.  It could do any or all of these things.  And, in fact, it did.  It just happened to be in the Middle East, not the United States.
The Pentagon awarded $667.2 million in contracts in 2012, and more than $1 billion during Barack Obama’s first term in office for construction projects in largely autocratic Middle Eastern nations, according to figures provided to me by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Middle East District.  (More than $178 million in similar funding is already anticipated for 2013.)
For more on the Mid-East building boom of the Obama years, check out my latest article here.
Photo: U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain Adam Ereli (fourth from left) and other U.S. and Bahraini officials begin a $580 million military construction project during a groundbreaking ceremony at Mina Salman Port.  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Eric Brown/RELEASED)

A billion dollars from the federal government could go a long way toward revitalizing America’s aging infrastructure.  It could provide housing or better water and sewer systems.  It could enhance a transportation network or develop an urban waterfront.  It could provide local jobs.  It could do any or all of these things.  And, in fact, it did.  It just happened to be in the Middle East, not the United States.

The Pentagon awarded $667.2 million in contracts in 2012, and more than $1 billion during Barack Obama’s first term in office for construction projects in largely autocratic Middle Eastern nations, according to figures provided to me by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Middle East District.  (More than $178 million in similar funding is already anticipated for 2013.)

For more on the Mid-East building boom of the Obama years, check out my latest article here.

Photo: U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain Adam Ereli (fourth from left) and other U.S. and Bahraini officials begin a $580 million military construction project during a groundbreaking ceremony at Mina Salman Port.  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Eric Brown/RELEASED)

A billion dollars from the federal government could go a long way toward revitalizing America’s aging infrastructure.  It could provide housing or better water and sewer systems.  It could enhance a transportation network or develop an urban waterfront.  It could provide local jobs.  It could do any or all of these things.  And, in fact, it did.  It just happened to be in the Middle East, not the United States.
The Pentagon awarded $667.2 million in contracts in 2012, and more than $1 billion during Barack Obama’s first term in office for construction projects in largely autocratic Middle Eastern nations, according to figures provided to me by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - Middle East District.  (More than $178 million in similar funding is already anticipated for 2013.)
For more on the Mid-East building boom of the Obama years, check out my latest article here.
Photo: U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain Adam Ereli (fourth from left) and other U.S. and Bahraini officials begin a $580 million military construction project during a groundbreaking ceremony at Mina Salman Port.  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Eric Brown)

A billion dollars from the federal government could go a long way toward revitalizing America’s aging infrastructure.  It could provide housing or better water and sewer systems.  It could enhance a transportation network or develop an urban waterfront.  It could provide local jobs.  It could do any or all of these things.  And, in fact, it did.  It just happened to be in the Middle East, not the United States.

The Pentagon awarded $667.2 million in contracts in 2012, and more than $1 billion during Barack Obama’s first term in office for construction projects in largely autocratic Middle Eastern nations, according to figures provided to me by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - Middle East District.  (More than $178 million in similar funding is already anticipated for 2013.)

For more on the Mid-East building boom of the Obama years, check out my latest article here.

Photo: U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain Adam Ereli (fourth from left) and other U.S. and Bahraini officials begin a $580 million military construction project during a groundbreaking ceremony at Mina Salman Port.  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Eric Brown)

A billion dollars from the federal government could go a long way toward revitalizing America’s aging infrastructure.  It could provide housing or better water and sewer systems.  It could enhance a transportation network or develop an urban waterfront.  It could provide local jobs.  It could do any or all of these things.  And, in fact, it did.  It just happened to be in the Middle East, not the United States.
The Pentagon awarded $667.2 million in contracts in 2012, and more than $1 billion during Barack Obama’s first term in office for construction projects in largely autocratic Middle Eastern nations, according to figures provided to me by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Middle East District.  (More than $178 million in similar funding is already anticipated for 2013.) 
For more on the Mid-East building boom of the Obama years, check out my latest article here.

Photo: U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain Adam Ereli (fourth from left) and other U.S. and Bahraini officials begin a $580 million military construction project during a groundbreaking ceremony at Mina Salman Port.  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Eric Brown/RELEASED)

A billion dollars from the federal government could go a long way toward revitalizing America’s aging infrastructure.  It could provide housing or better water and sewer systems.  It could enhance a transportation network or develop an urban waterfront.  It could provide local jobs.  It could do any or all of these things.  And, in fact, it did.  It just happened to be in the Middle East, not the United States.

The Pentagon awarded $667.2 million in contracts in 2012, and more than $1 billion during Barack Obama’s first term in office for construction projects in largely autocratic Middle Eastern nations, according to figures provided to me by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Middle East District.  (More than $178 million in similar funding is already anticipated for 2013.)

