The death of Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani on January 8 marks a major turning point for Iran. For nearly 40 years, his undisguised hunger for power combined with his knack for deal making had made him the most proven kingmaker of the Islamic Republic.
The current Syrian ceasefire effort of Russia and Turkey is a Russian attempt to impose a final political defeat on the rebels and a Turkish attempt to focus on eliminating the Kurds in Syria militarily and politically. Turkey is also intensely lobbying the new U.S. administration for help. The ceasefire deal rests on the barbarism of Russia and the Assad regime and the feckless response of the West.
The multiple threats to the Middle East’s historical monuments have prompted Saudi conservationist, Rana al-Kadi, to push for the preservation of Islamic heritage in the region. Article by Drew Brammer.