Trump Administration Claims It Needs No Legal Authorization To Keep Troops In Syria

Continuing a long-standard tradition, the Trump Administration claims it doesn’t need to get legal authorization to keep American troops in Syria.

Israeli Police Recommend Charges Against Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli police have recommended that charges be brought against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Whether that damages him politically remains to be seen.

The Myth And Dangers Of “No Daylight” Between The United States And Israel

The Trump Administration has acted in a manner to create the impression that there is “no daylight” between the United States and Israel. This is a myth, and pursuing such a goal poses real dangers for America’s national interests.

European Allies Rebuffing American Efforts To Renegotiate Iran Nuclear Deal

America’s closest European allies are rebuffing the Trump Administration’s efforts to renegotiate the nuclear deal with Iran. They’re right to do so.

The Growing Partisan Divide Over America’s Relationship With Israel

Americans were once largely united in their opinions about Israel and the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. That’s not the case anymore.

Anti-Government Protests Spread In Iran

Anti-government protests are spreading in Iran.

Protests in Iran

Via the BBC:  Iran cities hit by anti-government protests. Anti-government demonstrations that began in one city on Thursday have now spread to several major cities in Iran. Large numbers are reported to have turned out in Rasht, in the north, and Kermanshar, in the west, with smaller protests in Shiraz, Isfahan and Hamadan. The protests began […]

Trump’s Jerusalem Announcement Demonstrates Yet Again The Art Of The Bad Deal

Donald Trump’s Jerusalem decision reveals yet again that he is an appallingly bad deal maker.

Trump To Recognize Jerusalem As Israeli Capital, Breaking Decades Of U.S. Neutrality

A foolish, and potentially dangerous, decision by President Trump.

Hundreds Killed In Terrorist Attack On Mosque In Egypt

A horrible terror attack in Egypt.

Iraqi Army Moves Against Kurdish Oil Assets

Iraqi military forces begin to crack down against Iraqi Kurds after last month’s independence referendum.

Trump Decertifies Iranian Compliance With Nuclear Weapons Agreement

Despite the fact that everyone seems to agree that Iran is complying with the nuclear weapons deal, President Trump took steps that will undermine that agreement and do serious damage to American credibility around the world.

Decertifying The Iran Nuclear Deal Would Be A Foolish, Potentially Dangerous, Error

Reports are indicating that President Trump will decertify the nuclear weapons deal with Iran. This would be a foolish and potentially dangerous mistake.

U.S. Won’t Recognize Kurdish Independence Referendum

The U.S is joining the rest of the world in refusing to recognize the independence referendum conducted by Iraqi Kurds.

Saudi Arabia Will Finally Allow Women To Drive Alone

Progress in Saudi Arabia, but there’s still a long way for this backward, discriminatory society to go.

Iraqi Kurds Vote Overwhelmingly For Independence, Prompting A Backlash

Kurds in Iraq voted overwhelmingly for independence in a non-binding referendum, and the result is threatening to create a new conflict in the Middle East.

Trump Signs Waiver Of Law Requiring Move Of U.S. Embassy To Jerusalem

Despite campaign promises, President Trump won’t be moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem anytime soon.

Trump’s Muslim Speech Was A Change In Tone, But It’s Unlikely To Accomplish Anything

President Trump’s speech on Islam was a change of tone. However, as critics noted, it was short on substance and is unlikely to accomplish anything.

The (non-)State of Syria

A piece from Foreign Policy notes: Syria, after all, is today divided into no less than seven enclaves: the territory controlled by the regime, three separate areas of rebel control, two Kurdish cantons, and the Islamic State area. What is the government’s strategy to reverse this fragmentation, I ask? ”We have absolute faith that this is a […]

Iranian President Rouhani Overwhelmingly Re-Elected

Iranian voters have re-elected Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate whose election in 2013 was largely responsible for the shifts in policy that made the international agreement regarding Iran’s nuclear research program possible.

Trump To Keep Iran Nuclear Deal, For Now

During the campaign, Donald Trump promised to undo the nuclear weapons deal with Iran. Now his Administration is signaling that, at least for now, the deal will stay in place.

Rhetoric Matters: Trump and Iran

Trump’s combination amateur hour/tough guy approach is not going to make the world a safer place, nor will it advance US national interest.

Trump Administration Not Rushing To Move U.S. Embassy To Jerusalem

Despite campaign promises, President Trump appears to be putting off any immediate decision on the location of the U.S. Embassy to Israel.

Trump To Move Embassy to Jerusalem, Needlessly Inflaming Region

This will get people killed. Quite likely, including American citizens.

John Kerry Is Right About Middle East Peace, But It Hardly Matters At This Point

Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech on Middle East peace was largely correct, but his words are pointless given the fact that neither Israel nor the Palestinians seem serious about peacefully resolving their differences.

United Nations Resolution Vote Leads To More Tension Between U.S. And Israel

While you were celebrating Christmas, Israel was blasting the Obama Administration and cozying up to the incoming Trump Administration.

