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  • Commentary posted August 31, 2015 by James Phillips The Iran nuclear deal: Peeling back the layers

    "This thing is like an onion," George Costanza once said on an episode of "Seinfeld." "The more layers you peel, the more it stinks." Just about anyone who examines the Iran nuclear deal knows how he feels. Look at the recent bombshell report that revealed Iran will be allowed to use its own officials to investigate a military site where it's suspected of conducting…

  • Issue Brief posted July 24, 2015 by James Phillips, Luke Coffey, Michaela Dodge The Iran Nuclear Agreement: Yes, There Is a Better Alternative

    The Obama Administration has argued that there is no better alternative to its controversial nuclear agreement with Iran. But rather than cutting off all paths to a nuclear weapon, as the Administration initially promised, the so-called Vienna Agreement only temporarily slows down Iran’s progress toward a nuclear weapons capability and, in fact, protects the regime’s…

  • Commentary posted July 22, 2015 by James Phillips The Iran deal: A diplomatic speed hump

    The Obama administra­tion made a risky gamble when it signed the flawed nuclear agreement with Iran. Washington squan­dered its bargaining leverage and settled for a deal that could dan­gerously undermine the long-term national security interests of the United States and its allies. US President Barack Obama entered the negotiations pledg­ing to cut off all pathways to a…

  • Issue Brief posted July 20, 2015 by James Phillips, Michaela Dodge Recent Heritage Foundation Publications on the Iran Nuclear Agreement

    The Obama Administration’s controversial nuclear agreement with Iran dismantles the sanctions that forced Tehran to the negotiating table without dismantling any major element of Iran’s nuclear program. Centrifuges are retired but not destroyed. The illicit uranium enrichment facilities at Natanz and Fordow are constrained but not eliminated. The “anytime/anywhere”…

  • Commentary posted July 8, 2015 by James Phillips Time for the Obama administration to respond to Syrian chemical attacks

    The Obama Administration puts a lot of stock into negotiating with hostile regimes.  Consider its seemingly endless negotiations with Iran over that nation’s illicit nuclear weapons program. But even as those negotiations drag on, Iran’s ally Syria has systematically violated the 2013 agreement it negotiated with the administration. In that agreement, codified in a U.N.…

  • Issue Brief posted July 8, 2015 by Justin T. Johnson, Lisa Curtis, James Phillips, Dean Cheng, Matthew Rolfes, Michaela Dodge Key Questions for General Dunford

    This week the Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for General Joseph F. Dunford Jr., who has been nominated to be the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. If confirmed, he would be the principal military adviser to the President. Currently the Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, General Dunford has had a long and distinguished military…

  • Issue Brief posted May 14, 2015 by James Phillips Preparing for the Approaching Syrian Endgame

    Bashar al-Assad’s dictatorship has been rocked by a string of military defeats and by internal tensions within the minority Alawite-dominated regime that is battling for its life against a rising tide of predominantly Sunni rebel groups. Casualties, defections, and loss of territory have severely undermined the Syrian Army and Syria’s security services, forcing the Assad…

  • Commentary posted May 1, 2015 by James Phillips Regime can't be trusted to honor agreement

    The emerging nuclear deal with Iran has numerous flaws that could dangerously undermine U.S. national security. It lets Iran maintain a huge nuclear infrastructure that already far exceeds legitimate civilian needs. That includes illicit nuclear facilities, built in violation of Iran's nuclear nonproliferation commitments. Particularly worrisome are provisions allowing…

  • Issue Brief posted April 22, 2015 by David Inserra, James Phillips 67 Islamist Terrorist Plots Since 9/11: Spike in Plots Inspired by Terrorist Groups, Unrest in Middle East

    In late February, Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Somalia, was arrested in Ohio and charged with various terrorist activities. Last week, news came that a Federal Grand Jury had indicted Mohamud on additional federal charges, including providing material support to terrorists and making a false statement involving international terrorism. With…

  • Issue Brief posted April 16, 2015 by Michaela Dodge, Steven Groves, James Phillips Senate’s Iran Nuclear Bill Misses the Point

    Two days ago, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) unanimously passed the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, a bill that attempts to bolster the congressional role in the Obama Administration’s negotiations on the Iranian nuclear program. While the effort is well intentioned, the bill sets up Congress to allow the Administration to act as if it had…

  • Backgrounder posted April 7, 2015 by Dakota Wood, Charlotte Florance, James Phillips Intervention in Libya: Lessons in Leading

    Weeds of the Arab Spring The Arab Spring undoubtedly changed the political, economic, and security landscape in the Middle East and North Africa. More than four years after the self-immolation of Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi and the catalytic explosion of the event on social media among Arab youth populations, authoritarian regimes quickly came under fire,…

  • Backgrounder posted March 5, 2015 by Brett D. Schaefer, James Phillips Time to Reconsider U.S. Support of UNRWA

    The Palestinian Authority (PA), which was created by the Oslo peace process, has turned its back on negotiations with Israel and sought to pressure and delegitimize the Jewish state through the United Nations. Palestinian efforts to secure a one-sided Security Council resolution calling for an Israeli withdrawal to the borders that existed before the 1967 Arab–Israeli War…

  • Issue Brief posted February 10, 2015 by James Phillips The Iran Nuclear Negotiations: Understanding Key Issues

    The Obama Administration has bent over backward in an effort to secure a nuclear agreement with Iran. In principle, it has accepted Iran’s illicit uranium enrichment activities, the heavy-water reactor at Arak that could become a plutonium bomb factory, and Iran’s continued stonewalling of the investigation of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). These…

  • Commentary posted January 28, 2015 by James Phillips A Big Foreign Policy Challenge: Regaining Saudi Arabia's Trust

    The passing of King Abdullah and ascension to the throne of Crown Prince Salman has proceeded smoothly at a time when the Saudi kingdom faces growing challenges at home and abroad. King Abdullah, 90, compiled a record as a relatively liberal reformer who helped modernize the kingdom, reform its educational system and somewhat expand opportunities for Saudi women to work,…

  • Commentary posted January 21, 2015 by James Phillips ISIS vs. Al Qaeda: The good news and the bad news

    The Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), has become a bitter rival of Al Qaeda, its parent organization. Its leaders represent a new generation of Islamist militants who have broken with Al Qaeda in a power struggle over Syria and the future of the global Islamist revolution. Both groups share the same ultimate goal: the…