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

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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

Trump Muslim Speech

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

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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 President Hassan Rouhani

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

Iran Nukes

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

Iranian And American Flags

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

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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

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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

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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

Obama Netanyahu

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

Russian Ambassador Turkey Assassination

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

The Problems with Safe Zones

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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

US Syria Russia

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 Coup Protesst

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

Saudi Bombing

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

ISIS Attack Kills More Than 140 In Baghdad

Baghdad Bombing

A third major terrorist attack inside of a week.

At Least 41 Dead In Terror Attack On Istanbul Airport

Istanbul Airport Attack

A massive attack hits Istanbul’s airport.

Egyptian Airliner With 66 On Board Crashes In Mediterranean Sea

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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

Vladimir Putin Sunglasses

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

Boutros Boutros-Ghali (Egypt) 1992-1996

The godfather of the Responsibility to Protect doctrine has passed.

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

Iran Nuclear Deal Congress

Another hopeful step forward, thanks to diplomacy.

Clinton Calls for More Sanctions on Iran

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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

Iranian And American Flags

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

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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

Iranian And American Flags

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

Saudi Iranian Flags

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

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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?

Putin Smirk

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

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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

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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

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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

Turkey Russia Flags

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

Turkey Russia Flags

A potentially big complication in an already complicated situation.

Washington Post Reporter Jason Rezaian Sentenced By Secret Iranian Court

Iranian And American Flags

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 […]

Jonathan Pollard Released From Federal Prison After Thirty Years

Jonathan Pollard

After thirty years in Federal Prison, Jonathan Pollard is a free man. Make no mistake, though. Pollard is not, and never has been, a hero and he deserves to be remembered as nothing but the criminal that he is.

Chief Suspect In Paris Attacks Killed In Police Raid, French Authorities Report

Paris Attack November 13-2

French officials have confirmed that Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the man believed to be the plotter of last Friday’s attacks in Paris, was killed in a police raid early Wednesday morning. This doesn’t mean authorities in France or elsewhere in Europe are any less concerned about future attacks, though.

Thanks To Pandering And Fearmongering, Syrian Refugees Are Now Pawns In American Politics

Syrian Refugees Coming Ashore In Greece

Syrian refugees have quickly become political footballs in the United States in the wake of the Paris attacks, and it’s become an exceedingly shameful display of pandering and fearmongering by a group of largely Republican politicians.

Russia Confirms Metrojet 9268 Brought Down By Bomb

Metrojet A321 Wreckage

Confirming speculation that had already been all but confirmed, we now know that it was a bomb that brought down a Russian passenger jet on October 31st.

Even After Paris, A Syrian No-Fly Zone Is A Foolish Idea

Obama ISIS

In the wake of the attacks in Paris, there’s a strong impulse to do “something,” but that doesn’t mean we should do something utterly foolish. And a no-fly zone would be utterly foolish.

France Strikes ISIS As Investigation Into Paris Attacks Continues

Paris Attack November 13-2

France launched its first attacks against ISIS even as the investigation into Friday’s attacks continues, but it’s not clear that the retaliation really accomplished anything.

Attack on France Is an Attack on the United States

A man holds up a sign which reads, "Je Suis Paris" ("I Am Paris") during a rally of solidarity outside the Consulate of France in Montreal, Quebec, Canada on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, to show his support to victims of the Paris attacks. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)

We are legally, morally, and practically obligated to respond. Let’s not do so stupidly.

Something to Consider Going Forward

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We can draw a rather direct line from the Iraq war to the rise of ISIS.

French President Blames ISIS For Paris’s Night Of Terror, Vows French Response

Paris Attack November 13-2

France’s President blames ISIS, vows response, as death toll from Paris terror attacks stands at at least 127.

Russia Appears Ready To Deliver Sophisticated Anti-Aircraft System To Iran

Iran Nukes

With the Iran nuclear deal in place and sanctions being slowly lifted, Russia is announcing that a stalled weapons deal with Tehran is moving forward: MOSCOW — Russia’s most senior arms executive said Monday that a contract to supply Iran with powerful S-300 air defense missiles was now active. But with no delivery date or […]

Consensus Continues To Grow That Russian Airliner Was Taken Out By A Bomb

Metrojet A321 Wreckage

The investigation continues, but the consensus seems to be growing that Metrojet 9268 was taken out by a bomb.

America’s ‘Alliance’ Against ISIS Exists Mostly On Paper, Not In Reality

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America’s much touted international coalition against ISIS is, essentially a Coalition In Name Only.

Obama Apparently Giving Up On Quixotic Bid For ‘Middle East Peace’

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President Obama has apparently come to the same realization as many of his predecessors, that trying to craft a legacy by single-handedly bring about “Middle East Peace” is largely a waste of time.

U.S. Intelligence: Russian Passenger Jet Likely Brought Down Over Sinai Peninsula By A Bomb

Metrojet A321 Wreckage

American intelligence officials are saying that a Russian passenger jet that went down over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula was most likely brought down by a bomb.

Obama Considering Plan That Would Get U.S. Ground Troops Closer To Front Lines In ISIS War

Obama ISIS

President Obama is reportedly considering a plan that would put American forces much closer to the ground war in the war against ISIS.

U.S. And Russia Reach Deal On Syrian Airspace

U.S. Russia Syria

The U.S. and Russia have reached a much-needed deal to avoid inadvertent confrontations over the skies of Syria.

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