Persian Gulf

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Snapshot,
@pedestrian

In Iran, mass urbanization, increasing access to social media, and a more secular public space (despite propaganda otherwise) have made finding potential mates leagues more complicated.

Snapshot,
Michael Pregent and Robin Simcox

The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) is starting to show some wear and tear. True, it has pulled off some gruesome executions, attracted jihadists from across the world, and still holds swaths of Iraq and Syria. But cracks are appearing in the self-styled Caliphate.

Letter From,
Kayhan Barzegar

U.S. President Barak Obama has set a difficult goal in the war against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). To achieve it, he will need to bring Iran on board, especially in the Syrian peace talks.

Snapshot,
F. Gregory Gause III

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has moved swiftly to consolidate power. In doing so, he has raised the profile of two of the royal family’s so-called third-generation princes and sidelined a number of their cousins. In a family where, for decades, political power has been dispersed among several members, the centralization of power is certain to raise eyebrows.

Snapshot,
Yoel Guzansky and Sigurd Neubauer

This might be the year that changes everything in the Middle East. The reason: a possible thaw in Saudi Arabian–Iranian relations.

Snapshot,
Michael Singh

Washington should be wary of pinning its hopes on Rouhani’s camp, much less on influencing the regime’s internal struggle.

Snapshot,
Ellen Laipson

History will show that Abdullah did more than his predecessors to help Saudi Arabia adapt to changing expectations of Saudi citizens, but there was nothing transformative in the short run, and nothing profoundly disruptive or destabilizing either. That may have been his special talent, and a worthy legacy.

Snapshot,
Bilal Y. Saab

Leadership matters, especially in the Middle East, where institutions are weak and often nonexistent. But charisma and talent, on their own, won’t be enough to dig Saudi Arabia out of the profound generational problems that go beyond Abdullah, his successor Salman, or any leader who will preside over the Kingdom.

Snapshot,
Bilal Y. Saab and Robert A. Manning

Following a plunge in the price of oil, Saudi Arabia was expected to cut back its production and help stabilize the market. But in a break with tradition, Riyadh has refused to play ball. That decision will have far-reaching consequences, some of which carry big risks for the Kingdom.

Snapshot,
Robert A. Pape, Keven Ruby, and Vincent Bauer

The ongoing U.S. air campaign against ISIS succeeded in blunting the group's drive toward Kurdish and Shia territory. But it has failed to prevent ISIS' consolidation of control over the Sunni areas in Iraq and Syria. Here's how the United States can accomplish both.

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