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  • Commentary posted May 14, 2015 by Peter Brookes Obama's party not at top of Gulf states’ popularity list

    One of the unhappy truths of life is that you can get a pretty good idea of your power and popularity by the number of invited — even more so, uninvited — guests who show up at your personal party. The same might be said of international diplomatic meetings. So you can imagine how Team Obama must feel about the news that this week’s U.S.-Gulf Cooperation Council summit…

  • 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 April 20, 2015 by Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D. Which side is Obama on in Mideast?

    Every war poses a basic question: Whom do you want to win? After six years, the Obama administration's answer to that question in the Middle East is hopelessly confused. We liberated Iraq from Saddam Hussein and then abandoned it, because President Barack Obama thought he had a better plan: Turn the job of stabilizing the Middle East over to Shia Iran and Sunni Saudi…

  • 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…

  • Commentary posted April 7, 2015 by Peter Brookes Iran deal leaves security fears

    Let’s be honest, the joint comprehensive plan of action announced last week in Lausanne, Switzerland, between the P5+1 (U.S., France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany) and Iran is essentially a Rorschach inkblot test. People will see what they want to see. Some people, like Team Obama, see the deal as a flurry of white doves released into the air, cooing “peace in our…

  • Commentary posted April 3, 2015 by Steven P. Bucci, Ph.D. The Conditions are Ripe for a Major Middle Eastern War

    For years, the great nations of Europe spent huge sums of money to build their military might. They assembled themselves into blocs, all the better to play a dangerous game of power politics.  Slowly, surely, they were stumbling toward war. In June 1914, an assassin shot the heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the powder keg was lit. The results were…

  • Commentary posted March 30, 2015 by Peter Brookes Iran’s meddling makes Yemen regional flashpoint

    While the United States moved out of Yemen last week, this week a Saudi Arabia-led coalition of a reported 10 mostly Arab states moved into Yemen with airstrikes aimed at the continuing chaos there. The immediate — but not the only — target of the coalition air campaign is the Houthi rebels who recently swept out of northern Yemen, captured the capital, Sanaa, and are…

  • Commentary posted March 11, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. After Obama: Restoring America's Middle East Leadership

    President Obama sure knows how to get the world’s attention. His public tantrum over Benjamin Netanyahu being invited to speak before a joint session of Congress pretty much assured that the entire globe would tune in to hear the Israeli prime minister enumerate his concerns over a nuclear deal with Iran. This soap opera offers a potent reminder of the sorry state of…

  • Commentary posted February 10, 2015 by Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D. In the Middle East, let's support our friends

    King Abdullah II of Jordan is angry. In a meeting with members of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, he quoted Clint Eastwood in promising retribution against the Islamist radicals who burned a Jordanian pilot to death. He wants our support. He should get it. Here's my cardinal rule of foreign policy: Back your friends. Right now, the United States…

  • Commentary posted February 10, 2015 by Peter Brookes There's a method to ISIS madness

    Some seem baffled and or shocked by the raw ruthlessness of the Islamic State (aka ISIS, ISIL and Daesh) most recently foisted upon us by the video of the immolation — a euphemism for being burned alive — of a captive Jordanian pilot. But, while hard to believe, there’s actually a method to this madness. Fear While it tries to portray itself as a caliphate (a Muslim…

  • 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 23, 2015 by Peter Brookes Al Qaeda threat grows in Yemen

    Last September, President Obama told us that his strategy for taking down the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria would be similar to the one his administration had “successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years.” Those are words the prez probably would like to have back, especially with regards to Yemen. News reports indicate Yemen is falling apart; an insurgent…

  • 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…

  • Issue Brief posted January 12, 2015 by Brett D. Schaefer, James Phillips Provocative Palestinian U.N. Actions Require Strong U.S. Response

    The U.S. has provided billions of dollars in assistance to facilitate peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Despite America’s financial support and its repeated diplomatic efforts, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has demonstrated little serious interest in negotiating a peace agreement that recognizes Israel’s right to exist, commits the Palestinians to…