Tension in the Gulf: Not Just Maritime Powder Kegs

by James M. Dorsey A recent interview in which Baloch National Movement chairman Khalil Baloch legitimized recent militant attacks on Iranian, Chinese and Pakistani targets is remarkable less for what he said and more for the fact that his remarks were published by a Saudi newspaper. Speaking to Riyadh Daily, the English language sister of … Continue reading “Tension in the Gulf: Not Just Maritime Powder Kegs”

The War Whisperers, Their Successful Iraq War, and the Targeting of Iran

by Sanam Naraghi Anderlini As Iran and the United States edge closer to war, while Europe scrambles to reduce tensions, the chorus of U.S. foreign policy and military experts and journalists criticizing the Trump administration’s tactics is also reaching a crescendo. Despite deep political divisions, on this issue there is broad agreement across the spectrum. First, … Continue reading “The War Whisperers, Their Successful Iraq War, and the Targeting of Iran”

The Step Trump Can Take to Start Talks with Iran

by Jalil Bayat Iran began the second stage of rolling back its nuclear commitments on 7 July, by increasing its uranium enrichment levels from the 3.67 percent limit stipulated by the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). This was in fact in response to the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA fourteen months ago. Iran … Continue reading “The Step Trump Can Take to Start Talks with Iran”

Two Congressional Resolutions That Won’t Advance Israeli-Palestinian Peace

by James J. Zogby In the coming week, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs will move on four bills – all of which, I believe, drive more nails in the coffin of Israeli-Palestinian peace. While two of the proposed bills are blatantly pro-Israel, it is the two more benign pieces of legislation that cause me … Continue reading “Two Congressional Resolutions That Won’t Advance Israeli-Palestinian Peace”

Hard Choices Facing Tehran and Washington

by Daniel Brumberg Perhaps Iran has done the Trump Administration a favor by announcing that it has moved to enrich uranium at five percent, thus violating the terms of the 2015 nuclear agreement (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, JCPOA). In the wake of that decision, the White House—and President Donald Trump in particular—faces greater … Continue reading “Hard Choices Facing Tehran and Washington”

The Missing Three-Letter Word in the Iran Crisis

by Michael T. Klare It’s always the oil. While President Trump was hobnobbing with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the G-20 summit in Japan, brushing off a recent U.N. report about the prince’s role in the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in Asia and the … Continue reading “The Missing Three-Letter Word in the Iran Crisis”

FBI Surveillance of Iranians After the Downing of Flight 655

by Paul Gottinger This month marks 31 years since the U.S. Navy ship, the USS Vincennes, shot down Iran Air flight 655, killing 290 Iranian civilians, including 66 children. The downing of the airliner on July 3, 1988 remains one of the deadliest flight disasters of all time. Although Americans have largely forgotten the tragedy, … Continue reading “FBI Surveillance of Iranians After the Downing of Flight 655”

Global Power Shifts Sparked in Syrian Hornets’ Nest

by Helena Cobban This week, Mideast watchers have been breathlessly awaiting the arrival in NATO member Turkey of the first of the two batteries of Russian-made S-400 air defense systems that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan purchased from Russia in December 2017. Officials in the State and Defense Departments have warned that, with Turkey’s receipt … Continue reading “Global Power Shifts Sparked in Syrian Hornets’ Nest”

War with Iran Would Not Mean Happy Ending for Middle East

by Shireen T. Hunter A recent article by veteran Washington Post columnist David Ignatius urges Democratic Party politicians to adopt a harder posture on Iran. He seems to suggest that if Iran were to stop interfering in Middle East politics, all of the region’s problems would be solved. Ignatius quotes Karim Sajadpour of the Carnegie … Continue reading “War with Iran Would Not Mean Happy Ending for Middle East”

The Administration’s Futile Flailing on Iran

by Paul R. Pillar This week the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) convened at the request of the Trump administration to discuss Iran’s nuclear activities. There is no action that, according to the IAEA’s charter and terms of reference, can or should come out of this discussion. The IAEA’s board … Continue reading “The Administration’s Futile Flailing on Iran”

The Strange Case of the Grace I’s Detention

by Francois Nicoullaud On July 4, the government of Gibraltar detained in its waters a Panamanian ship, the Grace I, allegedly on its way to deliver Iranian oil to a Syrian harbor. Immediately after the move, Gibraltar outlined in an official statement that the “action arose from information giving […] reasonable grounds to believe that … Continue reading “The Strange Case of the Grace I’s Detention”

