Costs of the Clenched Fist

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by Paul R. Pillar In his first inaugural address, one of President Barack Obama’s messages to America’s adversaries was that “we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”  A few years later, the unclenching of… Continue Reading  

Scapegoating Iran Will Not Resolve Middle East Challenge

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by Shireen T. Hunter During his Middle East trip, President Donald Trump is reportedly planning to pursue an ambitious list of objectives. Paramount among these is to strengthen regional cooperation in defeating the Islamic State (ISIS or IS) and Islamist… Continue Reading  

Trump’s National Security Advisor: A Troubling Appointment

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by Emile Nakhleh President-elect Trump’s appointment of Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn will likely create a Kafkaesque situation that Trump himself will find unmanageable. Questions surrounding the appointment could hamper the president’s plans to pursue his policy initiatives and will… Continue Reading  

Ending the Iran-Saudi Cold War

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by Seyed Hossein Mousavian and Sina Toossi In January, Saudi Arabia severed formal diplomatic ties with Iran after a row over its execution of a prominent Shia cleric ended with angry protestors attacking its Tehran embassy. Diplomacy has since been… Continue Reading  

On the Eve of Hajj, Saudi and Iranian Officials Try to Define “Muslim”

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by Derek Davison Top Iranian and Saudi officials traded barbs earlier this week over who is and isn’t a true Muslim, deepening the Middle East’s most prominent, longest-running, and deadliest diplomatic crisis. On September 6, Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti, Abdulaziz… Continue Reading