Middle East & North Africa

6 Items

Iranian worshippers attend a rally to protest the execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a prominent opposition Saudi Shiite cleric, after their Friday prayers in Tehran, Iran, Friday, Jan. 8, 2016.

(AP Photo)

Analysis & Opinions - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School The National Interest

A New Era of Brinkmanship in the Middle East

| January 13, 2016

Even before the news of ten U.S. sailors being detained by Iranian forces on Tuesday, tensions were flaring in the region. Consider the events of just the last two weeks. Stoked by the Saudi execution of Shia icon Ayatollah Nimr al-Nimr on January 2, the war of words between Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia and Shia-majority Iran rapidly took a turn for the worse. On Friday, Tehran accused Riyadh of intentionally striking the Iranian embassy in Yemen, a claim that Saudi officials reject.

Kurdish peshmerga forces stand by their armed vehicles in Mahmoudiyah, Iraq, a day after they take control of the village from the Islamic State group, as they patrol on Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014.

(AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

Bad Move, ISIS: Why America and Iran Should Work Together

| Oct. 06, 2014

"While a threat to U.S. interests, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) presents us with a unique opportunity to 'reset' the Middle East equation—to actively transform regional relations, to abate the cold war between Iran and Saudi Arabia and to forge a new working relationship with Iran," writes Payam Mohseni. "As the United States moves to escalate its war against ISIS and forge a coalition against the terrorist group, it is important that Iran be included in the process. After all, U.S. and Iranian interests have increasingly converged in the Middle East with the emergence of a common enemy, and no power in the region is better suited to taking on ISIS than Iran and its affiliated Shi’a militias in Iraq."

An Iraqi army soldier stands guard at Tahrir Square in Baghdad, Iraq, June 16, 2014. Sunni militants captured a key northern Iraqi town along the highway to Syria a week after capturing a vast swath of territory in the country's north.

AP Photo

Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

ISIS Challenge in Iraq: Why America Should Work with Iran

| June 16, 2014

"The U.S. should seize the opportunity presented by the Iraq crisis to reach out and engage Iran. The threat posed by ISIS and radical jihadism as well as the potential for further regional instability represent important areas of mutual strategic concern for both countries. By engaging the Iranians, the U.S. will gain the critical ability to shape the course of events without getting bogged down in the conflict. It will also help the U.S. build a working relationship with Iran that could ease the current nuclear negotiations forward and lay the groundwork for future cooperation when a successful deal is reached."