Category: Middle East

What Syria Needs Now

On September 10, 2016, the U.S. State Department announced that it had struck a breakthrough ceasefire agreement with Russia in Syria, the site of a conflict that has in recent months rekindled Cold War tensions long-thought to be extinguished. The much-lauded deal promised a stop to all hostilities between Syrian rebels and the Assad regime,… Read more »

The Moral Limits of Alliance

The United States’s relationship with Saudi Arabia is now more enigmatic than ever. Since 9/11, in which fifteen of the nineteen al-Qaeda hijackers were citizens of Saudi Arabia, the U.S. has held a heightened skepticism of Saudi military pursuits. Recent developments such as the conflicts in Syria and Yemen and the Justice Against Sponsors of… Read more »

The Syrian Maelstrom

Taking a deeper look at the Syrian Civil War’s participants other than ISIS.

Nuclear Fueled Diplomacy

The Iran Nuclear Deal is just one more measure in the fight against nuclear proliferation – a dangerous, complicated, and high risk fight with no end in sight.

A Most Supreme Pen Pal

Iran’s Supreme Leader has taken an unprecedented step towards resolving the “clash of civilizations” between the Western and Islamic worlds. Should we be optimistic?

Theo Padnos, the Human Condition, and a New Look at Syrian Society

A quick scan of Google Trends, Google’s worldwide search volume analysis tool, shows the predictably one-sided view of the combatants in Syria popularized by much of the Western media. ISIS, the ubiquitous upstart terrorist group responsible for out-radicalizing al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, the al-Nusra Front, dominates the search interest (which is calculated proportionally). The Free Syrian… Read more »

The One Thing ISIS is Good For: Answering 100-Year-Old Questions

If made into a blockbuster drama, the history of the Kurds in Turkey would make a killing at the box office. It is a tale of betrayal and bloodshed, repression and revolution. Turkish Kurds have experienced a turbulent past of subjugation, violence, economic assistance, violence, peace talks, and more violence. Turkey’s uncertainty in how to… Read more »

The Khameni Complex

Ever since Hassan Rouhani was elected president of Iran in 2013, the West has looked towards Iran with a renewed sense of hope. Rouhani, a centrist armed with a platform of reform, represents perhaps the best promise of resumed relations with Iran since that country’s Islamic revolution in 1979. Prior to his election, tough sanctions… Read more »

Waves of Terror: The Islamic State and Water as a Weapon of War

The ground is dry and cracked. Tan desert stretches for miles in either direction and the air is saturated with brown dust. The fine sand from nearby dunes stirred up in the hot breeze. This is the Iraqi desert. It is nearly uninhabited, heat and drought having made it hostile to human life. Less than… Read more »

The Politics of Pouring Concrete

Following the 1947 War of Independence, the establishment of the state of Israel was predicated on the removal of the Palestinian population. Referred to as the Nakba, or the catastrophe in Arabic, the expulsion and displacement of the Palestinians has become the focal point for the call to a political solution to the conflict, particularly… Read more »