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Aral Sea North Aral Sea


Black Sea


ISRAEL Preparing for a high-stakes face-off with Iran, an emboldened Hezbollah and Russia in the shadows. U.S. must be vigilant with its ally.


Mediterranean Sea


SYRIA Defying expectations, Assad survived a brutal civil war but remains dependent on Iran, Russia and Hezbollah.


Caspian Sea


IRAN Despite the stale and brutal Islamic regime, the nation’s people are the most pro-American in the region.


ASSAD


IRAQ Iran continues to watch for cracks. Iraq will have to watch its neighbor carefully.


EGYPT President Sissi made a strong start but he’s become more authoritarian and less-transparent. He will need to pull back restraints on his nation.


SAUDI ARABIA New Crown Prince bin Salman is waging a war on corruption and is loosening constraints on personal freedoms.


Persian Gulf


QATAR Isolated by its neighbors for its alleged support of terrorism and links to Iran, the tiny country hosts the largest U.S. military base in the Mideast.


SAUDI ARABIA We wish [new Saudi leader] Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman well. One worries that his war on corrup- tion gets its wires crossed with the war on political opponents as well. But these are just concerns, not accusa- tions. I think one reason the Saudis intervened so strongly in Yemen is that they have lost confidence in the relationship with the U.S., and our work to provide stability.


Lake Victoria


QATAR There are reasons for even Americans to be frustrated with Qatar and some of the things they do. Again, the region


is so complex. I’m not convinced — in fact, I have my doubts — as to what the Saudis and the emirates did against Qatar months back was all that nobly motivated because of Qatar’s alleged support to terrorism and ties to Iran. We have our largest base in the


region in Qatar, with strong support from the royal family. I realize Al- Jazeera irritates the other Sunnis in the region, but frankly Al-Jazeera is a pretty good broadcasting network. I think there’s real complexity here, and you notice when the other Arabs tried to isolate Qatar, our president jumped with both feet with full support, where- as the secretary of state and the secre-


NEW CIA BOSS GINA HASPEL


‘A Wonderful Choice’ G


ina Haspel is an absolutely wonderful choice to be the


next director of the CIA,” says retired Gen. Michael Hayden. “Some critics are coming out of the woodwork to condemn — not criticize, but condemn — Gina Haspel for the work she


did in the fight against al-Qaida. Gina, as they say, went to the sound of the guns. “She did her duty. She did it with the best legal advice that the Department of Justice could provide, and the best operational advice


Arabian Sea


SISSI


tary of defense offered themselves as mediators, and I think they understand the complexity of this better perhaps than the president did.


AFGHANISTAN President Trump gave a speech in which he said, “My instincts were to leave, and I generally follow my instincts, but my people laid these facts out in front of me,” and he then went on to describe in essence con- tinuing Obama’s policy with a little more firepower and a little more free- dom of action. I think the president decided that this is a condition we have to manage.


that the Central Intelligence Agency could give her and she performed her work honorably. “Gina is a true professional.


She is ruthlessly honest. And in an administration with a president who trends instinctive and spontaneous, Gina Haspel is the kind of blunt truth-teller who I think we all would want to be in that room.”


Bay Ben


AFGHANISTAN Trump’s instincts were to leave, but he ended up doubling down on Obama’s policy. We’re no closer to a solution.


BIN SALMAN


I n d i a n Oc e MAY 2018 | NEWSMAX 41


BIN SALMAN/WIKTOR SZYMANOWICZ/BARCROFT MEDIA VIA GETTY IMAGES


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