Turkey Counters Libya’s Haftar

by Giorgio Cafiero and Khalid al-Jaber In recent weeks, a strategic clash in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has significantly contributed to the escalation of violence in Libya’s civil war. On one side, a bloc made up of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and tacitly Israel too backs General Khalifa … Continue reading “Turkey Counters Libya’s Haftar”

Resetting America’s Mideast Policy Through Deals on Iran and Palestine

by Emile Nakhleh Concluding historic deals on Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could catapult the United States back to the center of the Middle East great game. Although these deals seem unimaginable at the moment, they are not unthinkable. Now that the “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran and Kushner’s so-called Peace for Prosperity plan have … Continue reading “Resetting America’s Mideast Policy Through Deals on Iran and Palestine”

U.S. Iran Policy Gives Me Vertigo

by Gary Sick Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the entire U.S. government insist that the United States has authorization to strike Iran at will since, among other things, it temporarily sheltered some al-Qaeda leaders when the United States invaded Afghanistan. By this logic, Iran is subject to the 2001 Authorization for the Use of … Continue reading “U.S. Iran Policy Gives Me Vertigo”

Iran vs. U.S.: To Overcome Conflict, Wage Diplomacy

by Siamak Tundra Naficy The Trump administration has again generated confusion about its foreign policy, this time regarding the motivations of an American president who would order a limited strike on Iran only to then purportedly change his mind 600 seconds before the attack. Trump apparently also notified the Iranians prior to the aborted attack, … Continue reading “Iran vs. U.S.: To Overcome Conflict, Wage Diplomacy”

Tensions Mount in U.S.-Iran Relations

by Mahsa Rouhi As it warned, Iran on July 8 raised its uranium enrichment level above the 3.67 percent purity limit set in  the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). This is the second step in Iran’s plan to slowly scale back its commitments to the agreement while trying to force the remaining parties—the EU … Continue reading “Tensions Mount in U.S.-Iran Relations”

Netanyahu: Don’t Shift World Attention from Palestine to Iran

by Ghassan Michel Rubeiz  Prime Minister Netanyahu considers President Trump’s time in office a golden opportunity. He figures that Israel has done very well in the current administration’s first two-and-a-half years. Washington has unilaterally legitimized Israel’s occupation of the West Bank with a series of diplomatic moves related to Jerusalem and the settlements. Second, Israel … Continue reading “Netanyahu: Don’t Shift World Attention from Palestine to Iran”

A Grim Assessment of U.S.-Iran Tensions

by Mitchell Plitnick Speaking to an adoring audience at the annual summit of the far-right Christians United for Israel (CUFI), Secretary of State Mike Pompeo assured the audience that the Trump administration was determined to continue ratcheting up pressure on Iran. “The ayatollahs have grievously deprived the Iranian people of that most basic, simple, fundamental … Continue reading “A Grim Assessment of U.S.-Iran Tensions”

UK’s Misguided Bandwagoning with U.S. on Iran

by Kaveh L. Afrasiabi In a deliberate move that has potentially significant implications for the future of Iran-UK relations, the British government has seized an oil supertanker carrying Iranian oil off the cost of Gibraltar. The British has used the excuse that the tanker was heading toward Syria and thus violated the EU sanctions on … Continue reading “UK’s Misguided Bandwagoning with U.S. on Iran”

Qatari Emir’s Timely Visit to Washington

by Kristian Coates Ulrichsen Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, visits the White House on July 9 at a critical moment for security and stability in the Persian Gulf and the broader region. Recent developments in Afghanistan and vis-à-vis Iran have illustrated the opportunities the U.S.-Qatar partnership provide to President Trump as he … Continue reading “Qatari Emir’s Timely Visit to Washington”

Donald Trump’s Fake Isolationism

by Charles Davis Donald Trump was never coy about how he’d Make America Great Again, abroad. He’d carpet-bomb the terrorists, kill their families, and maybe do a straight-up, throwback war for oil in Iraq. The manufactured crisis with Iran in 2019 follows from the erratic militarism suggested at every stop on the 2016 campaign trail, … Continue reading “Donald Trump’s Fake Isolationism”

Mutual Economic Interest Draws Israel and Arab Neighbors Closer

by Yigal Chazan With Donald Trump’s “deal of the century” seemingly doomed and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process as deadlocked as ever, Israel and its Arab neighbors are quietly moving ahead with major natural resource-based economic projects that could boost regional stability. Self-interest is driving significant levels of cooperation in the energy and water sector that, … Continue reading “Mutual Economic Interest Draws Israel and Arab Neighbors Closer”

