Middle East

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Interview,
Bashar al-Assad

The civil war in Syria will soon enter its fifth year, with no end in sight. On January 20, Foreign Affairs managing editor Jonathan Tepperman met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus to discuss the conflict in this exclusive interview.

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,
Benedetta Berti

The reported January 18 Israeli airstrike against a Hezbollah–Iranian car convoy in southern Syria is the latest and boldest in a series of tit-for-tat operations that, since last February, have gradually eroded the old order and inched Israel and Hezbollah ever closer to a war that neither wants.

Snapshot,
Daniel Byman and Bilal Y. Saab

If the three-decade history of confrontation between Israel and Hezbollah is any guide, the latter will likely retaliate for this week's raid. But that is not inevitable. The Syrian conflict has transformed Hezbollah, arguably turning it into a more cautious foe of the Jewish state.

Snapshot,
Muhamed H. Almaliky

The new prime minister has inherited a country on the brink of collapse. Here's how he has done in his first months in power.

Snapshot,
Jonathan Laurence

Although the absolutism of French republican ideals has inspired democracies worldwide for centuries, it has only been France's gradual adjustment of those ideals to social and demographic realities—first to its Jewish population and in the future, perhaps, to the Muslim community or to the right—that afforded the country lasting political stability.

Snapshot,
Vera Mironova, Loubna Mrie, Richard Nielsen, and Sam Whitt

Recent surveys conducted in Syria reveal that Islamist fighters are surprisingly supportive of democracy. Here's why.

Snapshot,
Micha'el Tanchum

Since Massoud Barzani, president of Iraqi Kurdistan, needs to move forward on a referendum for Kurdish independence while he still holds the political cards, 2015 may be the year that the Kurds secede from Iraq.

Snapshot,
J. Trevor Ulbrick

One of the U.S. legal advisors’ key justifications for the program was the “Israeli example," which, they argued, established that torture is permissible in some circumstances. Here's why the comparison is misleading.

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.

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