Middle East

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Snapshot,
Mohsen Milani

It is not particularly surprising that the United States is on the verge of rapprochement with Iran. What is surprising, however, is how it's coming about -- not through negotiations over the fate of Tehran’s nuclear program, but as a result of the battle against ISIS.

Snapshot,
Adam Heffez and Noam Raydan

Most people who look at war-torn Syria can’t help but see the tragedy. But some are starting to treat Syria as something else entirely: an investment opportunity.

Snapshot,
Arthur Herman

Compared with the most sophisticated weapons systems in use today, tunnels have withstood the test of time. There’s no way to know how long drones or lasers or anti-missile defense systems will last, but as long as there is warfare, tunnels will almost certainly be part of the fight.

Snapshot,
Steven Simon

Despite the pandemonium in the Middle East, Sykes-Picot seems to be alive and well. That shouldn’t be surprising. Land borders settled via negotiation, especially when sealed by treaty, tend to be stable, even where relations between the neighboring states remain volatile or even hostile.

Snapshot,
Nimmi Gowrinathan

Reports that women have formed their own brigade within the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) have confounded experts -- and worried them. For many, the idea of women as violent extremists seems paradoxical. Why should women want to join a political struggle that so blatantly oppresses them?

Snapshot,
Henri J. Barkey

Geography and realpolitik have been cruel to the Kurds. Divided among four countries, they have been easy prey for anyone willing to engage in mischief and machinations in the region -- and engage the United States has.

Snapshot,
Tarek Osman

As Arab governments become increasingly authoritarian, the region's middle classes will confront a choice: cast their lot with the ruling elites or stand up to the government and risk their social and economic standing. 

Essay, SEPT/OCT 2014
Kenneth M. Pollack

Washington’s current efforts to resolve the conflict in Syria will not break the stalemate. The only way to restore peace without committing U.S. troops is to build a new Syrian army capable of defeating both the Assad regime and the extremists. 

Essay, SEPT/OCT 2014
Ruchir Sharma

Global investors usually focus on economic data such as GDP growth, employment, and trade. But in today’s trying economic climate, they have started to train their gaze elsewhere: on national political leadership and the prospects for reform.

Response, SEPT/OCT 2014
Christopher de Bellaigue; Ray Takeyh

De Bellaigue faults Takeyh for minimizing the CIA’s role in the 1953 coup in Iran; Takeyh responds and criticizes De Bellaigue for viewing the Iranians as “benighted pawns.”

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