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How the Six-Day War became the Soviet-Israeli War

Just before the recent U.S. election, the late Russian UN ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, opined that “the general situation” between the two powers was “the worst since 1973.” As then, the direct trigger was Middle Eastern. In 2016 it was “serious differences over Syria,” where post-Soviet Russia launched a ruthless military intervention; in...    read more 

Iran Needs Foreign Investment. But They’re Not Making It Easy.

After Iran’s nuclear agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with six world powers (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United States and the United Kingdom), many outside businesses are enthusiastic to enter the Iranian market. Meanwhile, to boost Iran’s collapsed economy, the country’s moderate forces—a coalition of progressive politician...    read more 

Eliminating the Iran Deal is Counterproductive for Trump

Observers are particularly puzzled over whether President Donald Trump will seek to alter or eliminate the nuclear pact with Iran, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Indeed, Trump expressed some very strong reservations about the Deal and, on occasion, promised to scrap it entirely. That said, Trump has had a history of making ambiguous [&hellip...    read more 

Appeasing Iran will only give it more room for maneuver

Ehud Barak, Israel’s Prime Minister from 1999 to 2001, believed his country’s Arab adversaries would be more afraid if Tel Aviv behaved in an unpredictable way. As long as Israel was predictable, Barak’s thinking went, outrageous acts of terrorism would continue to be inevitable. Known as “the landlord went crazy,” the strategy was employed by...    read more 

If Trump overrules nuclear deal, Iran may turn to ISIS

President-elect Donald Trump seems likely to introduce a sea change in American foreign policy. Short on specifics, he is, for one, widely expected to discontinue the Iran policy of the Obama administration. Trump has made known his dislike for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and some of his picks share this view. Mike Pompeo, the presumpti...    read more 

Why the Resilience of Islamist Militants Will Threaten Security Across Africa in 2017

On December 23 the Nigerian army achieved a significant milestone in its long war against Boko Haram, capturing what was described as the Islamist militant group’s last stronghold in the remote Sambisa Forest in the country’s northeast near the border with Cameroon. On Christmas Eve, President Muhammadu Buhari triumphantly tweeted that it was the “fina...    read more 

Can shared disdain for US improve Russia-Iran ties?

There is a common misperception that Russian-Iranian relations thrive on the anti-West sentiments of both countries’ political elites. Iranian and Russian politicians help spread this idea, feeding the idea that the shared vision of a common enemy can bring the two countries together. Yet they overlook that the nature of their hatred toward the United Stat...    read more 

Few Solutions to Gabon’s Election Dispute

Elections have dominated the headlines in 2016. It seems that every major region of the world has been affected by electoral turbulence this year. But Gabon’s 2016 presidential election failed to garner the attention of international media despite widespread voter fraud, corruption, and political violence that culminated in the arson of the parliament buil...    read more 

Will Iran’s Human-Rights Failures Bring Down Its Reformer President?

Taking power in 2013, President Hassan Rouhani and his team considered the nuclear pact with the West, referred to in Persian by the acronym Barjam, as a first step in making a fundamental reorientation in Iran’s foreign policy and to normalize Iran’s relations with the outside world. As I explained in my previous analyses, limiting overt kinetic actions...    read more 

How Iran Hopes the Nuclear Deal Will Revive Its Economy

From the beginning of his presidency, Hassan Rouhani and his team considered the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) negotiated between Iran and several world powers in July 14, 2015, to be a first step in a grander plan to normalize Iran’s international relations with the outside world. As I explained in my previous analysis, managing terror and li...    read more