U.S.-Turkish Agreement on Syria Remains Challenge

by Joe Macaron US officials appear to be overselling a potential deal with Turkey on establishing a “safe zone” in northeastern Syria, one they hope could peel Ankara away from Moscow. However, this approach might accelerate the confrontation between Turkish and Kurdish forces in the absence of a clear American strategy in Syria and given … Continue reading “U.S.-Turkish Agreement on Syria Remains Challenge”

Russia’s Potential Response to a U.S.-Iran Conflict

by Thomas Buonomo Russia’s swift military intervention in 2015 to maintain the Syrian regime in power should give American policymakers reason to be wary of war with Iran, which would expand across Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and the Gulf.  As former Secretary of State John Kerry wrote in his memoir, Russia gave the Obama administration … Continue reading “Russia’s Potential Response to a U.S.-Iran Conflict”

Media Falsely Portrays Iran’s Nuclear Deal Breach As Dash To Bomb

by Ben Armbruster The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)—the UN nuclear watchdog tasked with vigorously monitoring Iran’s nuclear program under the 2015 accord—confirmed this week that Iran exceeded the limit on its supply of low-enriched uranium (LEU). Unfortunately, with a few notable exceptions, reporting from many in the media on this development wasn’t great. Reporters … Continue reading “Media Falsely Portrays Iran’s Nuclear Deal Breach As Dash To Bomb”

Al-Qaeda and Iran: The Bond that Does Not Exist

by Nelly Lahoud As the U.S. government continues to escalate its policy towards Iran, it would be sensible to eliminate al-Qaeda’s historical ties to Iran from its list of grievances. President Trump cited these ties when, in May 2018, he announced the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action … Continue reading “Al-Qaeda and Iran: The Bond that Does Not Exist”

Why Is American Aggression Missing in Action?

by Tom Engelhardt Headlined “U.S. Seeks Other Ways to Stop Iran Shy of War,” the article was tucked away on page A9 of a recent New York Times. Still, it caught my attention. Here’s the first paragraph: “American intelligence and military officers are working on additional clandestine plans to counter Iranian aggression in the Persian … Continue reading “Why Is American Aggression Missing in Action?”

Misleading White House Claims Target Iran

by Peter Jenkins A White House press statement, dated July 1, claims that there is a “longstanding non-proliferation standard of no enrichment for Iran.” This claim is false. For more than 40 years, the United States and its Western allies have “exercised a policy of restraint in the transfer of sensitive facilities, equipment, technology and … Continue reading “Misleading White House Claims Target Iran”

Trump, Kim, and Embracing a Middle Ground

by Daniel Wagner The U.S. media has been busy over-analyzing and misinterpreting Trump’s 30-second foray into North Korea. The prevailing view has been that Trump gained nothing and Kim scored a huge public relations victory. This is short-sighted, for it fails to account for the potential long-term benefit to be gained by strengthening the personal … Continue reading “Trump, Kim, and Embracing a Middle Ground”

Why Does Turkey Want S-400 Missiles?

by Bulent Aras Turkey’s decision to buy S-400 missiles from Russia has generated considerable debate in the country about the impact on Turkish-American and Turkey-NATO relations, Turkey’s change of international orientation, and possible harm to Turkish defense sector and economy. Given these risks, it’s not entirely clear why Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants to … Continue reading “Why Does Turkey Want S-400 Missiles?”

Europe’s Failure to Meet Iran Halfway

by Kaveh L. Afrasiabi With Iran’s July 7 deadline rapidly approaching for Europe to live up to its obligations under the nuclear agreement or face consequences, there is little evidence that European governments are willing to meet Iran even halfway. Instead, European governments are hoping instead that Iran will deem satisfactory their token gestures, such … Continue reading “Europe’s Failure to Meet Iran Halfway”

Cory Booker’s Foreign Policy Echoes His Biggest Donors

by Eli Clifton In last Wednesday’s Democratic debate, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) stood apart from the other candidates on the stage by declining to commit to return to the Iran nuclear deal. Videos viewed by LobeLog show that Booker’s unusual position is shared by NORPAC, a pro-Israel PAC aligned with the American Israel Public Affairs … Continue reading “Cory Booker’s Foreign Policy Echoes His Biggest Donors”

