Middle East

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Letter From,
David Schenker

In the course of two hours, Rudaynah al Otti, a Jordanian parliamentarian, saw almost 20 of her constituents. The brief meetings were evenly punctuated—nearly every three minutes—by a stream of calls on her mobile phone. She was courteous (she always started by asking about her constituent’s family) but then got straight to business. This is politics in Jordan.

Snapshot,
Denise Natali

Within Iraq and Syria, the U.S.-led campaign against ISIS relies heavily on Kurdish Peshmerga. But the Peshmerga haven’t been a total success story; Peshmerga forces are using coalition air strikes to engineer territorial and demographic changes that are antagonizing Sunni Arabs—the very communities the United States needs on its side to degrade ISIS.

Snapshot,
Mohsen Milani

Saudi Arabia is grossly exaggerating Iran’s power in Yemen to justify its own expansionist ambitions. Iran is not the cause of the civil war, nor are the Houthis its proxy. Chaos, not Iran, controls the Arab world's poorest nation.

Snapshot,
Charles Schmitz

Many suspect former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh of using the Houthis, his old enemies, to try to regain power. But in the end, he may end up as the conflict's biggest loser.

Snapshot,
Gideon Rose
Snapshot,
Elliott Abrams and Uri Sadot

The United States and Europe frequently criticized Netanyahu's settlement policy as expanding Israeli presence in the West Bank. Meanwhile, right-wing constituencies in Israel lashed out at Netanyahu for doing the exact opposite. In fact, he was doing both—a balancing act that is about to get a lot harder.

Snapshot,
Philippe Bolopion and Belkis Wille

The Saudi Arabia-led bombing campaign in Yemen is off to a dreadful start, at least when it comes to the civilian toll. And now that the United States has offered its support, it will be associated with the bloodshed.

Snapshot,
Andrew F. March and Mara Revkin

Debating whether ISIS is really "Islamic" or is better understood as an exotic apocalyptic death cult does not bring the world closer to understanding how the group governs. Indeed, whatever it believes about the apocalypse, it sees itself as creating a distinctive legal order for the here and now, one that is based on a literal (if selective) reading of early Islamic materials and a long-standing theory of statecraft and legal authority.

Snapshot,
Geoff D. Porter

From conflict in Mali to Libya's dangerous morass, Algeria has never faced such serious threats directly on its own borders. For the moment, the country appears determined to follow its usual strategy of pushing for political solutions to the external crises while beefing up its internal security as a safeguard if these solutions fail. The problem with this strategy is that asks too much from ordinary Algerians, who can only hope that it’s the best way to protect the normalcy that they hold so dear.

Snapshot,
Dalia Dassa Kaye

Fears that a deal will lead to a major readjustment in U.S. regional strategy are overblown. Even if the administration is interested in reorienting its regional policies, there are a number of obstacles that will stand in the way. In other words, as significant as a final nuclear agreement would be, it may not prove transformative.

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