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  • US-Iran ‘snapback’ tangle shows UN’s irrelevance

    Iran, Russia, China and the US Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, Joe Biden, agree on one thing: America under President Donald Trump is “isolated.” Iran even goes as far as to declare victory over the US. In his speech to the United Nations General Assembly, President…
  • China, Russia exploit ‘Covid diplomacy’ in Iraq

    The Covid-19 pandemic starkly illustrates the state of health care in the Middle East, from the good to the truly wretched. The condition of local health systems has, in turn, offered opportunities to outside powers to boost their influence in the region. And no country…
  • European disarray pushes Iran, Turkey into China camp

    The surprise announcement in July that Iran was negotiating a wide-ranging, 25-year bilateral deal with China has rumbled through the capitals of the Middle East and the West for two months now. So vital does Iran consider this deal for its future strategy that no…
  • Israel’s deal with Kosovo, Serbia is diplomatic charade

    The recent package deal among Israel, Kosovo and Serbia is a fine example of diplomatic window-dressing by the US, intended to shore up President Donald Trump’s sagging poll numbers. As announced, Serbia will move its embassy to Jerusalem. The deal also stipulates that Kosovo and…
  • Iraqi PM must face down Iran and its militias

    In a recent interview, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi said he envisaged the Middle East as a region that he called “the New Levant,” which would be like the European Union, where capital and technology flow freely. He also said he favored the withdrawal of…
  • Silence descends on social media in Turkey

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s disdain for social media is no secret. He blocks Twitter regularly in order to prevent the spread of information he doesn’t like. He has openly railed against Facebook and YouTube, accusing them of misrepresenting Turkish family values. And after the…
  • Maybe little Alan Kurdi’s tragedy saved others

    If three-year-old Syrian refugee Alan Kurdi had survived his family’s desperate attempt to join relatives in Canada in 2015, he, along with thousands of other children in Vancouver, would this week be looking forward to returning to school for the first time since the Covid-19…
  • Russia hedges its bets in Libya

    Reality seems to take longer to hit some states than others. For Russia’s ambitions in Libya, the gravity of the situation on the ground appears finally to be sinking in. For the last two years, Moscow had been investing ever more in Libya, particularly on…
  • Lebanon’s ‘anagram’ problem

    For a country that the much-loved singer Fairuz once called “the land of festivals,” it was hardly a fitting way to celebrate turning 100. A last-minute scrabble for a prime minister to lead technocratic reform, nine months after scrabbling for the last one. A celebration…
  • Decline of US-led global order set to fuel more conflict

    Inter- and intra-state conflicts in the Eastern Mediterranean, Mozambique and Iraq could seriously destabilize Africa, the Middle East and Europe. And the ongoing conflicts in these regions are poised to get much worse. For this, there are two key reasons. One is the raging Covid-19…
  • Libya looks for a path out of chaos

    Over the past several weeks, events in and about Libya have run the full gamut, from talk of peace to violent protests and a government crackdown. But Libya’s tragic saga as a failing state no longer generates front-page attention, and its ability to sow instability…
  • What’s next in Eastern Mediterranean?

    Tensions are visibly mounting in the Eastern Mediterranean. The Greek and Turkish navies have conducted rival exercises. The Turkish seismic research vessel Oruç Reis, accompanied by naval vessels, has proceeded with exploration activities in areas deemed to be within Greece’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Commensurately,…
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