From the northwestern fringe of the great Sahara Desert: the Professor podcasts about this physical geographic force as a divider of Africa, as a birthplace of the Berbers, and as the king of the hot deserts From the Magreb to the Sahel, this gigantic dry entity has been the home to classic civilizations, trade routes, Islamic religion, and more deviant devils. Learn more about the largest hot desert on the planet in this particular podcast! (And do note: whenever I start radically waving my arms around, it’s not because I am a spazo (which I am) but more because a ate about 10 Saharan sand flies during this rant. Nasty little buggers were dive-bombing my head!)
Greetings from the heart of Morocco, way up high in the High Atlas Mountains! A podcast on mountains, rain, and Berbers, from the roadside of the most perilous Tizi n’ Tchika Pass! Although you can’t tell from the vid, I am standing behind the 1-foot high “guard rail,” on the edge of a 3000 foot drop off…which is standard operating procedure on this incredible high altitude road of risk!
Whoa! This place is wicked cool! A podcast from high atop a classic casbah, in a medieval hill town in the High Atlas Mountains, halfway between Marrakech, Morocco and the edge of the Sahara Desert! This is Ait Benhaddou, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a Berber trade town from back in the day, and a current backdrop for a variety of Hollywood films…like Time Bandits (my fav!), Gladiator, and even even Game of Thrones!
What the heck is happening in Turkey with all these protests? A revolution? An Arab Spring style uprising? A call for democracy? Nah, it is not really any of those things at all. What we have here is an actual demonstration of democracy at work, not a call for it. It seems that the sizable minority of liberal-left folks in Turkey are expressing a reaction against center-right conservative Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s prime ministerial high-handedness and decade-long rule, which has seen a slight eroding of the divisions between religion and state politics. He will likely survive this bout of political expression against him, but at what costs to his role, and to Turkey itself? Dig this informal rant and let’s start a conversation.
Russia just agreed to ship the S-300 missile defense system to Syria, and has also pledged to support the Assad regime of Syria to the bitter end. Damn! Why they gotta be like that? Just being haters to Team West and freedom in general?
Not really. These moves are actually an extension of hundreds of years of Russian foreign policy in this region, and also are indicative of a re-assertive Russian entree back into Middle Eastern affairs in general…a move that counters the influence of their adversaries, strengthens the hand of their allies, and attempts to keep a lid on Islamic extremism and/or sectarian independence movements that might spill over into Russia itself. Putin power ain’t done in the Middle East just as yet….and it actually may be on the rise.
Keywords: Russia, Syria, S-300, missile defense system, Turkey, USA, Israel, Arab, Saudi Arabia, GCC, Black Sea, Crimean War, Russo-Turkish War, Iran, Chechnya, Dagestan, Caucuses, Islam, extremism, terrorism, Muslim Brotherhood, Arab Spring, Cold War