For more on the Mid-East building boom of the Obama years, check out my latest article here.


Photo: U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain Adam Ereli (fourth from left) and other U.S. and Bahraini officials begin a $580 million military construction project during a groundbreaking ceremony at Mina Salman Port.  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Eric Brown/RELEASED)

shortformblog:

Top Syrian diplomat defects: Nawaf Fares, the Syrian ambassador to Iraq, has defected and switched to the opposition side, backing away from Bashar al-Assad’s leadership. Syria says Fares was fired, though he defected on his own beforehand and is now in Qatar. Fares is the first senior Syrian diplomat to turn on Assad and move to the opposition side.

shortformblog:

Top Syrian diplomat defects: Nawaf Fares, the Syrian ambassador to Iraq, has defected and switched to the opposition side, backing away from Bashar al-Assad’s leadership. Syria says Fares was fired, though he defected on his own beforehand and is now in Qatar. Fares is the first senior Syrian diplomat to turn on Assad and move to the opposition side.

rferl:

Afghan Taliban Publicly Embraces Talks
Afghanistan’sTaliban has confirmed it has reached an “initial agreement” with the United States to open a contact office in Qatar. 
 “We are now ready to open a political office outside the country [Afghanistan] along with our strong presence inside the country for negotiations with the international community,” a Pashto-language statement issued to journalists said on January 3. “In this regard, we have reached an agreement with Qatar and other relevant sides.”

rferl:

Afghan Taliban Publicly Embraces Talks

Afghanistan’sTaliban has confirmed it has reached an “initial agreement” with the United States to open a contact office in Qatar. 

 “We are now ready to open a political office outside the country [Afghanistan] along with our strong presence inside the country for negotiations with the international community,” a Pashto-language statement issued to journalists said on January 3. “In this regard, we have reached an agreement with Qatar and other relevant sides.”

reuters:

Afghanistan sets ground rules for Taliban talks
Afghanistan  will accept a Taliban liaison office in Qatar to start peace talks but  no foreign power can get involved in the process without its consent,  the government’s peace council said, as efforts gather pace to find a  solution to the decade-long war.

reuters:

Afghanistan sets ground rules for Taliban talks

Afghanistan will accept a Taliban liaison office in Qatar to start peace talks but no foreign power can get involved in the process without its consent, the government’s peace council said, as efforts gather pace to find a solution to the decade-long war.

Who cares in the Middle East what Obama says?
Robert Fisk offers this scathing assessment in a new piece for The Independent that also accuses Algeria of supplying Qadhafi’s forces with armored vehicles and mentions Turkish plans to possibly send several battalions of troops into Syria “to carve out a ‘safe area’ for Syrian refugees.”  He writes:
"While Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu played out their farce in Washington    – Obama grovelling as usual – the Arabs got on with the serious business of    changing their world, demonstrating and fighting and dying for freedoms they    have never possessed. Obama waffled on about change in the Middle East – and    about America’s new role in the region. It was pathetic. ‘What is this "role" thing?’ an Egyptian friend asked me at the weekend. ‘Do    they still believe we care about what they think?’"

Who cares in the Middle East what Obama says?

Robert Fisk offers this scathing assessment in a new piece for The Independent that also accuses Algeria of supplying Qadhafi’s forces with armored vehicles and mentions Turkish plans to possibly send several battalions of troops into Syria “to carve out a ‘safe area’ for Syrian refugees.”  He writes:

"While Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu played out their farce in Washington – Obama grovelling as usual – the Arabs got on with the serious business of changing their world, demonstrating and fighting and dying for freedoms they have never possessed. Obama waffled on about change in the Middle East – and about America’s new role in the region. It was pathetic. ‘What is this "role" thing?’ an Egyptian friend asked me at the weekend. ‘Do they still believe we care about what they think?’"

Bahraini Shiite women protest in front of the US embassy in Manama on  March 7, 2011 calling for Washington to press Bahraini authorities for  democratic reform after weeks of demonstrations. Pictures on sign show  Gulf leaders: Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa  Oman’s Sultan  Qaboos, Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, Saudi King  Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz.  (Photo credit: ADAM JAN/AFP/Getty Images)
via cache1.asset-cache.net

Bahraini Shiite women protest in front of the US embassy in Manama on March 7, 2011 calling for Washington to press Bahraini authorities for democratic reform after weeks of demonstrations. Pictures on sign show Gulf leaders: Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa Oman’s Sultan Qaboos, Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz.  (Photo credit: ADAM JAN/AFP/Getty Images)

via cache1.asset-cache.net