More Intrigue in Israeli Elections

by Mitchell Plitnick A familiar face has introduced something new into the upcoming Israeli elections in September. Former prime minister Ehud Barak has formed a new party ahead of those elections and is working to unite the most left-wing Zionist parties behind him. Barak characterized his new party as a challenge to Prime Minister Benjamin … Continue reading “More Intrigue in Israeli Elections”

Propaganda War to Real War: The MEK’s Treacherous Operation 

by Assal Rad Under the guise of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and ties to al-Qaeda, the Bush administration invaded Iraq in 2003—and the consequences have reverberated across the Middle East to this day. With the specter of war again on the horizon, striking parallels have emerged between the lead-up to the Iraq War and … Continue reading “Propaganda War to Real War: The MEK’s Treacherous Operation “

Will Haftar’s External Supporters Change Course?

by Giorgio Cafiero On April 4, General Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) launched an offensive on Tripoli, catching off guard the western militias loyal to the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA). In the last three months, the violence of the Libyan civil war has intensified, leaving roughly 5,000 wounded and more than 700 … Continue reading “Will Haftar’s External Supporters Change Course?”

The Unwritten History of Israel’s Alliance with the Shah’s Dictatorship

by Eitay Mack This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, during which the Ayatollahs took control of the country and brought down the Shah’s absolutist monarchy. The Iranian masses, who were undergoing various ideological changes at the time, overthrew the Shah’s corrupt and oppressive regime. Much has been written over … Continue reading “The Unwritten History of Israel’s Alliance with the Shah’s Dictatorship”

What If Palestinians “Take the Money and Run?”

by James J. Zogby I wasn’t at the “Peace to Prosperity” Summit, but I listened to some of the speeches and read the documents the White House produced for the event. Nothing that I saw or read changed my belief that the entire affair was long on fantasy, short on reality. Even with that, however, … Continue reading “What If Palestinians “Take the Money and Run?””

Economic Prosperity in Palestine Will Not Achieve Political Stability

by Larry Garber Watching the Bahrain Peace to Prosperity workshop play out during the past week, I was reminded of the day when I arrived in Israel 20 years ago to assume my position as director of the U.S. government’s assistance program for the Palestinians. It was an exciting and hopeful time. Both the Palestinian … Continue reading “Economic Prosperity in Palestine Will Not Achieve Political Stability”

The Ethics of Regime Change

by Helena Cobban Two detailed accounts have appeared recently of cloak-and-dagger operations undertaken by Western intelligence agencies to effect the defection of high-level officials of governments targeted for regime change. In his new book, Assad or We Burn the Country: How One Family’s Lust for Power Destroyed Syria, journalist Sam Dagher recounts how, in 2012, … Continue reading “The Ethics of Regime Change”

American Concentration Camps?

by Henry Siegman The Holocaust was invoked this month, first by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and then by a group called The World Values Network. The latter is headed by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, who modestly crowned himself “America’s Rabbi,” and is financed by the Las Vegas gambling mogul Sheldon Adelson, who is also one of Donald … Continue reading “American Concentration Camps?”

Why is Booker Parroting Trump on Iran?

by Ryan Costello Nine out of ten Democrats on the debate stage last night announced that they favor returning to the Iran nuclear deal, which should be commended. Trump’s efforts to kill the deal just brought the United States to the edge of a disastrous war. After staying in the deal for little benefit for … Continue reading “Why is Booker Parroting Trump on Iran?”

The JCPOA and Exiting the Iran Crisis

by Paul R. Pillar “No nuclear weapons,” declares President Trump, identifying that objective as his top priority regarding Iran. The contradiction with Trump’s own policy toward Iran is jarring. The starting point, and a continuing leitmotif, of that policy has been the administration’s reneging on, and effort to destroy, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action … Continue reading “The JCPOA and Exiting the Iran Crisis”

Keeping Iran Safe and Prosperous Is Ultimately Its Leaders’ Responsibility

by Shireen T. Hunter     The United States and Iran just avoided a military confrontation that could have degenerated into an open conflict. If allowed to escalate, this conflict would have led to an all-out war with devastating consequence for all involved, especially Iran. But the risk of war by accident or design is still … Continue reading “Keeping Iran Safe and Prosperous Is Ultimately Its Leaders’ Responsibility”

Gulf Escalation Threatens Drinking Water

by Najmedin Meshkati The Persian Gulf is one of the most populous and environmentally-sensitive regions in the world. Consequently, it is no surprise that Gulf states are increasingly dependent on desalination for their drinking water. But that dependence carries severe risks in a region as volatile as the Gulf has been, especially in light of … Continue reading “Gulf Escalation Threatens Drinking Water”