Middle East & North Africa

762 Items

What To Look For In Any Deal Between the U.S. and the Taliban

AP/Alexander Zemlianichenko

Analysis & Opinions - Bloomberg Opinion

What To Look For In Any Deal Between the U.S. and the Taliban

| Aug. 08, 2019

For many, like me, who worked on policy toward Afghanistan for years, recent leaks about an impending agreement between the U.S. and the Taliban bring mixed emotions. It is impossible to separate any deal from President Donald Trump’s persistent declarations that he wants to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan now. Such assertions weakened the hand of America’s negotiators and inevitably color any agreement – whatever its merits – with “America First” and the sense that the U.S. is cutting and running.  Nevertheless, if a deal materializes, it could represent the best opportunity in years to secure American interests and downsize U.S. military commitment in Afghanistan.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats

AP/Evan Vucci

Analysis & Opinions - Project Syndicate

Speaking Truth to Power

| Aug. 05, 2019

Joseph Nye writes that many partisans accused President George W. Bush of lying and pressuring the intelligence community to produce intelligence to justify a war that Bush had already chosen to prosecute. The situation was complicated, however, and to understand the problems of speaking truth to power, the myths must be cleared away.

Nigerian schoolgirls sitting in presidential palace

(AP Photo/Azeez Akunleyan)

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

“We Have Captured Your Women”: Explaining Jihadist Norm Change

| Summer 2019

In Pakistan and Nigeria, jihadist entrepreneurs have capitalized on external trigger events not only to successfully challenge established religious doctrine and norms, but to adopt radically new norms, including the use of gendered violence.

The oil tanker Stena Impero in an Iranian port

(Tasnim News Agency/via AP)

Analysis & Opinions - The Washington Post

Oil Probably Won’t Cause a War with Iran, but It Certainly Adds Fuel to the Blaze

    Author:
  • Jeff D. Colgan
| July 20, 2019

The relationship between oil and war is complicated—and much of the time, oil disputes are resolved peacefully. The more dangerous disputes are those where tensions over oil exacerbate other factors on the road to war.

Saudi Arabia’s Moment in the Sun

AP/Donna Fenn Heintzen

Analysis & Opinions - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Saudi Arabia’s Moment in the Sun

| May 07, 2019

As part of a high profile tour of China in February, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) has overseen a range of multi-billion dollar pledges and MOUs with Beijing. This partly reflects Riyadh’s desire to diversify sources for investments and technology following the mass withdrawal of major Western business leaders from the Future Investment Initiative in October 2018, after the murder of Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Embassy in Istanbul. Yet cooperation with China on renewable energy, if successful, would realize a significant first step towards Saudi Arabia’s lofty ambitions for solar and wind power.

A traditional Iranian bazaar in the city of Kashan

Wikicommons

Analysis & Opinions - The Hill

Can Iran Weather the Trump Storm?

| May 03, 2019

In the past 10 years, oil exports have averaged about $67 billion in Iran. Last year, they dropped by two-thirds, and they are expected to drop below $30 billion this year.  There are reasons to believe that, with appropriate policies, the country can live with this level of oil exports, albeit at a reduced standard of living, and even do itself some good in the long run by reducing its dependence on oil.

Iran has been there before. In 2012, when President Obama ratcheted up U.S. sanctions against Iran, oil exports dropped by 27.5 percent, and GDP fell by 6.2 percent. In 2015, sanctions and the collapse of oil prices further reduced oil exports to $32 billion, a decade-long low, and GDP declined by 1.6 percent. If Iran’s leadership is to successfully resist U.S. demands, it must do more than find ways to evade sanctions. A lot depends on its ability to adopt a plan that reduces the economy’s dependence on oil, while distributing the burden of restructuring equitably across social groups.

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani

Wikicommons

Analysis & Opinions

The Unimportance Of New Oil Sanctions

| Apr. 25, 2019

For the Islamic Republic, resistance to Washington has become a cultural norm, and it considers independence (esteghlal) as the main achievement of the 1979 revolution.  According to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Iran would have to meet 12 conditions before the United States will renegotiate the nuclear deal and consider removing its sanctions. These conditions, which are nothing short of surrender on Iran’s part, are either set to force Iran out of the nuclear deal and therefore trigger the return of UN sanctions, or they are a thinly veiled call for regime change.

Former Diplomat Farah Pandith Speaks to PBS News Hour About Reducing Extremism

PBS News Hour

Analysis & Opinions - PBS NEWSHOUR

Why We Need to Think About Extremism Differently in Order to Reduce It

| Apr. 22, 2019

As Sri Lanka reels from a series of deadly Easter Sunday attacks, the problem of violent extremism enters the spotlight once again. How can the U.S. and the world anticipate and counter the threat of terrorism, which experts agree cannot be addressed by military means alone? Amna Nawaz talks to former diplomat Farah Pandith, whose new book “How We Win” outlines a strategy for keeping us safe.

Iran Oil Sanctions: A Rare Case Where Transactional Diplomacy Should Work

AP/Hasan Jamali

Analysis & Opinions - Bloomberg Opinion

Iran Oil Sanctions: A Rare Case Where Transactional Diplomacy Should Work

| Apr. 22, 2019

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s most recent announcement on Iran policy has raised some eyebrows. He indicated on Monday morning that the Trump administration will not renew waivers to importers of Iranian crude and that other suppliers (meaning Saudi Arabia) have agreed to increase production in to ensure the global oil market remains well-supplied. Skeptics question whether — after last summer’s debacle — there is sufficient trust between Washington and Riyadh for this arrangement to work. What skeptics may not have digested is that, while timing remains a problem, this is a classic win-win situation. It is a near-perfect example of the very limited universe of occasions when transactional diplomacy could actually work.