Will Iran Take Over the Ottoman Mantle in the Middle East?

February 26, 2021

When the Ottoman Empire was dismantled in 1922, it created a vacuum which a series of powers have attempted to fill ever since. None has succeeded, and the result has been a century of wars, coups and instability. Iran ruled all these lands before the Arab and Ottoman conquests. It could do so...

The West’s Middle Eastern Playbook

July 16, 2020

Success has many fathers, failure is an orphan, the wise ones say. I would add that failure suddenly gets you dumped like a hot potato in the hands of your benefactors. You don’t believe me? Just ask the Libyan has-been, Khalifa Haftar, at one time considered the best game in town by his...

In an Era of Strongman Politics, Turkey Is Hard to Call

April 15, 2020

We are told we live in an era of strongmen. The narrative also runs that these strongmen stick together. From the cozy relationship between China and Russia at the UN Security Council — led by Presidents Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin — to the mutual support of the likes of Saudi Crown Prince...

Turkey Joins the Scramble for the Middle East

February 19, 2020

There was a time, not so long ago, when the idea of Turkish troops placing their boots on non-Turkish soil was almost unthinkable. Turkey might bomb Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) positions in Iraq, Turkish aircraft might skirmish occasionally with Greek counterparts, but no one got their boots...

As Iraq Burns, World Leaders Stay Silent

November 20, 2019

The wave of unrest that has swept through Iraq has gone from protest to violence, creating tension in the region. The demonstrations, which were initially motivated by discontent over the country’s economic stagnation and rampant government corruption, quickly devolved into chaos....

It’s Time the World Wakes Up to Iran’s Threat

June 21, 2019

Attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman are an effort to signal to the rest of the world that no one is beyond Iran’s reach. There is a tendency in Western policymaking circles to view the consequences of Iran’s actions as being confined to the Middle East. Recent attacks on oil...

Iran Has Learned How to Play Trump

June 19, 2019

Iran’s attacks on oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz were a sacrifice to lure Washington into a draw. Iran’s botched operation in the Strait of Hormuz, in which the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) navy nearly got caught in the act of mining two tankers, brought the world to the brink...

The Dangers of Going After the Muslim Brotherhood

May 14, 2019

Naming and shaming the Muslim Brotherhood, at considerable diplomatic and social cost and for little discernible benefit, is a policy idea that should never be allowed to see the light of day. It’s a muggy summer morning in Washington, and the United States has just named the Muslim...

Repression Is No Longer Enough to Stem the Anger of Iran’s Minorities

May 09, 2019

Disregarding the vital role of Iran’s non-Persian minorities can only divide and weaken the opposition, leaving it with insufficient support to challenge or overthrow the current regime.  Throughout history, dictators and authoritarians have expended great efforts in presenting their nations...

In the Battle of Gulf Airlines, Qatar Emerges the Winner

January 29, 2019

Employing a mix of common sense, calculated gambles and good business practice to hold the high ground, Qatar has emerged the clear winner in the battle of the airlines. When its Gulf neighbors — Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, joined by Egypt — launched a land, air and...

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