US Opinion and Commentary

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Fight or Flight

Posted February 22nd, 2016 at 2:00 pm (UTC-4)
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If the next U.S. president is unwilling to commit to stepping up to stabilize the Middle East, the only real alternative is to step back from it…civil wars do not lend themselves to anything but the right strategy with the right resources, trying the wrong one means throwing U.S. resources away on a lost cause.

More War Than Peace

Posted February 17th, 2016 at 3:29 pm (UTC-4)
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Prussian general Carl von Clausewitz two centuries ago gave the pithiest answer to the question of why we resort to violence: War is an act of force to compel our enemy to do our will.” But can force alone compel the submission of the Islamic State and the demise of jihadist extremism in the Muslim world?  

Saudi Arabia’s Master Plan Against ISIS, Assad and Iran in Syria

Posted February 16th, 2016 at 4:42 pm (UTC-4)
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While the world might be fixated on ISIS, the Saudis…know that much of the violence plaguing the Middle East is rooted in Assad and the Iranian-created Shia militias. If they decide to go after these terror nurseries, it will be time for the White House to finally decide exactly whose side it is on.

Yemen Teeters on ‘Fringes of Famine,’ Top US Aid Official Says

Posted February 16th, 2016 at 11:51 am (UTC-4)
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By Barbara Slavin With global attention focused on the humanitarian crisis in Syria, an increasingly dire situation in Yemen is not receiving sufficient notice. Some 21 million of the country’s 26 million people need outside aid, according to Andrew Pitt, director of North African and Arabian Affairs at the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID). By […]

Israel’s Unprecedented Geopolitical Strength

Posted February 12th, 2016 at 1:18 pm (UTC-4)
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It may seem counterintuitive, or even downright strange, but Israel’s geopolitical position is probably stronger now than at any time in the country’s history. This is likely to continue at least in the short-to-medium term, but looming long-term challenges should give some pause to Israel’s current leaders.

What Would Be Most Likely to Unravel the Iran Nuclear Agreement

Posted February 10th, 2016 at 11:27 am (UTC-4)
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The scenario that presents the greatest danger of the nuclear agreement unraveling is thus one in which new sanctions legislation and other Iran-punishing moves by the U.S. Congress cross a line that leads most Iranians to get fed up and to say to heck with it.

There Is No Plan B if the Syria Peace Talks Fail

Posted February 2nd, 2016 at 9:12 am (UTC-4)
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[T]he “Geneva process” is no more likely to succeed today than it was the last time it was tried, in 2014….those on the other side of the table — the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad, Russia, and Iran — will not feel compelled to accept any offer to which Syria’s rebels or their backers in […]

Peace in Syria Still Looks Like Mission Impossible

Posted January 29th, 2016 at 11:09 am (UTC-4)
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By Barbara Slavin Expectations had never been high for Syrian peace talks scheduled to open Friday in Geneva — and the refusal of the opposition to come only underscores the fragile state of the negotiations. “They will start as planned, but I don’t have a time, I don’t have a location and I can’t tell […]

Iran After the Nuclear Deal: Change We Can’t Believe In

Posted January 20th, 2016 at 4:17 pm (UTC-4)
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Iran’s hardliners voted to disqualify nearly all of President Hassan Rouhani’s political allies from running in next month’s parliamentary elections. The disqualifications are a blow to President Barack Obama and European leaders …

The U.S.-Iran Conflict that Never Happened

Posted January 20th, 2016 at 4:08 pm (UTC-4)
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Cruz and many Republicans … see an enfeebled United States fecklessly pursuing rapprochement with an appeased and emboldened enemy. Obama, in contrast, dwells in his public statements less on what happened in recent days than on what could have happened and what could yet happen.

Dealing With Tehran

Posted January 20th, 2016 at 11:14 am (UTC-4)
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A chorus of Republicans have charged that the U.S. gave away too much just to secure an agreement and that Mr. Obama’s diplomatic approach signaled American weakness rather than strength to our adversaries around the world. But where’s the evidence of that?

Shifting Alliances

Posted January 19th, 2016 at 4:04 pm (UTC-4)
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One of the many ripple effects of the U.S.-Iran prisoner swap and Tehran’s verified compliance with the historic nuclear accord is a new world order in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia – a long-time rival of Tehan – is nervous and talking tough, as the lifting of costly Western sanctions is set to propel Iran’s economic might. Not long before the latest developments, Saudi Arabia had already stoked tensions by beheading the prominent Shia cleric Sheik Nimr al-Nimr. That provoked a violent attack on the Saudi mission in Iran, which in turn, gave the House of Saud a reason to sever diplomatic ties. Meanwhile, both President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry hailed the use of diplomacy to win the release of five Americans in a prisoner swap with Iran, simultaneously praising Tehtan for pausing its nuclear program. Where does all this leave the traditional, and sometimes co-dependent, U.S.-Saudi relationship? Making friends with Iran was a big gamble. It appears the Obama administration believes the benefits outweigh the costs.

Can Iran Change?

Posted January 19th, 2016 at 9:53 am (UTC-4)
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In an outlandish lie, Iran maligns and offends all Saudis by saying that my nation, home of the two holy mosques, brainwashes people to spread extremism. We are not the country designated a state sponsor of terrorism; Iran is.

Paradigm Shift With Iran Has Uncertain Future

Posted January 18th, 2016 at 10:47 am (UTC-4)
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By Barbara Slavin The last few days have witnessed major milestones between the United States and Iran, including implementation of a landmark nuclear deal, a prisoner exchange and resolution of a financial dispute that goes back to the severing of diplomatic relations between the two countries 36 years ago. It’s all been rather breathtaking given […]

A Safer World, Thanks to the Iran Deal

Posted January 17th, 2016 at 9:44 pm (UTC-4)
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Leaders don’t give up their nuclear weapons for nothing. A bargain with Iran was necessary. It might even serve as an example for dealing with North Korea, which may have enough fuel for 16 weapons and is producing many more.