Samuel Helfont

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The Limits Of Israeli Sea Power And The Threat Of Escalation With Iran

by Samuel Helfontvia The Caravan Notebook
Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Israel is in undergoing a major naval buildup, but it is still unable to address ongoing Iranian threats to its commercial shipping. In the past, Israel’s lack of naval options to solve maritime disputes has led it to launch broader wars, and Jerusalem has threatened to escalate the current conflict. The Biden administration needs to ensure that Israeli-Iranian skirmishes at sea do not balloon into a broader war.

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“Going Short” In The Middle East

by Samuel Helfontvia The Caravan
Tuesday, March 26, 2019

In finance, “going short” is a way to make money on stocks that lose value. Nassim Taleb, the author of The Black Swan, reportedly used this tactic to make millions during financial crises. He did not know exactly when or why the markets would crash, but he knew they eventually would. Then he cashed in.  In many ways, going short is the opposite of traditional investment. In traditional investments one bets on success. In going short, one bets on failure. For over a decade, the United States has been trying to find a way to declare victory in the Middle East so that it can leave.

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The Legacy Of Saddam’s Islam

by Samuel Helfontvia The Caravan
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Anyone examining Islam in Saddam’s Iraq (1979-2003) and the legacy of that period today is quickly confronted with a tangled web of problematic definitions and eclectic ideologies. Untangling this web is essential for identifying what really drives Iraqi politics, and doing so provides one with some hope that sectarian differences can still be overcome.  Paradoxically, it also does not augur well for the chances for stability in the country anytime soon.