Persian Gulf

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Michael Bröning

Expectations for the Arab League (which had never been high) are at an all-time low in the wake of last week's summit. If the organization wants to remain relevant, it should take a page from the African Union, which revised its charter after the Rwandan genocide and transformed itself from “the dictators’ club” -- as many called its predecessor, the OAU -- into a key player in contemporary African politics.

Isobel Coleman

In the run up to this spring's parliamentary elections, Iraqis are debating a new personal status law. Supporters claim that the law will give Shia more freedom to practice their religion. Opponents argue that it would promote sectarianism and seriously undermine the rights of women and children by permitting unfettered polygamy, a Taliban-like restriction on women’s movement, child marriage for girls as young as nine, unequal divorce and custody, and an end to interreligious marriage.

William McCants

Although Saudi Arabia’s dislike of Brotherhood political activities abroad is well known, for decades the kingdom has tolerated the local Saudi branch of the Brotherhood. Its sudden reversal is an expression of solidarity with its politically vulnerable allies in the region and a warning to Sunni Islamists to tread carefully.

Gideon Rose and Robert Jervis

Gideon Rose, editor of Foreign Affairs, interviews Robert Jervis, professor of international politics at Columbia University.

Bilal Y. Saab

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain have withdrawn their ambassadors from Qatar, claiming that Doha was violating a clause in the Gulf Cooperation Council charter not to interfere in the domestic affairs of fellow members. The decision, unprecedented in the council's history, hints at significant changes to come for the GCC and the balance of power in the Gulf.

Barak Mendelsohn

Disowning ISIS came at some cost of reputation for al Qaeda, but the group could no longer afford to keep an affiliate that subverted central command. In the weeks and months to come, the United States would be wise to use the continued rift to promote its own interests in Iraq and Syria.

Essay, 2014
Bernard Avishai; Jalal Al-e Ahmad

In 1963, Jalal Al-e Ahmad, an Iranian writer popular with dissident Islamist clerics, traveled to Israel and wrote a surprisingly positive account of his trip. That a guru to the ayatollahs liked Israel now seems touching. But what he liked seems cautionary.

Nina Easton

Saudi Arabia remains the only country on earth to prevent women from driving, but driving is not the only way to measure women's progress. In fact, they have made great strides in government, the work force, and education.

Dmitry Adamsky

In the coming months, Israel will work with other world powers to find a diplomatic solution to Iran's nuclear program even as it signals its military resolve. But dual strategy can be counterproductive if not managed properly.


Laura Secor, a journalist who has reported from Iran for The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazinespeaks with Gideon Rose, editor of Foreign Affairs.

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