Russian Ambassador To Turkey Assassinated In Ankara

The situation in the Middle East just potentially became much more complicated.

The Problems with Safe Zones

The president-elect has suggested that we will be able to create “safe zones” in Syria: “We’re going to build safe zones,” he told supporters at a rally in Florida. “We’re going to get the Gulf States to pay for the safe zones.” First, as a side note, what is it with Trump and the assumption […]

U.S., Russian Agreement On Syria Seems Doomed To Fail

The United States and Russia have reached an agreement to end fighting in Syria, but it seems unlikely to succeed given that it doesn’t involve the parties actually doing the fighting.

Attempted Coup Rocks Turkey, But Fails To Overthrow Government

Turkey’s government appears to have rebuffed a coup attempt, but questions remains about the stability of the government going forward.

ISIS Suicide Bombers Hit Inside Saudi Arabia

The wave of Ramadan attacks continues, including a strike near the second holiest site in Islam.

ISIS Attack Kills More Than 140 In Baghdad

A third major terrorist attack inside of a week.

At Least 41 Dead In Terror Attack On Istanbul Airport

A massive attack hits Istanbul’s airport.

Egyptian Airliner With 66 On Board Crashes In Mediterranean Sea

An EgyptAir jetliner with 66 on board disappeared from radar just before beginning its decent into Cairo.

Putin Announces Start Of Withdrawal Of Russian Forces From Syria

To the surprise of many, Russia’s President announced that Russia would begin winding down its six month old intervention in Syria.

Boutros Boutros-Ghali Dead at 93

The godfather of the Responsibility to Protect doctrine has passed.

Sanctions Against Iran Partially Lifted As Compliance With Nuclear Deal Is Confirmed By IAEA

Another hopeful step forward, thanks to diplomacy.

Clinton Calls for More Sanctions on Iran

Via The Hill:  Clinton calls for new sanctions on Iran Hours after the U.S. dropped sanctions on Iran as part of the nuclear deal, Democratic primary front-runner Hillary Clinton called for new sanctions on the nation for its ballistic missile program. Clinton on Saturday praised President Obama for securing the safe return of four U.S. citizens […]

Washington Post Reporter Jason Rezaian, Four Others, Freed By Iran In Prisoner Exchange

Good news for Jason Rezaian and four other Americans, and another example of how diplomacy can help resolve disputes that seemed irresolvable.

Iran Frees US Prisoners

Via the BBC:  Jason Rezaian and three other US prisoners freed in Iran Iran has released Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian and three other Iranian-American prisoners as it anticipates the lifting of international sanctions. Rezaian, 39, was convicted of espionage in Iran last year. Iranian state TV named the other three as Saeed Abedini, Amir […]

Quick Release Of American Sailors Shows The Value Of Diplomacy

Ten American sailors detained by Iranian forces late Tuesday were released early today, something that seems to clearly demonstrate the value of diplomacy.

Tensions Rise Between Saudi Arabia And Iran In Wake Of Saudi Executions

The execution of a prominent Shi’ite cleric has led to a rapid deterioration of the relationship between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Iraq/ISIS Updates

Via CNN:  Ramadi has been taken back from ISIS, Iraqis say Iraqi troops have retaken the city of Ramadi from ISIS, the country’s military said. Troops have raised the Iraqi flag on top of the government compound in central Ramadi, military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasoul said Monday. Ramadi, in Anbar province, about 110 kilometers […]

Is Syria Already A Quagmire For Putin?

Some analysts are already suggesting that Russia’s two month old intervention in Syria is becoming a quagmire. That seems to be a premature judgment, but it’s not accomplishing much more than anything the West is doing.

German Parliament Approves Expansion Of Involvement In Anti-ISIS Campaign

The German Parliament has approved expansion of the nation’s involvement in the campaign against ISIS, but that doesn’t make the current campaign any less incoherent.

British Parliament Approves Airstrikes Against ISIS In Syria

The British Parliament has approved expansion of that countries airstrikes into Syria, but it’s unclear just how much of an impact that will have on the ground.

Francois Hollande’s Quest For A United Front Against ISIS May Be Doomed To Fail

France’s President has spent the week trying to forge and agreement on an anti-ISIS policy, but the two nations that matter the most also disagree the most.

Tensions Between Russia And Turkey Remain High In Wake Of Russian Jet Incident

Tensions between Russia and Turkey remain high in the wake of yesterday’s incident, but there are some signs that things are starting to cool down.

Turkey Downs Russian Jet

A potentially big complication in an already complicated situation.

Washington Post Reporter Jason Rezaian Sentenced By Secret Iranian Court

Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post reporter who has been held by Iran on espionage charges that most everyone agrees are nonsense, has apparently been sentenced, although it’s unclear what his sentence actually is: TEHRAN, Iran — Iran has sentenced detained Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian to an unspecified prison term following his conviction last month on charges […]

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