Political Development

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Snapshot,
Jonah Blank

Preliminary tallies suggest that Jokowi won Indonesia's July 9 presidential election, but his competitor, Prabowo, is not guaranteed to go quietly. The stakes could hardly be higher: Since the fall of Suharto in 1998, Indonesia has been a showpiece of democracy in Asia. The final count will either solidify this narrative, or toss it right out the window.

Snapshot,
Steve Negus

A year after Egypt's military deposed President Mohamed Morsi, a new regime is finally starting to take shape. Sisi's charisma can ease his first few years in power, his credibility ultimately hinges on whether he can deliver security, services, and jobs.

Snapshot,
Soner Cagaptay

From Turkey’s perspective, Kurdish autonomy is starting to look like a good thing. The portions of northern Iraq and Syria that are under Kurdish control are stable and peaceful -- a perfect bulwark against threats such as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). And that is why Turkey has been on good behavior with the Iraqi Kurds, is working on its relations with the Syrian Kurds, and might finally be breaking the impasse with the Kurds in its own territory.

Letter From,
Dorn Townsend

Afghanistan seems to be holding its breath. Business has ground to a halt and middle-class Afghans are eyeing foreign escape routes as they send their money out of the country. The sense of uncertainly is not just about who will be the next president, or whether the loser will accept the result. It’s about the precarious economy.

Snapshot,
Dalia Dassa Kaye

There is a tendency in the United States to believe that a loss for the West must be a gain for Iran. But, in Iraq, both sides are losing in the face of a common foe.

Snapshot,
Andrew J. Tabler

Uprooting ISIS from the swath of territory it holds between Aleppo and Baghdad will take a lot more than airstrikes or a change of government in Iraq. To prevent ISIS from building a permanent safe haven in the region, Washington must help settle Syria.

Postscript,
Emma Sky

The United States has a key role to play in helping broker a new deal among Iraqi elites that creates a better balance among the country's various communities.

Snapshot,
Kevin Russell and Nicholas Sambanis

The strategy Obama laid out last Thursday -- the United States will share intelligence with Iraq and help the country coordinate a plan to turn back ISIS in return for Maliki promising to share power with Sunni leaders -- won’t work. The sectarian dilemma will persist even if ISIS is defeated, and any feints at sharing power are likely to be short-lived.

Snapshot,
Jonah Blank

If Afghanistan’s politics were a stock market, one could make easy money with an investment strategy consisting of only one word: “sell.” Bad news is the norm, and good news is often a lie. And that is why the nation’s election to decide who should replace Hamid Karzai as president was so confusing.

Comment, 2014
Ray Takeyh

Conventional wisdom about the 1953 coup in Iran rests on the myth that the CIA toppled the country's democratically elected prime minister. In reality, the coup was primarily a domestic Iranian affair, and the CIA's impact was ultimately insignificant.

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