Tag: Middle East

TIME Gets It Wrong On Syrian Civil War

Washington, DC (TFC) – TIME ran a piece on 16 August entitled “Russia and Iran Fly Across a Key Threshold in the Middle East” which opens with the following quote: “Looks like the U.S. and its allies have a new “axis of evil” in the Middle East: Syria, Iran and Russia.” A desire for an attention-grabbing opening line notwithstanding, this sort of propagandist statement only serves to cloud the already murky waters of the Syrian Civil War and reveals the Western bias of the mainstream media. The problems don’t end at the first line, but let’s unpack that first, and perhaps along the way we can find a more salient discourse on the Syrian conflict.

The phrase “axis of evil” is an echo of a speech by then President George W. Bush, who named Iraq, Iran, and North Korea in the positions TIME writer Mark Thompson assigns to Syria, Iran, and Russia. It’s hardly a surprise that Iran again made the cut; the demonization of that country in the West has continued virtually without pause in the intervening years. The phrase is in itself a reference to the Axis Powers of World War Two, a rhetorical device designed to associate the named countries with Nazism, genocide, and the ever-amorphous “Evil.” The veracity of this comparison has to be called into question, however.

How a new source of water is helping reduce conflict in the Middle East

Ten miles south of Tel Aviv, I stand on a catwalk over two concrete reservoirs the size of football fields and watch water pour into them from a massive pipe emerging from the sand. The pipe is so large I could walk through it standing upright, were it not full of Mediterranean seawater pumped from an intake a mile offshore.

“Now, that’s a pump!” Edo Bar-Zeev shouts to me over the din of the motors, grinning with undisguised awe at the scene before us. The reservoirs beneath us contain several feet of sand through which the seawater filters before making its way to a vast metal hangar, where it is transformed into enough drinking water to supply 1.5 million people.

We are standing above the new Sorek desalination plant, the largest reverse-osmosis desal facility in the world, and we are staring at Israel’s salvation. Just a few years ago, in the depths of its worst drought in at least 900 years, Israel was running out of water. Now it has a surplus. That remarkable turnaround was accomplished through national campaigns to conserve and reuse Israel’s meager water resources, but the biggest impact came from a new wave of desalination plants.