The New Middle East That’s Coming

The fallout from the September attack on Saudi Arabia’s Aramco oil facilities is continuing to reverberate throughout the Middle East, sidelining old enmities – sometimes for new ones – and redrawing traditional alliances. While Turkey’s recent invasion of northern Syria is grabbing the headlines, the bigger story may be that major regional players are contemplating … Continue reading “The New Middle East That’s Coming”

How the Saudi Oil Field Attack Overturned America’s Apple Cart

In many ways it doesn’t really matter who – Houthis in Yemen? Iranians? Shiites in Iraq? – launched those missiles and drones at Saudi Arabia. Whoever did it changed the rules of the game, and not just in the Middle East. “It’s a moment when offense laps defense, when the strong have reason to fear … Continue reading “How the Saudi Oil Field Attack Overturned America’s Apple Cart”

A Wounded Erdogan Could Be Even More Dangerous

For the second time in a row, Turkish voters have rebuked President Recep Tayyir Erdogan’s handpicked candidate for the mayoralty of Istanbul, Turkey’s largest and wealthiest city. The secular Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate, Ekrem Imamoglu, swamped Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) candidate Binali Yildirim in an election that many see as a report … Continue reading “A Wounded Erdogan Could Be Even More Dangerous”

‘Revenge of the Kurds’: Erdogan’s Missteps Are Piling Up

After 18 years of unchallenged power and success, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suddenly finds himself in the middle of several domestic and foreign crises with no obvious way out. It’s unfamiliar ground for a master politician who’s moved nimbly from the margins of power to becoming the undisputed leader of the largest economy in … Continue reading “‘Revenge of the Kurds’: Erdogan’s Missteps Are Piling Up”

Diego Garcia: The ‘Unsinkable Carrier’ Springs a Leak

The recent decision by the Hague-based International Court of Justice that the Chagos Islands – with its huge U.S. military base at Diego Garcia – are being illegally occupied by the United Kingdom (UK) has the potential to upend the strategic plans of a dozen regional capitals, ranging from Beijing to Riyadh. For a tiny … Continue reading “Diego Garcia: The ‘Unsinkable Carrier’ Springs a Leak”

Nuclear Powers Need To Disarm Before It’s Too Late

The recent military clash between India and Pakistan underscores the need for the major nuclear powers – the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, and France – finally to move toward fulfilling their obligations under the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The Treaty’s purpose was not simply to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, but to serve … Continue reading “Nuclear Powers Need To Disarm Before It’s Too Late”

Could Trump Really Launch a War With Iran?

Keeping track of the Trump administration’s foreign policy is like trying to track a cat on a hot tin roof: We’re pulling out of Syria (not right away). We’re leaving Afghanistan (sometime in the future). Mexico is going to pay for a wall (no, it isn’t). Saudi Arabia, Russia, the European Union, China, Turkey, North … Continue reading “Could Trump Really Launch a War With Iran?”

A Vital Primer on the Push for War in Iran

Want another thing to keep you up at night? Consider a conversation between longtime Middle East reporter Reese Erlich and former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Charles Freeman, Jr. on the people currently directing the Trump administration’s policy toward Iran. Commenting on National Security Advisor John Bolton’s defense of the invasion of Iraq, Freeman says … Continue reading “A Vital Primer on the Push for War in Iran”

Unwrapping Armageddon: The Erosion of Nuclear Arms Control

The decision by the Trump administration to withdraw from the Intermediate Nuclear Force Agreement (INF) appears to be part of a broader strategy aimed at unwinding over 50 years of agreements to control and limit nuclear weapons, returning to an era characterized by the unbridled development weapons of mass destruction. Terminating the INF treaty – … Continue reading “Unwrapping Armageddon: The Erosion of Nuclear Arms Control”

The Syrian Chess Board

The Syrian civil war has always been devilishly complex, with multiple actors following different scripts, but in the past few months it appeared to be winding down. The Damascus government now controls 60 percent of the country and the major population centers, the Islamic State has been routed, and the rebels opposed to Syrian President … Continue reading “The Syrian Chess Board”